Back in the Saddle: BFR

The first step on my journey to the airlines began with something called a BFR, or Biennial Flight Review. What is a BFR? A BFR is required by the FAA every 24 calendar months to review  a pilot’s knowledge and skills handling the aircraft. It requires at least an hour of ground instruction followed by an hour of instruction in the air. This review is necessary for me to act as PIC (Pilot In Command) again so that I may fly without an instructor present.

The ground session went over smoothly. We discussed the minimum equipment allowed to fly airplanes legally, minimum fuel requirements (30 minutes reserve during the day, 45 at night in case you were wondering), and various elements of the sectional chart (the sectional is what I used for the flight route below).

Our flight took us from Livermore, just north of the Altamont pass, over Tracy to Modesto and back again. Now, I could spend an hour describing the different elements of the sectional chart, but I won’t. Not in this post, at least. The far left is Livermore and if you are decent with maps you can figure the rest out (and click for a larger image!).

During the flight I used “navigation by pilotage,” which means looking out the window and deciding where to go/where I am. A standard landing into Modesto followed by a short-field takeoff; a takeoff designed to clear 50 foot obstacles (like trees, wires, and other things airplanes don’t like to hit) on an extremely short runway. It involves pushing the throttle full and holding on the breaks, then screaming down the runway. In the air we did some steep turns (turning at 45 degrees bank) and stalls. Yes, every pilot must recognize what a stall feels like and how to recover, so it is necessary to do them in real life. On the final approach into Livermore the instructor cut the engine to idle to simulate an engine failure. If it were real life, we wouldn’t have made it thanks to a nice 18 knot headwind. We added power and had a happy ending instead. I didn’t bring the camera up on this trip so I’ll use a previous photo to show what landing in Livermore looks like.

Approaching 25R @ LVK

Was there rust after such a long time off? Yes, there was enough to keep me busy for the next week. Time to hit the books and memorize those minimum equipment lists!


~ by Marcus on August 28, 2010.

2 Responses to “Back in the Saddle: BFR”

  1. Way to go! Like this blog.

  2. Congrads on the Job!

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