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Learning To Fly In Cessna 172 - How Safe?  
User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 10 months 18 hours ago) and read 38071 times:

I generally feel very safe on commercial flights in your standard A320, 757, etc. I've taken two flight lessons so far in a Cessna 172 and I must say, it did not feel safe at all. Those smaller propeller airplanes just seem "flimsy" if I had to describe it in one word.

I've done a lot of reading about this, and I know that a single engine failure on a large passenger jet is not catastrophic, in fact far from it. On a Cessna 172 however, I'm not so sure. I read about single engine propeller plane crashes all the time in the news, in most cases due to engine failure, so it does not appear that such a thing is very recoverable. I know propeller engines are far less reliable than jet engines of large planes. And it's even worse when you only have one engine.

I also know that wind and turbulence is usually no big deal with large passenger jets. However, because of the small scale, the same wind and turbulence that you'd hardly feel in an A320, may throw around your Cessna 172 like a little leaf. More reason to be concerned.

For those of you who learned to fly in a Cessna 172 or smaller, what are your feelings about safety of such planes? Do you find it flimsy? I want to continue my flying lessons, but somehow I'll never feel as safe in a Cessna 172 as I do in say a 777.

26 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBurnsie28 From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 7554 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 18 hours ago) and read 38056 times:

And how many GA planes are there compared to commercial? Don't worry about it, then again, I choose to do my flight training in Pipers.


"Some People Just Know How To Fly"- Best slogan ever, RIP NW 1926-2009
User currently offlineOrdpark From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 574 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 18 hours ago) and read 38057 times:
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Well, to me, it sounds like you need to have a heart to heart talk with your instructor.....you probably never will as safe in a 172 as you would in a 777, but that is an unfair comparison.

I trained in a cessna 150...never felt unsafe...just trusted my instructor and the aircraft.

Again, talk to your instructor...you sound like you need some reassurance from him/her!


User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 18 hours ago) and read 38047 times:

The place where I took those two flight lessons seemed somewhat unsafe. I remember one time we were doing pre-flight checks, and the instructor said we're ready to go. Then I pointed out that several screws were missing on the engine cover, and that only about half the screws needed were holding down the cover over the engine. What did he do? He walked over to another Cessna 172 and unscrewed its engine cover screws, and put them on our Cessna 172. He did this without notifying anyone. At this point I actually just said forget it and left. I assume you all agree that is totally unacceptable behavior? That was several years ago. I want to resume flight lessons at a different flight school.

User currently offlineAirTran737 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3705 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 18 hours ago) and read 38047 times:
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Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
For those of you who learned to fly in a Cessna 172 or smaller, what are your feelings about safety of such planes? Do you find it flimsy? I want to continue my flying lessons, but somehow I'll never feel as safe in a Cessna 172 as I do in say a 777.

None of us will, but the 172 is an awesome airplane. I learned to fly in a 172 and have zero qualms about getting into one. The 172 in my opinion is the best plane the learn to fly in because it can take a beating. The 172 can take a hard landing, has great short field performance, climb speed, and the list goes on and on. The thing you have to remember is that you are fling a small plane. The max cross wind component is 19 kts IIRC (I landed as a student on 25 kt cross winds on a rwy that was 30ft wide and 2,270 ft long) and the plane weight about 2,000 lbs, so it will be susceptible to thew wind.

Remember the plane is only as good as the people who maintain it, and the person flying it. The 172 is a great airplane, and you should feel comfortable in it. You will see when you get to the slow flight, and stall portion of your training just how easy it is to control, and to regain control once you have lost it. Happy flying, and feel free to contact me with any ?'s.



Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
User currently offlineCptSpeaking From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 639 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 38024 times:

Ok...we'll break it down piece by piece...

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I've taken two flight lessons so far in a Cessna 172 and I must say, it did not feel safe at all. Those smaller propeller airplanes just seem "flimsy" if I had to describe it in one word.

