I spent a good part of the day with this old friend.
I got some refresher flying in, and completed my bi-annual flight review. It's been some time since I flew--too long actually. But it all still felt good and right, and the check pilot--who didn't know about my leg until we were aloft for a bit--said that my skills were still great despite my time away from the cockpit. We flew over parts of three states, and shot some touch-and-go landings at an airport that had so much traffic in the pattern that I felt like I'd joined Baron von Richthofen's Flying Circus. We did stalls, emergency procedure drills, and plenty of navigational drills. And there were turns: steep turns, climbing turns, turns around a point. It was both a blessing and a pity that there was no wind aloft to make things more difficult, but my performance was satisfactory enough to get me signed off and current again.
It was a good day, but now I need dinner, a celebratory drink, and a nap before the New Year's tomfoolery starts in. Look forward to more flying posts for 2011 now that I have the extra disposable cash needed to stay current without having to resort to selling myself to the local photographers for the price of a rental hop, particularly the photographers who don't understand concepts like crosswind components, FAA minimum altitudes and the Washington, DC ADIZ.
"Come on...you can go over there just for a minute so I can get some shots. We'll be in and out before they know it, and if they have a problem with it, I'll say that it was my idea."
Yeah, one actually said that. More than once. Another photographer offered me a hundred dollars extra if I'd fly over Camp David so he could get some pictures and couldn't understand why I was being unreasonable when I told him no. I couldn't make him understand that the blue circle around it on the sectional chart means something, and I want to keep my license. Frankly I tired of having to deal with these guys just so I could keep my hours up so I took a hiatus, but now I'm in a better place and I can afford to fly without them and their silly demands.
It feels good.
Now I'm shopping for my own aircraft. I don't need much--just a solid airframe and a strong motor with a reasonable amount of time on it. And external hardpoints.