2021 Aviation Update

Its that time again where I look back on my prior year’s aviation activities and typically get disappointed that I’m not flying more.  As I look back at 2021 though I’m just happy that I had the ability to fly even though I didn’t get the amount of hours I feel I should be getting.  I’ve always thought that if I fly 100 hours per year I’m staying proficient while getting decent utilization out of my airplane.  Since I purchased the Saratoga N111RW I haven’t gotten 100 in a year.  In 2021 I flew every month and didn’t have any significant downtime for maintenance issues.  I did however have a lot of shorter and local flights and was able to stay proficient throughout the year with several training missions with many in actual instrument conditions.

Here is a summary of 2021:

2021 Hours: 57.2

Total Hours: 1163.8

2021 Approximate Mileage: 5,492 miles.

New Airports: 6 – KCXY, KRWN, KOLV, 6Y1, KFFX, 6D6

Map of all the flights made in 2021:












Here’s a summary of some of my notable flights in 2021.  I unfortunately lost 2 of my 3 grandmothers in 2021.  In March I flew solo to Lancaster, PA for my Grandma Smythe’s funeral.  She was 102 years young and it was nice to be able to use the plane to spend time with family for her services.  I was able to take my Dad and Grandma Smythe’s oldest son Leon for a flight while I was there.  A month later I lost my Nan (Dad’s mother) and she was 90 years old.  Thankfully I was able to see her just a few week’s before her passing.  Later in April, Bryan and I flew to Memphis for the first PA32 Fly-in at the Olive Branch Airport (KOLV).  The PA32 is the model of our airplane and includes several similar airplanes that Piper produced since the mid 1960’s.  It was a great event where more PA32s were gathered than any other event in history including Piper’s 100th anniversary!  We stayed at the Peabody Hotel in Downtown Memphis and enjoyed a couple of days catching up with old friends and making new ones.  Most of the summer was just local flights in Michigan meeting up or flying with friends to breakfast somewhere.  In August I flew to Grosse Ile, MI (KONZ) where I grew up to be with my best friend Bob and his family to mourn the loss of their mother Marilyn.  Many people called her “Mom” Buckley.  As I write this I realize that 2021 was a year of significant loss of loved ones.  In September the whole Frey Family including Hannah’s dog Bessie flew for the first time together in about a year.   We flew up to Bois Blanc Island (6Y1) where we met Lori’s brother Abe and sister-in-law Marie to camp for Labor Day weekend.  This was an awesome and relaxing trip!

So 33 logbook entries in 2021 and most of them were shorter local flights.  N111RW got a few upgrades in 2021 as well which have been on my list for awhile.  At annual inspection in February I installed a new LED landing light.  In July Mayday Avionics installed a new Garmin G5 as my backup for my primary flight display and I was able to remove the vacuum system, artificial horizon, airspeed indicator and really clean up the panel a lot.  In December I had a new lightweight SkyTec starter installed and also replaced my wing-tip lights and rear position indicator with an LED.  Now the only exterior lights on the plane that aren’t LEDs are the strobes and the beacon.

So to wrap it up I’m not disappointed with 2021’s aviation events.  I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy such an amazing “hobby”.  I can’t explain the feeling that you get when you climb out above the clouds and get to see the sun that others haven’t seen in several days.  I got that yesterday and in reinvigorates me.  I am hopeful that in 2022 I can utilize the plane as much as possible and spread my wings a bit more.

New States:  No new states in 2021.








Here is more data for my pilot friends (2021/Total):

Cross-country: 38.2/796

Night: 1.5/69.2

IMC: 6.9/92.0

Approaches: 17/313

Landings: 67/1371

Click here to review prior years updates:  2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 201520142013201220112010

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