Flight reviews assess the candidate’s competence to safely exercise pilot-in-command privileges, so appropriately focus on the kinds of flying that pilot does. Having flown most of my career straight and level, either going cross-country or practicing instrument procedures, I wondered just how far my airmanship had slipped.
Fortunately, in moments of doubt I can call on good friends—in this case Bravo Flight Training’s Brenda Tibbs. She’s flown with me for the past decade. I hope that’s proof that she doesn’t scare easily, not that she doesn’t learn from experience. I asked her to take notes as she put me through a series of private and, depending on how badly those went, commercial maneuvers. I think the results surprised us both.
Quoting from her debrief notes, steep turns were “beautiful.” OK, I do practice those, having struggled mightily to master them during private, instrument, and (again!) commercial training. Conditions were calm, but even so, I was working!
S-turns: The second roll-in was late—I was asking a question—but otherwise not bad. Turns around a point: Also not terrible, maybe even within the tolerances of the airman certification standards.
Slow flight: Needed more right rudder throughout, especially on the left turn. Altitude and airspeed control were acceptable.
Lazy eights: One rollout was about 30 degrees off heading; otherwise, not much worse than usual. Eights on pylons: I forgot the prescribed entry on the diagonal and lined up outside the closer pylon. After that, no worse than a typical day of sloppy commercial practice.
I’m not a natural stick-and-rudder pilot, but in 19 years, I’ve put nearly 2,000 hours on my 1967 Arrow. Maybe that experience carried over in ways I never expected.
Maybe yours has, too. Whichever the answer, wouldn’t you prefer to know?