fauzi
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Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:40 am

Hey guys. I was thinking of getting a pilot licence when I'm in my 30s, and wondering how hard or easy is it? I mean, the lessons would probably cost a few thousand dollars, no? I was reading a press release from Piper about the delivery of the first PiperSports aircraft, and the customer was saying

Quote:
“The PiperSport is sexy!” said Garhammer, who joined with his two friends to accept the keys to Piper’s new LSA at a ceremony at Piper’s Sun ‘n Fun exhibit. “You can go out and buy a BMW or a PiperSport for about the same money. But who wants a sports car when you can fly the PiperSport?”
http://www.newpiper.com/pages/PiperD...erPipersportatSunnFun_04142010.cfm

So basically is a Ferrari much more expensive than becoming a private pilot?
BI - The Asian Underdog
 
levg79
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:45 am

Although I haven't personally done it I know someone who did. Apparently it's not difficult as long as you put your mind to it. Expensive yes, difficult not really. Again, the more you want it, the easier it will be. If you want to go for instrument rating, multi-engine, or even jet aircraft, it will take longer to get there and probably more expensive but for regular small planes such as Piper or Cessna shouldn't be anything out of the ordinary.

Leo.
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
 
Pe@rson
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:53 am

Almost meaningless to put this, but for a basic illustration of cost (non-US):

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090412114027AAjiMaT

He says that 55 hours, required books, travelling to/from the airfield, etc, resulted in it costing him around £7,000.
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
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CaptSkibi
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:23 pm

Have you seen people drive cars? Most people can't do that well, at all, let alone flare an aircaft at the right height, airspeed, and proper place on a runway in order to have a good landing.

That aside, if you want it, then it'll be easy. A basic understanding of algebra & trig would probably help too with the training for flight planning and such (that's the other problem for most people).

I am a private pilot, myself. My largest challenge was that I traveled frequently for work, so my training was sporadic. Nor could I take a ground school, either, because of my travel.

I've found that as I was training, the $ wasn't so much of a problem as there was a specific purpose to going flying. Now it's just for fun, so it feels more expensive.
Private Pilot, Airplane Single Engine Land / former frequent flyer with 9 straight years being elite on NW/DL
 
Rj111
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:30 pm

I believe about 80% of people who can get a driving liscence could get a PPL.
 
N766UA
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:23 pm

Quoting Fauzi (Thread starter):
Hey guys. I was thinking of getting a pilot licence when I'm in my 30s, and wondering how hard or easy is it? I

Compared to what? Riding a bike? Learning to juggle? Completing your PhD?

As flying goes, a PPL is cake. It takes concentration, determination, and a good bit of hard work, but if you want it, you can get it without any excessive effort. If you have the time and money, go for it! The opportunities gained are well worth the cost.
This Website Censors Me
 
rfields5421
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:26 pm

Accessibility to 'reasonable cost' training varies greatly by country.

For example - I went out last week and flew the Remos LSA for a dozen TNG at an airfield near my training school. That is a towered airport with ILS on all runways under the DFW Class B airspace wedding cake. The airport is a AA maint location and a FDX regional hub.

It cost me nothing to use that airport. In Europe, Australia and possibly other places it would cost as much as the aircraft rental in airport fees.

A potential restriction is health. For men in the United States - a surprising number have red-green deficient color vision. As do I, my father, my brothers and all my grandsons. You can get a PPL with deficient color vision but you will be restricted to not flying at night.

For a few hundred dollars in the US, you can take introductory lessons at a few different flight schools if you have choices in your area. Learn if you 'have what it takes' from more than one CFI. Test fly various models of aircraft - high wing, low wing, stick, yoke. Compare the flight instructors, the attitude at the school, etc.

Even if you go no farther - you will at least have a better understanding of what you like and what you do not like.

Now as far as ultimate costs - if you can afford a Ferrari, you can afford a LSA aircraft. Maybe not new with glass and all the bells and whistles.

Unlike the Ferrari though, you cannot just buy it and run it into the ground with none of the maintenance. Airplanes have to be maintained properly. With a few exceptions, you cannot park the aircraft in your backyard. There is parking spot or hanger rental, insurance, etc.

Most of us though are limited to not owning a plane, but renting. That appears expensive because you are pulling $100-$150 out of your pocket for every hour.

But it is a lot cheaper over a year than all my friends who race dirt track sprint cars.

I know people who spend more on Flight Simulator with new computers, multiple monitors, physical avionics stacks each year than flight training and will never get in a real cockpit.
 
