Another Checkride Complete

As much as I love flying, it isn’t always just fun and games.  An important part of all flying is recurrent checkrides to make sure that we continue to do our jobs right.

For many people it is an incredibly stressful time as it can have significant career implications.  I generally am not very worried about them because I believe that if you just always do things the right way then a checkride is just another flight.

However, this time I was flying in an area that I am not familiar with, with a crew I hadn’t flown with, and an evaluator that I also didn’t know anything about.  On top of that, I had only flown four times in the last three months so I was much more stressed than I usually am.  I also had to get it done before the end of the month.

Long story short, I passed my checkride and am now good for another 17 months.  It is amazing how much physically lighter I feel now that it is complete.  I can just focus on learning the local area, and hopefully get back to some instructing, which is what I really love to do most.

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Hello Again Beautiful


As excited as I was that I was going to fly today, I am at least doubly excited that I actually did fly today.  I was so afraid something was going to keep me from actually getting up in the air.  

The flight was pretty simple and standard, but it was a great way to get my legs under me.  It was also good to have a flight to remember all of the differences in this plane.  

We fly a newer version of the C-130H here in Reno.  I have flown it before, but there are a few little differences that I needed to be reminded on.  Overall it was a pretty decent flight, and I am so unbelievably thrilled to have gotten to fly.

I am actually a little worried that I won’t be able to get to sleep, and I really need to because I have a PT test in the morning.

I Get to Fly Again!

So maybe this is a day early, but I just couldn’t wait to scream it from the rooftops, or type it on a blog.  After a month and a half if waiting for paperwork, and about three months of being grounded, I finally get to fly again tomorrow.

I am so happy I really can’t contain myself, and at the same time I really just want to type, “I’m so excited!” over and over again.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a few nerves because you definitely regress when you are out of the plane that long, but I am just thrilled to get spun back up again.  

I think the hardest thing about the waiting is that I did everything I could and was just waiting on someone else to do their part.  Honestly though, now that I get to fly again I really don’t care.  

Tomorrow I will be back in the air where I belong.

Something That Made Me Go Wow

I thought about saying Wahoo instead of wow to quote one of my favorite movies but it didn’t seem quite right.

I’m still grounded but got to go out to a new dropzone today that was up in the midst of some incredible mountains.  Obviously what made it even better was the sight of two C-130s flying up the valley towards us.


We could hear them coming on the radio but it was even more awesome to see them come swinging around the corner through this the tight valley you can see in the back of the picture.  Then they flew nice and low over our heads with the sound of their engines echoing off the cliffs around us.

I know I sound like a broken record, but few things make me happier than the sight of a C-130 in flight.

I’m Happy Just Being Around Planes

The last two days I have been able to go out to the dropzone and help out on the ground supporting our planes that were flying.  It is not glamorous work, nor is it particularly difficult work, but it involves planes so I am in.

You actually spend a lot of time just sitting there waiting for the planes to come but when they do it is so much fun to see the action happen.


I need stuff like this to keep my spirits up while I wait to be able to fly.  With that being said, it is hard to be down when you spend the day outside under a bluebird sky, and not at a desk.

Continuing on the C-130

Today is one of those truly bittersweet days in life.

For the last five years I have had the distinct pleasure of flying on the C-130H.  It is an historic aircraft that has played an important role in not only the wars of the past 60 years, but the humanitarian disasters that have occurred all over the world.

To be honest, when I first started nav school I wanted nothing to do with the C-130, but that was out of complete ignorance.  It did not take me long to fall in love with her, which is why I am so sad to see her leave the active duty Air Force forever.

It truly is the end of an era and a shift in the Air Force that means things will never be the same.  While I have my own biased views, there is no denying the advances in technology that have made this shift possible.

Swearing In

Fortunately, my own selfish desires will continue to be satisfied as I am now a member of the 192nd Airlift Squadron in the Nevada Air National Guard.  Just going in today and seeing those beautiful birds out on the ramp brought joy to my heart.  I haven’t flown in over a month so I am dying to get back up in the air.

I try not to write about it too often here, but the depths of my passion for this plane and her mission can be found on my other blog, aviationguy.com.

 

Safety When I Fly

In the modern world, flying is so darn safe that we honestly take it for granted.  I could look up specific numbers about exactly how safe it is but that is not my purpose here today.

As someone who flies for a living, I have a vested interest in ensuring that flying is safe, which it largely is.  Airlines fly millions of passengers everyday with only rare situations of dramatic safety issues.  The safety of military flying is even that much higher, despite our increased risk, because of all the extra time we put into safety.

So what does any of this have to do with being grateful?  I guess the fact that I fly all the time and arrive back home to my family safely is what I am truly grateful for.

I recently had a flight where we landed with eight different write-ups for maintenance to take care of.  As much as I hate leaving them that much work, it is a credit to their continued diligence that not a single one of those things was so vital that we weren’t able to finish our mission.

Stuff is going to break on a forty year old plane, that’s just the way it is.  However, the strict standards that we adhere to in maintenance and mission planning and preparation of everyone involved, ensure that I continue to make it home safely at night.

Earlier today I had a discussion on Twitter about what to tell your kids as they get older and start to realize how dangerous your job can be flying.  I guess I won’t know the results of my efforts until my kids get older, but I am always honest with them about how much time and preparation we put into what we do.  That it is still dangerous, but we mitigate those risks through our efforts.

That seems to be enough to placate them now, but I know my safety standards will never change so I hope they will understand all I am doing to make sure I am safe.

Safety is one of those things I think we take for granted, until an accident happens, but like many other aviators I know personally, I will always be grateful for my safety when flying, and I will forever remain diligent to ensure I remain that safe.

What are you grateful for?