Many people regard general aviation as only a recreational pursuit but there is great utility in having a pilot certificate if you are proficient. This recent trip by member Jack Henion illustrates the point. He left Austin, TX 7am and pulled into Ithaca about 4:30. With adjustment for time zones he was in the air about 7 and a half hours. This plane cruises about the same speed as our Mooney; 155 knots.
Thanks to Thomas Bachlechner for sharing his photos from his recent Manhattan trip. He flew to Teterboro with friend Alex and they spent time downtown doing the Skyline Tour on the way home (I think that is the way it went…)
With the cost of flying I think we all try to squeeze as much value as possible out of our time in the air. Sometimes this is just consciously savoring the beauty of the experience or scheduling a flight with friends (other members?) to share the fun. It is essential to regularly fly for proficiency too and review the skills you have previously mastered. Rust never sleeps and we are all only as good as the next landing. Some knowledge review like the courses on the annual training page is essential and can bring new understanding to what we accomplished by rote during initial training (eventually that stuff “sticks”) Budd Davisson has some good advice on his website Airbum. My favorite 25 Tips to Make You a Better Pilot is very helpful for new pilots. This area of “pilot flight maintenance” is often solo (I doubt your friends will enjoy stalls and steep turns) but more fun awaits.
The exciting and fun area of flight proficiency is moving forward and expanding your skills and knowledge…and this can (and should) include other pilots or friends. Just doing some research and creating a plan for improvement will go a long way toward making you a better pilot; that old “setting personal goals” thing. The AOPA series on “Getting Out of the Pattern” has lots of ideas on how to “expand your flight envelope” safely while also having a fun flight. We have a dedicated web page that catalogs fun flights to nearby airports with restaurants to expand your personal flight envelope. Try a little challenge like the first time into a Class C airspace…Syracuse and Rochester are close by and easy. Highly recommended however is a trip to Albany. Not only is this a great scenic experience up the Schoharie Valley, but on arrival, Million Air in Albany is a first-class facility and they provide a crew car (previously a Jaguar recently a new BMW) to get you to the Wolfe Road diner for a Buffalo Burger. A bit north is Saratoga Springs (5B2) and the North American FBO with a crew car to get you downtown for some good restaurants. Put some fun flight destinations on the schedule for spring and expand your flight envelope! Join us on May 5th for the Hudson Corridor Challenge.