So maybe I might want to learn to fly...

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by PDogSniper, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. PDogSniper

    PDogSniper

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    A previous thread has spurred this question...

    I love Airplanes, that is looking at them. They are so beautiful and in flight so graceful.

    Am I scared of heights...? Yes! I get vertigo looking at pictures of rock climbers in National Geographic.

    Is it a control issue with me? Yes, I've been in commercial planes and not felt comfortable at all but when I've been in small planes, like a Cessna and I've been up front with the pilot I'm ok.

    This may seem odd to you folks but one thing I have always been captivated by with flying is the landing. It seems so graceful to see a plane come out of the sky and touch down with mother earth. I love to watch ducks do this and wish I could do the same...

    Are these issues that would rule me out of learning to fly?

    If I did get the chashews to learn, what are my first steps and what should I expect in training? Requirements? Expectations...?

    I live in Southwestern Lower Michigan, near Kzoo.

    Suggestions...
     
  2. 40Cal

    40Cal Modurbator

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    All you need is desire, the rest is easy!

    I'd suggest you start by looking up flight schools in your area. I went to www.beapilot.com and looked up flight schools in Michigan but it didn't list any in Kalamazoo. The great thing about general aviation though is that there are probably airports even closer to you but I'm not familiar with the area so you'll need to check it out yourself.

    Plan on shelling out some cash. There's a running joke that says "Do you know what makes an airplane fly?". Often students will respond "100LL fuel" or "Lift" but the answer is "Money!". Most flight schools will give you an estimated cost of a complete Private Pilot course...take that number and add at least 50%. They base those numbers on the bare minimums required by the FAA and 99.9% of pilots require more training to be able to pass the exam.

    Plan on studying. The physical act of flying a small airplane is the easy part. There is a ton of book knowledge you'll need to learn in order to pass your written and oral exams.

    Plan on flying at LEAST twice per week. If you don't fly often you'll spend half your time re-learning what you did before. This is a sure way to double the money and time it will cost you to get your license.

    It may seem overwhelming at first but your instructor will be with you every step of the way and will not sign you off until he or she is confident that you are prepared to pass your exams.

    Also, don't go for the "Recreational Pilot" license, it takes almost as much effort to get it and it's plagued with tons of restrictions on when and where you can fly.

    If there are any questions I can answer or anything I can do to help, let me know or ask some of the others in this forum. There is a huge wealth of knowledge here.

    Good luck!
     

  3. PDogSniper

    PDogSniper

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    Wow thanks 40cal. Good info,

    Can you give me a approximate cost to a PPL...? I live in a small area that has a small grass strip. Use to take a Dawn Patrol once a year to keep it open till a Expermintal Pilots Club took it over. I remember being a small child my dad taking me to the DP's. Pancake breakfast and then a flight... Some of my fondest memorys. When my dad retired he took lessons but mom pretty much put a kyboch to it...
     
  4. 40Cal

    40Cal Modurbator

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    It's hard to give an approximate cost because it varies so much from place to place based on what aircraft they have and how much they charge per hour for aircraft and instructor. One school here in Tampa advertises a Private Pilot's license for $4224.53. I'd allow for at LEAST $5,000 (probably a little more) if I were going there, just to be on the safe side. That price includes 40 hours of aircraft rental, 20 hours of instructor time, books, medical certificate cost, written exam and practical exam.

    They break their course into 5 segments:

    PHASE 1
    Introduction to the flight environment
    Introduction to the aircraft and its associated parts
    Control maneuvers under a multitude of flight encounters
    Radio Communication Technique with Air Traffic Control
    Airport Environment: Traffic Patterns, Practice areas, taxing, etc
    Emergency Procedures - landings

    Goal: Solo Flight.

    PHASE 2
    Local area flying
    Getting into and out of your home base airport
    Weather

    Goal: Solo flight to and from other local airports.

    PHASE 3
    Use of airplane specific materials
    Basic flight by reference to instruments only
    Navigation Techniques
    Pilotage, Dead Reckoning, by Instruments and composite Navigation
    "Lost and being Found" procedures
    Air traffic control. Procurement and use of Aeronautical charts
    Night Flying
    Cross country flights (Flights to and from airports greater than 50 nm away.)

