With Labor Day now behind us, we know there are only a few short weeks of triple-digit temps here in the Southwest. As the rest of the country begins to wind down their flying season with “one last blast” and the “final summer hangar cleanout,” that I often see described in aviation forums, we’re just the opposite. It’s finally getting cool enough to spend a little time in the hangar in the mornings, the aviation event calendar is filling up quickly, and we’re getting ready to take to the skies as often as our budgets and schedules allow.
Hopefully, you’ve been able to stay not only legally current, but have remained proficient. A few hot months back, I wrote about practicing procedures and dry running flights and procedures to help stay mentally current. Almost immediately after writing that, my work took me overseas for much of the summer and away from aviation. I followed my own advice and dry-ran my takeoffs, gear failure procedures, engine-outs, and emergency checklist items in my mind often. When I returned home, I regained currency via a beautifully uneventful flight with the obligatory number of landings.
As winter approaches, I’m hopeful that you’ll not only fly often, but that you’ll fly intentionally. Intentionally focusing on a stabilized approach. Intentionally make accurate 30 degree turns and roll out on your intended heading at the starting altitude. Intentionally make accurate and timely calls to ATC. Intentionally walk through your checklists from preflight through shutdown on each flight. All of these can be done on any breakfast flight or cross-country mission with the goal of making you a better pilot. Go out and enjoy the amazing weather we’re blessed with each winter!