Tradewinds Closing its Pilot Center – No More Part 141 Training on the Field

This is a regular blog post. Show notes and links to audio appear in other posts.

Got the above letter last week. Tradewinds is closing down pilot center operations. Bummer! I really liked their aircraft and staff.

I’d imagine that the local economy has something to do with it. Tradewinds has not, within recent memory at least, been the cheapest game in town. In fact, it’s been pretty pricey. But they have great aircraft and and take really good care of them. Spotless hangar floors, a well-maintained flight line, friendly folks, etc. I’ll miss ‘em. I hope that some of the aircraft, particularly N916TA and N920TA, stay on the field somewhere.

The other thing is that Tradewinds is the only Part 141 school in Oakland County of which I’m aware. Really glad I got the instrument rating done. Part 61 requires 50 hours PIC cross-country and I didn’t have the time in the logbook. Part 141 lets you jump right in and you can technically qualify for the checkride after only 35 hours with no PIC time requirement. I probably paid more for the training itself (and of course didn’t do my wallet any favors by stretching it out over more than three years) but, if your focus is solely on getting the rating (and mine was), it’s a lot cheaper to go Part 141.

I’ll probably be stopping by Flight 101 over the next couple of weeks to check out their aircraft and see if I can get a checkout. I’m also scheduled to try to get the flight portion of my BFR done on the 20th and get a few more approaches in to keep my instrument rating current.

Just goes to show that it’s always up to you, the pilot, to manage his or her own destiny in aviation. This’ll be the fourth flight school I’ve used since 2001. Not bad, really. But it’s still a pain to switch to another place where nobody knows you and you don’t know the aircraft, the procedures, etc.

And carb heat! I’ve been flying fuel-injected aircraft since 2003 and now I have to go back and add carb heat to the checklist! At least I’ll have a place to hang my ring finger and pinky again. If the spacing from the throttle is right.

Might get checked out in the DA40 over there. But will likely start out in the C-172 for rental purposes and it might be nice to fly a C-152 again for old time’s sake.

But first things first. Hoping for good weather for the BFR on the 20th!