Sunday, August 19, 2007

Project Reinstatement: Pt. 1

A few of you may know that at one point in my life I was a flight instructor. I have since allowed my instructor ratings to expire. It was a stupid thing to do, really, considering how simple it is to stay current. But, I got caught up in the life of a "real job" and let them lapse. I've decided now is the time to remedy that situation, but in order to do so I will have to be "reinstated".

Reinstatement is the term that the FAA uses for re-certifying instructors who have let their ratings expire. Basically, it requires that I take a check ride and undergo an oral exam. It's not as simple as it sounds. Besides having to refamilarize myself with teaching flight maneuvers from the right seat of a small plane, I will need to brush up on my knowledge of the FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations)governing flight instruction. Needless to say they have changed some since I made the last instructor entry in my logbook over 10 years ago. Getting reacquainted with the current set of rules will take some time.

Some of you may be wondering, "Why? And in particular, why now?" There are a number of reasons, but the main one would simply be taking care of a gift I've been given. I have the great fortune to work with some of the most talented graphic designers in any industry, let alone the one I'm employed in. One of the things that always impresses me about them is how they continually nurture their gift. It doesn't matter what job they have, they are passionate about design. The thought of letting that talent go to waste would probably be tantamount to sin in their eyes. And they'd probably be right. Ever read Christ's parable of the talents? I believe I've been given an affinity for flying airplanes, as well as instructing others how to. Only I've committed the sin of neglect. That would be the "why".

The "why now" has a little to do with nearing 40 and taking stock in my life. The bigger reason is that for the last several years I've had this gnawing conviction that I was wasting this talent, but I've done nothing about it. The catalyst for finally responding to it came as a result of recently having two CFIs (Certified Flight Instructors), both of whom I admire, tell me in separate instances that I should consider being an instructor. I had said nothing to either about what was going on in my mind about this, and they had both apparently forgotten that I had been one. I know I'd told them both before. In any case, it felt like I was getting a little nudge that the time was right to do this.

So, last week I called one of the aforementioned CFIs and told him I was serious about making this happen. He told me to go pick up a current copy of the CFI PTS (Practical Test Standards) handbook. I've just returned from the Flightstar pilot shop with that and a copy of the CFI oral exam guide. Step one is complete. Now the real work begins.

If I can maintain momentum, I should be reinstated in a month or so. Any of you who read this can feel free to check up now and again and ask me how it's going. I could use a little accountability to keep me on track.