June 29, 2011: I had fallen out of day and night currency. The last time I flew was with my kids at the end of March. There are many reasons this happened. Some of it was because of work, some of it was because of being busy with 3 kids, and some of it was maintenance and/or weather related issues. A couple of pilots told me this happens to new pilots because you are suddenly “without a mission” like you had when you were a student. I think they are right. I need to find a mission.
This night I went up with Rich to become day and night current once again. We took off around 9:15-ish PM and flew to Tipton airport (KFME) to get gas for the plane because it was only about half full. It was an uneventful flight to Tipton and we were heading straight into the downwind leg for runway 28 without much effort. Only one other plane was in the pattern. After we landed, I realized how nervous I was because it had been so long since I last flew. It was also really weird having Rich as more of a passenger than a full time CFI. He was a lot quieter than when I was in the middle of my training. That was not a bad thing… it just took some getting used to.
We took off for Gaithersburg (KGAI) to practice some night landings. No one else was in the pattern, but the DC SFRA frequency was pretty busy. I also had a plane pass me closely (but legally) going the opposite direction. Once we made it to GAI, my first couple of landings were a little flat. Well, strike that, my first landing attempt was a go around because I was hugging the runway too closely on downwind and when I turned from base to final I had greatly overshot the runway. THEN, my first few landings were a little flat. Rich was encouraging me to keep the nose up more when I was trying to land. One of my landings wasn’t bad, so I said “Let’s do one more”. On my last landing I had the nose wheel off the runway almost all the way to the turnoff to the taxiway. I put the plane to bed after that. It was hot, late, and I was really to head home.
I logged 1.7 hours (1.4 of night), 1.7 dual, and 5 full stop night landings. Yay! Now I can take passengers again! Now, I am planning a long cross country flight to hopefully pick up my kids from their grandparents in MI in a few weeks. I hope the weather works out!