Unless youre really behind in your reading, the clock should still be ticking down to Y2K. Even if the new year has already begun, its not too late to make some resolutions about how youll approach flying, your airplane and your peers in the coming year.
Resolutions, of course, are only worthwhile if you plan on keeping them, so think about the kind of flying you do and the ways you think you can improve. Any pilot, from student to veteran ATP, should be able to come up with a few. If not, theyre not nearly as good as they think they are.
For my part, here are an even dozen flying resolutions Im planning to observe in the new millennium. I have a few others, but I dont think they belong in print just now.
I resolve to give my mechanic more leeway to fix things that might break before Im ready for them to.
I will make my weather briefings more comprehensive and take better notes, even if I think I already know what the weather is like.
I will learn from the mistakes of others instead of just shaking my head and telling myself Id never be that stupid.
I promise to worry less about what might go wrong, but Ill make sure I know the full capabilities of my airplane just in case.
I am committed to fly at night more regularly during the summer, so that I wont feel as rusty when fall comes.
I will treat the CFI who gives me my flight reviews with the respect a professional deserves. (Which I do already, of course.)
I resolve to check out in at least one new type of aircraft this year.
I promise to treat controllers with the respect due a professional, even during those times when it seems theyre not according me the same courtesy.
I plan to introduce at least one landlubber to the joys of flying this year.
I think, checkbook willing, that I will buy a new IFR GPS and learn how to use it in my sleep.
I resolve to stick to my personal minimums for instrument approaches more carefully.
I promise to give my passengers the smoothest ride I can – unless they beg me to scare the dickens out of them. Then all bets are off.
Now it may seem that some of these resolutions will kill the joy of flying, but in fact I think it will awaken even more of a passion. Nothing kills enjoyment like uncertainty, and with these resolutions I hope to address my weaknesses, learn a little bit more about flying, and spread the wealth a little.
I just hope I do a better job keeping these than politicians do at keeping their campaign promises.
Make up your own list of aviation resolutions. Promise yourself youll learn something about yourself and your airplane that will make your flying safer and more fun. Good luck.