Annual Club Ride

Our flying club requires you to do an “annual ride” every year with an instructor. Every other year, I combine that with a BFR, but on the odd years (like this one) nobody is really sure what we should do on these rides other than fly around and somehow assure the instructor that you still know what you’re doing.

I switch around to different instructors every time, so I get a chance to learn some different things. This year Jon offered to do it, because I’d offered to set up a mailing list for him and his fellow commercial pilots – he’s flying as a FO on a regional jet now. It’s nice to our relationship back friendly again, since I’d had a major blow-up at him a while back when he’d written to me disagreeing with an opinion I’d expressed in the newspaper, and he’d CC’ed every controller at our local airport. Just what I needed was hate mail from ATC. Plus he’d asked the club officers to forbid members and officers from identifying themselves as being members of the club without officer approval. But I got over it – he’d actually been right in some ways, although I still say the world isn’t going to end if they close the tower at Rochester in the wee hours of the night.

For some weird reason, I get a bit of performance anxiety on these things, even with instructors I’ve flown before. But I soon settled down as we did some steep turns, slow flight, stalls, reconfiguring between slow and fast, etc. Jon talks a lot, and it was a bit distracting at times, but that’s probably good practice as well.

But then I got a radio call I’ve never heard before.

Rochester Approach: 977 are you ready to copy a message?
Jon: Approach, 977. Go ahead.
RA: Your company 290 called to say that they're stranded in Batavia, and would like to be picked up.
Jon: Approach, we'll finish up our airwork then head on over. Thanks for passing that along.

And so that’s what we did – we did a bit more airwork, then went over to Batavia and picked them up. Evidently they couldn’t get 290 to start – the bendix wouldn’t engage. But what this means is the club is temporarily hosed – all of our fleet except the Lance is not flying.

  • 290 won’t start.
  • 05X just went in for its annual.
  • 39Z has a dead mag.
  • 23Y is getting a new engine, prop and GPS.

Boy I’m glad I’m a Lance pilot.