It was time for me to undergo my club’s 6-month currency check. Basically, twice a year you have to fill out a form that shows knowledge of airplane parameters, takeoff/landing distances, fuel burn, etc, and then perform a checkout with one of the CFIs in the club.

On the advice of one of the other club members, I chose to spend the mandatory flying hour learning the Cessna 182RG that we have in the club.¬†Our club rules require either having 25 retractable hours and a checkout with an instructor, or 10 hours instruction in a C182RG. Since I didn’t have either, I figured that every time I have to do a flight review or checkout, or any sort of training, I’ll do it in the C182RG and work my way to 10 hours over time (or get close enough to it and then just finish up).

So, my CFI and I did some ground school the previous week, and then came back and did the flying portion this time around. It was a day with broken clouds at around 3,000 ft AGL, but enough holes to get above the cloud layer to be able to perform maneuvers. We went up to altitude and did some stalls, emergency gear extensions, etc. Generally, the plane was not all that different from a 172 — I kept forgetting cowl flaps, and some specific checklist items were new, but generally speaking it did not feel too different from a 172.

There was one place where I got quite behind the plane. We did a landing at Compton, and after take off (and a crosswind turn, because you can’t depart straight out), I got disoriented by climbing above the broken layer, managing the plane, and navigating — after contacting Hawthorne (which I couldn’t see due to the cloud layer), I misreported my position. After my CFI questioned if that was correct (I had looked at the freeway intersection and called it one particular thing, which was wrong), I had re-contacted Hawthorne and reported an incorrect intersection again. This time my instructor said to just circle for a bit until I got my bearings.

To be honest, I still hadn’t figured out just which intersection I’d seen below me when he told me where I really was. At that point I understood why I was wrong — first, I’m not entirely clear on all the freeways in this area; second, I lost situational awareness around where Compton was north/south relative to Hawthorne: in my mind Compton was North of Hawthorne even though it’s actually a bit south. So when we turned left crosswind, I had assumed we were getting closer to Hawthorne while we were actually getting further. And, not having much ground to reference in the distance, I was misidentifying things left and right. Not my proudest moment. Though more importantly I was upset at myself for not making the decision to start circling in Echo airspace while I figured out my bearings: it would have been bad to bust the Bravo.

Altogether, though, it was great to get some time in a C182, and more retractable time. At some point in the future I’ll continue so as to get checked out as well as to get the high performance endorsement.

Totals: 1.4 hrs in a C182RG.