Creating a Personal Currency Plan
We all know the standard currency rules here in the US: 61.57. (a) and (b). In order to take passengers, you need 3 takeoffs and landings in the previous 90 days. And in order to take passengers at night you need 3 night takeoffs and 3 night landings in the previous 90 days. Oh and to fly IFR in the clouds? Its a bit more complex: 6 approaches, some holding, tracking, intercepting, etc in the previous 6 months.
But is that really enough? Remember, these are just considered to be minimum requirements by the FAA. The FAA just issued AC 61-98B as guidance for Flight Instructors conducting BFR or IPC reviews. Unless you are a flight instructor, I doubt you’ll be rushing out to go read it along with your morning coffee! However there is an interesting concept in there which is developing your own Personal Currency Plan. Here are a few tips to create a personal plan that works for you!
- Consider your typical mission and create currency around non-standard flying. If you regularly fly into long paved runways with towers, are you current to go fly into a short runway at a non-towered airport? What about mountain flying – do you do that regularly, or are you a sea-level pilot? How about weather standards? Some pilots are fair weather pilots and choose not to fly when the weather is challenging. Perhaps take a day with some stiff crosswinds and turn it into a day of practice with a flight instructor.
- Not all SEL/MEL airplanes are the same! Create make/model personal currencies. Perhaps you get a call from a friend who owns a Cutlass and needs your help moving the airplane to another airport so it can go get its annual. You recieved that complex endorsement last year, but was that the last time you flew a Cutlass? You may be current in your Cessna 182 for single-engine land, but are you really current to operate a retractable gear aircraft just by hopping in? Perhaps not; even the difference between a SR20 and high performance SR22 can be substantial! So consider each make and model and keep track of those currencies. The easiest way to do this is by using an electronic logbook like LogTen Pro. Creating a custom currency group can help you keep track of various makes and models in day or night conditions. You can even use an Instrument currency group for glass cockpit vs. analog gauge cockpit!
- Mix it up! If all your flights are using normal takeoffs and landings, when you do need to use a short field landing, are you prepared? If you have the opportunity, try to build in certain styles of takeoffs and landings, as well as maneuvers on your regular flights. This way you don’t have to add an additional flight just for currency purposes. Landing close to dusk? Why not just delay by 30 minutes or so and get a few extra night takeoffs and landings at the end of the flight? Or if you have a few extra minutes, do some clearing turns and practice some slow flight on the way to your destination.
- Its not all about the aircraft. Remember, keeping current is as much a mental exercise as a stick and rudder exercise. Remember there are fantastic online programs available in WINGS and through the ASF. In addition, simply taking out your POH and reviewing a single system every now and then, or limitations or airspeeds for your aircraft are great ways to keep mentally current.
Taking the time to create Personal Currency Plan will go a long way towards making your next BFR or IPC a breeze. You’ll walk in feeling much more confident, and will have an easier time completing the BFR or IPC tasks. After all, flying is supposed to be fun, right?