Dateline 6-7-2020 – 1 Year to the Day Charlie had a “Hiccup”.
Happily, after much work, Charlie has returned to her hangar after some successful flight tests, after much work!
A freshly overhauled carburetor (that really seemed to need it by the amount of crap that was found in it and the sticky float), 5 cylinders off and reworked, and multiple attempts at working intake leads that went with all this work and it was time to again try to bring Charlie back home.
A friend picked me up with his Stinson and we headed down to KBEH where we arrived to find that one of our fellow pilots down there (under the guidance of our mechanic) was doing one more test flight before we got there. Charlie was currently level at 10,000 MSL and headed back home!
Escorted home from KBEH to 35D, fellow Stinson owner and friend Bruce managed to capture a picture in the air with Lake Michigan in the background, proving that flight did again happen for Charlie. Even better, with me successfully at the controls again.
Every year when the FAA issues the previous year’s Airman Certification Statistics, I get a little giddy. I know. I’m a dork. But someone has to be, so it’s me. Well, and there are a few others in our industry who do the same. You know who you are. 🙂
This data helps me get a feeling for what our airman certification process, and as a result, our pilot supply pipeline is doing.
With that, I try to pick out some of the highlights and draw attention to them as I see them and ask for input from others.
So, last week, the FAA issued the numbers, and since them, I have been playing with my spreadsheets and seeing how the new data compares with previous years and what it might mean for our aviation system.
So, on to the numbers and some of the things that I have noticed that might be of interest or telling about the state of our pilot training and certification process.
Overall, Pilot Certification Numbers Across all Certificates are Rebounding
Looking back over the past two decades, we generally were seeing a decreasing number of total pilot certification numbers. In the last two years, these have increased again and are trending toward more moderated 20 year trends.
When I soloed, I didn’t get my shirt cut, water dumped on me or dunked, a bell rung, or a bottle of champagne (I was 16, so that probably would have been a bad idea).
I got a dollar.
But it was a pretty cool dollar.
My instructor gave me a crisp, fresh from the bank, one-whole-dollar to memorialize the moment.
Sounds pretty lame huh?
But it really wasn’t.
It is kind of a play on the military “dollar ride” for which a new student traditionally gives the instructor pilot a dollar for taking them on the ride and a little bit of a play on commemorative options for first solos when a student flies by themselves in an aircraft, a first solo, as a pilot for the first time.
It becomes a commemorative item that signifies your accomplishment. one might even contemplate the future implication that flying would become a paying profession at some point if you continue in the effort and pursue a career. At the age of 16, when I soloed, I didn’t know that would be my path but it certainly ended up being exactly that.