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Certified Flight Instructor, Commercial Pilot, Training

One Hour Week


December 14th, 2014


Total Hours: 117.1


Wow, slow week!! Looks like I haven’t even flown a whole hour since last Sunday. I believe that this is the least flying I’ve done in a weeklong period since I started the program! I was supposed to get a second flight in this week but the machine had some mechanical issues. Ah well, it happens at every school and overall I have had very few mechanical delays or problems while training here so I can’t complain. I definitely would have liked to get in a little more flying this week but I am working hard preparing for my checkride in early January so there is plenty to do besides going flying. Unfortunately this means time at the desk behind the computer and also cracking the books. Not as much fun as flying, but good for me all the same. At the very least the desire to fly becomes stronger with each passing day and that is a good thing for sure.


I don’t have a whole lot to write about this week as not much has happened. I’m happy to say that my lesson plans are coming together nicely and I’m feeling really good about teaching ground for my CFI checkride. With a few weeks left I still have plenty of time to keep chipping away at the various bits and pieces of material that need attention. In the machine I am flying well but I definitely need some practice talking through the maneuvers. I had it down well enough a month ago so it shouldn’t be too hard to build it back up again. As I sat here counting up my hours from last week (that took a while!) I realized that I will have to crank out some serious flying time if I plan on finishing the certificates in January. There is no real need to finish them in January of course. But I am leaving for most of the third week of January to go to Los Angeles for my Robinson Factory Safety Course and I’d love to have the checkrides all wrapped up before I go. I’m pretty sure it will all come together, but I think I’m going to try and put in some extra time to be on the safe side.


Once again I am blown away at just how fast everything is coming together. After finishing the commercial and CFI checkrides I will have just two more certificates to do. Well, one is a rating and the other is a certificate, but let’s not split hairs! I am told that people tend to finish the instrument and CFII portion of training in two to three months. That means I could be done with my training by the end of March. Whoa! I know I’ve been here almost six months already and I did hope I could finish the program in less than a year, but my head still spins a bit at the prospect of being done in the spring. Once the end of the program comes and goes it will be very interesting to see what happens. I’m getting close enough that I am starting to think about the end. Like most of those finishing the professional pilot program I am hopeful about being hired to work at Mauna Loa but there is no guarantee.


In fact at the moment there are several pilots who have finished their training in the last couple months and they are all waiting with hopes of work. I can’t imagine there will be a lot less waiting come spring. The thing that can’t be predicted is the number of students. When I started at MLH last June it was slammed. Right now there is a lull in the action. I don’t know if these are normal seasonal changes or if it is just a matter of time before things pick up once again. I know that the school is working hard to recruit students and trying to expand into new markets as well. Six months from now the situation could be as different as it was six months ago. And of course that difference could go either way! This is part of the risk of career change. But I don’t let it bother me too much. I have a lot of drive and I am confident that I will find my way into the industry whether it is through MLH or some other avenue. It feels good to be prepared for whatever may come and my excitement and my belief in success remains as high as ever. I guess that is as much as I can ask for!

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About Orin Bakal-Molnar

Besides aviation my biggest passion is climbing. I love spending my free time on the side of something big! But I'm almost as happy doing anything outside in the wild. Travel, photography, and fly-fishing are a few of my other pursuits. And of course there's nothing like meeting new people and sharing good conversation.

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