Posted by: Orlando Web Services | June 12, 2010

Flight Planning and Other Types of Wishful Thinking

A commercial rating has many requirements that need to be completed before you ever get close to a check ride. Like everything else in life, if you look at everything required at once, it can seem overwhelming. In aviation, even when you break things down into pieces, it can still seem overwhelming. Here is an example of a requirement:

10 hr. of solo flight in a single-engine airplane training in the areas of operation required for a single-engine rating, which includes at least:

One cross-country flight of not less than 300 NM total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is a straight-line distance of at least 250 NM from the original departure point.

and…

5 hr. in night-VFR conditions with 10 takeoffs and 10 landings (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower.

In order to break this up into smaller pieces I decided to plan a flight to satisfy the cross country requirement. I need a 300 NM cross-country flight with the first segment being at least 250 NM and then have at least 3 landings on the way back. So I planned the following flight:

KPEO (Penn Yan, NY) to KDAW (Rochester, NH) = 272 NM

Return Trip…

KDAW (Rochester, NH) to KEEN (Keen, VT)

KEEN (Keen, VT) to 5B2 (Saratoga Springs, NY)

5B2 (Saratoga Springs, NY) to KVGC (Hamilton, NY)

KVGC (Hamilton, NY) to KPEO (Penn Yan, NY)

Total Estimated flight time is 4:23 – that won’t really be the number, but that’s what the planner said assuming I would be flying an Arrow, which is totally up in the air at this point. I am going to fly this route a few times in my flight simulator using a Piper Saratoga. I can always ignore stopping in Hamilton on the way back since that’s an extra landing anyway.

As far as night flying requirement, I have never soloed at night. I figured I could do the landings in Ithaca at KITH and breaking this up into two separate flights with 5 landings each at that towered field.

Anyway, my point was that even when the requirements are broken up, there is still plenty to do. Each time I look at what is left to do I feel overwhelmed due to the money involved that is no longer available for intense training. The best I can do is 90 currency which really sucks. Sometimes is all just feels like wishful thinking.

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