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Moving Forward While SIP – –   By Bharti Solanki

    On March 12th, I had 52.2 hours of flight time in my logbook towards my Private Pilot certificate. My CFI, Liz Young, and I were alternating between practicing emergency procedures and takeoffs and landings to get me ready to solo soon. On March 16th, the Shelter in Place went into effect for the Coronavirus. I chose to stay home and shelter in place rather than continue flight training because our Mom lives with us and she is 67. We could not put her, ourselves or others at risk and the risk increases if we go out. We even asked our brother, who works at Walmart, to stay home.

    Initially, I thought the Shelter in Place would be about a month. As a couple of weeks went by, I realized it would be much longer. I began to get restless and felt as if I was falling behind in my training. While this was frustrating and upsetting, I also realized this was a great opportunity for me to look inward and practice self-care. I implemented some physical self-care routines, such as face masks, bubble baths with Lush bath bombs but also foot masks. However, this was not enough for me. My inner demon (who I don’t have a name for yet – suggestions are welcome) was getting restless.

    With mounting frustration, I thought,” Well, I can’t fly but what can I do and still move forward”. The not moving forward part was driving me crazy. I started looking into things I could do, especially free things online, to not only keep myself updated but more importantly, keep moving forward. I started by trying to finish my ACS notes. After online ground with Liz, I updated these notes. This was barely enough for me.

    I started doing courses on the FAASafety website with the FAA WINGS Program. Then I found information on free online webinars at the San Carlos Flight Center. The SCFC Training Webinars were not only informative and helped me review my private pilot items such as weather, but they also give WINGS credit! How cool was that! While browsing through Facebook and our LIFT (Ladies In Flight Training) group, I found a flight school in Calaveras that was offering free online Checkride Prep Instrument Ground. I decided to sign up for this class. They also offered free Private Pilot ground, which some ladies attended and gave good reviews. Other groups such as Maui Flight Academy were also offering free Private and Instrument ground school online, at your own pace.

    Since I am a member of AOPA, I saw that they had a lot of great training and safety content on their website and I added them to my list. A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Gleim Aviation, who partnered with Laminar Research, and were offering free X-Plane training course with a free trial version of X-Plane till June 30th. A recent SCFC seminar I attended gave valuable information on how you can keep up to date on your Radio Communications by practicing using PilotEdge (paid, but has free scenarios to practice), VATSIM and IVAO (both free). With some of these, you can even connect them to your simulation software and hardware and practice talking to ATC and in some cases, these are live ATC in the simulation with you.

    The Shelter in Place has been extended to May 31st and may be longer. I have signed up for the free Instrument ground and will continue attending these online seminars and webinars. I have also ordered the Gleim Instrument-Commercial package so that I can get ahead by taking the written tests for those ratings during this quarantine. I feel that I am doing something, and I am moving forward now! The demon is happy!

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