FLIT

Fun Long Instructional Trips (FLIT)

Why?

I realized that most pilots I know don’t fly more than an hour from their home airport. After some digging, it seems it stems from a combination of

  • Lack of confidence – the planning, navigation, weather and logistics can seem daunting
  • Too many options – with so many possible places to fly, where do you start?
  • Cost – flying for many hours by yourself can be expensive
Yosemite's Half Dome from above

Yosemite’s Half Dome from above

What?

To help pilots feel more confident in flying long trips, get to know other pilots, and share the costs, I started a series of shared instructional flights to fun destinations, such as Sedona, the Grand Canyon, South Lake Tahoe, and Mammoth Lakes. These destinations are in range of one tank for most airplanes, but far enough to be outside of easy driving range. They are destinations with challenges and that allow you to see things from the air that most non-pilots will never see.

Zion National Park

How it works

In most cases, we do a day trip with one pilot flying to the destination and the other pilot flying back. We do this on a Saturday or Sunday and get together for a planning and organization meeting in the evening a few days before the trip. Occasionally, we’ll plan trips with 3 shorter legs, with a different pilot for each.

During the organizational meeting, we decide on route, and talk about challenges, weather, options, and what to bring on a long trip. We decide on our schedule and things we collectively want to do or see along the way. I show you how to to do real life flight planning, not just E6-B flight calculations and how to balance spontaneity with safety.

Costs: You pay for the airplane during the time you are piloting. For each trip, I charge each pilot a flat rate for instruction. Costs like rental cars will be split among participants and everyone pays for their costs for any food and drink.

The nature of the trips gives us time to discuss topics in detail that you only learned by book or glossed over in your initial training. They are a chance to try new things with the safety of having an instructor along.  I’m always right seat for safety, but you are learning even when you aren’t in the pilot’s seat.

  • Learn many more of the capabilities of a Garmin 430/530 GPS unit
  • Fly a new and different plane. Pilots can get their first retract experience (the price/mile of the higher performance planes is nearly identical to a trainer)
  • Learn how to use an autopilot
  • Try out high altitude flying with and without oxygen. On one trip we circled ABOVE Mt Whitney at nearly 15,000′
  • Learn to read the interaction of winds and terrain to improve performance and get a smoother ride
  • Gain confidence in talking with Approach and Center
  • Learn how to make trips more enjoyable for your passengers
  • Learn the whys and hows of leaning
  • Follow along, even if you aren’t on the trip. I utilize a SPOT tracking system that allows friends and family to see up to date location information. Perfect for that spouse who worries a little bit every time you go flying 😉
How do I get started? Email me and ask to be added to the trip list. You’ll be first to hear about the next trip being planned. Participants are taken on a first come basis and payment of a $50 deposit (returned if the trip is cancelled by weather, mechanical issues, or another participant).

FAQ

Q: I don’t yet have my license. Can I participate?
A: Absolutely. The trips are open to pilots of all levels of experience, though pre-solo students will need to put in a little extra effort

Q: Can I bring a non-pilot friend/family member along.
A: Possibly. It will depend on the trip, who else is participating, and the weight and balance of the plane.

Q: Can I get more information on trips you’ve taken?
A: Yes. See our trip reports for pictures, tracks and info on past trips

 

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