Yes, comparatively, they are more "flimsy" than a larger airplane. That said, with a properly trained pilot, it is still statistically more safe to fly in a 172 or the equivalent than it is to hop in your car and go to work. The only reason you hear about more plane crashes and deaths is that the news doesn't find all the auto accidents as riveting, catastrophic or news worthy and therefore they aren't reported as often.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I've done a lot of reading about this, and I know that a single engine failure on a large passenger jet is not catastrophic, in fact far from it. On a Cessna 172 however, I'm not so sure. I read about single engine propeller plane crashes all the time in the news, in most cases due to engine failure, so it does not appear that such a thing is very recoverable. I know propeller engines are far less reliable than jet engines of large planes. And it's even worse when you only have one engine.

You're right...jet engines are more reliable and a multi-engine airplane is more safe because of the redundancy in power. However, complete engine failures are a very rare thing in general aviation. Airplane engines are built to be much more reliable than car engines because of the fact that you can't just pull over on the side of the road if something goes wrong. As for those rare times that you might have an engine failure in a piston single, it is in fact recoverable. A lot of your private pilot training will concentrate on emergencies and how to deal with them. I give at least one simulated engine failure to my students every time I go fly. This training may save your life someday! It is much better to think about it this way: if you lose your only engine, you instantly become a glider pilot...your only responsibility is to glide it down to a landing, and if time is an asset, you might be able to fix your problem and get power back. Keep in mind that some planes are made to be gliders, but all planes CAN be gliders...none just fall out of the sky with no power...even helicopters.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I also know that wind and turbulence is usually no big deal with large passenger jets. However, because of the small scale, the same wind and turbulence that you'd hardly feel in an A320, may throw around your Cessna 172 like a little leaf. More reason to be concerned.

I've been in some pretty good (or bad, depending on how you think about it...) turbulence in a 172. I've hit my head on several occasions and have had airspeed fluctuations of +/- 30 knots in some cases. But the wings stay on. If you decide to continue your training, you'll learn a lot about the aerodynamics of the airplane and how it performs in certain conditions. There is an airspeed based on weight and design call Va, maneuvering airspeed. At this point, full controls can be applied and the airplane will stay together. Above this airspeed there is the posibility for structural damage (not necessarily destruction...in most cases slight bending at the most). A neat thing about Va is that if you stay below it, any wind or turbulence you encounter will stall the airplane before it does any damage. It's kind of a natural protection against structural damage. Any person not familiar with general aviation who would happen to be riding along with me on one of those previously described flights would absolutely freak out, thinking that, as you seem to be concluding, the wings are going to fall off and I'm going to die. Not so if the right piloting techniques are put into practice. Theres always the option of not flying on those days too...turbulence is predicted and nobody forces you to go fly...

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
For those of you who learned to fly in a Cessna 172 or smaller, what are your feelings about safety of such planes? Do you find it flimsy? I want to continue my flying lessons, but somehow I'll never feel as safe in a Cessna 172 as I do in say a 777.

I feel perfectly safe in 172s, and for that matter 152s and all other properly maintained airplanes. I wouldn't go take an airplane that has been abused and not fixed properly, but I wouldn't hesitate to fly any airplane that has been. My first 60 hours were in 152s, the next 150 in 172s, then 100 hours in a combination of 172RGs, PA-28R Arrows, and the occasional Diamond DA-40...now I instruct in 152s, 172s and PA-28s and I have never felt apprehensive about the "flimsiness" of the airplane. Search on YouTube for spin training videos in 152s...even those are well within the structural limitations of the plane and you can clearly see how hard they're throwing those airplanes around the sky...

You'll never feel as secure in a small Cessna as you do in a 777, but that's part of the fun of general aviation. It's a personal flying machine. Most accidents you hear of are caused by pilot error, not mechanical faults, and you are the one that controls how good of a pilot you are. Even in an engine out situation, you're still flying the airplane, not just along for the ride.