    Goal: Getting to destinations away from the local area.

    PHASE 4
    Solo Cross country Flying as required by the FAR's

    Goal: Solo Cross Country Flight

    PHASE 5
    Precision take off and landing techniques
    Unusual Attitudes Recovery Techniques
    Review and Refining of items in phases 1 through 4
    Preparation for FAA Private Certificate Exams

    Goal: Obtaining your Private Pilot Certificate.


    I can tell you that you will likely get frustrated at certain points throughout your training where it becomes less fun and more stressful but with each challenge comes a reward when you overcome it! It really will be one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do.
     
  5. PilotKitten

    PilotKitten Mrs. MrMurphy

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    Don't worry about the being afraid of heights thing. I'm deathly afraid of them too.... I know what you're talking about with the Natl Geo... ;a

    In an aircraft... it's just different. The height seems almost surreal. Even close to the ground... stuff like steep turns or stalls might get your heart pumping a bit the first time around but a few times into it and they get quite fun. ;f ;f
     
  6. PDogSniper

    PDogSniper

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    PK, you know I'm only about 35 miles down the road from you...
     
  7. Timotheous46

    Timotheous46

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    You MIGHT save a few bucks by:

    Joining a local flying club and using their airplane. It may cost less than renting from a FBO

    Take your ground school from a video course. I used the Kings series for both my commercial and my instrument schools. I used separate paper for parts that I had to fill in as the course required and then sold the courses to another to recoup more than half the cost and gave another pilot a deal on learning,

    Use a local instructor that your club recommends.

    If you have good instructor, stay with him/her. If you get a poor instructor, bail out and get another. A good instructor will teach you more by accident than a poor one will in a dozen flight hours.

    30 years ago I decided that flight instruction was too expensive and spent the money on a motor cycle. A few years later the bike was worn out and I still wasn’t a pilot. I should have bought a cheaper bike and got my flight lessons. It isn’t cheap to learn to fly, but you can put things in their proper priority.

    Like 40cal says, plan on taking constant lessons on schedule. I flew when the budget allowed and ended up taking my first lesson about 5 times. When I got my commercial, I just went to my local friendly banker and let him pay for the lessons up front. Even with the interest it cost me less in the long run. I also had some vacation time saved up and took 4 weeks off to take the lessons. I had my commercial and a start on my instrument in less than a month.

    Scared of heights...?
    Only if you’re smart. I can’t stand ladders that go more than 3 rungs.

    Flying …. A wonderful way to spend money.
    It will cost less than a nice boat on a major body of water, but will impress the daylights out people at a party while the guy with a boat will not.

    Welcome to the club

    Tim
     
  8. PDogSniper

    PDogSniper

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    The small grass strip that I mentioned above has a experimental pilots club located there. This might be a good place to look eh...?
     
  9. CaptainOveur

    CaptainOveur

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    Let me emphasise this point. As a former student and current flight instructor, studying and being on top of the academics will put you way ahead. The course will cost less and it will go much quicker. In the begginning, the flight instructor has to tell you where to find information and what to know. As you progress a little you will know where that information is located (FAR/AIM) and you will know how to utilize it. In other words, some students are lazy and rely on the flight instructor to tell them "everything". Students that are proactive and look up/study information on their own finish much faster.
     
  10. PilotKitten

    PilotKitten Mrs. MrMurphy

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    Lol... don't look at me... I can't teach ya! ;e


    And I second the motion on studying. I also recomment a book called "Stick and Rudder" by some guy whose last name I can't spell.

    It's like Langweische or something like that. It was written over 40 years ago but its fundamentals are still fantastic. :)
     
  11. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    Wolfgang Langschwishe - Great Book.... I'm reading it for the 3rd time and I'm still "getting" new things. It might be a little abstrast for the new new student pilot, but certianly after a dozen hours there's a lot there for you.

    Figure you can do the whole Private Pilot Lic for $6-7k total (medical, books, flight time, Ground School, etc). That assumes you put in the book time, come prepared for each flight, and finish the course in a reasonable ammount of time (2 or 3 flights a week till done). If you stretch it out (1 or 2 flights a month) and dont show up prepared it could take a 12 or 18 months to get your license and double the cost.
     
