As the old saying goes “when you fall off the horse, climb back on.” Well, my horse has wings. I have been sitting on the ground far too long. It’s time to climb back up and get in the air.
My return to the skies begins with reacquainting myself with a stack of printed materials published by the FAA, which by the way, have all been revised since I last purchased said publications. So off to The Airport Shoppe at Reid-Hillview Airport (KRHV) I go. Now, I could just download and read them all as PDF files. They are all available for free online at www.FAA.gov/library/manuals. I have downloaded them, I like having the digital versions for quick reference when working with students, it’s a lot easier to have them on my laptop than carrying around many pounds of paper “just in case”, but for studying I prefer, and recommend, a hard copy book. Oh, and in case you were wondering, printing the PDF files… several of the handbooks are well over 300 pages making printouts a costly option.
Now, with several new-edition handbooks and a years worth of aviation magazines, AOPA Pilot & AOPA Flight Training, Flying, EAA Sport Aviation, and NAFI Mentor, sitting on my desk, it’s time to hit the books, and I have been in a big way. Along with the most current issues of the magazines, I have been reading my way through the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A) or PHAK. At 471 pages, it’s available for free download (in 19 PDF files, 110 MB for all of them) or you can buy it for $22.95 at most pilot shops at airports and online.
Reading through the PHAK, all of the hours spent in American Flyers CFI Academy and teaching ground schools are coming flooding back. I am on chapter 4 – Aerodynamics of Flight, one of my favorite subjects. After completing the 30 day CFI Academy program I sat in on the next two Academy classes to help out as a TA of sorts. I also taught ground school classes for Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot and Instrument Ratings, and put in a significant number of hours tutoring one-on-one with students in Private, Commercial, Instrument and CFI programs. Aerodynamics of Flight is a subject I taught frequently and well; I must confess though, cross county Navigation and Planning are my top favorites.
To get back in the game as a certified Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI) and Instrument Ground Instructor (IGI) I need to study up and demonstrate to an instructor (flight or ground), who is current, that I still possess sufficient knowledge and skill in aeronautics and at the instruction there of, get a logbook sign off stating as much making me current, then I can start teaching again. So this is the first step toward getting back on track over all.
Once I get current as an AGI/IGI and teaching again, it’s will be time to get back in the air and knock the rust off my piloting skills by getting a Biennial Flight Review (BFR) and becoming current for day and night flight, Then it’s back to practicing Flight Maneuvers so I can wrap up my initial Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). Once I have my initial CFI in the bag I can move on to my Instrument Instructor rating (CFII). While I am more attuned to primarily being a ground instructor, I do want to take on primary and advanced students in flight instruction.
There are other certificates/ratings I plan on working on soon as well, but the time tables are not worked out yet. For that matter, nether is the funding. There are so many things to do in aviation, flying new aircraft, fly different categories of aircraft, becoming certified to fix them, building them, and a ton of related skill sets and certificates, not to mention all of the flying adventures themselves. So much to learn, do, and teach. One could spend a lifetime just trying new things in aviation; and what a lifetime it will be…