N757ST
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:27 pm

Its not easy, its not overly hard. It is different, and it is something that you have to take seriously in order to succeed. It involves a lot of work to be done well, and the only way you will remain safe after getting it is to remain proficient and fly often.

-Signed a 7000 hour pilot.
 
macsog6
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 2:45 pm

Quoting N757ST (Reply 7):
the only way you will remain safe after getting it is to remain proficient and fly often.

Amen! With about 5,000 hours in the left or right seat of ME aircraft, I no longer fly alone as I cannot fly often enough to keep the edge that I feel I need to keep. I only fly now with someone as a co-pilot who is very proficient and who flies often.

Thus, it is not getting the PPL that costs so much; it is keeping it and maintaining proficiency.
Sixty Plus Years of Flying! "I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things." - Saint Ex
 
caboclo
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:35 pm

Your training will be much cheaper, easier and enjoyable if you save up the time and money till you can train nearly full time: fly at least 4 times/week, with ground instruction and homework on the side. You can do the whole thing in a month, if you can devote the time to it. If you only fly once a week or less, you'll spend half of each lesson trying to remember what you learned last time, and it will drag out a long time and be very expensive and frustrating. As far as difficulty, it requires a lot of memorization: regulations, procedures, chart symbols, etc. A basic mechanical aptitude and knowledge is very helpful. It also requires an intangible, mental element which the majority of people possess to an adequate degree; that is, the ability to keep track of your location, aircraft condition (airspeed, altitude, fuel remaining), the ability to correct instantly and instinctively for wind gusts, etc and the ability to make command decisions quickly but not without thinking. And don't forget the medical requirements; a fair number of people get a nasty surprise on that point.
Freight dogs have more fun
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:00 pm

*requested to move to tech/ops*

The PPL license is relatively easy, but can be a handful because you're starting from scratch and everything is new to you. To me the easiest courses were commercial single and multi, the toughest CFI.

If you're a foreigner however, get your TSA clearance far in advance, it is a pain in the ass to get I've been told, and takes forever.

Quoting CaptSkibi (Reply 3):

A basic understanding of algebra & trig would probably help too with the training for flight planning and such (that's the other problem for most people).

I disagree. I'm completely mathematically handicapped (flunked math courses every single year of my life on the first try) but yet I've never struggled with flight planning, and yes I was taught to do it the "old school" way just how Amelia or Lindy would've done it (minus the sextant and almanac). As long as you can handle an E6B and can solve some really simple math problems you'll be fine.

Quoting N766UA (Reply 5):

As flying goes, a PPL is cake.

Depending on how you approach it, it can be.

Quoting caboclo (Reply 9):
If you only fly once a week or less, you'll spend half of each lesson trying to remember what you learned last time, and it will drag out a long time and be very expensive and frustrating.

Agreed. You have to make it a almost full time endeavor to get the most out of it. That being said, I wouldn't get into those zero-to-hero-in-less-than-two-days programs, or any other program that will rush it.

[Edited 2010-04-29 09:02:03]
 
C767P
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:02 pm

I think it all depends on the individual. Like many things in life, flying can come naturaly to some, others have to work on it.

I think the younger someone is when they start training the easier it is for them. I only say this becuase I have watched middle age people learn to fly who struggle with straight and level. They get it eventually, but it takes time, and in aviation that means money.

Depending on the place and how often you fly, it can be done for $7,000 to $8,000.

Just a side note, it is a private pilot certificate, not a license. As a license will expire, a certificate does not.
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:13 pm

I am a private pilot and I can tell you that almost anyone who can pass the medical can get their license...all it takes is time and money.

If you are really keen and you do it basically as a full time student, you can do it in a month with less than 50 hours of flight time and 6 or 7 thousand dollars.

If you are like most people and take one or two flight and ground classes a week, it could take as much as a year, including 60 or 70 flight hours and 8 to 10 thousand dollars.

If you can afford the time and money to get your license and the 150 or more dollars per hour it takes to rent a plane and the minimum of 1 hour per month rental to stay on the insurance, you'll have the time of your life.

There is also the option of owning. Used aircraft, decent ones, of the certified and homebuilt variety can be had for under 20 grand. With a partner or two, flying can be a reasonably priced hobby.

So yes, it is entirely possible for almost anyone to earn their pilot license. To fly truly is an amazing thing.

