Question: I just completed my private pilot check ride. Now that I have the certificate, it feels weird not to be flying several times a week, although truthfully, I cannot afford to keep doing that. How often should I be flying to maintain proficiency?
Congratulations on earning your private pilot certificate! That is a big accomplishment. In regards to how often you should be flying to maintain proficiency, that is a very individualized metric, and something you need to determine on your own.
You may find it easier and more productive to focus on flying at least once a week and/or aim for a particular type of experience—for example, plan and fly two cross-country missions each month.
You may want to aim for an hourly requirement every month, say 10 hours. To get the most of your time, approach it with a plan, such as takeoffs and landings, basic maneuvers, or a flight to that towered/non-towered airport with the really great restaurant that is 56 nm away, etc.
There may come a day when flying seems a bit like a chore (perish the thought). When this happens you may find yourself making excuses not to go fly. Try to keep it fun and interesting to avoid this type of burnout.
Other times life can get in the way—work, school, kids—and before you know it, it has been six months since you touched an airplane. Now you have to regain currency in addition to proficiency.
The takeaway here is that you should try to set aside the time to fly—the more you do it, the more likely proficiency will be maintained, and you will never have to reset the “currency clock.”
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