I would 100%, without a doubt encourage you to continue your training. Become the best pilot you can be and learn the most you can.

Your CptSpeaking



...and don't call me Shirley!!
User currently offlineCanadianNorth From Canada, joined Aug 2002, 3390 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 38024 times:

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I generally feel very safe on commercial flights in your standard A320, 757, etc.

Thats good, because for the most part you are very safe.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
Those smaller propeller airplanes just seem "flimsy"

Well your little cessna wont exactly be built like a tank, but for what they do they are usually built to be good enough plus a bit.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I read about single engine propeller plane crashes all the time in the news,

Thats because of a few reasons. First of all, the pilots seat of your cessnas, pipers, etc, is where you are most likely to find an inexperienced pilot. Secondly, because these aircraft in general do far less flying and don't carry anything remotely close in terms of passengers, it is easier for the pilot(s) to get away with skipping various safety precautions. Third and finally, you also have the fact that there are far more general aviation aircraft out there to begin with.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
However, because of the small scale, the same wind and turbulence that you'd hardly feel in an A320, may throw around your Cessna 172 like a little leaf.

This is somewhat true. However as long as you have the sence to avoid flying when the weather is bad, this will rarely be a problem.

Quoting Jawed (Reply 3):
The place where I took those two flight lessons seemed somewhat unsafe. I remember one time we were doing pre-flight checks, and the instructor said we're ready to go. Then I pointed out that several screws were missing on the engine cover, and that only about half the screws needed were holding down the cover over the engine. What did he do? He walked over to another Cessna 172 and unscrewed its engine cover screws, and put them on our Cessna 172. He did this without notifying anyone.

A couple screws missing from something like that would be no problem. You do need screws to hold the part on, but as with many things in aviation it's usually on there more than good enough, so if there happens to be 2 or 3 screws missing on a cover like that won't kill you. However if there are several missing, then yeah someone should probably do something about it, and just "borrowing" them from the airplane next door without saying anything is definetly NOT the way to go about doing that. In this case I'm going to agree with you, and suggest you find a flight school that takes a little better care of their aircraft.


CanadianNorth



What could possibly go wrong?
User currently offlineA346Dude From Canada, joined Nov 2004, 1287 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 38017 times:

A few thoughts.

First off, if you don't feel comfortable flying a certain airplane or with a certain school or instructor, then don't. It may be safe, it may not ("safe" is a relative term anyways), but there is no reason you should have to feel apprehensive in the air. Find a school you can trust.

Engine failure in a light single is not common, but when it does occur it is certainly not a death sentence. Light airplanes glide quite well, and can land in a suitable field if need be. A good pilot would not put himself in a position where a safe landing could not be made if the engine were to fail.

The 172 is not a 777, but it is a highly reliable airplane with a proven track record. Thousands of airline pilots learned to fly in them; older ones may feel "flimsy" but, when properly maintained, are very safe (as are virtually all light singles).



You know the gear is up and locked when it takes full throttle to taxi to the terminal.
User currently offlineJetJeanes From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1431 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 17 hours ago) and read 37974 times:

I too was very hesitant when i first started. Being used to Jumpseat in dc-9s, and in larger cockpits was a big change looking at all the plastic and light aluminum. But remember your not going to be at 30,000 and you will be able to glide and land in any field if there is a problem where as a 757 wont be able to. Its safe.. dont freak out and relax and work with your instructor.


i can see for 80 miles
User currently offlineAirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 16 hours ago) and read 37942 times:

Flying a 172 is safer than driving your car. Look at the statistics. The reason why people get the impression of ga planes not being safe is because everytime one goes down they get reported. They forget that there are multiple car fatality accidents every day.

Secondly, most GA 172 and other small planes are made in the 70s and 80s. They WILL have loose screws and they will seem flimsy. Don't be surprised when your instructor uses tape or items from other planes as a maintentance method! Also, most of what counts in a 172 is the engine don't worry about the apperance or how the airplane feels.


