I’ve been in and out (mostly out) of currency for a few years. OK, more than a few. But in the post-COVID environment, I committed myself to re-upping with a VFR flight review (mission accomplished!) and inching my way toward an instrument proficiency check (work in progress). My long-term goal is to get comfortable with flying “gentleman’s IFR” on trips around the Northeast, with the opening of possible longer, more challenging trips as I get more into the swing.
Of course, that strategy doesn’t go very far if there isn’t an airplane available. Finances forced the sale of my V-tail Bonanza several years ago and rental aircraft are seldom, if ever, available for overnight trips, let alone multi-day missions. I asked Steve Parker, the third-generation owner/manager of Somerset Air Service at my home base—Somerset Airport (KSMQ)—about possibilities for airplanes that might need exercise. He connected me with the owner of a highly rejuvenated 1970 Cherokee with some up-to-date, exciting avionics. The engine is freshly overhauled, and even if it’s not as fast as the Bonanza, it certainly has the performance and the range to be a practical IFR cruiser. So, the evil plot has begun to take shape.
The owner did some extensive homework and came up with a comprehensive plan for sharing his pride and joy. It’s essentially a flying club with monthly dues and fixed hourly rates for using the airplane. Right now, there are three of us, and the chances are good that our schedules and missions ought to interlock well. That is always a wild card, as people’s needs and wants are wont to change. But for now, it’s looking like a promising prospect.
As for my approach to resurrecting my flying game, I have tried to focus on regaining some of the old muscle memory, and the comfort level and confidence that goes with that. So far, so good. My plan is to start by getting comfortable with stick-and-rudder skills again, then move into relearning the basics of instrument flying as performed in the 21st century.
The weather yesterday was a bit daunting for practicing instrument work, but some pattern practice with a good instructor had me feeling like this might be headed in the right direction. One step at a time. I’ll keep you posted.