Springfield Chapter Missouri Pilots Association

August 2003

Flying Journal - Summer Flying - that's more like it!

Last month, I had bemoaned how I hadn't flown much yet, despite high hopes for the summer. I have done a little better since then, with about 10 hours logged in July, and some interesting flying already in August. But before I go on, please heed the call for volunteers to fly the kids at Camp Barnabas on August 16. In the past Don Hinni and Larry Kennedy coordinated the pilots and planes for that event.

It's been over seven years since I became a flight instructor and now the circle closes as I pass my experience on to another instructor to be. Ironically, we are doing training in one of the very planes in which I took my own private training thirteen years ago, a lovely, well-maintained Cessna 152. When I was learning myself, with no other planes yet for comparison, it was the only airplane I knew. It seemed slow when planning long cross-countries, small when trying to carry big passengers or bicycles, and scary when staring at the sky during power-on stalls.

In the intervening years I have flown other categories-gliders, gyroplanes and a helicopter, as well as other classes-single and multi-engine. I haven't gone through my four logbooks in a while to count types, but probably around two dozen. There are many more I would like to fly, but I have been blessed with quite a variety, in age, type, style and condition, from a 1941 Aeronca Chief to a 2001 Cessna 172, from a 65 horsepower Piper Cub to a 700 horsepower Piper Navajo Chieftain, including a glider with no power.

If you have read this journal for a while, you have already read of many of my adventures and a few misadventures in many of those flying machines. But all that musing about types is just to set-up how much I appreciate the C-152 now. It is wider and faster than a C-150, and there is actually more room behind the seat for bicycles and such than in most 4-seat airplanes, where most of the space goes to the backseat. Yes, two of my favorite planes have been big and heavy, for their types, the Cherokee Six and the Piper Aztec, but it was really fun to get back in a plane that moves when you move the controls. Of course it's not as responsive as say, an RV-6A. The first time I got in an RV-6A I had to grab the stick with my other hand to keep from roaming all over the sky. The Cessna 152 is not that touchy, like something aerobatic, or military, but lively and responsive. And it spins!

I totally understand why flight instructors get to log PIC time when instructing. If anything, you are paying more attention and learning more about flying than the student, but you really don't spend much time actually flying, after the first few lessons. Now, trying to train another CFI, I get to fly a lot, and from the left seat again. I can still remember those first 20 or 30 hours before I soloed, but it sure is hard to go back to flying badly, to demonstrate common student errors for the instructor applicant to critique. I guess it would be like trying to go back to NOT being able to ride a bicycle, or pretend to not know how to swim.

But it's a very instructive exercise, just to try. When I was practicing for my own instructor ratings, especially CFII, I got other pilots to fly for me and I'd "practice" instructing. My own student has tried that, and learned a lot. Like an hour and a half is too much and will make one of your non-flying friends sick!

Anyway, trying to fly badly, like a beginner again was fun and giving the spin endorsement was a lot of fun this month, but I had other fun, too, a nice variety. Raymond Plaster and I flew in his Cherokee Six, Jonathon Rimington and I flew in his Cherokee 180, and I gave some more rides in the gyroplane, and Roni Burns and I flew an Arrow to Springdale for supper, to find the terminal restaurant had closed at 2 pm, but we found instead the restaurant favored by both Presidents Clinton and Bush, AQ's Chicken House. A good month, but hopefully next month will bring new adventures-hopefully my training for a checkride for CFI add-on for gyroplane and hopefully my first initial CFI applicant will be ready for his checkride.

Meanwhile, hope to see you at the picnic and fly safely and joyfully, with currency and proficiency


[Copyright 2003 - Earl Holmer]