Learning To Fly?

A good pilot is ALWAYS LEARNING.

Breaking It Down.

I didn't START OFF flying 727's at the age of 12... I was Co-Pilot! (SIC)

DISCLAIMER: as a radio DJ, not the best paying job mind you, we had to carefully construct the training experience into smaller easily manageable “steps” without skimping safety, education, experience or exposure…

Flyboy – (ORIGINAL )

1. TAKE THE DEMO-FLIGHT head off to you local flight school and for $50-$90 you fly the plane and feel what it’s like while learning basics and ASK ALOT OF QUESTIONS! It’s the second-most fun day you can have in your training. (The day you SOLO is #1!)

2. TAKE THE GROUND-SCHOOL. For about $200,  or so you learn the theory, rules, physics, weather & mechanics it takes to pass your “written” … BEFORE you’ve spent another dime in the air. Those test results are good for two years after you “pass” and that means when you fly with your instructor you’ll be ready to solo WHEN they feel you are ready, you wont have to “pause” in your training to focus on the very intense written test part. My school was three nights a week for six weeks, and this is where those who weren’t really ready (some who had spent hundreds of dollars on in-flight training) to commit the time or study it takes, which can seem intimidating, drop out unfortunately. So… get that part out of the way first.

3. PASS THE MEDICAL. This could be your next ‘sticking point’, so it only makes sense to get IT out of the way as well too before you go blowing huge sums of legitimate money into your Flight School’s pockets… the medical is performed by a special doctor you’ll have to choose in your area called an ‘AME’ and is about $100 and it’s good for 2-4 years* depending on your age, health &  lifestyle.

4. Now, you’re ready to fly!!! Chances are, during your ground-school, you’ve met a lot of the people around the FBO, Airport, or other pilots who fly there and have a pretty good idea of who the good instructors are. Choose them, and make scheduled dates, as you can afford *with regularity* and commit to them. Even IF you don’t think it’s a good looking day, sometimes those are the best days for learning, even IF you choose not to fly!

5. YOUR FIRST SOLO!  When you demonstrate to your instructor you are ready after a few weeks of lessons,they’ll let you know… and you will take the controls and fly a few times around the pattern… ALONE. Once they sign your logbook, you are good to go for 90 days at a time (as long as your medical is good) with no passengers and only to your approved practice area or other airport, if so instructed. This is the time you don’t want to take long breaks between your lessons *but if you do take a break, run out of cash, or whatever, and your solo endorsement expires, you just go fly with your instructor again and they can sign you off on another 90 days for as long as it takes to build your time; You just need to do your best to make it regularly to airport and do an hour whenever you can afford it.

At a certain point, when you’ve demonstrated your ability to plan and fly solo flights, have practiced your go-arounds, and ground reference maneuvers to proficiency, can perform short-field and soft fields, emergency procedures, instruments and Stall recovery to within a set standard~ and can generally fly in a safe and controlled manner~ Your instructor will tell you when, you are ready to begin the last legs towards your “Practical Test” and that is THE BIG RIDE.


Flyboy (pt2)

This is the first time you’ll put all your knowledge to the test and it’s not that fun to be honest, it’s downright scary, because you’ll be flying alone over 100 miles or more and nobody is going to be there to tell you if you do something wrong. Yet you’ll also be excited for the challenge and ready to prove yourself. You demonstrate ADM and all the Navigational, Weight & Balance, and Weather planning you’ve learned up until now all come into play. If you’ve been learning along the way, it’s a breeze, but you’re going to hear noises in the plane you’ve never heard before and you’re going to hear your instructors voice like he’s sitting next to you the whole time and your palms are going to get sweaty at some point~ but you’ll be OK~ because your instructor(s) wouldn’t have signed you off for the ride unless they felt you were ready for this last step into Pilot-hood! That said, on that faithful day… *if you hear a little voice that says SOMETHING ISN’T RIGHT or if the weather picture is anything less than agreed upon then don’t do it. There can easily be another day and you’ll still have the $$$ to do it (if you don’t leave the airport after-all) and the time and perhaps life you save may have just that of your own. You don’t have anything to prove by blindly taking off into unknown conditions just because you want to get it over with and have taken the day off to do it. That’s not what flying is about. It’s fun!!! And it will be, once you see your first destination airport on the horizon- and you realize you did that all by yourself, with just a few words from ATC, and all of your own newly acquired piloting skills. THE BIG RIDE. Now hang onto that feeling of awesomeness…. because you’ll really need it for the next step;


7. FLIGHT TEST DAY. Now you’re really king of the hill but that’s a roller-coaster slide of emotion down the other-side when you realize; YOU know what you’re doing~ but you have to PROVE it to your FAA Designated Examiner. DOH.


Let YOUR dreams… take flight!


*NOTE: Nothing beats an intensive pay-at-once approved full-time school, this is based solely on my own experience and I was able to basically put aside $500 every month or two. This method will cost more in the long run but is better to work around busy schedules and real-life day to day professions. Again this my OWN opinion and there are many who say it’s a waste of time to learn slowly over a year or more like this, because each lesson you have spend some time getting ‘re-acquainted’ with your aircraft or instructor. Planes and Names change but your time may stay the same….


Posted on May 7, 2011 | Posted by Geoff Scott | Comment