Lessons in Patience

This getting back into flying thing has been, and continues to be, an exercise in frustration. First there was finding a flight school. Then it was waiting for them to respond to my inquiry. Then it was waiting for the instructor to whom I was assigned to contact me. Then it was waiting for a day when he and the airplane were both available and the weather favorable.  Then repeat that last part a couple times, as it took more than one flight to knock off even the worst of the rust that had accumulated on my skills.

Then there is the medical side of things. The first few docs that I called were booked out two months or more, or simply never called back when I left messages requesting an appointment. Then I finally got to see a doc and he told me that my keratoconus and my sleep apnea both require a Special Issuance which requires additional information from the treating doctors and a review of said information by government doctors. I went about collecting this information while waiting for the government to send me the letter informing me officially that I have to submit this information. My regular eye doctor’s staff misunderstood me when I dropped off the form which delayed its completion by two weeks. The eye doc who did my procedure requires ten business days to produce copies of a medical record.

My sleep doc, whom I haven’t seen since 2018 because the CPAP therapy has been working and I saw no need for semiannual visits to confirm this fact, insists on treating me as a new patient. And he’s not in my current insurance network. But at least his staff was quick with a copy of my records after I paid the $35 fee. The other sleep doc in town who is in network requires a referral from my primary care doc. My doc wanted an office visit before he’d give the referral, despite my having been in for a physical last year. Eventually I got in to see him and got the referral. Then the new sleep doc told me that the first available appointment was a month out. Maybe by the time it rolls around I’ll have the FAA letter and will be able to immediately submit the required documentation. But I predict that new sleep doc will want a second office visit and/or two weeks to fill out the required form. At least I shouldn’t have to do another sleep study. It’s been less than five years, and that’s new sleep doctor’s cutoff.

Then back to actual flying. When instructor learned of my medical special issuance delay, he refused to complete my flight review. I told that story in an earlier post. Then there was a search for another flight school or freelance instructor. I eventually found one, and got lucky in the process in that said instructor also owns the same make and model airplane that I was at that time trying to buy. He had no issues flying with me and signing off my flight review, but there was the delay in finding him and then scheduling him and the airplane. 

That brings us to the airplane itself. I found the one I wanted and went to look at it quickly enough. I’d already made contact with a mechanic, so I assumed that the pre-buy inspection would happen quickly should I like the plane. Well, not so much. It took several days to get the plane to him and another two weeks for him to tear into it and give me a report. I sealed the deal with the seller and told the mechanic to proceed with the repairs identified during the inspection. Due to parts availability, it’s been two more weeks and it still isn’t done.

While waiting for the work to get done, I set about to find a ferry pilot to fly it home for me since I’m not legal to fly it myself until the medical stuff is sorted out. I’ve had lines on three possible pilots, and two seemed promising. Until both simply dropped off the face of the planet mid-discussion. If the plane is ever done, I’ll try to reach out to both again and hope that one or the other can do it. Unless it takes long enough that I have my medical by then and can fly it home myself.

I keep wondering if this journey will ever end.

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