User currently offlineVref5 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 16 hours ago) and read 37929 times:

Hmm. A fair question. Obviously, commercial jets are inherently safer; more redundancy and more experienced flight crew members, and more money to dot all the i's and cross the t's.

Would I worry about the 172? No. It's one of the safest GA aircraft you could learn with. Do accidents happen? Sure. Is it fault of the plane? Usually not. Most often, it's due to less experienced pilots choosing poorly in the heat of the moment or in planning things.

It is pretty darned strong of a plane. It will take much abuse. It HAS to, simply because it's often used for flight instruction!

Your instructor was trying to make a point regarding the bolts. It might not have had come off all that well, but see what he's saying? There is a heck of a lot of redundancy built into even that "little airplane" design. If Cessna didn't overdesign, they'd be in bankruptcy due to liability lawsuits by now.

Flying, by its very nature, is extremely conservative -- and rightfully so. This is not a "take stupid risks" kind of experience at all. What the FAA mandates are already VERY conservative like you wouldn't believe, with safety as the top priority.

So... as long as one pays heed to the rules and regs, and enjoys common sense, one will be just fine.

However, if you really feel this concerned about the airplane, don't fly. Don't make yourself do something you'd hate in the end. Do it because you truly want to. If you feel hesitant, stop. STOP. Research more or whatever it takes to calm nerves. If you ultimately decide to discontinue flying entirely, that is all right, too.

Hey, everybody has their own comfort zones and preferences. No sweat. Do feel free to ask more questions, please. The more detailed, the better. But just ask as many as you want. You'll certainly get answers.

If I might say something... people whom grew up through the general aviation system and then later moved on into commercial aviation... would they fly GA planes in their spare time? Absolutely. Why? They have no qualms whatsoever about doing so, even though 'the office' is a very nicely instrumented place. Thus, GA aircraft must be safe if you've got a clued in pilot and owner whom adheres to the rules and good flying sense.

The flight crew members you see in airline flying are often former CFIs (flight instructors) whom spent the first thousand hours or two of their career in these GA airplanes. And would still fly them recreationally. If these airplanes were that bad, they wouldn't be doing it after such so long, eh?

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if this fits in your personal comfort zone or not. Flying is not for everyone; that's the simple reality of it. You decide. You think. You ask. You read. You look. In the end, it's your call.

If it's something you'd seriously lose sleep over, don't do it. I wouldn't if that was the case for myself, either.

Good luck with whatever you eventually decide; whatever you decide will be the best possible decision for yourself and not to be second guessed. I'd stand behind it 100%, whatever it may be.

(P.S. I can think of MUCH worse GA airplanes to learn to fly in, and would steer clear of for students. Cessnas? Piece of cake. Takes a terrific beatin' and keeps on tickin', while smilin'.)

One tip: maybe the way your CFI is trying to teach is not really 'clicking' that well with you. You have options like politely and delicately changing to another CFI. For some students, it may take two or three before they find one they're comfortable with. Learning to fly is very much a special trust relationship. If you feel hesitant about implicitly trusting your CFI, maybe it's time to think about talking it further with your CFI or finding a new one.


User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 16 hours ago) and read 37895 times:

I made my first solo flight after 11 hours and 50 minutes dual training on Cessna 150's and I had flown with SEVEN different instructors in that time. ...Guess they must have been afraid of flying with me 
I have almost 2000hrs instructing on Cessna 150/152/172's and I would say that they are probably still the most suitable aircraft ever built for flight training.

[Edited 2006-12-30 09:12:55]

User currently offlineYWG From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 1146 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 15 hours ago) and read 37879 times:

Quoting AirTran737 (Reply 4):
but the 172 is an awesome airplane.

I'd rather be dead stick in a 172 then a commercial airliner....

If you know you're stuff...it shouldn't be a concern.



