View Full Version : How I got started
My boss started taking some lessons; a co-worker owned a Piper Arrow; I had the time and the money so I told my wife I wanted a Flight Instruction Gift Certificate for Xmas. I received that and then headed to Modesto (MOD) Flight Center to chat with the folks, meet some of the instructors, find out the details of what would be involved and what the costs would be.
I tried to fly at least once a week, but schedules and fog hampered me a bit so it took quite a while before I ever soloed. When my instructor came out to the A/C with a handheld radio one day I figured "today is the day". We did some touch-and-goes, some full stops, short field, etc, and then he told me to head to the ramp. Once there he told me what he wanted me to do, said he'd be on the radio if I needed anything, and sent me on my way.
So back out to the active I went, got my clearance, and for the first time I was the PIC without anyone else on board. It was just a quick up and down and then get the picture taken (I need to find that). I did fine, but once I was back on the ground I was like a Jr High kid at his first dance... all jittery and smiling ear-to-ear, and not really knowing what the heck I was supposed to be doing. ;)
Times change. Finances change. Kids come along. Jobs change. I never got to get my checkride and haven't had my hands on a yoke in almost 10 years. But I grew up as a brat in the AF, have always been around planes, and I will pursue this again in the future.
edited to say that this thread wasn't supposed to be just about me... I'd like to hear how others got started, got interested, etc.
Mine is the usual. I started off with R/C model airplanes when I was a kid which progressed to me taking my fist flight when I was 20 years old. The rest is history. :)
I hear what you're saying about finances. I had to go to an aviation college so I could finish with the help of student aid.
It's sad to say how much prices have risen in just the last 10 years. I got my private for around $2500 back in 92. It would cost around 5 grand today.
Always wanted to fly and dreamed of doing so forever. I also built balsa things, ROG, free-flight- everything but RC because of the cost. Soloed the J-3 in 6.5 hrs.. the instructor got out because the right and left spins were nausiating him.
After that it was all uphill.
I simply cannot help but look skyward whenever an airplane engine is heard. Cain't hep it!
TexasT, this is a good thing we have here, thanks for the 'thanks'.;)
My parents worked for the same airline so my brothers and I got to travel all over for free and most of the time I would stay supernumery in the cockpit,I knew what I wanted to be after that.
A good friend took me for a ride and let me take the controls for a few minutes while straight and level. Been hooked ever since.
I think my first word was "airplane". I have been fascinated by flying all my life. One of my earliest memories was sitting in the left seat of my dad's friend's 172 on the ground at IPT.
I waited years and years to learn to fly because I thought I couldn't afford it. What I should have done was work harder and get a second job during high school and learned way back then.
A couple years ago, my wife told me that we were making more than enough money for me to fly, and always had been (I get pretty nervous about spending any large sums unless I am absolutely sure that we can afford it and then some), so quit talking about it and fly.
I still didn't get off my butt until I took a ride in CAF's "Sentimental Journey", a B-17, at the Watsonville Airshow in 2001. Got home from the airshow, called a coworker who is a CFI on the side, and was at the airport two days later taking my first lesson.
To anyone thinking about taking lessons, just do it. The longer you wait, the more flying you are missing. I missed out on 18 or 20 years of flying by waiting.
I always wanted to fly.
I got screwed out of the US Marine Corps flight school in 1956 (long story).
In 1960 my side partner on the police department started taking lessons and talked me into it, in a Piper Colt.
In 1964 I lucked out and got a slot in the Army helicopter flight school.
Made a living at it ever since.
Painted houses at 18, saved enough to buy a backhoe at 19 bought a D5 and trucks at 20 earned enough to fly and get my private. At 24 a guy tapped me with the hoe, took 4 operations and 5 years to fuse it back together. Lost just about everything but saved enough and studied in a body cast for 5 years. Blew through com, ME and tests in about 4 months, flew twice a day. Had 3K in my pocket left for Alaska with a new wife 2 great kids and one in the oven. Got my CFI in Fairbanks AK. CFIs there in 1985 made $25.00 per flight hour, taught at the college level ground school at night and winter $65.00 per hour. Flew up here for about 4 years,mostly Northern Alaska everything from dogs to pepsi to people really great. Went back to the real world, dad was ill. Came back after bad time, flew floats in the Brooks Range taking backpackers float trips into some real wild places.30K plus $35 per flt hr (would have done that free,vgot my head back after Dad) Got together with the flying school who trained me, he had a 135 cert I wrote a manual for medivac flights, FAA approved me as Chief Pilot. Flew Piper Turbo props and King Airs into Mexico on medivac flights 30K plus $65 per hr. Flew Citations for people unamed, but real rich $65 per hr. Got sick of that. Got hired by a company in LA about to be grounded because OPs manual was a joke, 45 K plus $30 per flight hour saved their butt, great owners, I was Director of Operations, but corporate take over I left, they were not going to fly jets or turbines.. Got hired by Rocky Mountain out Provo, sent me to Idaho Air Rescue then back to the greatest place on earth ALASKA. Flew medivacs. 2 years was right where I wanted to be for life Then Drunk Driver hit me ...... life over except for spine in a million pieces.
Aviation is great, if you want to do it for a living, never fly for free or dirt wages, always be prepared, know how to fly, Alaska bush flying is great experience, but only so long..Don't fly for paper maintenance, poor operators, the only one hurt will be you or dead. If you want it bad enough you have to find the breaks and cracks when it is slow hiring. Flying will be back, will take a couple of years. They are trying to kill off the unions and the high wage Captains. Before any one gets pissy. Think how long it takes to sit left seat in a 747. Long time. Long time and at 60 it's over for the captain
Good luck to all, it's the greatest job on earth, especially medivacs.