The best first step is to go to your local flight school, talk to an instructor and take a discovery flight. One warning, though...don't take that step unless you can afford go all the way...it can be very, very addictive.
What the...?
 
aviationnut12
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:19 pm

I got my license in January, started training in July. I flew three times per week, weather permitting of course and kept up studying the entire time. I did read through almost the entire FAR/AIM book, not that I remember it all...... Take the PPL knowledge exam ASAP. It is best to get that out of the way first thing. Anyway, as long as you put your mind to it, it will be easy. I say if you can, go for it! Flying is fun, but when you're the pilot it's even better!
Every choice is a step, steps become direction, direction determines destination
 
SEPilot
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:46 pm

A great deal depends on where you do your training and what government rules you are following. In the US it is reasonable; I got my certificate in 1987 in the US, and I was able to do it with about 50 hours in about 3 months. I certainly endorse the idea of doing it in as concentrated a time frame as possible; as others have said, that makes it much more efficient. If you are going to take a year or more then it is unlikely you will be able to do it with much less than about 70 hours; however you do it you'll have to figure the cost on the basis of what the plane costs and what the instructor costs. Figure that half of the flying time will be solo, but you will have to figure on some ground school. In the US I would figure on 1/3 of the flying time being solo; that should give you enough cushion to pay for the ground time with the instructor. Before you start get to know the instructor as well as you can; a good instructor makes it more enjoyable as well as more effective; an instructor with whom you are uncomfortable can make the whole process miserable. Good luck; flying is just about the most enjoyable thing that one can do on this earth, IMHO. But remember the adage; there are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:50 pm

Oh and by the way, don't make the mistake of learning to fly in some nearly-abandoned uncontrolled airstrip in the middle of nowhere. Do yourself a favor, huge favor, and learn to fly in relatively busy CONTROLLED airspace. It sounds daunting at first but by learning in a relatively difficult airspace will make everywhere else seem like cake and you will be comfortable talking on the radios to ATC.

On the same token, an airport with high density altitudes, somewhat mountainous terrain, and decent winds is good for experience as well.

Most airports in AZ fall under that category, specially FLG and PRC.
 
SEPilot
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 7:12 pm

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 15):
Oh and by the way, don't make the mistake of learning to fly in some nearly-abandoned uncontrolled airstrip in the middle of nowhere.

I don't totally agree with this, although I see your point. I did learn at the uncontrolled, unbusy strip you refer to; I then learned how to deal with busy controlled airspace later. Your point that flying in controlled airspace is very different is very valid, and has to be learned. But the advantages of a small, unbusy strip are cost and a much more relaxed atmosphere. Your instructor can easily take you to a busy field when you are ready to handle it; I certainly recommend going into busy airspace for the first time with an instructor.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:00 pm

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 16):
But the advantages of a small, unbusy strip are cost and a much more relaxed atmosphere. Your instructor can easily take you to a busy field when you are ready to handle it; I certainly recommend going into busy airspace for the first time with an instructor.

Of course. It really comes down to the individual person.

As for me, I was always eager to jump into controlled airspace, the busier for me, the better and more fun. I spent MANY hours listening to my scanner to train myself on my spare time with ATC calls. And it paid off greatly.

My first solo cross country flight was down to DVT, the busiest GA airport in the US no less, and under Class B airspace. Many of my peers at the time told me I was crazy for doing that (they always went to uncontrolled airports, which was very counterproductive IMO), and that I should avoid busy airspace, but my instructor knew I could handle it and gave me the Class B endorsement. ATC told me "great job" several times in that flight.

So I guess my point is: challenge yourself, but keep it real. Obviously storming into ORD in a 40 year old VFR-only C150 when you got only 30 hrs under your belt isn't too smart.
 
KELPkid
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:30 pm

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 15):
Oh and by the way, don't make the mistake of learning to fly in some nearly-abandoned uncontrolled airstrip in the middle of nowhere.

Okay....what if that's the only choice?    signed, someone who's been there, done that, and got my PPL part 61   (and took my time...8 years 1st logged flight to PPL checkride...what can I say, I was a broke college student for most of that time!)
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:59 pm

Quoting kelpKID (Reply 18):

Okay....what if that's the only choice? signed, someone who's been there, done that, and got my PPL part 61 (and took my time...8 years 1st logged flight to PPL checkride...what can I say, I was a broke college student for most of that time!)

LOL well then just do all your XCs into crowded airspace 

[Edited 2010-04-29 15:28:29]
 
2H4
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:16 pm

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 10):
I disagree. I'm completely mathematically handicapped (flunked math courses every single year of my life on the first try) but yet I've never struggled with flight planning, and yes I was taught to do it the "old school" way just how Amelia or Lindy would've done it (minus the sextant and almanac). As long as you can handle an E6B and can solve some really simple math problems you'll be fine.

