Pilot Safety Committee News - Terry Flood

Currency to Proficiency

Don’t be like Phil and hibernate the next few weeks!

A few weeks ago on Feb 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil made his prediction of 6 more weeks of winter on Groundhog Day. Like Phil, many pilots hibernate for the winter, and will wait out the 6 more weeks before deciding to fly more often, or perhaps elect not to fly at all until warmer weather has arrived.

Simply ask yourself how many hours have I flown since November? Is it less than what I have flown in May thru October? Do you have your 3 landings in over the past 90 days, or if your instrument rated the 6 approaches, tracking courses and a hold for your IFR currency? Some may start to see where I’m going with the article. Perhaps you’re not current, or perhaps your current, but not proficient. What we want to strive for is proficiency.

Being current is what the FAA wants you to be to fulfill a legal requirement before acting as pilot in command. A pilot that flies only to fulfill being current, is certainly not proficient. Being proficient means, according to the Webster’s Dictionary “fully competent in any art, science or subject” acting as PIC of an aircraft is surely included.

  1. To become proficient, one must first become current. Being proficient means that you practiced your skillset. Practicing makes a proficient pilot, but only if you learn from your mistakes and resolve to do better each time you fly. Getting better with every flight requires you to understand where you fell short on the last one, ask yourself why it happened, and how to make corrections to avoid the shortfalls on the next flight. One way to assess where you’re at is to use the 4 R’s assessment after the flight that can be found in the FAA Aviation Instructor’s Handbook:
    Replay the flight in your mind, taking note of what you did well and what you need to improve
  2. Reconstruct the maneuvers where you made mistakes and what could have been done differently
  3. Reflect on the most important lessons you learned from this specific flight
  4. Redirect those lessons to your planning for the next flight
    Over the next few weeks, the weather will be warming up, planes will be coming out of the hangars and winter storage, and pilots will be looking to fly, perhaps for the first time in months. Please consider using these next few weeks to improve your skillset, and move from being current, to being proficient.

If you’re not current or perhaps are current, but feel you’re not proficient, please call a local flight instructor to practice your skills. Run through the 4 R’s and perhaps go back up with the instructor until you feel that your skillset is rising to the proficiency level. An additional option is to visit the faa website and participate in the FAA Wings Program and the resources available at www.faasafety.gov.

At PALS, we desire for you all to be safe, current, and proficient pilots. Being current AS WELL AS proficient is the greatest gift we can give our passengers.

Blue Skies and Tailwinds,
Terrence Flood
Pilot and Safety Committee Chair