Biennial Flight Review (BFR)

I became a licensed pilot in 2011, which means 2 years has passed and I needed to prove to a certified flight instructor I can still fly. That’s why I decided to go to Florida in January to get it done, with my best friend and awesome instructor Ryan.

I was actually scheduled to fly the day after I arrived, Monday January 14, but the plane I was scheduled to fly was down for maintenance. Actually, both of the flight school’s 172s were down for maintenance for various reasons. I then had to be checked out in the C152 that the school has and I did that Tuesday and Wednesday with one of the instructors at that school, and then proceed with my BFR.

All the flying was done out of KSFB – Orlando-Sanford International Airport.

Tuesday we did a flight to the local practice area where I practiced some maneuvers. Keep in mind it had been 11 months since I last flew and my skills were a bit rusty. But with some practice, I did the slow flights, stalls, steep turns and emergency procedures to an acceptable, proficient level. It was so good to be back in the air!

Coming back into Sanford can be a bit stressful, especially with Air Traffic Control and the busy airspace around the Orlando area. English, being a foreign language to me, though I feel very proficient, adds to the difficulty for me.

Sanford is a Class C airport, meaning it’s classified as the second busiest type of airport in the US. Class B airports are usually very busy airports such as Orlando-MCO, Newark-EWR and Los Angeles-LAX.
The aircraft operators at SFB have signed a document that makes ATC-clearances easier for both pilots and controllers. Coming in to the airport from the North, I obtained the current weather in Sanford and contacted Orlando Approach on the radio, requesting the Monroe Arrival. The Monroe/Jessup Arrivial are signatory arrival routes (it’s not an official published arrival route, but something you will be familiar with if you fly planes in and out of SFB frequently) So by requesting the Monroe arrival, you let the ATC-controller know that you are familiar with operating in to SFB in this manner, and they will give you a squawk code and (hopefully) clear you for the Monroe Arrival.

After that, Orlando App hands you over to Sanford Tower. Our intentions this afternoon was 3 laps in the traffic pattern, so we got to land at 09R the first two landings, then the final, full stop landing was done at 09L.

Airport Diagram of KSFB

Airport Diagram of KSFB

The first two landings over at 09R were very smooth, and the instructor was happy with them. After those two touch-and-go’s I did a full stop landing at 09L. Due to this runway being significantly wider than 09R, I fell victim of the wider runway illusion, thinking I was lower than actual and started the flare too early. The landing was perfectly safe, but not as smooth as the previous two.

The next day I planned a flight to Kissimmee (KISM) and Leesburg (KLEE) to practice radio communication with other frequencies some more. The C152 is incredibly slow, I cruised down to KISM at about 90 KIAS.


Wing view

Wing view

The Epcot Center

The Epcot Center

Best office view in the world (well, I don't mean the C152 in particular lol)

Best office view in the world (well, I don’t mean the C152 in particular lol)

The cockpit of the C152

The cockpit of the C152

Me flying! woop woop!

Me flying! woop woop!

Upon completion of this flight, I was officially checked out in the Cessna C152!

The next flight I did some traffic pattern work with Ryan in the C152, which was good practice!
We also flew to New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport one day in the C172. Actually, it was more like a diversion, because the lid where you check the engine oil popped open in flight. Safely on the ground in New Smyrna we did what any pilot would do. Fixed it with duct tape and flew back to Sanford, in the most amazing sunsets!

IMG_0685 IMG_0688

We also did two flights up to DeLand which in an uncontrolled airfield with a lot of parachute activity. It is located north of Sanford and Lake Monroe. We went to the FBO to refuel after fighting the crosswinds that prevailed there, that day. With full tanks we headed back to Sanford via the Monroe Arrival, which I filmed and posted HERE


Oh, the sights you see while pre-flighting aircrafts on the north ramp in Sanford. This is a Thomson 757 departing 09L. In the background is the passenger terminal.


Thank you so much Ryan for giving me such a thorough flight review. I definitely learned a lot from you. You are a very talented instructor. I’m looking forward to fly with you again soon!

After putting 9,5 hrs in my log book, I was happy with what I got done in that week-and-a-half. Yes, I was supposed to go home Sunday January 20th, but didn’t leave until Wednesday January 23rd. Due to bad weather and the maintenance issues with the C172 which eventually was available for rental towards the end of the period I was there.