Well said. Like Fly2HMO, I'm also mathematically handicapped. I've never taken trig or calc, but it never hindered me in any way. Particularly through my private certification.

Would advanced mathematical knowledge provide you with 'a more thorough understanding' of concepts related to flight? I suppose so...but I feel the same time and effort directed elsewhere (systems, FARs, meterology, etc) will be far more beneficial.

I recommend practicing simple time/speed/distance calculations in your head. You can practice while driving. On boring drives, I constantly calculate my arrival time based on mileage to my destination. "How fast would I have to drive to get there in xx minutes", "How long would it take to get there if I drove at 30mph", etc.

The most complicated mathematical problems you'll encounter will go something like this: "If I want to descend to pattern altitude at a 500fpm rate, how far out will I have to begin my descent if my groundspeed is 100mph?"

So be concerned about simple calculations you can do in your head. Don't worry about calc/trig/etc.
Intentionally Left Blank
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:33 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 20):
but I feel the same time and effort directed elsewhere (systems, FARs, meterology, etc) will be far more beneficial.

           

Agreed. Let the engineers worry about the more advanced stuff. For PPL purposes, 80% of the time simple arithmetics will suffice. For the remaining 20%, pull out the whiz wheel. Or you can cheat and use the whiz wheel 80% of the time, like I did 
Quoting 2H4 (Reply 20):
On boring drives, I constantly calculate my arrival time based on mileage to my destination. "How fast would I have to drive to get there in xx minutes", "How long would it take to get there if I drove at 30mph", etc.

LOL been there, done that. It does help though   
 
tams747
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:59 pm

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 17):
Obviously storming into ORD in a 40 year old VFR-only C150

Hey Eagle 1 and 2 will be in Chicago about two weeks from now      
GEFT. We do this together.
 
rwessel
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:05 am

Assuming you have a local glider (sailplane) operation, getting your glider license first is an option to consider. First of all the cost is much lower, you will *really* get some of that stick and rudder stuff nailed, most of us think it makes you a better pilot, and it's a *heck* of a lot of fun. After you get the glider rating, the power transition course is quicker than starting from scratch, as you'll spend most of the time focusing on systems and procedures, not learning the basics of flight.

And this is well within the capabilities of most adults who are willing to focus on the effort. And if you're unsure, the low cost, and quick solo*, lets you get out and experience things without an overly huge commitment.

*Usually somewhere around 25 flights (with almost everyone in the +/- 10 range from there). That's about 7-8 hours total flight time (you don't usually spend a lot of time working lift during training). And not too long after that you can get into a basic single place sailplane, which will be even less expensive than the two place trainer - and more fun. If you do go this route, I have one suggestion - the standard tow (assuming you do this someplace that uses aerotow – winch or autotow are limited in the amount of altitude they can get you) is to 2000ft, but they'll tow you to whatever altitude you like (usually it's billed in 100ft increments past 1000 or 2000ft). A 3000ft tow after your first few flights (the first few flight you'll be happy to get off tow since you'll be struggling with flying on tow), basically doubles the amount of time you have for instruction and whatnot before you're back in the pattern - well worth the small extra cost of the higher tow.
 
fauzi
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:17 am

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 6):
Unlike the Ferrari though, you cannot just buy it and run it into the ground with none of the maintenance. Airplanes have to be maintained properly. With a few exceptions, you cannot park the aircraft in your backyard. There is parking spot or hanger rental, insurance, etc.

Most of us though are limited to not owning a plane, but renting. That appears expensive because you are pulling $100-$150 out of your pocket for every hour.

That's not bad I think. I mean realistically, taking into account I'm from BWN, fuel is cheap, I would think parking would be much cheaper too although lately I've not seen any LSAs or similar here since the local and only flying club closed down in 2000 I think.

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 10):
I disagree. I'm completely mathematically handicapped (flunked math courses every single year of my life on the first try) but yet I've never struggled with flight planning, and yes I was taught to do it the "old school" way just how Amelia or Lindy would've done it (minus the sextant and almanac). As long as you can handle an E6B and can solve some really simple math problems you'll be fine.

