Proficiency and the Private Pilot

Dennis Strock, United States. Federal Aviation Administration
Proficiency and the Private Pilot Proficiency: The state of art of being proficient; performing in a given art, skill or branch or learning with expert correctness; adept, skillful. That's what it meant to Mr. Webster. What does it mean to you? Proficiency gets a lot of attention in the military environment. You'll hear it talked about in the squadrons, at flying safety meetings, at the alert facility, and, of course, at the club. Basically, the discussion boils down to the fact that with the
more » ... act that with the flying hours each of us are allotted each month, it's a real challenge to stay proficient, or skillful, in our flying machines. The military realizes this, and through major command, wing, and squadron [orders] specifies what is necessary to maintain proficiency. There are currency items, and each must be accomplished over a period of time. By accomplishing our command-directed events (CDE) and the wing-directed events (WDE), we attempt to maintain a level of proficiency. Completion of the events is documented for us in the computer, and we can conveniently monitor our requirements at any time. Where does this leave our friend the private pilot? There are more that 4,000 blue suiters participating in general aviation, with Air Force Aero Clubs alone. Proficiency is much more individual and personal in the general aviation community. The private pilot is master of his own destiny there. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established requirements for takeoff and landing, but, they are minimal. Perhaps the coldest hard fact of all in the private pilot world is that proficiency can be linked directly to your dollars. With fuel and maintenance cost continuing their upward spiral, the cost of general aviation flying grows higher and higher. Dollars are something we seem to have less of these days, and there are many necessities competing for those dollars. That means much less is left over for the luxuries such as private flying. Does the private aviator really need to fly much to maintain proficiency? General aviation airplanes are far simpler than the Air Force's complex bomber, fighter, and transport aircraft. However, as simple as the aircraft may seem to be, it would be naive for any of us to believe that the airplane can't kill you. It definitely can and does, as accident statistics for general aviation operation point out each year. So, what are you general aviation aviators to do? We know you are faced with limited funds and, in many areas of the country, limited good weather in which to fly. 3
doi:10.21949/1403571 fatcat:xobwmpyadfccdc3apsrb2o6pbi