When I get back from Alaska, I'm going to be on vacation at a lake in BC. No, I'm not telling you which one, except that the beach is hot and the water is pretty and cool and has mountains around it and farms nearby and nice little condos for rent. So it's a lake in BC and not one in the far north. I planned this ages ago, about the time I got to fly over a beautiful BC lake all day, and then had to fly back to Alberta the same day. I didn't solicit people in the area to meet, because I figured it would be a beach and ice cream and going for walks and no airplanes vacation, not the running around and meeting new people kind.
There's only one wrinkle. My IFR just expired and for various reasons that are vaguely vexing to me, and throwing my chief pilot, who knows more, into conniptions (wow, conniptions is a real word that the spellchecker believes in), there is not going to be a company aircraft available for PPCs. Two of us have to just go do regular IFR renewals in whatever we can find. The company will pay us back. So this will be a studying the CAP GEN on the beach sort of vacation.
There is an airport an hour or so away with a flying school that can handle an IFR renewal. I've never flown the kind airplane they have, but I'm pretty sure that if I push down the houses will get bigger, if I pull back the houses will get smaller, and if I pull waaaay back the houses will get bigger again. I ask them to send me some basic information on the airplane so I can prepare and they send me the "SOPs" for the aircraft. The scare quotes are because it's a light twin flown single pilot for training, so there's no regulatory requirement for SOPs. I guess it's to get students used to the concept. Good idea, I guess. All I know about these airplanes is that they have a reputation for gear problems. And I've flown airplanes by the same manufacturer, so how different can they all be?
I ask the administrator to book me with an instructor who can teach me something. I'm not even sure what I mean by this, whether I'm claiming I know lots already, or that I'm a problem learner and need special instruction. She assures me "Our instructors are top scoring graduates of our programme." That doesn't guarantee that they can teach me anything, because I already know that a pilot who graduated at the top of her class and who hasn't done anything but flight instruction tends to think she knows everything, but may not know all that much. But she probably knows enough to get me through the dreaded flight test. And the worst part is that it won't even get it out of the way for two years, because the boss will likely want a PPC before that expires. I actually like that there is a frequent test of my abilities on my job, so I know that I am good enough and not falling into incompetence, but oh I hate the testing.
I pledge to (a) take this training seriously and (b) leave the instructor feeling good about himself. And it would be full on hilarious if the instructor were a reader of this blog and figured it out. Can you imagine being paid to tune up my flying, knowing that your every move would be analyzed online? I promise not to do that. I'll be way too worried about my own performance.
The school was a little confused about where I was, what with a Florida phone number, a home address somewhere else, claiming to be calling from Alaska, and telling them that they wouldn't be able to call me back because I was just on my way to somewhere without much in the way of phone service. But they made me an appointment.