  12. PilotKitten

    PilotKitten Mrs. MrMurphy

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    When I first read the book I was constantly saying to myself... "That's why that works!" and all sorts of "AHA!" moments like that.
     
  13. geoffinak

    geoffinak

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    t

    A honest assessment of yourself, the 1st quality of a good aviator.

    The fear of heights depends on the individual, only training and doing the maneuvers that make you feel out of control will tell if you want to continue. Usually when a student is motivated to fly and understands the fundamentals of the how and why you stay in the in the air, then these fears are usually alleviated, but a good instructor will listen to you and do a assessment of your strengths and weaknesses and apply his teaching plan to meet your needs.

    If out of control, stall, spins etc bother you a good instructor will ease into these areas with verbal recollection of what and why will happen and then giving you a small taste at a time. Most students have something their not comfortable with at the beginning. It is not always slow flight or stalls. I tried the first few lessons to give them a taste but guided tour of what flying is about and the maneuvers you will do

    I have had students who just were not comfortable flying but outside pressures kept them going. I would never sign off a student like that. Others will.

    I have had 1 student who was through ground school and very knowledgeable but he was a little anxious about stalls, so we went very easy into them lots of slow flight, glides, nibble at the stall, recover at the the horn, usually the first indictor. So it was getting time to do his first recovery at the buffet with out me. The horn came and then the buffet and I said recover, he kept buffeting and I calmly said recover again. He did, he put the nose straight over and full throttle and froze. We were at 5000 feet agl I calmly said I have it, once, twice, were still going down, one more time I say, I have the airplane. We hit 3000 I punched his arm said I have the airplane, 2500 again and again, we were at redline at 1500 agl and I clocked on the side of the head. He let go of the controls, I powered back and eased up and the ground went by at 200' agl maybe. It was like he was in a trance and I knew this man well. I tried to make nothing out of it, although I clocked him pretty good. He never flew again. So there was something in him that made him lose control. I have found very few students like that, that is my worst case scenario, but I never ever did stalls below 5000 agl.

    So by all means go for it but it is like anything else in this world some are good at it and some are not comfortable. I would say from the self assessment you would probably be good at it as you recognize your *possible* weak areas and admit them. The worst pilots are Doctors, the have the attitude I can do anything and stretch the limits, which is good in medicine, bad in aviation. You will quickly know if this is for me or not.
    Me I have no problem going 120 kts down the runway in a coors can with botttle rockets on the side. Put me in the ocean in a sailboat and I would probably sink it.

    Try to find a seasoned instructor most are young and new at aviation, this has some good points as they are eager to pass on the knowledge they have learned and that is the excat knowledge you will need to pass the check ride The bad little real world experience which comes with time. Overall I was willing to pay more to the guy who everytime he opened his mouth on my dollar said something I needed to know or he had learned.

    None of the factors you mentioned would keep you from being a good pilot
    in fact they all point to good judgement which makes the best pilots. I might also mention, though not required I suggest all pilots do a little unusual attitude flying with a well qualified instructor. A few spins, rolls, just enough so you know what to do and it is not something you have never done.
    I still believe heavily stay out of the stall, stay out of the spin, however you never know you just might like it.
    Good luck, go kick some tires and check out some instructors and go for intros, you will know if it's for you.
    Drop a line and tell us what happens.
    Geoff
     
  14. ChopperEd

    ChopperEd

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    Fly Helicopters ;f

    Nah, but seriously, these guys have good info.

    Study, study, study, that's all I got to say. Showing up to a lesson unprepared as to what you're going to learn is like throwing money out the window. It'll prolong your training and affect you.

    Keep the dream alive and have fun doing it!

    Greasy side down ;c
     
  15. HKMark23

    HKMark23 Millennium Member

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    Get this book first...........
    http://www.rodmachado.com/Product/Books/books.htm

    It makes learning mucho fun and interesting.

    I went through a local ground school then got my PPL, about a year later I discoverd this book, read it, and learned WAAAAY more from it than I did in the school.