Yeah at first I was worried about that but when I talked to a pilot, he said all I need is some basic high school maths. Hmm...
BI - The Asian Underdog
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:23 am

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 15):
Oh and by the way, don't make the mistake of learning to fly in some nearly-abandoned uncontrolled airstrip in the middle of nowhere. Do yourself a favor, huge favor, and learn to fly in relatively busy CONTROLLED airspace. It sounds daunting at first but by learning in a relatively difficult airspace will make everywhere else seem like cake and you will be comfortable talking on the radios to ATC.

I learned at an uncontrolled, but busy, airport. We have flight services but no tower. A couple of airlines and lots of local traffic can keep you on your toes.

The advantage to learning here was that one gets used to making all their own decisions and dealing with traffic on a one to one basis, cooperating with other pilots and air radio. In comparison, flying in controlled airspace was a piece of cake. Everything is done for you.

I'd take off from our airport and as soon as I was high enough, ask for flight following....and from there on, all my decisions were made for me...frequencies, traffic, patterns, runways...the whole 9 yards.

I was pretty stressed thinking about tangling with the big kids but it turned out to me a non issue...but still plenty of fun.

One thing to really practice when going to major airports is to learn to keep up your speed. If you can basically keep your 172 or Cherokee 140 at cruise speed in the pattern and on final until the threshold, learn to safely slow down in a hurry, and get off the runway at the closest taxiway, you'll earn some friends for sure. Nobody wants to have an airliner overshoot because a novice is flying a slow circuit.
What the...?
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:34 am

Go take a lesson and see how you like it.

Don't really consider yourself a pilot until you go on to get an instrument rating. I've been flying for over 50 years and I got my Instrument Rating at 18.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 5:21 am

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 26):

Don't really consider yourself a pilot until you go on to get an instrument rating.

Agreed. Anybody can fly VFR without bumping into anything. IFR is where it gets really interesting. Nothing more satisfying (and eerie) than flying into a fog layer for 5 minutes and then suddenly popping out right in front of the runway. It really is something to behold, specially when you do it yourself.
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:17 am

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 27):
Agreed. Anybody can fly VFR without bumping into anything. IFR is where it gets really interesting. Nothing more satisfying (and eerie) than flying into a fog layer for 5 minutes and then suddenly popping out right in front of the runway. It really is something to behold, specially when you do it yourself.

Claiming a pilot is only a real pilot without an IFR ticket is pure nonsense. While I encourage every pilot to never stop training, VFR flying is as legitimate as IFR...and it is usually much more pleasurable.

Most private pilots fly for pleasure, not for the knuckle clenching experience of night approaches down to minimums.

Discounting the achievements and skills of tens of thousands of VFR pilots is the type of elitist silliness that keeps VFR pilots from asking IFR pilots for advice.
What the...?
 
Rj111
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 8:54 am

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 26):
Go take a lesson and see how you like it.

Don't really consider yourself a pilot until you go on to get an instrument rating. I've been flying for over 50 years and I got my Instrument Rating at 18.

Ridiculous.
 
bond007
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:49 pm

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 25):
The advantage to learning here was that one gets used to making all their own decisions and dealing with traffic on a one to one basis, cooperating with other pilots and air radio. In comparison, flying in controlled airspace was a piece of cake. Everything is done for you.

Well, I'm not sure that 'everything is done for you"! The only major difference is that one is more formal than the other, and you can be sure that all the pilots are known to ATC. Being told when to turn base doesn't make flying the aircraft any easier ... in fact one could argue it's more difficult to be where you're told, instead of what's 'best' for your pattern.

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 25):
I was pretty stressed thinking about tangling with the big kids but it turned out to me a non issue...but still plenty of fun.

From my experience, a lot of folks who learned to fly at non-towered airports certainly have 'issues' when flying into busy Class C or D airports. Their radio etiquette is appalling and it's obvious it's all very new to them. I know I'm generalizing, but if you start at a non-towered airport, you're unlikely to have those problems, and at the same time, also likely to have covered non-towered airports somewhere else. IMO, guys flying non-radio Cubs round the pattern, and Bonanzas flying straight in approaches with no radio calls at all, don't make it easier to learn ... just more dangerous. Like I said, I'm generalizing of course. You might argue that starting at a busy towered airport is too much, too early also.

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 25):
I'd take off from our airport and as soon as I was high enough, ask for flight following....and from there on, all my decisions were made for me...frequencies, traffic, patterns, runways...the whole 9 yards.

Well let's be clear here. VFR Flight Following doesn't take any decisions away from you, in fact unless you request otherwise, all it is is another set of eyes looking for traffic....aka traffic advisories.

