2018 Aviation Update

I’m long overdue for putting out my annual summary of all my prior year’s flights.   I’m actually very discouraged that I didn’t fly more than 50 hours in 2018.    The past 4 years in a row have only been about half as much as I would consider a sufficient amount of flying to maintain proficiency and also get a decent amount of utilization out of the airplane.  I’m not going to make excuses like I have in prior years but I’m going to use this as motivation to have a stronger year in 2019.  I do love my airplane and while we didn’t use the plane a ton in 2018 we do have some good memories from the trips that we did.

Here is a summary of 2018:

2018 Hours: 49.3

Total Hours: 996.5

2018 Approximate Mileage: 5,106 miles.

New Airports: 13 – KJXN, 08C, 3GM, KLOT, KTVC, KMCD, KFZI, KAKR, KSTP, KRAP, KFRM, 8D4, KRMY

Map of all the flights made in 2018:

Here’s a quick summary of my flights in 2018.  I started out with a couple of flights in January.  One was a local solo flight to Grand Rapids, the other was with a another pilot Kevin J. who is also based at KBIV.  We practiced multiple instrument approaches to maintain my currency.  The ironic thing I learned this day is that Kevin owns a Piper Warrior that I have in my logbook multiple times in my 16 years of flying.  I rented it from the Dodgen Aviation at the Allegan airport back in 2003 after I got my private pilot license, I had a BFR in it with Jason Blair and also flew with Hannah and Lori’s Mom Kathy in 2009.  The aviation world is very small!  I did not fly in February due to very poor weather.  In March I flew with Tommy W. who is a pilot in training to Jackson, MI for breakfast and a stop in Kalamazoo for fuel.  I also flew with John S. who has a Mooney in the hangar next to mine.  John and I practices a few approaches in Muskegon.  In April I had a solo flight where I went to Riverview and Grand Haven and worked on my short-field procedures.  In May I again flew to Riverview and participated in an EAA Young Eagles and Boy Scout Aviation Merit Badge event.  That day I was able to fly 15 Young Eagles and they all received their merit badge.  It was great to see their faces light up while flying!  In June I had a couple of flights.  I had a solo flight to Kalamazoo early in the month and late in the month I flew solo to Chicago to meet Bobby J. for the weekend and attend the NASCAR races.  I returned home on July 1st.  July was a very busy month of flying.  The family and I took a day trip up to Mackinac Island.  We left the house around 6:30 AM, loaded into the plane, stopped for fuel in Traverse City and were on Mackinac Island around 9AM.  We had a great day on Mackinac seeing the sites, riding bikes around the full island and having a late lunch.  We returned home and were back in Holland around 8PM.  This was a great way to use the plane and I need to make this an annual event!  Less than a week later the family flew to Lancaster, PA for the weekend where we were able to attend my Grandma Smythe’s (Peggy’s mother) 100th birthday party!  It was nice to see family for the weekend.  I was also able to catch up with Frank Dorrin for a day and we used the excuse to complete a BFR to go flying.  Frank was my instrument instructor and I really miss flying with him.  We’ve met up a couple of Oshkosh AirVentures and it was great to see him again even for just a few hours.  We came home from Pennsylvania and a week later we were off on our summer vacation.  We flew to Minneapolis, MN where we spent 2 days with our friend Bobby J.  We stayed in one of the hotels at the Mall of America and Bobby was a great host showing us all around Minneapolis and Saint Paul.  On Monday we loaded up the plane and flew almost a 4 hour leg west direct to Rapid City, South Dakota.  We had an unbelievable week and were able to see many great sites including Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Devils Tower, Deadwood, The Badlands, Wall Drug, Jewel Cave and many other scenic areas.  Rapid City was a perfect central location for lodging and each day we went a different direction to explore.  We really were able to use N111RW’s capabilities on our way home as we flew at 17,000 feet and were all on oxygen.  We stopped once for fuel and made it home from South Dakota to Michigan in less than 5 hours of flying!  In July 2018 I flew 27.6 hours which was more than half of my hours for the year.  In August I flew with my neighbor Jerry L to an EAA pancake breakfast in Sparta, MI and then took him to an EAA chapter meeting at Riverview airport.  Then for some reason I took a long break from flying until November.  In November I flew a couple of times, one was solo and the 2nd was with a couple of CFIs from Western Michigan University to practice some approaches.

So now its already March of 2019.  I’ve flown a couple of times this year already and getting some practice in.  N111RW had a fairly extensive annual in January which kept is grounded for most of the month and then the weather has also been really poor for flying.  I’m trying to take every opportunity to get out on nicer days.  I’m learning that I’m just going to have to be patient in the winters.  The family is planning to go on Spring Break to Anna Maria Island later this month and we are all looking forward to this.  We are staying in the same house we had a few years ago.  So now looking back on 2018 I realized that it wasn’t a bad year for aviation, but I should have taken the opportunity to fly more in the fall.  I currently have 999.7 hours now and will break 1000 hours on my next flight.

New States:  I added Minnesota and South Dakota in 2018.  This map shows all the states I’ve landed a GA airplane to date.








Here is more data for my pilot friends (2018/Total):

Cross-country: 35.2/694.7

Night: 1.0/65.9 (I’m not even trying to maintain this now)

IMC: 4.5/74.5

Approaches: 15/258

Landings: 52/1284

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

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Well, when you put it all together like that, it looks like a lot of flying. If Kevin J is who I think he is, I’ve encountered him on the web before because I have some time in his airplane, too. I had to get an hour in a Warrior before buying mine and rented it out if Dodgen in 2004. I flew with a CFI named Ken Appleman.

I hope to head SW MI way sometime this year. Last year was a little too crazy to get out there. Best wishes for a great year of flying! You’ve said it publicly now, so we’re all going to hold you to it!

Good to see your post. Maybe not a high number but you covered some ground. Remember, your speed cuts down on the hours, hey that sounds good.

Have a great time in Florida, soak up some sun and forget about those cold winter days. Look forward to catching up this year once we’re back in the air.

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