Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year (with a look back...)

It's already 2010 on Zulu Time (0310Z as I type) but the local clock still has a couple of waning hours of the first decade of this century, so perhaps you'll bear with me as I take a few minutes to look back at what N631S and I have done in 2009.

With my full year of the regular weekly commute between the DC area and Bridgeport, I logged a lot more hours than in any previous year...to be exact, 207.2 PIC hours. Of that time, 18.4 hours were at night and 26.7 hours were in actual instrument conditions.

The log shows 18 instrument approaches this year; 15 in actual conditions and 3 "under the hood". One of the "real" approaches ended in a miss at KVKX and a diversion to my alternate at KHEF (discussed here).

One of the three practice approaches was logged on a 0.7 hour local flight in January for which I also logged 0.7 "dual received" from my friend Bob Parks. I believe that was Bob's last instructional flight at the end of two-thirds of a century as an instructor. His health began to fail soon after that and he "went West" in July. I miss him.

Through it all, N631S was a remarkably reliable machine, allowing me to make the round trip between KBDR and KVKX 35 and 1/2 times. The only notable equipment malfunction was a vacuum pump failure.

Winter is present in full force here in the northeast, so I'll be availing myself of AmTrak quite a lot in the coming weeks (as I did this week). It was nice knowing that N631S was snug in its hangar at Potomac Airfield.

It's my hope that the changing (dare I say improving?) economic climate will permit some corresponding changes in my schedule, allowing me more time in Virginia and fewer trips to KBDR. Time will tell.

I wish for all of you a healthy, safe and prosperous new year. OK, now it's time to go watch Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians ring in the New Year. No, wait... Not any more? Well, I guess I'll just turn in. See you all next year.

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