Contact Winnipeg center now on 134.4, good day.
User currently offlineBlueElephant From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 1813 posts, RR: 6
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37740 times:

Hew Jawed,

I just want to tell you, I understand your concern about flying in C172s. You're probably right seeing as they only have 1 engine, they probably are less safe than a 777 or something.

But let me tell you, that the C172 is probably one of the most stable planes you can learn to fly on. I am currently learning to fly here in Columbus in C172s and From my 60 or so hours of flight training thus far, half of what i've learned is what to do if something goes wrong. And thats probably what you'll be learning too. I gotta say also, that its really hard to 'go wrong' with this plane, its a really good one to learn on.

I do suggest though, that if you want to learn, go to a better place. It might be a bit more expensive but probably will be worth it in the end.

Have fun...

-Blue-


User currently offlineGh123 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37727 times:

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
it did not feel safe at all

Well you are not going to be able to learn to fly in a 757, A320 etc.

Therefore, if you don't like it then maybe flying isn't for you!

I learnt in a 172. They take a beating, they are safe, they are virtually foolproof (in the sense of stalls & spins).


User currently offlineAviator737 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 47 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37712 times:

I have just had my first flying lesson in a Piper Cherokee, and felt just the way you do, especially as the wind was so strong they were considering shutting the school for the day. However, you have to realise that these small planes can withstand a lot of force on them. While a 777 might not bank very much in turbulance, its limit is around 30 degrees, whereas in a light aircraft it is usually possible to bank to 90 degrees without doing any damage to the airframe. This just goes to show that while a 172 may look flimsy, they are actually very capable of doing manouvers that wouldnt be possible in a larger jet.


Its only when you look at an ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny that you realise how often they burst into flames
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6072 posts, RR: 14
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37707 times:

I recommend that you not fly to Alaska. Many people would be offended if you called a Piper Cub 'flimsy.'


Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineLJDRVR From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 29 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37707 times:

First off, don't seek advice on a forum where idiot non-pilots are telling you that a couple of missing screws are O.K., it's not.

It sounds like you had an experience with an instructor and airframe that scared you, and you've stayed away from flying ever since. Cessna has built around forty thousand Cessna 172's since 1956, they're not unsafe at all, the Skyhawk has the lowest accident rate among all four-place, fixed-gear singles. It also has the lowest engine failure and inflight airframe breakup rate of ANY lightplane.

Don't take this personally, but the problem is most likely you. It sounds like your making excuses for a fear of flying. If you are not absolutely in love with the idea of flying an airplane, if it's not "magic" to you, your time and money are best spent elsewhere. As a former flight instructor, I was exposed to a student once who was afraid of flying, this individual was not teachable, because she was sure she was going to be killed.

Here's your best bet: Go to a reputable flight school, with new aircraft, and talk to an instructor about your fears. See how they respond, make your decision accordingly.

Good Luck!


User currently offlineVref5 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37702 times:

Quoting Aviator737 (Reply 15):
While a 777 might not bank very much in turbulance, its limit is around 30 degrees, whereas in a light aircraft it is usually possible to bank to 90 degrees without doing any damage to the airframe.

Ah, congratulations on starting training! Should be a lot of fun.

I'd like to clarify something, though.  Smile

The larger jets are certainly more than capable of doing 90 degree banks if required. Done in the sim for an extraordinarily bad emergency situation but otherwise not ordinarily done in line flying.

They are normally limited to 30 degrees for two main reasons:

1) Passenger comfort -- if you exceed 30, they often flip out and think you hit 90. Common phenomenon. Like the other month when a cruise ship tilted 15 degrees... some passengers were reporting 80 to 90 degree tilt.  Silly

2) Just as importantly, it also provides predictable holding pattern sizes as well as turn radius. Makes it easier for ATC to keep everybody apart, as well as for the authorities to figure out good places to designate holding points without running into terrain or other issues.

With all that said, I concur the 172 looks/seems filmsy but is incredibly tough.