When i Turned 16 i had the daunting :) choice of either getting a car or take flight training.
The choice was easy.
In September 1998 I began and took my Private check ride in September 1999, the begining of my senior year of high school.
Now that i'm 22 and about 25 credit hours shy of finishing college (aeronautics major), I'm not sure what i'm going to do.
All i know is that I want to fly for a living eventually, but need $$$ to do it!!!!
For a short CAREER, not job (it has to be something that would be enjoyable) i was thinking maybe law enforcement either local or federal for a while. That would allow me to pay off school and save some cash for flight training and then maybe head of to a 3 month program of some sort;f
Heck, if all else fails there are plenty of banks around town to knock-off!;)
Like most all of you, I was hooked as a toddler. I grew up about 2 miles abeam, and just outside the marker for the ILS 29 track into Oakland, and directly under the final for Hayward. Oh, and NAS Alameda was hot and this was during the Vietnam War. Screen doors were a life-limited part 'cuz I had to run outside to inspect each passing aircraft. There were a lot of them.
Anyway, when I was a high-school sophomore, an Aviation class was offered. The curriculum was the private ground school stretched out for the whole year. I sat in the back of the class, and right behind me was a picture of a V35 Bonanza with 4 people in it flying over the mountains. I don't know why I'm so sentimental about that picture, except for that I'm sure it infected me. Geez, that was like 28 years ago... OK. At the end of the year, taking the FAA written was optional, and about half of us did. Whoever got the highest score (yup, you're lookin' at him!) got a scholarship of 10 hours dual down at the FBO. Might as well been freakin' heroin...
At the time, I was working every day after school and on Saturdays, so I was able to ante up the $7 instructor, $9 C-150, and .67/gal 80/87 to do a lesson, sometimes 2 per week. Soloed on 16th birthday (on my way home from the DMV :cool: )
Love it more than ever as time goes on.
Always wanted to do something in aviation. Since I really didn't want to actually do the flying the next best thing was to turn a wrench. I enlisted in the US Air Force thinking to stay in only four years. Well, stayed for twenty-three! Put in a lot of long hours but was worth it, seeing it take off after putting in 12 to 24 hours at a time. After getting out got into the airlines. Was an inspector for America West Airlines for almost five years and now I'm an inspector for Sky West Airlines. Would not trade all of my experiences for anything. You go with what feels good in your heart.;a
Originally posted by Tucsonstan
. Would not trade all of my experiences for anything. You go with what feels good in your heart.;a
You know it is so hard to explain to younger folks how important it is to do what you love.
I had always wanted to take lessons and get my private, just didn't get around to it. Finally when I was about 29 or so my then girlfriend bought a free initial lesson for my birthday to get the, uh, wheels rolling (the prop spinning?) That was pretty much it. About two years, $7700 later I took my checkride in the same airplane I first flew. It took as long as it did and was as expensive for two reasons: At the time I was travelling a lot for my employer, so between that and weather it made it tough to be consistent. The reason for the expense is that I had noticed that while the flight school had three 152's, they were ALWAYS booked but the school's Archer II would be sitting folornly on the ramp. I decided to transition to that plane instead because it was more available, plus it was more solid feeling than the dinky 152's (one of which I spun during some solo practice...that was fun...no more stall practice for me on that day.) Ironically I had to take my check ride in the 172 because some doofus plowed the Archer into a golf course, the trees ripped the wings off and totalled the plane. Also I have the dubious honor of having taken my written (and passing) the day before my check ride. How's that for procrastinating?
Since getting married I haven't been behind a yoke, but once my wife gets through her studies I'll be taking to the air again.
Interesting side note, I have a picture of my first logbook entry on my website, and a guy who is today a professional noted that that airplane was flown by him years ago, but he didn't have a picture of it unlike all of the other planes he flew. I was able to send him a photo of that plane to complete his collection.
My dad was an Air Force pilot. I grew up on bases with the sound and view of jets all day. Resistance was futile. :)
Thought helicopters were cool as a kid. Never had the money to fly anything, but the back of my mind kept nagging me about them.
Went to a recruiter and he had a poster of an apache on the back wall. "I want to fly those" I said. He told me they didn't have high school to flight school.
I told him to get me into the Army and that I would take care of getting to flight school.
I was a grunt for two years and got into flight school on my first try.
I'm a little bit -er- persistant, or so I've been told.
Got my start in 2000. After taking some skydiving lessons, I realized I had absolutely no sense of direction in the sky :) Decided to take flying lessons. Ran out of money, so had to choose one... and flying won out.
Went to a flight school called Delta Aviation, in KFRG. Flew for about a year, then 9/11 hit and I put off flying for two months. When I came back, the flight school had shut down. Seems the owner, "Ahmed", got into some trouble with the FBI and they arrested him and shut down the school. I was now out about $500 (http://www.oig.dot.gov/item_details.php?item=995 for details).
Started up at another flight school right next door, where the only times the planes start are in the summer (anyone know of any flight schools in FRG that rent Pipers for $70/hr?). Finished up there and passed my PP checkride in November. Want to work on instrument, but now can't find anyplace worth going to... (can only fly Sat and Sun).
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