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 26):
Don't really consider yourself a pilot until you go on to get an instrument rating. I've been flying for over 50 years and I got my Instrument Rating at 18.

So, at 18, with few hours experience (I imagine), did you really consider yourself a better pilot than a guy with 1000 hours but no instrument rating? I hope not, because you probably weren't.

Ratings don't make a better pilot. Attitude, skill, and experience do.

Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 1:58 pm

Quoting rwessel (Reply 23):
Assuming you have a local glider (sailplane) operation, getting your glider license first is an option to consider. First of all the cost is much lower, you will *really* get some of that stick and rudder stuff nailed, most of us think it makes you a better pilot, and it's a *heck* of a lot of fun.

I'd have to disagree with a few points there. If he can find a club, his costs WILL be lower, but it will also be spread out over a year or so. A commercial operation will be anywhere between $5-7000, which is almost as much as the ASEL rating. If one wants to have a minimum of two ratings, it's recommended that you get a power rating first (ASEL, Helicopter) before going for another rating (Powered Parachute, Glider, Baloon,) as the experience does NOT transfer.

Private ASEL, then Private (Glider, Balloon, Powered Parachute) = $9K. You can skip certain things, like the written test, but you've got to have a minimum of 40 hours PIC time prior to achieving the additional rating.

Private glider then Private ASEL = $12-14K, as you have to start all over again, from scratch.
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bond007
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:37 pm

As others have said, a key to reducing costs and making your training as effective as possible, is to fly as much as frequently as possible. I'm not sure you need to fly more than once a week, but you shouldn't be only flying once a month. Save up enough money until you afford a lesson at least every week.

Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
FighterPilot
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Fri Apr 30, 2010 3:57 pm

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 26):
Don't really consider yourself a pilot until you go on to get an instrument rating.

Try telling that to all the bush plane operators in Canada and Alaska flying around at on floats in marginal VFR weather just below the ceiling.  
They'd argue that when you're instrument rated all the work's done for you.

Cal   

[Edited 2010-04-30 09:03:22]
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413X3
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sat May 01, 2010 4:12 am

almost anybody with money can learn how to fly, it isn't difficult. It's not like you have a pilot gene or anything. Some people on the road driving a car just get stressed out and can't handle it. Flying an airplane is more stressful but you can manage it and learn to deal with it easier. A lot less goes wrong in an airplane than all the other cars surrounding you on a highway.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sat May 01, 2010 5:27 am

Quoting 413X3 (Reply 34):
It's not like you have a pilot gene or anything.

Agree, to an extent. As with driving, there are many people out there that no matter how hard they try or how much effort they put into it, they just don't cut it, they aren't made for it, or call it whatever you want, but they just can't and IF they make it through training, they suck at it. Seen it too many times. Some people got what it takes, some don't.
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sat May 01, 2010 5:08 pm

Quoting bond007 (Reply 30):
Well, I'm not sure that 'everything is done for you"! The only major difference is that one is more formal than the other, and you can be sure that all the pilots are known to ATC. Being told when to turn base doesn't make flying the aircraft any easier ... in fact one could argue it's more difficult to be where you're told, instead of what's 'best' for your pattern.

At a non controlled airport, every pilot, (from C150 to airliner), has the same rights, unless there's an emergency. In the pattern, or any operations near the airport, pilots must cooperate with each other and work out for themselves the best way to accommodate other traffic. Air radio, which gives very useful information, is advisory only. So not only do you have to fly your plane, you have to coordinate and prioritize all other traffic. In controlled airspace, traffic coordination is done for you, as are frequencies, weather and any other conditions which may effect your operations at that airport. All you have to do is fly the plane. Piece of cake.

Of course it's rarely that simple. Any flying is a challenge...VFR, IFR, controlled, uncontrolled...that's why good preparations are so important.

I also speak from my own experiences...which won't be the same for everyone.
Quoting bond007 (Reply 30):
Well let's be clear here. VFR Flight Following doesn't take any decisions away from you, in fact unless you request otherwise, all it is is another set of eyes looking for traffic....aka traffic advisories.

No kidding. Every pilot under every situation still has ultimate responsibility to fly their aircraft in a safe manner. That really does go without saying which is why I didn't think it was necessary to say it.

Quoting bond007 (Reply 30):
You might argue that starting at a busy towered airport is too much, too early also.

