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A Rusty Pilot Tale

by John White |

I never expected to be a rusty pilot, let alone one who had not flown for 8 years!

But, that’s where I found myself last fall. 

Over the years I have flown (and owned) a number of aircraft, ranging from a Piper J3 Cub, piston twins, turboprop aircraft, old Citations and DC-3s.

My wife is also a Rusty Pilot, and we decided to get active again.

Off we went to the local FBO to get checked out and be able to rent some airplanes.

The Checkout

We decided I would get checked out first. 

Upon arrival at the airport I noticed the ceiling had deteriorated. So into the office I trundled to meet the instructor, a very nice young man with about 1,800 hours. He quickly let me know that this was a part time job, that he was an ATP pilot flying second in command on a Lear 45. His first reaction was that today was a no go - until he looked at my logbook.

The plan became “Let’s takeoff, contact the Great Lakes Approach and climb on top.” Then we would do some airwork at least.

The First Surprise

What, no steam gauges! What was this? 

Staring in my face was a Garmin G5 Flight Director. 

This I was not ready for, nor did I expect it. But, not to be deterred we departed for the tops.

Problem is we couldn’t find the tops as we climbed out in the Piper Archer. 

The instructor promptly informed me that all of the aircraft at the FBO had Garmin G5s in them, so I need to get used to it right away.

My IFR Checkout

The first thing that happened was the instructor kept encouraging me to use the autopilot!

What the heck?

I wanted to get proficient and he wanted me to use the autopilot! Not going to happen.

An hour and a half later we are back at the airport, the ceiling is 500 feet and so I shot the approach using the Garmin 430. 

No problem, we made minimums and landed with no problems at all.

Post Flight Thoughts

Are newer pilots all so focused on autopilots? 

 Heck, most of the airplanes I have flown throughout my life did not have one.

I found that the G5 forces you to stare straight ahead. No scanning of the panel, no head movement, no real sense of piloting.

The brave new world, I guess.

What Do You Think?

John a/k/a JetAviator7

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