Am I upset thinking the inspector unnecessarily picked nits? No. He was just extremely thorough and that's what I claim I want. I am a bit frustrated with the situation and that it wasn't caught before now, but the whole thought exercise has been enlightening, and a good test of my resolution to maintain my aircraft as thoroughly as possible.
Contributing Editor Fred Simonds sent me a brief There I Was story that he published elsewhere. Not being one to let a good idea slip by without exploiting it, Ive borrowed the topic and moral for these remarks. Heres my True Confessions story.
I used to fly out of an airport on the coast just south of the San Francisco Class B. While controllers tried to permit transit, there was no guarantee. If they also have a 91.131(a)(2) problem, that Miami solution would seem attractive to San Francisco. The result for VFR traffic on a trip headed north might be to add up to 100 miles or more to bypass the Class B to the east, or a deviation far out over the Pacific Ocean, neither of which is an attractive alternative.
As my simulator was nearing completion in July 2018, Carl left his company because of some conflict with their new investor, Meiya Group, chaired by Roland Pinto. I wont go into specifics, but after paying in full for my simulator about 18 months ago, Mr. Pinto ultimately ignored all my attempts to get my sim. The Cirrus Owners & Pilots Association, another big proponent of FlyThisSim (FTS), has now advised their members, Any dealing with FTS is at high risk of non-delivery and potential loss of funds exchanged.
Anyway, once we accept that GA flying is dangerous, we can focus on making it less so. Look at maintenance. Tony Saxton of TAS Aviation, a Twin-Cessna specialist, reports that the total number of annuals they can do in a year has decreased by a whopping 28 percent simply because theres more to inspect (from ADs, service bulletins, or just from experience) and more discrepancies to fix; their comprehensive annual merely takes longer.
Clearly, this was a humbling experience. Im left wondering how many of us who are more than a few decades and a few thousand hours past flying trainers at 60 knots would do better. Your takeaway from this self-deprecating story is that no matter what you fly, youve got to play well with all the others, be they fast or slow, pro or student. Im glad I relearned that lesson with no worse than some personal embarrassment. And, the students probably learned to watch out for fast twins with inattentive pilots.
Like many of you, I also ride motorcycles. I have two Hondas, one of which is 25 years old but still suits me quite well. Due to a confluence of some logistical and health challenges, now past, I hadnt ridden in a few years. Late this past summer I again undertook two-wheeled transportation.
My motivation to write this right now is that my Cessna 340 is at the shop getting its annual. This year I chose what is arguably the best Twin Cessna maintenance facility in the world, TAS Aviation in Defiance, Ohio. Yes, Defiance is a long way from my Santa Fe, New Mexico home base-about 1100 NM and two legs, in each direction-but, I chose this shop for good reasons having far more to do with safe than just legal.
I installed a G500 on the left-side flight panel. Wanting some real redundancy-not just backup-the limited space on the right panel was perfect for Aspens PFD. This way, if my G500 ever croaked, Id just hop over to the right seat and fly using the Aspen. That also had the advantage of giving any planned right-seater good PFD information should that ever be necessary. I was set.
The normal path for a fledgling airline pilot is to build his/her hours-traditionally as a CFI for pitifully low pay-and get a job with a regional carrier. That new first officer had an average starting pay in the mid-$20/hour range just a few years ago, before the hype of the pilot shortage. Second-year pay jumped nicely, sometimes as much as 50%, but then it stagnated at a few percent a year. A fifth-year first officer might have been making into $40-some/hour.
I first bought a hybrid electric car in 2006 that Ive just replaced with a plug-in hybrid electric car. The technology is amazing and gas usage is dramatically shifted to cheaper electricity. Every time I slow down, Im putting energy back into the battery to reuse. Thus, even when the car says I can drive 15 miles on the battery, if Im in stop-and-go traffic, I can usually count on a lot more.
Perhaps its my airline background, or perhaps Im just arrogant. But I would never think of planning an IFR flight unless I felt proficient enough to fly any reasonable approach all the way to published minimums. Sure, something might happen on the day of the flight or even on the way that might cause me to increase the margins a bit-and recognizing and reacting to that is a good thing-but planning to fly and simply excusing a lack of proficiency by increasing minimums seems to miss the point.