User currently offlinePhelpsie87 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 498 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37693 times:

It sounds like one of the things holding you back the most was that experience at the flight school with the screws. That would scare the crap out of me too. Before you start flying again, check out the flight, and I mean REALLY check it out. Get on websites, talk to people at the club, ask to see the maintenance logs, go and look at the aircraft on the line. Maybe after you find a great club to be a part of, then you will feel safer.

I learned to fly in 172's and now I fly 182's, Diamond Stars, Katana's, Warriors, 172RG's and I am waiting to get checked out in a 182RG. Sure, I have had a few moments where my heart starts to beat a little fast but it has made me a better pilot.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
I also know that wind and turbulence is usually no big deal with large passenger jets. However, because of the small scale, the same wind and turbulence that you'd hardly feel in an A320, may throw around your Cessna 172 like a little leaf. More reason to be concerned.

You have to realize, however, that a good instructor is not going to take you up in conditions like this. Especially when first starting. Maybe towards the end, he/she will take you up in gusting winds, turbulence, rain etc just to get the practice. But that does not mean that you have to go. When you get your PPL, you have to make the decision if its ok to go. If you want, you can make it easy and only go on calm, clear days.

I hope that you continue your flight training, and I wish you luck.


User currently offlineMarkHKG From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37675 times:

There are additional safety features that can be added on or comes standard with new Cessna 172 aircraft that improves crash survivability.

This includes:
1) Inflatable air-bags integrated into the seat belts (manufactured by Amsafe Aviation, www.amsafe.com) Also make sure you know what your brace position is.

2) Ballistic Recovery System parachute that can be activated by the pilot or co-pilot in the event of an unrecoverable loss of control or other unforeseen circumstance including pilot incapacitation (http://brsparachutes.com)

3) Additional training, including "dunker training" in the event of a ditching which highlights the dangers of disorientation once the aircraft is submerging into the water. More at www.equipped.org


Fly safe! I'll sure you will do great.  Smile



Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
User currently offlineVref5 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37672 times:

Quoting Phelpsie87 (Reply 19):
It sounds like one of the things holding you back the most was that experience at the flight school with the screws. That would scare the crap out of me too. Before you start flying again, check out the flight, and I mean REALLY check it out. Get on websites, talk to people at the club, ask to see the maintenance logs, go and look at the aircraft on the line. Maybe after you find a great club to be a part of, then you will feel safer.

I'd concur. Still possible this was an one-off situation by flight school maintaining their airplanes, but definitely something to scrutinize closely and also consider switching to a different flight school (and instructor).

Not all flight schools are created equal. Some are real sticklers for adhering to safety regulations and requires their employees to adhere to that kind of thinking even when there isn't an explicit requirement. These are the good ones. A few will tolerate their employees cutting corners. These are the ones I'd seriously think twice about.

On top of the maintenance issue, there's also the trust and rapport with a CFI which sounds like is missing here big time. I'd probably not continue training until I found a CFI (and school) that I could implicitly trust my life with.

Flying is not inherently unsafe. It has some risks, but they are very managed risks. The key is to find people and places that takes these risks seriously.

The airplane itself (C172 in this case) is a fine one and not dangerous unless you put dangerous people in it or the owner maintains it poorly.

Edit: one last comment. In my years, I've seen a few students whom either didn't have the aptitude, attitude, or true motivation for it. One time, it was a fine individual whom was intelligent and really gave it all her best efforts. But ultimately, coaxed out the root of her anxiety: she was learning to fly only because her spouse was a pilot and she was worried about landing if something happened to him in-flight.

That's not uncommon. Some spouses do sign up for lessons for that reason. But in this case, she never clicked with a love of flying despite trying very hard with many schools and instructors, and in the end, decided that she would be happier not flying.

Nobody thought any less of her. If anything, quite a few thought highly of her determined efforts to resolve the issue and research, as well as giving it time to see if her feelings for flying would change.

