I’ve been in dire need of a BFR. I’ve been putting it off since I wanted to get more comfortable flying again with Jake and the area we’re flying in now. It was my first BFR (almost a year after I needed one, oops!) but I don’t fly alone or without another pilot that often.
Then I started to obsess about it and freak myself out. It’s what I do with checkrides as well. Fear of the unknown. But at least I end up over prepared, rather than unprepared and I’m okay with that!
The night before I was doing the weight and balance (which I did need some refreshing on) and studied airspace, cloud clearance, and other items that pilots tend to forget if they aren’t being quizzed on it often. I was a bit nervous still, so nervous I forgot my notebook with the W&B and I had to turn around to grab it. I still got my coffee though since I needed it, so I showed up right on time instead of the 15 minute early like I wanted to.
My assigned CFI had walked through the door probably a minute before me. This was my first time meeting him. He wasn’t really sure what was happening, which it did say check out on the reservation and I also stressed to the receptionist booking that I needed a BFR too. He told me to go prep the airplane since he needed to do his timecard…..okay…that’s fine.
I went and prepped the plane, ordered the fuel, met the fuel truck, and waited. It was half an hour from the time he told me to prep the plane to when he met me out there. Does it really take that long to do a timecard? Whatever. He double checked some things and we got it the plane. He asked what I wanted to do. I told him whatever is required for my BFR. He wanted to stay in the pattern at first. I’m used to the other way around, but okay let’s get these landings over with.
We proceeded to stay in the pattern for 1.3 on the hobbs meter. While, I admit my landings might not be perfect, they are safe. He did offer good advice figuring that I was used to landing on a large wide runway, and now this one is short and narrow so my pattern was much tighter than it needs to be. That did help me.
We did short approaches too, which I always love to do and are better for me since it gives me less time to overthink. The first one a King Air was waiting by the runway for their clearance to take off and he told me to scare them. Challenge accepted. The next time around we were cleared for the short approach, but then the controller extended my downwind so the King Air could take off. As the King Air too off and turned to the east, he said “Nice short approaches!” before changing frequencies. It took me a moment to realize he was speaking to me. I chimed in a quick “Thanks!” The CFI said he was flirting with me. Or I like to think my short approaches rocked.
We went back into the office. He wanted to do one more lesson about 30 minutes in the air in the afternoon with crosswind landings since it can get windy here. I just wanted to get it done with in one go, but okay. I tried to schedule it that week but his availability wasn’t working out. (Flashbacks to when I first started flying much?) He took my number and was going to try to move an aerial tour a few days later. I never heard back.
I was a bit mad after the lesson. Or well, I guess disappointed? A CFI at the school I rent from is $80 an hour and I honestly felt like what I got wasn’t worth that. Someone who had to do his time card, took 30 minutes into my lesson to start. He checked his phone multiple times in the pattern. And he didn’t help me clean/close up the airplane, which is fine, but then I still beat him back to the office. My lesson extended another half hour after the scheduled time and I pay for him for 2.5 hours. Did I receive $200 worth of instruction? I don’t think so.
I’ve been putting off scheduling again, but I will fly with him one more time so then I don’t need to pay for someone else for another 2+ hours. Here’s the kicker though. I asked if his goal was the airlines or corporate or something and he said no, he just really enjoys instructing. Though he kept pushing how it’s a great time to get in with the airlines since they are desperate for pilots. I don’t know if was just a pitch to try to get me to train with him or what. It just didn’t make sense to me.
Oh well. Another learning experience and something to keep in mind when hopefully I get my CFI.