Fall in love with flying AGAIN, try something NEW!

Float flying

In 2008 I reset my “flight review clock” with some float flying in Alaska to add on seaplane privileges to my commercial (and thus also my flight instructor) certificate.

At one point or another you realized that flying was such a unique experience, was so fascinating that you simply had to be a part of the aviation world. Maybe you still feel the love of flying every day, maybe it has faded a little or maybe you haven’t felt it in a while, but somewhere, deep down, it’s still there. That passion that got you to take a first flight lesson, and then a second, that drive within you, it’s still there, somewhere…

Every two years pilots must complete a flight review, per the “regs”. This is an instructional activity consisting of at least an hour or ground and an hour of flight training, or it could be so much more! The issuance of a new rating or certificate resets the clock on your flight review requirement too. Adding NEW piloting privileges (or new teaching privileges for you instructors) as opposed to completing a traditional flight review offers a great deal more fun and excitement than the typical hour flight, hour ground activity.

My student Peter Forte earns his CFI on 9/16

Now earning an initial CFI counts as a flight review too! Another reason to smile after passing the checkride!

Recent rule changes have made the initial issuance of a flight instructor certificate fulfill the flight review requirement too. This was something I never understood. I mean I understood that the CFI is not a pilot certificate not a pilot certificate or rating (CFII counted), but you’d think the FAA would count the CFI as a flight review since earning the CFI allows an individual to give flight reviews to other pilots. In any event, the FAA caught up with the times and now counts the issuance of an initial CFI as a flight review. Earning a CFI certificate, I believe would be the most thorough flight review possible, but that might be a little over kill for most pilots…

In any event, why not try something new in aviation? Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a flight instructor, fly multi engine airplanes or fly float planes. Doing a seaplane “add-on” to your Private or Commercial certificate would certainly count as your flight review. But it would be so much more than that; it would be a new experience, a new challenge and something out of your comfort zone! When we move out of our comfort zone in aviation we can experience new things and become better pilots in the process!

Tripacer on floats

Coming down off the step (plowing) in a Tripacer on floats!

Just three days after I passed my initial flight instructor checkride, I traveled up to Talkeetna, AK looking for an adventure. I visited Don Lee at Alaska Floats & Skis (www.alaskafloats.com) with the goal of spending a week in Alaska and returning with commercial pilot float plane privileges. As it turned out, my trip up north has continued to be my favorite vacation/trip of all time… It was a great experience flying floats, plus being in Alaska made it so much better. This was different from any flying I had or have ever done, it was outside of what I was used to and that is why it is still, the best flying I’ve done. Learning the do’s & don’ts of float flying was a great education, coupled with experiencing Alaska, it truly was the adventure I was looking for.


The Denali Range with Moon Shadow Lake in the foreground.

You don’t have to go out and pursue a new certificate or rating, you could go for a new endorsement. Simply seek out a flight school where you could earn a tail-wheel, complex or high performance endorsement. Mastering these new flight characteristics and aircraft systems can be just as educational and rewarding. The instructor could certainly incorporate your flight review into the endorsement training. You will not only get the flight review “knocked out,” but you’ll have new flying capabilities!

Next time your flight review is due; try something different instead of the same old flight review. Step out of your comfort zone and try something educational and challenging. I believe that you’ll be glad you did! My next flight review is coming due this summer, maybe I’ll venture up north again and do it in a float plane or maybe it’s time to fly some tail-wheel airplanes!

-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9


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