Who needs recurrency training?
by Eusebio Valdes
Just the pilots who fly commercial planes? Absolutely not. Every person who holds a pilot license should get ongoing training. Why? It’s all about safety. Frequent pilots, leisure pilots, commercial pilots, anyone who flies needs recurrency training. Remember it’s all about safety. The two go hand in hand.
I have seen individuals arriving from 200 or 300 miles away from their hometown to obtain Flight Reviews or upgrade their ratings so no one from their home area will notice their deficiencies. I applaud their efforts. “Better to be safe, than sorry”. It doesn’t matter where, as long as your flight school is reputable.
If airline pilots, cargo pilots and corporate pilots need recurrency training every six months and are required to take regular checkrides from the FAA, why would you risk doing less? Here’s where the broken-record of repeated excuses ring in the air.
First, there’s no such thing as a naturally bad pilot! I have met individuals who warranted more training for a range of reasons: some who over the years of flying by themselves have developed some bad habits and some who think the rules are made to be broken.
Second, time. Time is money. You already invested the time and money so don’t dilute or waste that money and let your skills deteriorate. Make the time, the commitment and you will improve!
Recurrency, or ongoing training, should not be a chore. It’s really about getting back to the basics, sharpening those dull skills, and growing confident where the aircraft is your friend and not your foe. Many sports and skills require a constant review of the basics. Each time you do, you learn something new. Air flight is no different. Plus you can do it on your own or with a flight instructor!
Recurrency simply means flying at the very top of your skill level every single time you fly an airplane. “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. So practice, practice, practice! It may require a little reading on your part such as reviewing the aircraft POH, and your Private Pilot Handbook that we use for everything from Private through Instructor. Number one on my Top Ten Flight books is “Stick & Rudder”one of the the best books ever written explaining what makes an airplane fly. While published in 1943, this book is classic flight instruction that transcends time.
Still feeling rusty? Hire an experienced instructor who never seems to be completely satisfied with what you are doing. In other words, with a tough instructor, you will go far. (Did I mention my middle name is “strict”?) Go and review “slow fly”, “power offstalls”, “power on stalls”, “accelerate stalls”, “steep turns” (and I mean 60 degrees) , “unusual attitudes”, “touch and goes with flaps and no flaps”, “shot field landings”. To round out the reviews, ask your instructor to help you work on “partial panel” and be very visual with outside traffic. Training and learning have to be continuous.
Getting current is just the first step. Now figure out what you are going to have to do on a regular basis to stay that way . . . and do it. I really don’t know how a pilot can consider himself as safety conscious and not feel that they are putting their passengers and themselves at risk on every flight if they are not absolutely and strictly current. I fly with a lot of people who have simply let their skills deteriorate .
Don’t let this happen to you. Recurrency is something that has to be done on a regular basis, and the only person who can keep up with your schedule is you. Are you current? Don’t clip those wings! Expand them and glide through the air with honed skills and confidence. Identify those bad habits and make a mental list of them. Slowly, make an effort to replace them with good form and proper procedures.
I’ll see you at the flight school or Tamiami Airport! Always remember: A good pilot is always training. What is the excuse?
*** ACCIDENTS ARE CAUSED AND THEREFORE PREVENTABLE ***