Maintaining currency can be difficult

But you gotta keep up if yer gonna fly

true drk from the air

The ground at night from 5000 ft (not really)


So the FAA says you gotta do at least 6 instrument approaches every 6 months to maintain your IFR currency**….to be legal to fly in IMC….And I had only three.  (It’s a good idea, really, and your skills are perishable , much like shooting:  if you don’t keep them up, you don’t have them at all when you need them)


So you must have 6 approached every 6 months to carry passengers and to maintain your currency…Either you do them in actual IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions…I.E. Clouds) or you can do those practice approaches in VMC (visual Meteorological Condition…Clear skies)…but if you do them in VMC, you need to wear a view limiting Device (foggles or equivalent) and have a safety pilot.


One of the other pilots I know is trying to get a job at an airline and he needed some twin time to meet their requirements, and both of us needed a night landing as well, so he accompanied me as a safety pilot. He did the takeoff and flew us to a point where I took over, put on Foggles and intercepted the ILS to an airport, did the approach to minimums on instruments, and then went missed…he then flew to another airport and I did the same, only an RNAV  this time . We then flew to yet another airport and did the same, then on to Champaign (KCMI) and I did an actual approach under foggles (but under ATC control) but this time we landed. That approach was fun as Champaign Approach asked that we keep the speed up for the learjet that was coming behind us, so I flew the approach at 150 knots and slowed up in the last 2 miles to gear speed and then did a landing….all under the foggles. It was kinda challenging, but fun…… when I looked up and took off the foggles, I was perfect on the localizer and just a bit high on the glide slope. I touched down in the center of the 1000 ft markers without a chirp and rolled out to the end of rwy 14L before taxiing to the FBO.


Since it was dinner time and nearly (legal) nighttime, we got a crew car and went into town and got some Chinese food at Golden Harbor restaurant, Since it is my friend MC’s favorite restaurant, I called her to see what she wanted and got some to go for her.  We drove back to the airport, did a preflight, and took off. He did the flight home so he could get his time and did a landing, then I did one also…..(Night currency requires 3 landings to a full stop every 90 days)…I had one night landing previously, so now I need one more to be legal… He got about 1.3 hours twin time total, so he is closer to the requirements for getting an airline job and I am mostly current for instrument flying.

The lights on the ground are kinda pretty from altitude:


Champaign on the climb-out

North-north-eastbound -Chicago off the left wing about 70 miles

It is kinda surprising how much light there is on the ground in mid/central Illinois and Indiana. It isn’t ever truly “dark”, even when it is mostly farmland below you. The above photos were taken on the climb out (3-4 thousand feet) and in cruise at 7500.


**(Note: Being “Current” is not the same as being “Proficient”- Legally one can be current, but not proficient. It is only through practice and education and more practice that one becomes (and stays) proficient. The currency requirements are an attempt by the FAA to keep pilots proficient)

8 thoughts on “Maintaining currency can be difficult

  1. Yes, there IS a significant difference in the two. And there is a reason for the ‘town patterns’ on the sectionals… 🙂

  2. Would you want to have open heart surgery performed by a surgeon who only did the procedure once a month? It would be !legal, but it wouldn’t be smart. Skills are perishable, sometimes rapidly.

  3. Ah, good to hear Golden Harbor survived… Left the Champaign area in 2020, and that was one of the best Chinese places there. Good luck!

  4. Nice landing especially with a hotrod at yer six.

    I’ve been out of the game for a few years. Do they still require holds for purpose of currency?

    BTW: In training, many would complain why learn holds since ‘no one gets a hold anymore’. Yet, in my first actual IFR flights I got assigned to real life holds about a handful.

  5. RIck: Yes, holds are part of the currency. If under the foggles, I generally do the entry with the hold..

    While holds aren’t common anymore, the are not unheard of either.

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