I have found a busy uncontrolled airport more challenging than a busy controlled airport, due to the very chaos you mention. It's not just Bonanzas who go straight in but airliners do it as well. Not everybody has a radio or knows how to use it. At least at a controlled airport everybody must have a transponder so you at least ATC always knows where the traffic is. That is a huge advantage and load reducer.

Quoting 413X3 (Reply 34):
It's not like you have a pilot gene or anything.

That's is very true but it still made me laugh out loud.
What the...?
 
alwaysontherun
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sat May 01, 2010 6:47 pm

I did it perhaps the other way round if you like, compared to some others on here.
I fell in love with flying being a pax, crushed my piggy bank to buy a (simple) Ultra Light / GA plane and then had relatively cheap classes in my own plane. As was noted before…….a plane don´t have to be as expensive as people think. I certainly work on a budget and drive a less fancy car for instance--> each to their own.

Where I live I don´t need a license for aircraft under 600kg, so off I went with 35 hours of classes under my belt--> to uncontrolled (mainly) but sometimes to controlled airports too.

Love it!!
And I recommend it to anyone who´s considering it!!

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AirPacific747
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sat May 01, 2010 7:15 pm

Quoting FighterPilot (Reply 33):

I agree.. Instrument flying is not that hard IMO as long as you know all the rules behind it.

The CPL test was harder than the IR test I think. More things to consider during VFR flights such as cloud clearance - airspace rules etc.
 
KELPkid
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sat May 01, 2010 10:12 pm

I was thinking about this last night as I watched my new copy of Apollo 13 on Blu Ray:

There are crappy pilots, there are good pilots, and there are great pilots. I have known all three types.

In my observation, what makes someone become a crappy pilot: the airplane is a tool, and they just need to use the tool. The only knowledge necessary is that to get the tool from point a to point b and have an instructor sign you off again every 2 years. Don't enjoy what you're doing at all while flying, or treat it like driving.

A good pilot is born from someone who has a grasp of flying fundamentals, takes the time to understand bernoulli, wants to learn more about why things are the way they are, and actually enjoys the experience of being airborne, above everyone else, and all cares in this world (well, apart from the cares of getting the airplane where it's going safely). This individual will enjoy taking a solo flight on a beautiful day if given the opportunity.

A great pilot is everything a good pilot is, but in addition is someone who is passionate about aviation, and would not turn down an opportunity to go flying on a whim or turn down a flight in a new type or a different type of aircraft  This individual will be the most successful private pilot, or even more if they decide to pursue further ratings and professional flying.

Just my personal $0.02 here...  
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Fly2HMO
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sat May 01, 2010 10:22 pm

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 39):

Just my personal $0.02 here...

Amen!
 
cerretaman
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sun May 02, 2010 1:34 am

Getting my pilot certificate has been my greatest accomplishment. Took me 7 months to get my PPL, instrument came 11 months later, and then commercial 2 months after instrument. Right now I'm finishing my CFI rating. It's really great to be able to take your grandpa or your parents up for a spin.

Getting your PPL is easy as long as you're focused. And I totally agree with FLY2HMO about flying in busy airspace. I love talking to ATC and the more practice=more confidence on the radios.
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2H4
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sun May 02, 2010 3:52 pm

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 26):
Don't really consider yourself a pilot until you go on to get an instrument rating.

I'd say a 'real pilot' is any person who operates with an extremely high level of discipline, who possesses an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and who harbors a deep love and appreciation for aviation. This can apply to anyone...from a new ultralight pilot to a seasoned widebody captain.

But I think I understand what ThirtyEcho is saying. I think he's recommending that the potential private pilot not be satisfied with his private pilot certificate, and that he sets his sights higher.
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JoeCanuck
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Sun May 02, 2010 4:25 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 42):
But I think I understand what ThirtyEcho is saying. I think he's recommending that the potential private pilot not be satisfied with his private pilot certificate, and that he sets his sights higher.

I'm all for the quest for knowledge for its own sake but if you're never going to use an instrument rating, why spend the time, effort and cash?

In getting my private license and night rating, I took some instrument rating...enough so that I have no issues flying straight and level indefinitely in IMC, do a 180 or whatever else kind of flying required to get out of IMC.

I will not fly commercially and have no interest in shooting approaches down to minimums.

It might not sound impressive to those who have all their tickets but flying is a bloody expensive hobby. I think the average VFR pilot gets more out of flying by flying and spending his cash on endless training they'll never use. Basically, it's up to the pilot how they prioritize their expenditures.

It may not sound like it from my diatribe, but II like training...some people just like flying around the patch and the $100 hamburger...and that should be alright too.

