July 1, 2018
Its finally warm and you are all set to fly your plane or go up in the club plane after not flying much over the winter. How do you get current safely and how long has it been since you flew? Can you go take off and have fun after months of not flying by just taking off and going for it?
What does the FAA say?
14 CFR 61.57 states for day VFR, 3 take offs and landings within the preceding 90 days to take up passengers. According to the rules, if its been over 90 days that means you can get current and then take up your friends but the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam) strongly encourages pilots to participate in the FAASTeam's Pilot Proficiency Program (WINGS). The program includes numerous forms of training media such as online programs and recommended topics for pilots to review with CFIs. Additionally, the FAASTeam conducts safety seminars, which are open to the public. And with the wings program you can get a variety of flying that will make you very current and comfortable.
Let's say you have the perfect day with light winds almost down the runway and a temperature of 70 degrees. What a day to get those landings behind you and everything went well. Now that you are legally current, you have a friend you want to take up. Its been a few days since you flew and now the winds are 50 degrees off the nose at 12 knots. Can you handle that? Maybe a flight with an instructor wouldn't have been a bad idea? The instructor could help you take on those cross wind landings and get comfortable with them. You can add some slow flight and stalls while you are out to make sure the final approach does not create a problem. Most flights for currency are about 1.5 hours, which is not much longer than going by yourself.
Flying is fun, relaxing and a great way to travel around with friends and see things, but it takes skills. Get in touch with one of the local CFIs, instructors love to teach and are excited to help you get current. Most of them are FAAST team members and they will get you into the Wings program. Through periodic recurrent training in the Wings program you will not have to take a BFR again! Remember most CFIs fly a lot and they feel rusty if they miss a few days of flying. Take the adventure you wanted to, but be safe by being current and confident in your abilities to fly.