By Andrew Gellert
Hello PCFC members,
With the coming reduction in state government health restrictions planned for approximately the 19th of October, the committee will undertake inquires to when our members may be approved to return to the RAAF base to recommence club operations. We should be mindful that the lifting of these health restrictions are not completely synchronized in every way with the public domain, as the RAAF and Base Security will need to appraise when to allow the general population (us) to return to the premises. Plainly said, the reopening of the clubrooms may be a little later than what we may see on the street.
As the club aircraft make their eventual return to YMPC, most of us will be thinking about getting back into the air, from a long-imposed flying ‘drought’. Some of you are thinking it might be a bit like starting over, or it will be just like riding a bike. No matter which way your thoughts go, it is undeniably a time of caution to the rusty pilot, yes that means you –Rusty.
How long has it been, 7-8 months? When was my last biannual check? Could I perform a competent glide approach? Can I this..? Can I that..?, A long self-critical list has been running through our heads, especially as we are sitting over breakfast about to head out to the airfield that first day. If you are outside these parameters it may be well advised to get yourself off to a flight school operation for a refresher, or a biannual flight review if you are near enough to expiry date. This may bring about the issue of having to wait for a considerable time for a booking as many other rusty pilots are thinking the same thing. Have you thought of that? Should I book now or wait? More problems, I hear you say.
For those that have been lucky and somehow jagged the renewals/base passes/etc, we are the lucky few who can pretty much pickup where we left off, right? Well hang on Junior, its not that straight forward. The same questions arise, how long has it been? Can I perform this and that… I think you get the idea.
Now we have all been beaten with the safety stick through each and every time we took to the air with our instructors and have a good appreciation of what is safe and what is not. Well friends, going up for “just a few circuits” after all this time away from the controls might just be all it takes to really put you on the spot and in a situation where the plane takes you flying and not the other way around. Slow down, be thorough, follow that checklist like you mean it and physically call out the action item (e.g “fuel on both!, carb-heat cold!, mixture rich!, flaps zero!” and so-on). You might think you sound a bit silly, but this method of challenge and respond can be just as effective in a crew environment, or by yourself.
Now you are thinking about heading off cross country at some stage, but it has been a really long time since you managed a navigation plan like that, let alone a cockpit. Well, how about going up with another pilot? They are not just a passenger, they are a pilot buddy right beside you providing that little bit of intellectual assistance and possibly pickup some cockpit tasks. For example, “hey you forgot the carb heat dummy”, spotting other traffic or even just keeping track of the airspace you are flying close to.
Whichever way you look at it, let us be reminded that it really has been a while since we all enjoyed our professional aviation hobby. There are many things to do. Base pass, Airside pass, Medical, Biannual flight check, Maps and EFB updated, personal minimums set, the list could go on. Hey Rusty, are you ready and are you safe?
Junior VP, PCFC