Moving 1: I moved into my new hangar over the weekend. It is the nicest one I’ve ever had, and the folks working for Sussex County at the airport deserve Kudos for sure. I’m wondering if the timing might be terrible though. More on that later.
N833DF Lack of Progress: Matt hasn’t made any progress on my airplane at all. I checked it the other day, and the situation continues to be incredibly stressful. Not much I can do about it though. I’ll have to wait until he gets it done. All the parts are in, as far as I can tell.
Thank God for timely distractions. That’s the good news. I have had a tremendous amount of activity to keep me busy this year, and it doesn’t look like things will slow down anytime soon.
Six Months at FSI: I very much enjoy what I’m doing at FSI, and am having a good time. I’ve been doing this kind of instructing on my own whenever I had the chance, using an Elite desktop simulator to teach others, and paying for my own training as I could. Those experiences included King Air C90 and BE200 certifications with two firms, one of which led to some exciting opportunities in a C90. That led to training with Piedmont and US Air down in Charlotte in the Dash-8, and the amazing experiences I’ve already covered with them.
At this point, I’m fully checked out to teach initial and recurrent ground schools with FSI. I am cleared to provide initial simulator instruction without supervision, and will complete the checkout process for recurrent sims this upcoming week. That will be the final step in becoming a fully qualified WestWind instructor, where I’ll be able to continue building experience.
Being qualified in the WestWind means that training in the Astra can begin in mid-July. The Astra is a just a sportier version of the WestWind, as I understand it. Many of the systems will be similar, so I’m thinking the spin-up won’t be as arduous. I do look forward to a continuing education.
Scheduling: Being qualified in two airplanes makes me a more versatile tool for FSI to use. I suspect that will mean that my schedule will get a little worse than it is now.
Scheduling is probably the most challenging part of this job for me. You do get days off, but quite often they come without enough notice to schedule a trip well. Taking on an initial class has meant that I spend six days on ground school (8am to 5pm); one day off; and then six days of simulator training (8am to 1pm). After that run, working 13 days out of 14, I’m feeling pretty tired and generally behind on all of the other things I’d like to be doing.
Believing that my Program Manager has my best interest at heart makes the vagaries of scheduling easier to accept. After all, I promised myself that I’d give this two years and then look back to see if I want to continue. No point in evaluating it now. Besides – Beverly is still very busy and I want to stay busy, so the work is coming at a good time. The extra funds don’t hurt at all.
I have to say that I’m enjoy giving instruction and find it incredibly rewarding. I learn something from each client that passes through, and the interactions with the other instructors builds on my expertise.
Teaching in simulators turns out to be exactly like when Charlie and I put together a King Air course on the Elite sim down in the hangars at Georgetown. We never taught the course to anyone, but trained each other while comparing the behavior of the simulator to Charlie’s knowledge of the actual airplane. I learned from that experience how very valuable simulation was, and how much I enjoyed giving instruction in sound instrument and operating procedures. It’s just plain fun to do.
Now that I have access to a Level C simulator that someone else takes care of, the experience has gotten even better. I’ve had the opportunity to point out and clean up bad habits some pilots had come in with, and to observe and learn from the positive ones they’d learned elsewhere. All very cool stuff to be doing as a retirement career.
As to my instructing skills, I still have an awful lot to learn. Counter to what we’ve been taught, I continue to fall back on a lecture style of teaching by default. I have other idiosyncrasies to improve upon as well, but I am going to give myself time to improve.
Staffing at FSI: I will be the one training new staff that comes in for the WestWind, I suspect. I don’t mind that at all, but I hope the next one hangs in there when he/she sees the schedule. It will be tough in the short term, but ultimately with two of us in there we should have better schedules.
Our last candidate just resigned after only a month. He is a very experienced American Captain, and I was excited to be working with him. Unfortunately, he found the schedules and the demands of instructing to be more than he wanted to endure in retirement, and dropped out. Damn. We move on.
Moving 2: Big changes are in play for Beverly and I in our personal lives. We have decided that the our beach experience has run it’s course, and that it would be a good time to simplify things. To that end, we are downsizing and selling both of our homes to move into a smaller space.
Our beach place went on the market as of last week. Follow the link if you know someone who needs a very well cared for place to play in the summer. Just a few minutes from the Indian River Bay and the Massey’s Resort, and about 20 minutes from Rehoboth.
Our Smyrna home will be listed probably next week. I’m writing this while I take a break from packing up and decluttering our home in Smyrna.
We’ll be moving to a property along the C&D canal in August if all goes well. I’ll leave my airplane down in Georgetown until I find a nice hangar at Wilmington or at least further north. I’m on the short list for Delaware airpark too, so something will work. Still planning my maintenance down there, but this will fall out as it does.
I am grateful that I have all this to keep me occupied while I wait for my airplane to be restored. It sure as heck makes it easier to be distracted.
Fly safely – Frank