Friday, January 3, 2014

Staying Current

Being in Singapore has really changed my flying dynamics. While the variety of flight environments and aircraft that I am experiencing has increased, the spontaneous possibilities are very limited.  In fact, every flight is an international flight and  requires paperwork and planning several days in advance.  In addition, the cost of flying in Asia is quite steep ( ~ triple the cost in the US).  This really has made me appreciate the US flying environment more than ever!

So I have been using my fairly frequent trips to the US to ensure I maintain my currency and proficiency.

Recently, I was in the US and was able to take advantage of the freedom and the spontaneity of the US skies

I started in Atlanta where my plane was in Trip's cozy hanger, which you can see below:

Since I am not very familiar with the Atlanta airspace, I filed an IFR flight plan to FL.

After clearing all the MOAs on my nearly direct route, I cancelled the flight plan and started to play.. Oops I mean practice... First a few warm up steep 360s, then some slow flight and stalls.  Usually these maneuvers are practiced at much lower altitudes. But I happened to be @ 11,500 FT and the wind was tame so I just did it at altitude.  It felt strange to do power off stalls and air work at that altitude.  but the good part was that there was no other other traffic in the way!

Next I descended near Ocala and practiced a few approaches.  The first couple I did with the R9 and the autopilot.  then just to convince myself that I remembered how , I also flew a couple by hand.  Then it was on to my former home base @Tampa Executive, where I had to fight howling 20 kt crosswinds!

This kind of random spontaneous flight is simply not possible in many other countries.  So I was really having a ball!

After a requisite stop in Tampa, I went on flightseeing joyride around Tampa Bay and got some great pix, which you can see below:

Then it was on to visit a flight school on the east coast, where I am planning to pursue a commercial rating later this month. 

Finally, I did a leisurely journey back to Trip's hanger @ LZU.  When I tallied the logbook, I was pleasantly surprised to see 12 hours, 15 approaches and over 100 pictures! 

After all the spartan cockpits I have been in lately, it felt great to be back in the cirrus cockpit, where everything just felt smooth and effortless and it also felt good to shake off the rust!

== T.J.==

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