Exploration, on the other hand, does not imply wandering off in the ADIZ or Restricted airspace, it means exploring the manageable boundaries of your experience.
By manageable I mean knowing your limits and pressing them only with an experienced CFI in the right seat. It’s important that the instructor is comfortable with the limits you intend to explore, otherwise, even a CFI’s blood can run cold.
Exploration is a memory-making ritual compressed and processed in the bank for later retrieval. The more experience you have as a pilot the better decision making you are able to make. For instance, a cross-country flight of five – six hundred miles planned with adequate reserves in good weather can turn ugly if you do not prepare for a front and headwinds encountered over a hilly terrain.
Exploration can mean improving your abilities with the help of a good CFI in the right seat such as precision landings, slow flight, timed turns and a whole host of wonderful things that we aviators love to do to retain our abilities.
Exploration can also mean learning about an airport and then flying to it and enjoying the capabilities of aviation. Besides the Christopher Columbus type of exploring, one can explore the outer reaches of one’s capabilities in an acrobatic aircraft, again with a seasoned, competent pilot so a new learning process of upset recovery can be incorporated in your dossier.