Woke up at 8:30 A.M. Grabbed breakfast.
Another slow day. Read another chapter in Stick and Rudder. The guy is a genius. I absolutely love his way of teaching aerodynamics. I was never taught like that. I'll certainly use it in the future.
Walked to Waffle House for lunch. While there, it started raining. I asked some customers that were leaving for a ride back (about 1/2 mile), but they were unable. So I started walking. They ended up passing me a few minutes later on the road. I wonder what they thought. I saw them turn with the view of my hotel right in front of them. I'm sure it crossed their minds.
Came back to the hotel and went flying. The clouds were at 1300 feet, so we couldn't map. I simply did one flight in the pattern, then landed. I logged 0.4 hours.
After we came back to the hotel, I called up the Tower and asked for a tour. They told us to come on by. And what a treat that was. I have been in a few towers now (mostly less busy airports), but what impressed me the most was the TRACON facility. We walked in, and the screens were just beautiful. We spent over 30 minutes just asking questions and learning about how the process works. I have been flying for 7 years now, and this was my first experience in seeing exactly HOW the whole system operates. It was worth its weight in gold. I had seen pictures in books, obviously understood it from talking with them most every day, but this just gave me a whole other perspective. No wonder the controllers freak out when we fly close to each other!!! To them, we may have four airplanes within one square inch on their screen! I loved the tour. It will certainly help me to understand what they see...and what they say in relation to what they see. It's just a helpful view of the other side of the same coin. We were able to watch several aircraft on the screen, too...and that was fun. A Learjet with some mechanical problems, a fleet of four C-130's doing formation flying in IMC!, and some others coming in for landing. It was just neat all around.
We went to the Tower after that and just talked about our lifestyles. One of the guys said it sounds boring. I couldn't argue! We later learned that he, too, had his commercial multi license...but he chose stability, a home life, a schedule, and great pay over the uncertainty of the industry. He took us downstairs and showed us the pay schedule. $68,000 to start out. $92,000 after a few years. For a 40-hour week.
The thought has definitely crossed my mind now. A four-year degree adds points. Check. A pilot license adds points. Check. I could work a routine job AND buy my own airplane AND fly it!!! Needless to say, I got on the website that he gave us after I came back to the hotel. Yes, I DO love flying. I do, I do, I do. It is just so difficult to be a pilot these days. It's even painful. There is simply very little glory left to it. But on the other hand, I DO get enjoyment out of it, and I won't lie, I would take a $25,000 jet job in a heartbeat. My goal is still to fly for the airlines.
Which got me thinking later on...I need to study. I am weak on my IFR skills, weak on my book knowledge, and weak in my multi-engine fluency. It's all up in my head, but I need to be immersed in it. Every day I don't dwell on it, it gets further and further removed from my mind. I really, really want to take my ATP exam, but I'm just afraid I won't be taking the actual ATP checkride for a couple of years. I wish it wasn't like that, but it's a possibility!!!
What an industry.
We also learned today that the FAA is considering raising the minimum number of hours to fly a jet in the 121 world to 1500 hours. It currently sits at 250. Wow. Frankly, now that I am approaching 1500 hours, I completely understand. I have SO much more experience at 1500 hours than I do at 250. But in the same breath, this training has worked in the past...it's what the airlines have done for years. It just stems off of the Buffalo crash last year. It seems EVERY regulation we have stems from a previous crash. I almost cringe anymore when I hear about an aviation crash just because I know it's going to change our industry somehow, someway. I am all for safety, but the freedom in flying is getting squeezed out more and more each year. In my lifetime, I see the FAA regulating all training in America. They want to have their hand in everything (I understand to a point), but it's going to change the face of aviation in America.
Went to Boston's for supper. Around 7:30-ish.
Spent the rest of the night in.
I am sooooooooo ready to move on. The forecast is calling for clouds at 3500 feet tomorrow. The other guys will be able to work...but Matt and I won't. Agh!!!! I want to fly!!! We only have TWO hours of work left before we can leave!!! I am sooooo ready!
I'm starting to look more aggressively into 135 operations. It's a huge possibility. I don't feel qualified right now in terms of IFR skills, but I'm going to have to get ready. The only problem? I am 49 hours short of night time experience. 49!!! I don't know how I am going to get that with just 3 months left, but I'm going to have to do EVERYTHING I can to get that time. I need it. I am only 15 hours short of the total time. The night time experience is the only thing that keeps me from the next level of flying.
I have some work to do.
Went to bed at midnight.