I’m about to find out if my mother reads my blog

15 Aug 07 11 Comments

I’ve done it again. I need a measly three take-offs and landings within the last 90 days in order to take passengers. It’s a sensible rule: they don’t want people getting out of practice, then bundling the family into the plane and crash-landing due to incompetence. If you’ve flown within six months and think you can hack it, you can kill yourself. Just don’t mess with other people. Seems fair.

Thing is, my last flight in the past 90 days was our trip to the Alps: one take-off, one landing. Obviously, these tend to match.

We are meeting my mother in Rome in a week and flying her to Germany. She’s never been in the plane and is very excited.

Now I might not do the flying, based on weather or other factors. We tend to leave this stuff open … and that’s fine. But I need to be able to fly. I am certainly NOT telling my mother that I’m not flying because I’m not allowed to, because I let my license lapse. Ugh.

The Saratoga is in Málaga so I could just jump in and go flying. There’s only two issues:

1) I hate Málaga.
2) Málaga hates me.

That’s only half true. Málaga is totally overloaded and really does not have the time to deal with nervous pilots in light aircraft. It isn’t personal. But they tend to be abrupt and unfriendly. This makes me nervous and starts off a downward spiral where I get less and less competent and they get more and more stressed.

I’ve been avoiding Málaga all year.

It’s crunch-time though: I have to get up in the air. We came up with a clever plan: Cliff will fly the plane from Málaga to Axarquia, the small airfield north-east of Málaga. I will drive there and then get in the plane and do a few circuits, that way we can leave the plane there for maintenance and drive home at leisure.

I’ve not flown at Axarquia since I originally did my license in the Cessna. If I’m honest, I’m scared. The airfield is surrounded by hills and if I don’t watch myself I’ll fly straight into Málaga’s airspace. It is also a bit confusing because it has a displaced threshhold: the initial stretch of runway isn’t useable, you have to land a few hundred metres down. This is a safety issue — there are trees and power cables right at the start of the runway and they don’t want you descending into them.

But there’s nothing for it, I’m going to have to bite the bullet and see how I do. Someone warn Easyjet.

Category: Miscellaneous,


  • LOL. The title to this post killed me, as did this part:
    one take-off, one landing. Obviously, these tend to match

    You don’t hate all of Málaga, right? Just the airport part? I did a study abroad there once when I was in college. Took the cercanías mostly, although I did fly in. (But not out. Take-offs and landings don’t match for me. I took the train out… *g)

  • Oh yes, I absolutely mean Málaga Airport — the rest of Málaga is fine. Especially the market, we go there regularly to stock up on meat and veg: if I were more organised, we’d go weekly. I have only used buses here, I really should learn the transport system.

    It still sounds to me like you landed once for each time you took off, though. ;)

  • Yay for the market! Man, how I miss Spain. Haven’t been to Málaga in a couple years. Was in Madrid/Barcelona/Pamplona/Valencia last year, which was nice. Hoped to go back to Madrid this year, but it’s now looking iffy. :(

  • I’ve flown to Malaga quite frequently and it’s as safe as any airport that accepts commercial traffic, but that’s as a professional pilot flying a 757. So any private pilot is very wise to be cautious…well done… don’t ever get out of practice with planes procedures or places..

    If there are any readers who are fearful of airports, planes or flying in general , please visit our website and you’ll get over 150 pages of help.

    We’ll give you a warm welcome on the forum if you join us there


  • Rob: update soon!

    Captain Keith: Malaga is just so overloaded at the moment, it’s quite stressful for me. They’ve actually banned all weekend VFR traffic which is probably the right decision but frustrating none-the-less.

    To my masochistic readers who are nervous about flying: http://www.flyingwithoutfear.com website is quite good — I second that recommendation to have a look!

  • YES the Mom does read the blog and you are busted (possibly not flying because of an expired license). Not that we are not used to people operating vehicles (is a plane a vehicle?)without required licenses in this family. But that’s a story of another day…

    And, I’m a bit nervous as well, remembering Sylvia at 17 as a fairly insouciant driver with a learner’s permit. So it’s reassuring that she’s worried about flying…………..

  • and your mother’s friends are reading, too…

    just got a car, after months without, and re-learning standard stick shift routines. today’s big stressor was parking on a hill.

    but, no, there was no control tower. and no one watching.

    although, yesterday, it took a complete stranger to guide me out of a parking spot that someone probably could have driven a lorry through. (I’m driving a gulf)

    sending much empathy and admiration


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