Rusty Pilot update 10-17-2020

This is another follow-up to my previous posts about possibly returning to flying, 43 years after obtaining my Private Pilot Certificate and VFR (Visual Flight Rules) rating. So far, things are going better than expected.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far:

  • I decided to repeat a good ground school course, even though my Private Pilot Certificate is good for life, and I do not need to repeat the written and oral exams.
  • After researching the best online ground school for me, I decided on Fly8MA, and I’m quite happy with that decision.
  • I have now completed the ground school course, passing the quizzes after each section.
  • When I need more detail, I consult Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook, an excellent reference book I purchased to complement my other efforts.
  • I’m now finishing Fly8MA’s Rusty Pilot course, and I’ll certainly take a few others since I’m paying a monthly fee to access all their courses anyway.
  • I did the online portion of the mandatory flight physical at FAA MedXPress, then scheduled my medical exam. A local Aviation Medical Examiner then gave me a thorough flight physical, reviewing every detail of my past medical history, and I passed!
  • Next, I updated my contact information with the FAA, and they’re sending me an updated Private Pilot wallet card.
  • So now I have my license and my medical, and I’m good to go!
  • Mastering the Garmin aviation navigation programs is next on the list. I’ve already gotten my feet wet with it, and what they’ve accomplished during my absence from aviation is astounding.
  • Learning how to use ForeFlight is equally important, and to optimize its functions, it really needs to run on an iPad with a built-in GPS. So I just purchased the model that was recommended in several online reviews.
  • After that, I’ll be ready! The Piedmont Flight Training school at our local Smith Reynolds Airport is close by and convenient. I’ve already picked out the instructor who I think will work well with me to bring me back up to speed. I decided I can do that while working toward an IFR rating at the same time.
  • Before I approach the school, I’ll also be well acquainted with the POH (Pilot’s Operating Handbook) for the Pipistrel Alpha Electric, which is the reason I started doing all this in the first place. Isn’t it cool!?! I’m on a mission to fly it!
The Pipistrel Alpha Electric

In these past two days, I had the extreme pleasure of sharing my aviation enthusiasm with wife Gail and stepson Eric. It happened like this: The same company that makes the beautiful airplane shown above is now introducing its remarkable 4-seater called the Pipistrel Panthera. It’s currently on a country-wide inauguration tour, and they just happened to make a stop here in Winston Salem. We went to see the plane and got to take a ride in it. It was a memorable experience for all. This was important because everyone needs to be “on board” with this project if it’s going to go forward, and for now, all systems remain GO!

Gail and Eric in the fabulous Pipistrel Panthera

At Signature Flight Support, Smith Reynolds Airport, Winston Salem, NC

Backseat pilots!

Birdseye view of our autumn terrain

The Pipistrel Panthera’s all-digital avionics

Yeah, two thumbs up!

Back on the ground, safe and sound

Until next time!

So there it is. I’ll post more updates as things develop.

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