First few weeks back; musings of a CFI

Well here we are, about halfway through January. Steadily creeping towards my birthday on the 29th, and steadily ticking off boxes on the calendars we all have lying about the place. My 2014 started off with getting back into the routine at work. For me – work is as a Certified Flight Instructor teaching people how to fly helicopters in Moses Lake, Washington, USA.

I’ve survived the first few weeks back – here’s a look at how it’s gone so far!

Moses Lake isn’t exactly known for its beauty and vistas. In fact, I find it pretty drab so I spend most of my weekends 100 miles away in Spokane at my parents house. It also just so happens Spokane is the home base for Inland Helicopters. All the same I was happy to be back in this sleepy little agricultural town to get some flying done. I’m building time right now, and the more I’m here the more I build.

First Flight
First Flight of 2014!

So, first, I have to say that jet lag is not a very hard thing for me to beat – but I always hate coming back this way from over in Asia, I just feel like it takes much longer to actually readjust. I left the Philippines on the 3rd and got home on the 3rd also (yay! Dateline!). After a quick weekend it was back to the daily grind on the 6th. Wen’t up for a refresher flight with Nate who, due to a combination of maintenance and weather, hadn’t flown a lesson in over a month. Shook the rust off pretty quick and now we’re about to his first major stage check!

Before leaving for the Philippines I spent a lot of time talking to Major Leonard with the Washington State National Guard Aviation Unit about getting him and a UH60 Blackhawk helicopter out to our campus. Though it wasn’t able to work out for him to come and visit us with the 17,000 pound helicopter strictly so we could play around with it and have him talk to us about careers in the Army flying – it just so happened that in early January he was going to be doing some instrument proficiency training at our airport. It was a quick stop at our ramp, but made for a great break from the classroom!

I got to see the UH60 from all angles, and though I didn’t get to stay for the whole presentation – I am the only one that got to see the helicopter on our campus from another helicopter. SO THERE! 

20140113_123604 Blackhawk Cockpit

This quarter is going to be a lot of fun. My guys are getting into their solo blocks, and together we have night flying and cross country work to do. I’m teaching pilotage and dead reckoning, flight planning and some instrument navigation techniques. They’re eating it up. And I am blessed to have all military Veterans as students. They are committed to learning this stuff, and adaptable to new concepts. Flying is going really well.

Here are a few shots from our cross country flights and off airport training so far this year.

steve cross country snowy ridge 20140109_153024 20140114_090929

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