Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Ratings

I had a big ratings year last year. I plan to describe each new rating in detail, but I wanted to talk a little about new ratings in general. Ever since I was a boy scout I have liked learning new things and earning the merit badge. Each new badge required study and actions. Once all the requirements were met I would take an oral test and either passed and recieved my new badge or I would fail and have to try again at a later date. Each badge was a sign that I had at least a working knowledge of the subject or skill that the badge stood for. This was nearly instant gratification. Once the badge was earned, it was mine to wear proudly. The toughest badge that all pilots must earn is the private piltos licence. To get there we had to slay many dragons personal, practical, family related, medical, and financial. The courage that we had to garner to actually go to the airport and setup that first demo flight is non trivial. It is the first thing that separates pilots from those who have not tried it. Yes... There are those who try it and quit, and those who try it and never go up again, but at least they made the effort and got to the airport and flew. Once we have that private or sport pilot license, we truely have joined a new fraternity/sorority of special individuals. We have been measured and found good enough to fly by ourselves and even take passengers aloft. We can go out and rent a plane whenever we want. (after passing a checkout flight) Usually after that initial time when you are on cloud nine and you have flown all your friends that you can talk into it, and you have done the hundred dollar hamberger a few times. You may have even taken a couple of trips. There is a malaise that develops in some pilots. They stop going to the airport as often. Work and family excuses/pressures interfere with getting to the airport. What you need is to get out there and earn another badge or two. Master a new type of plane. Get some new skills. My demons were college and finances. I started flying when I was 16. I got my private licence shortly after my 17th birthday. I was a valet at a local country club to earn the money to fly. Once I had the licence I flew a good bit, for a while. Then it got further and further in between flights. I got through my first biannual flight review. I did some spin training. I did a few cross country flights. I got to my second biannual flight review and never actually finished it. I stayed away from the airport for 11 years. I graduated from college, got married (twice), and had a few jobs. I was always looking upward, and thinking that I need to get back up there. I took a buddy of mine who was curious about flying. I arranged a demo flight for him. He had a great time and purchased a Cessna "Learn to Fly" CD course. He still has yet to take up lessons, but I got the bug again. I started by getting a good BFR and got my complex aircraft sign off. I started working on my instrument rating as well. This got me steeped in aviation again. I even bought a part of a Cessna 206. I was hooked again. After the instrument raing, I tried to get a seaplane rating, but never finished the training because I really didn't hit it off with my instructor. I eventually got the seaplane rating after I bought a seaplane. I have added a rating or a skill every couple of years until last year. I guess I was pent up or something but I added private helicopter, ATP multi-engine, private, commercial, and CFIG glider ratings. I would get a new temporary certificate before my permanent one came in the mail. I had a great time. I may be running out of ratings to do pretty soon, but there are tons of new aviation things left to try. Every new rating or skill increases all of your flying awarenes, and it keeps flying fun and interesting.

No comments:

Post a Comment