If you are a pilot who does not fly regularly due to a busy schedule or simply due to winter weather, a recent question posted by Christopher Good for the Ask a Flight Instructor website is well worth repeating:
I’m wondering what standard practice is for private pilots who have not flown in a while and are a getting rusty.
I’m a 120 hour private pilot. My last flight was two months ago and prior to that there was a three month lapse. (Winter sucks here in Minnesota).
I’m not worried about flying and I am obviously legal to carry passengers and am considered current, but is there a time period after which it would be adviseable to go back up with an instructor?
Commenter Jim Foley pointed out that Christopher is legal to fly but that it will be a personal preference. He further added that he has not flown for 4 months and while he can land fine in a simulator, he would not feel comfortable actually flying an aircraft until he did a circuit or two with an instructor.
Earl Kessler note that insurance companies will consider a pilot to be at their greatest risk up until the point of about 250 hours. He then added:
A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would feel comfortable flying your beloved family members with your current level of proficiency. If not, do a circuit or 2 with a CFI. There is a huge difference between currency and proficiency.
Meanwhile, Matthew Waugh noted that there is no “standard practice” as he has flown with people with “plenty of hours and full currency and recent experience and they scared the beejezus out of me.” However, he also added that he has flown with pilots who have not been in n aircraft for 10 years who were able to slip right back into it.
Finally, Kent Shook wrote that if you are in doubt, take a flight or two with a CFI. He also added that this would be a good time to brush up on emergency and other flying procedures as this will give you better value for your flight.