As an already-licensed VFR pilot, what that means is that I basically need to fly a few hours at night, including some solo hours, some more instrument time, and a dual cross country, until my instructor deems me ready to be endowed with the rating.
But my flight instructor, who also happens to be my life partner, thought it would be a good idea for my self esteem to pursue another rating, and so we set aside a little time and a little money and got to work getting my confidence back up in the left seat.
So, when we found ourselves with a childless, work-free two days of clear skies last weekend, we thought we’d hit the jackpot! (Flying not being a hobby for paupers, as it turned out, it was the flight school owner, from whom we rented a 172 several times over the weekend, who had hit the jackpot in this particular situation, ha!)
As a refresher, we went up on Saturday morning, and flew a few circuits on runway 26 at CYTZ. Then, after succumbing to a short nap and running a few errands for the rest of the day, we returned to the airport at dusk for some twilight circuits that turned into night flying.
My girlfriend/instructor and decided we should fly again on Sunday evening, and if I was still demonstrating these reasonably smooth and independent circuits, she would send me solo. I felt marginally less anxious now about this idea than I had before the two-flights-in-one-day adventure, which I took to be a good sign.
So, the next day, after spending a beautiful sunny day on the island that we had overflown less than 24 hours before, we had a quick supper at home and drove back downtown for yet another evening flight.
After a few dual circuits, she requested a full stop, and we taxied back to the apron so that she could jump out and send me off on my own.
I’m not sure if it was because I haven’t flown solo in so long, or because this is a new rating, at night, and everything looks different, but it really was quite thrilling, and definitely confidence boosting, to be in complete control of the aircraft and all the decision-making that goes along with that.