So... sometimes, people starts flying but find that they seriously didn't like it after all. We don't want them to end up bitter about general aviation, and am also not trying to push them to do something they really didn't want to do.

In this case, perhaps the problem is with the CFI. Perhaps it is with the school. Perhaps it is a combination of the two. Or perhaps it is something else. Perhaps it is something that can be resolved; and perhaps it may not be possible to fully resolve to satisfaction. Only the original poster can determine that through some research and trial-and-error.

[Edited 2006-12-30 19:05:49]

User currently offlineNoelG From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (7 years 10 months 6 hours ago) and read 37660 times:

I learnt to fly in a Cessna 152, before going on to fly PA-28s and Cessna 172s. They are tough old birds, and as much as they may look old and battered they are surprisingly tough (they have to be when you have students slamming them into the runway!). They are worked pretty hard, and even though there may be instruments out, patches on the fuselage etc they meet all the safety requirements and don't feel unsafe in the slightest.

I have rarely felt unsafe in a light aircraft, in fact the thought of anything happening rarely crosses your mind, the only time I have ever panicked was when I was nearly hit by an RAF Tornado at low altitude, and once when we were hit by windshear from trees at 50 feet on short final in a 172.

Having said that, there are some less than savoury establishments out there. I found a place at Retford/Gamston called "The Flight Centre". They were exceedingly cheap and I thought that was good - but I was wrong. My checkflight was conducted by the rudest instructor I had ever met, and it only got worse from there. The aircraft was literally falling to pieces, and even I thought it looked pretty rough. There were panels missing, half the instruments were inop, the seats were ripped and I just had a general bad feeling about it. The instructor was a bit of a cowboy by all intents and purposes, snatching control of the aircraft at one point and buzzing some local houses at 200ft. Nearly killing me in some windshear on final approach (the instructor flew very low over some trees in a fierce wind, dropping the aircraft onto one side and heading for the ground) certainly didn't help matters much either! I know that wasn't entirely his fault but it certainly doesn't give you a good impression.

Needless to say I left after my first flight with them, stopping the membership fee cheque with the bank, before the school tried ripping us off by disputing it, saying "You flew with us therefore you owe us a years membership"! Needless to say I reported them to the CAA who apparently took some sort of action, as I received a very grovelling letter a few weeks later from this establishment.

So you have certainly have to be careful, I should have read the signs in hindsight but you have to visit schools in advance for sure before committing to anything.


User currently offlineLymanm From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 1140 posts, RR: 1
Reply 23, posted (7 years 10 months 5 hours ago) and read 37598 times:

Something else to add to counter your aforementioned 'statistics' - there were over 30,000 C-172 built! How many 777s? So, based on that alone, there will statistically be more accidents. Furthermore, 777s are piloted by seasonsed, professional crews; 172 are generally piloted by non-professionals, with much less training & experience. So again, the higher accident incidence you speak of is explained easily.

And yes, you are wrong about that old instructor taking cowling screws off another frame to put on yours. Totally legit. I'll dig up the FAR for you, if you'd like (or find it yourself...one of the non-flying tasks you'll learn in your training!)



buhh bye
User currently offlineAviator737 From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 47 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (7 years 10 months 5 hours ago) and read 37591 times:

Quoting Vref5 (Reply 18):
The larger jets are certainly more than capable of doing 90 degree banks if required. Done in the sim for an extraordinarily bad emergency situation but otherwise not ordinarily done in line flying.

I never knew this, because Im sure in an episode of air crash investigation when the pilot let his son fly the plane, the airbus had exceeded its safe level of bank at around 30 degrees. Oh well, thanks for that anyhow.



Its only when you look at an ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny that you realise how often they burst into flames
25 Ferrypilot : This statement can easily be misinterpreted. ...I feel sure that any airliner would clap its wings together if any attempt was made to maintain heigh
26 Post contains images Vref5 : That's correct, and was in fact, what this extreme manoeuver involved. It's been a few years, but it was an 'interesting' sim session where the sim su
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