I just received my 61.75 verification letter (2 week turnaround!), and am now in the process of organising a week in New York area (familiar with it from work trips) next February to collect my license from an FSDO, do a day at a flight school for local familiarisation incl. BFR, then two-three days of touring (Long Island, Cape Cod, Maine … love to fly the Hudson River Corridor). I’m a recent GB PPL(A) with ~40h post license XC PIC (incl. cross channel and over 20 airfields visited) — averaging 5-10hrs a month. I’m aware of FAA handbooks (PDF format, very nice) and various online tutorials (e.g. PilotWorkshops). I’d be interested in any recommendations on (a) materials to get up to speed; (b) tips/hints, especially on flight schools in Long Island. A google search found a couple of blogs of people’s 61.75/VFR touring, which have helped, but I also wanted to draw on the collective wisdom here. Couldn’t find any posts from searching, please point me to them if I missed! Much appreciated, and good flying!
Some of the most obvious things you won’t read in the books, off the top of my head:
The BFR ground part should cover pretty much most of everything else.
OK, here’s a few practical pointers:
Finally… I started flying in the US with very similar hours to yours. Now, with more than 2000 Hours of VFR touring, I have to say that was the best decision of my life. The hassle free affordable US environment makes flying an utter delight, bereft of the constant aggro of Euro rules, regulations and belligerence. Enjoy!
Aveling, great post, thanks!
I dare to hijack this thread a little. I would be grateful for recommendations where I could rent a plane. (Areas: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, New York). If I have the FAA validation, do I need a separate checkout in the US if I want to fly high performance/retractable gear planes even if I fly these in europe on my easa license?
Would it be possible to buy an aircraft in the US as a foreigner and keep it hangared there?
@snoopy, I’ve found in my due diligence so far that, just as with rentals here, whoever you will rent from will have a set of currency/minimum criteria and a checkout. I looked at Mid Island Air, and you can see their rental requirements here, and I saw elsewhere (I can’t remember the place) that, for a complex type, wanted either 10 hours on exact same type, or 50 hours on a comparable complex type. They’re largely going to be PA28Rs or C182s. I’m on a PA28 and about to do a conversion and 15 hours on an PA28R (Arrow) here before going over.
West Coast Bay Area Overview
It’s a pattern, not a circuit!
Aveling and Alioth have pretty much covered it, nothing much to add there. However, if you want to rent in the SF Bay Area and/or L.A., it might be a good idea to look at airports that are a little inland, not on the coast. The coastal airports very often are fogged in and if you are on a (tight)ish schedule that can ruin our plans. Complex and high power (inxs of 200hp) a/c need a logbook endorsement in FAA land, not sure if your EASA one works on a 61.75 ticket.
As for flight plans: personally I only file when going out over the deserts here, as at typical SEP non-O2 altitudes, you are out of radar coverage out there. Otherwise, get flight following. The latter especially in SF and LA airspace. Tell the controllers you’re unfamiliar and they’ll take care of you. If you do decide to file a flight plan, then open it with estimated off time on the ground over the phone. Saves a lot of frantic switching in the air. And don’t forget to close it !!
The complex endorsement is small formality, if I’ve got my research correct.
There is no formality in EASA land around non high-performance complex: in theory you could fly such an aircraft tomorrow without having any prior experience of doing so and it would be legal under Part-FCL. Of course there would probably be insurance issues and it’s unlikely anyone would loan or rent you an aircraft for such a case. Normally its competence based, by proxy of the number of hours in your logbook on such an aircraft.
In FAA land, there is a requirement that you are complex endorsed by a CFI, but there are no specified time requirements.
So in practice, this just means that when you go to the US and fly using your 61.75 PPL allowance, you need to do a flight with a CFI who would sign you off pretty quickly once you demonstrated your competence.
Presumably you do this in the same flight that gets you your BFR (to meet FAA currency requirements) and check-ride (to meet rental requirements). Three birds with one stone.
I went flying in the US at about the 160hrs total time, and about 30h of XC. I had maybe 300hrs of YouTube armchair US flying though :) helped me a lot with phraseology.
Aveling is quite the expert here in long range VFR trips in the US and he quite said it all.
My advice would be :
- buy a cheap ads-b receiver. Having weather data inflight is quite invaluable.
- always ask for flight following. Ask it to the ground controller, it will save you workload in the air. Sometimes they decline, but better ask anyway.
- be aware that working hours end early, often at 5 pm, even at 4 pm sometimes. So wake up early, fly early, stop early. I would try to stop at small uncontrolled fields for lunch, and staying at bigger fields with FBOs for the night. Airnav.com is your friend, FF has a quite big FBO reviews tool too.
- as long as you are honest and do your best, you’ll never be in trouble. Big difference with Europe :)