By GRANT BOYD
Whether we like it or not, sometimes we can’t fly all the times we would like to. Whether it be for weather, money, maintenance — or who knows what — sometimes you are grounded.
Just because you can’t take to the sky doesn’t mean you can’t “fly.”
Thankfully, “flying” while grounded is a lot easier today than it was in the past, due in a large part to the Internet.
From YouTube to General Aviation News, you can learn from other pilots and see what they have done. These are free lessons where you don’t even have to leave your couch!
My personal favorite way to “fly” while grounded is to watch YouTube videos. It is not hard to find quality aviation content.
There is a video for you if you want to learn more about weather or you want to see how to fly an F-16 (because that is definitely a skill that we are all going to use).
In reality, many of us are not going to fly anything cooler than a 172, so it is amazing to be able to see how other planes work and not have to worry about the Hobbs while still sharpening your piloting skills.
When you do get back in the air, videos are a great resource if you have not been flying for a while or are about to fly a new plane for the first time. It is nice to be able to search for a Piper Cherokee instructional video and get a “dry run” before you actually go out and fly one by yourself.
I typically watch these types of videos, regardless if I am current or not because I feel that I get twice the flying time for half the money.
Even from that short video, I knew at least the gist of the information so I understood (kind of) what the instructor was saying when he said to do something. I would have been lost, had it not been for the video, when the instructor said some of the “complicated” start-up procedures.
One of the best resources that not enough pilots utilize are the NTSB accident reports. My ground instructor was the one who harped the importance of these to me. I don’t know about you, but I would rather learn from others’ mistakes, especially on the fatal accidents.
The scenarios make more sense if you pretend you were the one flying and put yourself in their shoes. As the statistics say, a majority of mistakes are human error and are, therefore, preventable.
Please take the time to check out these reports, so hopefully you can prevent a lot of these “simple” mistakes that happen too frequently.
Another way to “fly” while on the ground is to increase your role in the aviation community.
Being a pilot isn’t all about flying a cool shiny bird down onto the runway and taking off again. It is also about taxiing your bird onto the ramp, stopping for lunch, and interacting with fellow aviators.
Once winter is over, check out fly-ins and pancake breakfasts at your local airport or ones nearby. You’ll find like-minded souls, make new friends, and spread your wings.
That interaction isn’t limited to the airport. Find groups on Facebook and other social media platforms and get to know each other.
Increasing the community is what is going to keep general aviation alive, as well as entice younger pilots — like me — to get involved.
While you may think that a manic ice storm or the plane just starting a 100-hour inspection and not being able to fly is unfortunate, that should not stop a true aviator from finding a way to “fly.”
Whether your ground flying is watching videos or reading articles, find a way to stay active and engaged. It will only help you once you actually get back into the air.