Airline pilots do recurrency training, Corporate pilots do recurrency training, Military pilots do recurrency training, even Astronauts do recurrency training; so what is your excuse?
It is a fallacy to think that your skill level will never degrade with time; Or that you will not develop bad habits. Smart pilots know that they need to check their ego at the door and check up on what they need to know.
Stallion 51’s Chief Pilot, Lee Lauderback believes “recurrency training provides the opportunity to break out of your routine and expand your capabilities with a qualified instructor in a safe and controlled manner.” Is there a maneuver or situation you are not comfortable with? A recurrency session is the time to face it and conquer it safely instead of avoiding it, hoping it will never come up.
Fly with a qualified instructor and check off the most important maneuvers; slow flight with stall recognition, stall recovery from various configurations and attitudes. If it is a scenario you have been in while at low altitude, like in the pattern, replicate it at a safe altitude and check that you are doing it correctly. The dreaded go-arounds; you don’t like doing them unless you have to but waiting until you have to can lead to a costly mistake. Make sure your landings are the ones you were going for; were you really trying for a three point but got a wheel landing instead? Are you avoiding crosswind days because you are not current with crosswind landings? Going up with an instructor will help you face the demons instead of avoiding them.
Stallion 51 instructors Marco Rusconi and Steve Larmore are familiar with helping people knock off the rust after a long winter of arm-chair flying. Steve’s sage advice starts with “ Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, take a step back and calm down”. Going up with a qualified instructor for re-currency training will help you take that deep breath and look at not only what you are doing but how you are doing it. Marco emphasizes “not to forget engine failure and emergency procedures; simulating emergency scenarios in controlled conditions will help refresh your skills to be ready for the unexpected”.
So what does a qualified instructor pilot look like? He is not a friend of a friend who flies an aircraft like yours that will tag along for a hundred dollar hamburger lunch; or a good friend who is a pilot in a different kind of aircraft and will fly along with you. You need a qualified flight instructor who is checked out in your type of aircraft to not only check your skill level but to be there to save the day in case you mess up. Your friend or friend of a friend won’t be able to do that and you will both pay the price.
Lee Lauderback insists that recurrent training is not only educational but can also be fun. This is also the time you could be learning something new that could make you a better and safer pilot. “Not only can you refresh the skills you have but can learn some new ones as well; adding more tools to your tool box, and as any good mechanic will tell you, you can never have too many tools”; as Lee shares. So does the highest time Mustang pilot in the world go through recurrency training? You bet he does. It is an investment in not only his life but also his livelihood and insures that the Mustangs he is entrusted to fly will keep flying because he is up to the task.
Are you up to the task?
Written By KT Budde-Jones