Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
I love flying.
You know that because you are here on this site and understand completely. I love the attention to detail, the checklists, the desire for precision, and I love to soar. I built my 601 and put 200 hours on it. With the help of Doug Dugger we upgraded the wings and other things on the plane. Just about when I was ready to get it back in the air I suffered a TIA - mini stroke. That was in September 2014 while I was on vacation. For almost 5 difficult years I worked my way back into good condition and was cleared by the doctors and FAA to fly again. Last month I installed beautiful new upholstry done by Robert Lemke. Then, one week later, on April 4th this year, I suffered another TIA at work. My long time physician told me no more flying. I could tell he knew that would be difficult for me. I know I can fly in the right seat as a passenger with other pilots, but it won't be the same. I really like getting a paper chart and planning my flights. The smell of a pencil tracing along the edge of a ruler, weight and balance calculations, landmark notations, and weather reports made my flying experience completely satisfying. I remember my first lesson like it was yesterday. I will miss it.
My point of this is not to elicit sympathy or pity, but to remind all of us how lucky we are to experience this kind of freedom. It is unique and special. Very few get to feel the true feeling of slipping the surly bonds of this earth. Enjoy it while you can!
I will always remember fondly each and every flight in which I was pilot in command. I suppose, and hope, those flights, each and every one, remain indelible in my memory.
It was my great joy to fly.
Don't know where you are or what aviation friends you have, but you can still fly left seat as long as you have a safety pilot with you. I'd cling to that as long as I could. Technically, I guess they could even log PIC. Get them checked-out in your plan by a competent instructor and you're good to go.
Just to clarify......do it legally. That means adding your safety pilot to the insurance policy. Be honest with your insurance carrier. You will no longer be allowed to fly solo/PIC but if your safety pilot is qualified to fly from the right seat, he/she is just taking you for an airplane ride in your plane. The fact that you might operate the controls is nothing different than taking a child/grandchild/friend for a ride in your younger days where you’d let them fly. You’d have to have a good relationship with your safety pilot. After all, they would be technically and legally responsible for the flight. But the lure of free use of a plane might ameliorate those drawbacks.
I just had had a light come on. You’d have to check the FARs for this. Since your safety pilot would probably be a private pilot, I can see where free use of a plane might be seen as compensation. You might need to form a partnership so that it’s partially his plane. I don’t know. I’m getting outside of my legal knowledge. Best would be to call EAA National and ask to speak to a legal rep. That’s one of the bennies of membership. They’re good folks. They’d al least tell you if you have no worries or if you really need to pay a lawyer to be covered.
I feel your pain...literally. My first flight lesson was November 1975. I too love flying and have had an ongoing fight with Transport Canada the past 3 years to maintain my medical. I have a Heart murmur, an leaking discharge valve. I have had it all my life and have never had a heart attack or symptoms. I have had 3 visits to the Ottawa Heart Institute, multiple stress tests, PET Scans and yearly Echocardiograms. No heart attack yet but constant jumping through medical hoops does adjust your attitude toward Transport Canada. Transport Canada staff can over rule a CAME that has been your doctor for 30 years without out ever seeing you in person.
I have built 3 aircraft, a set of floats, and wheel skis. I have enjoyed meeting countless great people around aviation, saying "Pilots are people with a certain AIR about them". A sky blue day is just perfect for boring a hole through with an aircraft.
Not certain what the future holds regarding keeping my medical valid, just I sure feel great for a guy with a bad heart.
Next appointment OHI May12th for another evaluation.
I truly appreciate this post. I am at a point of "live it up". Thank you. Mark
First, let me thank you for a lovely piece of writing that we all can feel and identify with. Second, I am sorry to hear of your situation. The suggestions to have a safety pilot/buddy be the official pilot is a good one. If the buddy has a current CFI rating you can even still log flying time as dual instruction received. If the buddy does not have an instructor ticket you get to fly but your buddy gets to log the time. As pointed out already, do it right, have your buddy listed on the insurance and make sure there is no legal/financial hassles, but it can work.
Finally, another option to consider would be a Part 103 legal ultralight aircraft. Part 103 does not require a pilot certificate or a medical and the plane can be worked on by anyone, no A&P required. If your medical condition makes it unreasonable to fly with passengers but you feel comfortable going up alone, there are some very "airplane-like" Part 103 ships out there now that look and fly like real airplanes. They are only good for smooth air only on short local flights but you can at least go bore some holes in the sky when you feel the urge on a nice day.
I'm in my early seventies and dreading the day when I need to face medical or moral needs to ground myself. I keep my eye on the Part 103 legal market in hopes that my condition will allow solo local flights on nice days. With luck I have a long time yet but ya never know.
Good luck to you, Brad. Keep us advised on how you work things out. We are rooting for you here!