Adding a tailwheel endorsement will further refine
your technique and aptitude. Let’s not forget the fun
factor, either. Piloting a new type of aircraft will stretch
your skills and bring back the joy of flying.
Do pilots lose their “air sense” when grounded? Both
Jim and Pat say inactive pilots should do whatever
possible to get in the air, including bumming rides with
friends, trading work at an FBO for flight time, and
becoming invaluable through volunteer work. Those folks
you help at airports, aviation museums, and the myriad
organizations affiliated with flight will likely reciprocate
and offer you a ride. Offer to serve in the chase crew for
balloon and glider pilots; some reward
team members with rides.
To paraphrase Jim and other professionals, it’s
important to have a plan and resolve to remain active
in aviation. Had I known the difficulties of resuming
flying after a nine-year lapse, I would have scrounged
up resources and devoted more time to stay aviation-minded, even when grounded. Lesson learned.
Aviation writer Kathleen Winters holds a commercial
certificate in airplanes and gliders. She’s the author of Anne
Morrow Lindbergh and maintains a website at www.
Reconnect and Reminisce
Surround yourself with aviation
enthusiasts, such as EAA members.
They’re kindred souls who talk the
same language, even if they’re non-aviators. Find them at EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh or at local EAA chapter
meetings. Local aviation events, such
as aviation safety or history programs,
present opportunities to further your
aviation education and pleasure.
You can find these events on EAA’s
Calendar of Events at www.EAA.org.
Of course, you can keep current
with the immense, ongoing changes
in aviation by reading aviation
magazines and surfing the Internet,
though be advised that the latter’s
information is sometimes erroneous.
Reading about other pilot’s experiences
may motivate you to return to flight
sooner than you expected.
“Virtual flying” has opened a
new world of simulated flights,
and though neither I nor other
pilots I talked with are experts at
computer-based flying, it opens up
limitless opportunities for practice
flights. Software for home use can
be purchased online, and some FBOs
offer simulators for rent.
Take out your logbook and review
past flights and enjoy a day or two
reminiscing. I recently settled into
an easy chair and hunkered down
with my airplane and glider flight
logbooks, reliving my past exploits
in a day of “armchair traveling.” It
serves as sort of a pat on the back for
what you’ve accomplished.