N833DF is going to Canada! When I get home Monday, I hope to see my Canada sticker has come in the mail. That is the last thing I need, other than charts, to be able to fly up to Nova Scotia. I intend to take my WestWind Captain buddy Ben up to visit an engine shop he introduced me to, and talk engines with the owner. If Ben can’t do it, I’ll take Mike up with me. I’ll add Canada charts to my subscriptions just before I go.
BIG CHANGES AT WORK: The WestWind Simulator is retiring: Actually, I hear that it is now official and is off the line. I have been instructing in both the WestWind and the Astra, so half of that workload is gone. In anticipation of this, Of course, we have fewer people now and that will decline further. Personally, I accepted an offer to transfer to an upstart GulfStream 280 (G280) program earlier this year. I was originally told to report to FSI in DFW in July, where I’d stay for at least a month at a time – through the end of the year. The full training regimen includes getting typed in the airplane; becoming and instructor and building the required time in class and in the simulator; and then finally becoming an examiner. The entire process spans about 6 months, and all of that time I’d be away from home and living in a hotel.
Delays have beset the project several times thus far. The simulator production schedule is slipping. My start date for training has moved from July to August, and I understand it will move again into December. The simulator itself won’t be ready until late next year at Wilmington. FSI actually has actually not announced publicly that the simulator will be coming at all, so there is a chance that all this could change. In any event, having that simulator come to Wilmington is not 100% certain. I say there is 98% chance we’ll see it eventually though.
During our long car ride on vacation, Bev and I found time to talk about my planned absence for this training. I am concerned I’m being selfish and leaving her alone with her Mom that long. I always have been concerned, but Beverly has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams and insisted she would manage just fine.
Beverly is not concerned for herself at all, but worried that at some point I might want to slow down. I admitted experiencing palpable relief when I heard the program would be delayed again, and I wouldn’t be spending the hot summer months in Dallas now.
I’m having second thoughts about being away from home for that long, and then coming home to work in a new program with a greater time commitment. I am a fair minded person. If I do go to Dallas and allow the company to spend money training me, I’m going to personally commit myself to working long enough to pay them back for that. When I accepted the deal initially, I told them I would not commit to any time obligation, but fairness would drive me to do that voluntarily.
Work can get in the way. My wife and I want to take motorcycle trips at the spur of the moment. Jump in our airplane to go see things; take boat rides with friends; and do planned vacations when we want to. My working is not getting in the way at the moment because of the senior care commitment Beverly has, but when that ends it might be a significant impediment. What to do?
I have a need to stay busy – period. Work is filling that need for me now, and can be interesting and fun at the same time. The people are awesome and it keeps me out of the house.
The good news is that I have options. I have to move carefully, however, since I have made the right moves over the last 40 years and found myself in the second career of my choice. One that pays well for the work required, and is all about airplanes. This is where I wanted to be and I need to be careful not to make rash decisions because I’m a little bored and feeling trapped at home. I’m NOT going to make any decisions until I sit on all this for a few more weeks. Writing all these options out helps me find my way, and occasionally ferrets out opportunities from my readers. I may decide not to change anything. Continuing on the current course is an option.
If I do leave, both my Harley and N833DF will sit unused for months. What is the point of having those wonderful resources if I never use them? This morning, I am leaning toward backing out of the G280 training and staying in the Astra program until my Mother In-Law no longer needs care. I’ll keep working until April in any event, to get me to my Social Security age. Backing out of the G280 and staying in the Astra is an option.
Contract flying has been a cool experience for me. It is most definitely a perk. I love doing it with the right people. It’s fun, exciting, and rewarding. I would love to only do contract work, but you need to be available when they call in order to be a desired resource. That would lead to the same challenges on time, so it isn’t a perfect setup. Contract flying is an option.
My FlightSafety salary also allows me to spend on my airplane without financial concern. I can replace half of that income, however, without working. Social Security owes me money, and I’m eligible to receive my funds next April. I can always sell N833DF if I get nervous about the long term finances, but I don’t think there is much chance of that any time soon. Though I’m nervous about being bored at times, not working is an option.
Local flight instruction might fit better into my time schedule. I enjoy instrument instruction, but not so much the private pilot level. Getting paid very little money to fly little airplanes in the heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter isn’t the most attractive way for me to stay busy. I’ll need some introspection on that one, but flight instructing is an option.
Finding a King Air captain spot, or a jet based in Wilmington could be fun. Something with a light predictable schedule that doesn’t get in the way too much. Doing this might end up leading to the same time commitment as FSI for less pay though. Still – some type of local flying gig is an option.
Today is the very last day of vacation. We are meeting up with great friends on the way home, and then tomorrow it will be back to normal. I’ll be glad to be home and out on the trail exercising. Getting on with my retired life. Looks like the rainy weather finally broke.
I expect the next blog will be more about flying N833DF. I’ll be getting into flight tests and more training, possibly adding some video as well. Night flying; more autopilot testing; and working with the FlightStream are on the agenda.