Our home life is amazing – we love our house and our neighbors. The relationship I have with my wife, Beverly, only ever gets better. Our deck construction project is almost complete, and the parents living with us are returning to self-sufficiency. The only issue is how busy Beverly is with the parents she loves and cares for.

Bev’s day is almost entirely consumed keeping her parents moving. I help where I can, but she is consistently carrying the heavy load. We have the means to travel and play, but not the availability and time where both of us can break away spontaneously. While vacations and the occasional date night happen with planning and family support, there are times when I could be challenging myself more.

Perfect Balance: I am currently filling my ‘extra time’ with exercise and delivering flight instruction at FSI. Preparing for the return of my airplane, I’ve been receiving flight instruction in a PA30 like my own. When N833DF comes north later this month, I’ll begin flying to rebuild my instrument proficiency. I hope to be flying several times a week.

I’d like to add to this activity by building jet time doing contract flying in Astra and Westwind, and I’m getting serious about making that happen. When I’m able to do all of these things without negatively affected any other, including my wife, I will have achieved a more perfect balance. The balance of our retired home life, healthy living, challenging activities, and play time.

N833DF: I am working on wresting my airplane out of Matt’s hands this month, and expecting him to get the work done soon to allow that to happen. Later this month my airplane will be flight tested and brought north to New Castle County airport (KILG), close to where I now live.

In the mean time, I’ve been working with Phill-Air to get ready by renting a PA30 Twin Comanche they have on the line at their home base, Delaware Airpark (33N). The airplane appears to be very well maintained, and is incredibly stable in flight. I’ve been flying it recently to ensure my procedures are practiced, and in anticipation of needing to prove that I’ve done emergency procedures recently.

Speaking of that – the airplane flew very well with the left engine shut down, but I was challenged in getting it restarted. In fact, by the third attempt, I became careless and had pulled the prop control back into the feather position somehow. It would never start in that configuration – and that was my fault.

I’m thinking I moved the prop control back when I intended to bring back the mixture on that engine.  The instructor I had with me pointed it out, and the engine restarted on the next go.  I’m a dumbass, and will slow down and do it correctly next week. Dumb!!

The only good thing I did was go out an get an instructor to keep an eye on me while I spin back up. I haven’t flown a light twin in two years. It is an easy airplane to fly – but you need to practice your process and follow the checklists and flows naturally. At any rate, my landings are going very well.

Jet Flying: This is a very NEW and EXCITING development.  Possibly.

I was speaking with one of my clients, Ken, who was in for recurrent Astra training. I wanted to know more about how to break into contract flying, while continuing to work as an FSI instructor. Ken gave me some precise information and even reached out to his contacts to help me out. Over and above being helpful, and I appreciate that.

One of his contacts sent him a message (he shared with me) that they were definitely interested. Right after that, they sent me a message that they’d put my information in the file and let me know.  Can you hear the shredder grinding as well as I can from here?

The second one told me that they approved my application as soon as I submitted it, and then put me through a somewhat automated vetting process. I was getting optimistic (and still am) at this point. My information is currently in their inner-office review process. They tell me via automated email that I’ll hear something very soon. We’ll see. I’ll let you know if that is true.

It would be nice to teach my clients from a position of experience – even if that experience is far less than their own. It doesn’t hurt any that I want to fly it’s fun!, and now the pay is pretty damn good too.

Fly safe!


By fdorrin

Recently rated Gulfstream 280 pilot, working on instructor qualifications. WestWind and Astra corporate jet flight instructor. Contract corporate pilot. Own and operate a PA30 Twin Comanche. CFII; MEI; ME-ATP; SES; Typed in DHC-8, B-25, IAI-1124, IAI1125, G100, G280. Retired engineer / executive - Delmarva Power, Conectiv Energy, and PEPCO Holdings, Inc.