Around the Pattern

Ramblings about flying for fun and profit.

Everything Is Due

Swift Hangar

Swift back in the hangar after our flight.

When the calendar switched over to November I found all sorts of warnings blaring at me – well,  notices in my calendar that I set up myself. I just never noticed that everything seemed to be coming due within a 60-day period.

First was my flight physical, but by the end of October. That required finding a new AME. The doctor that most of the area pilots used had passed away suddenly about a year ago.  I chose to go to the doctor who took over my previous AME’s practice. It was a good choice. So, I checked off that block with a fresh Class III medical and the first  non-Class I that I had applied for in twenty-some years. There is just no reason to go through the more stringent requirements of the higher class medicals for the type of flying that I do now.

The next notices I received were that I was now in the zone to re-register the Swift.  I have until the end of March next year to complete the process and until the end of January to re-register via the Internet. As I understand, the registration is effective in the month you do the renewal, so I’ll make it one of my New Year’s projects after the holidays.

Next I found that the Swift annual inspection is due the last day of November. But before I could start on that I had to take care of the last of my notices – my Flight Review, due by the end of November.  I didn’t want to start taking the Swift apart for the inspection and potentially find something that would prevent me from flying the plane before the end of the month.  I’m sure that you recall that in order to act as pilot-in-command of an aircraft you must satisfactorily complete a Flight Review each 24 months.

There are several flight instructors on the airport who could administer the Review and I’m sure most would jump at a chance to fly the Swift.  I thought about it for a while and decided to try one of the instructors who I knew had a similar background to mine. He retired from the military, had been a KC-10 pilot, has considerable flight time, built his own RV-9A and is qualified to instruct in the RV for aircraft checkouts by fellow homebuilders.

My first step in completing the Review was to complete FAA Course ALC-25 on the FAA Safety website – Flight Review Prep Guide. It is a good review of flight operations for the Flight Review.

Once I completed the course and printed out the certificate we scheduled some time to get together.

We discussed the material in the FAA course and then reviewed the different types of airspace and the requirements to fly through them by using some practical examples on the West coast.

Next we went over all the paperwork on the airplane, noting the required inspections had been completed and that the aircraft was airworthy and that the weight and balance would allow the planned flight. Then we did a thorough preflight and I explained the unique preflight requirements of the Swift.

With the ground portion of the Review completed we pulled the plane out of the hangar, went through the passenger briefing and emergency equipment and headed for the runway. The flight consisted of a good cross section of Private and Commercial flight maneuvers and different types of landings when we returned to the traffic pattern. By then the winds were blowing about 18 knots a bit off the runway heading, so it was a good test of traffic pattern procedures. We were in the pattern by ourselves and I fly a very close pattern, so the landings were completed in short order.

Overall I believe it was a good review – it had been a long time since I had accomplished some of those training maneuvers as specific maneuvers rather than doing them as a natural extension of the normal flight maneuvers that we all do.

Now I can get to work on the aircraft annual inspection and not have to worry about how long it might take to complete it – except for the inability to fly next month if it isn’t finished.

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3 Comments

  1. Cedarglen

    Hi Tracy. Thanks for the humorous, seasonal post. Even if not intended to include some humor, it did. On the bright side, with your A&P, you can do a lot of the inspections and routine maintenance on your Swift. (Are oversight inspections a waste of money? I don’t think so.) Given your vast experience, is the periodic light review a waste? I’d guess that the more hours a pilot has, the more s/he values a second opinion once in a while. It is the (daily?) norm with multi-crewed aircraft, but far too rare in single pilot recreational flying and a great safety move.
    As for the annual expenses , all falling due in the fall, and they are substantial, let’s don’t forget the season’s non-flying expenses. For many of us, flying or not, the last quarter also includes killer expenses like property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and several other hefty, if annual expenses. Even if on e tries to minimize the Holiday expenses, the last two or three months of the year will keep one’s checkbook warm and lubricated. A great post and thanks!
    -C.

  2. Craig,

    Yeah, I forgot to throw in that the Swift insurance policy is up for renewal, too. Yes, the A & P certificate has paid for itself many times over. Keeping up with maintenance on a routine basis makes the annual that much easier. Flying with other pilots and getting their opinions is never a waste – after all, it’s not the number of hours that you have successfully completed in the past that counts – it’s how you complete the next one that really matters.

    Tracy

  3. Cedarglen

    Amen!

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