Later, in my early adult years, I earned my Private Pilot License and began flying with eagerness similar to a child looking forward to desert. Marriage was a pleasant change in my life and my wife did not mind the fact that I was hell-bent on getting my Commercial license and then on to an Instructor rating. This happened and I had many years of pleasant flying while passing along my enthusiasm and knowledge to students. Of course the charter flying portion of commercial operations was a distinct pleasure too. North America was my back yard!
Then, for a period of ten years, I let the license lapse. Three years ago after thinking, “Why should I deny myself the pleasure of flying?” - - I decided to restore my license. The medical profile was such that it restored my Commercial license. I, then underwent the short course, written exam and mandatory flights that put me back into the game again. I had retired in the interim and have let the Commercial license slide back to Private as I am content with pleasure flying now.
The biggest contributing factor in winning my wings again, I think, was the fact that I had been diligent in training on a computer flight simulator program before doing the actual re-licensing air-work. It gave me the spatial orientation parameters regarding land marks, distances, timing, etc., to thoroughly impress the check pilot. In fact, he remarked, “You have been practicing on a flight simulator, haven’t you?”
The use of flight simulator programs is a critical factor in flight training and/or keeping one’s instrument flight skills honed to a fine edge.
This editorial was written by resident aviation editor J. R. Baldwin "Jim".