So with change of departure for going back to Norway, comes along a whole different route than the original MCO-IAH-AMS-CPH-KRS. Stay tuned and I will tell you about the comfortable ride I had across the Atlantic.

If you have any questions regarding biennial flight reviews (BFR) please refer to CFR 14 §61.56 in the FAR/AIM.
I am also open for questions of you have any with regards to aircrafts, rental, or anything in general.

– Cecilie

Posted on February 9, 2013, in aviation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Cecilie, this is amazing you went two years without flying and then jumped into a new plane. For those of you who don’t know, the 152 while slower is a bit more sporty than the 172. I know one instructor who won’t let anyone learn in a 172. She makes them start with the 152. Except for me, because my legs don’t fit that well. lol.
    I am so glad you got such a great review with Ryan. And the oil lid popped open? Always carry duct tape!
    Many legs going home. I bet you were happy when you finally got there. Okay… now back to the question part.
    How much do they rent Cessna 172’s and 152’s for, in Florida?
    Oh… and many English as a first language can’t understand ATC so I am impressed.
    Nice job all the way around!

    • I flew the C172 in 2012 for 3,7 hrs, and that’s the only flying I’ve done since my IR check ride. I really miss it, so it was a good feeling to be back in the air.

      I think I actually liked the 152 better than the 72. I found it easier to land, too. I’ve gone the opposite route. Started training in the Cirrus SR-20, then transitioning to the 172, then the 152 and then back to the 72. Going from all-glass cockpit to the good ol’ round gauges has been a challenge but I thought it’d be harder than it actually was.

      Yes, it was great flying with Ryan. Not the oil lid itself, just the cover on the engine cowling, the one you open to check the oil and drain the fuel from underneath the aircraft. Duct tape is always handy 🙂

      It was a long journey back, but all worth it in the end.

      The 172 was $119 per hour and the 152 was $101 per hour. That was including fuel!

      Thank you Karlene! Next year – Commercial Pilot License!!!

      • GREAT prices!!! I had the visual on the panel popping open. Just wrote it wrong.. lol. Which leads me to ask a question… technically did you change the structural weight of the plane and technically needed a new aircraft weight and balance?
        I had met someone once that the door popped open and he got violated for tying it close for the flight home. I thought it had to do with the certification of the plane. Oh… this might be a Good question for Ryan. 🙂
        So… what do you think about pilots learning in a Cirrus only.. .and never going to the other planes. They learn and stay on the magic. Do you think they should have to learn in a round dial? This might be a great subject for a blog post.

      • Actually there was duct tape on the closing mechanism before, it just didn’t stick anymore so we sort of replaced the old duct tape with some new and reinforced it so I don’t think it added nor subtracted any weight from the aircraft!

        Oh yes that is a good question for him. 🙂

        I don’t think it was the best way to start out an aviation career, flying the Cirrus for PPL and IR. Of course it’s a nice, fast aircraft with lots of technology packed in to it, but if we cut it down to basics I think it is better to learn in a round dial aircraft rather than the glass. I will have to write a post about it, because I have definitely experienced how challenging it can be to go from glass to round gauges rather than the other way around!

      • That would be great! I can hardly wait. I would love to see what others have to say, too.

  2. Nice views in Florida, especially the Disney World! I have just been reading about those perspective illusions caused by differing runways. Interesting to read about a real occurrence.

    • Hi Niina and thank you so much for your comment!

      Runway illusions are most definitely real, and it is an important experience to learn from. I like to remind myself when figuring out Landing distance available to make a note of the width of the runway as well. The illusion, in my case, was also caused by the switch from a very narrow runway (09R) to a very wide runway (09L). Had I landed all three times on 09L I don’t think I would’ve been affected as much by the illusion.

  3. Interesting post, yes flying in Florida is really nice. So many airports to visit. Have you been flying in the south of Florida? Down to Key West is amazing scenery, flying over Everglades is cool to. Thank you for a nice blog.

  4. Lovely article on BFR ( flight review these days ).
    I did my private in 152 and IR on 172. I liked 152 a little better over 172 too.
    Commercial was on Beechcraft Duchess in 2009.
    Last flight was in 2010. I haven’t flown since then. Motherhood happened and financially just wasn’t a good time.
    Now tackling that flight review seems to be really huge task to me.
    I will have to start from scratch knowledge wise. Don’t know if i can do it.
    Anyways really good read on BFR. Wish you good luck.

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