It takes all kinds and that's exactly as it should be.
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RNOcommctr
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Mon May 03, 2010 1:13 am

This thread started on the subject of the LSA-sport pilot certificate, but it hasn't been mentioned much. It's my understanding that the total cost to get the sport pilot certificate is about half that of the PPL (about $4,000 as opposed to $8,000). Total training time is less and there is no requirement for a medical, just a driver's license. The trade-off is being limited to VFR/daylight flying only and aircraft certificated as light sport (two seats, certain max cruise speeds, and certain gross take-off weights). Still, it strikes me as a cost-effective way to get up in the air and experience being a pilot. I'm considering it myself, partly because of the lower cost.
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RNOcommctr
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Mon May 03, 2010 1:15 am

As an addendum, I have heard that in an LSA, the notorious $100 hamburger becomes a $50 hamburger! 
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airbuske
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Mon May 03, 2010 1:43 am

Quoting RNOcommctr (Reply 45):
As an addendum, I have heard that in an LSA, the notorious $100 hamburger becomes a $50 hamburger!

KCDK?

I started working on my glider rating a year ago but things came up once I was ready to solo. So basically, I have stalled on that front. My goal for this summer is to finish my glider rating and then add ASEL rating to my PPL. Based on the research I've done, it costs a "new" pilot anywhere between $7-10k.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Mon May 03, 2010 2:55 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 42):

I'd say a 'real pilot' is any person who operates with an extremely high level of discipline, who possesses an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and who harbors a deep love and appreciation for aviation. This can apply to anyone...from a new ultralight pilot to a seasoned widebody captain.

Well said.   

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 42):

But I think I understand what ThirtyEcho is saying. I think he's recommending that the potential private pilot not be satisfied with his private pilot certificate, and that he sets his sights higher.

That's how I interpreted it, and I agree.

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 43):

I'm all for the quest for knowledge for its own sake but if you're never going to use an instrument rating, why spend the time, effort and cash?

There's WAAAY too many incidents in the NTSB database of "inadvertent" flight into IFR and icing conditions, for one.

Second, it makes insurance cheaper 
Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 43):
I will not fly commercially and have no interest in shooting approaches down to minimums.

The way I look at it is that the extra training ALWAYS pays off. It will come in handy sooner or later, and it can't possibly make you a worse pilot by getting an extra ticket, quite the opposite.

In other words, do you need to go from private to ATP to become a proficient pilot? Of course not. But will all that extra training and experience help? Damn sure it will.
 
bond007
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Mon May 03, 2010 2:59 am

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 36):
At a non controlled airport, every pilot, (from C150 to airliner), has the same rights, unless there's an emergency.

... and this is different for a Class B airport?

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 36):
Air radio

What is this?

Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
alwaysontherun
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RE: Becoming A Private Pilot: How Hard Can It Be?

Mon May 03, 2010 4:32 am

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 43):
I'm all for the quest for knowledge for its own sake but if you're never going to use an instrument rating, why spend the time, effort and cash?

Fair question………..

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 47):
The way I look at it is that the extra training ALWAYS pays off. It will come in handy sooner or later, and it can't possibly make you a worse pilot by getting an extra ticket, quite the opposite.

In other words, do you need to go from private to ATP to become a proficient pilot? Of course not. But will all that extra training and experience help? Damn sure it will.
Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 47):
There's WAAAY too many incidents in the NTSB database of "inadvertent" flight into IFR and icing conditions, for one.

You have a point Fly2HMO, obviously.
Although I see JoeCanunck´s point as well: if you don´t fly in icy conditions, and mainly uncontrolled airports (such as myself), and always in daylight--> it is a lot of money getting the PPL.
When you´re on a budget, I´d prefer to spend that money upgrading to a better radio, beacon, strobe lights etc etc.

This don´t mean that I don´t have a clue what´s going on--> I know the main calling points for IFR in my area so I know what is going on while listening to the radio. I even have the Jeppesen charts at home, so I know what the big jets are up to! But I know that in my lifetime I will never fly IFR because:

1) $$$$$$$$

2) I quite enjoy the freedom of Ultra lights / LSA--> landing on beaches and tiny rural runways--> just be sure the cows are not ON the runway today, though!! In other words: I´m not too anxious to upgrade.

So although it wouldn´t harm me to go for my PPL……..I think I can spend my money more effectively.

I do enjoy Rod Machado´s Private pilot Book, besides "Stick & Rudder" of course!

Just my opinion……….

### "I am always on the Run"###
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