Freshly BFR’d


After a few months of relatively inactive flying, I discovered my flight review had expired. Although my flight instructor and I flew often over the last two years, they never signed off a BFR for me, and it had been more than 24 months since my last one. Scheduling my favorite club airplane and instructor to knock out this project was proving to be too much of a challenge for everyone involved, so I bit the bullet and placed myself at the mercy of a local training facility. I’m glad I did.

First off, I was reunited with a Cessna 172, steam-gauge only, please. The oldest, cheapest 172 on the line proved to be a good choice. I might have had more flight time in 172s than the CFI I rode with had in total, but they were a good choice, too. To spice it up—and at least partly owing to competing schedules—we decided to do this at night. Since it had been a while since I had three landings, and hadn’t been night current since LED landing lights were invented, we met at the FBO around dusk and did the flying in the dark.

After flying the same club airplane at light weights for a few years, I hadn’t had the need to perform a weight and balance calculation recently. The sly young CFI gave me a sheet of paper and a pencil and the relevant data for the airplane we were to use and I got down to it. It felt like old times. I only made one mistake, and quickly caught it. Thankfully, our planned load was within limits.

At the airplane, I was reminded of the number of fuel-drain points the post-shutdown Skyhawks had over their older siblings. I also was reminded of how in-the-way a Skyhawk’s main gear and wing struts can be, and how low its wing trailing edges seem. Someone had bent the snot out of the fixed rudder trim tab, but with good reason, because the plane flew straight.

The only real mistakes I made was not knowing there is a defined practice area to the east and dropping the Skyhawk in from a few feet on the first stop-and-go landing. After surviving the second one, we went around once more and parked it.

It was a fun evening, and it was good to meet another dedicated aviator in the form of my CFI. He freely admitted his ultimate objective was an airline job, and was looking forward to the day when he could fly for money but not as an instructor.

In the future, I’ll keep better track of when I need a BFR and ask my instructor to combine that endorsement with others. But I won’t fear go to a training facility I’ve never used before, either.

Learning Experiences

Have you encountered a situation or hazardous condition that yielded lessons on how to better manage the risks involved in flying? Do you have an experience to share with Aviation Safety’s readers about an occasion that taught you something significant about ways to conduct safer flight operations? If so, we want to hear about it.

We encourage you to submit a brief (500 words) write-up of your Learning Experience to Aviation Safety for possible publication. Each month, Aviation Safety publishes a collection of similar experiences sent to us by readers. Sharing with others the benefit of your experience and the lessons you learned can be an invaluable aid to other pilots.

You can send your account directly to the editor by e-mailing it to [email protected]. Put “Learning Experience Submission” in the subject line; add your name and daytime telephone number at the bottom of the e-mail.

Your report will be considered for publication in the Aviation Safety’s readers’ forum, “Learning Experiences,” and may be edited for style and length. Anonymity is guaranteed if you want it. No one but Aviation Safety’s editor is permitted access to the reports. Your name and telephone number are requested only so that the editor can contact you, if necessary.

While we can’t guarantee your submission will get published, we can guarantee that we’ll closely review and consider using it.

All Learning Experience submissions become the property of Aviation Safety and may be republished.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here