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CJStudent 12-18-2012 13:08

Newb
 
Okay, so, I've been bitten by the bug, and looking into trying to learn to fly. What should I look for in a school or in an instructor? What kind of questions should I ask?

CJStudent 12-30-2012 06:53

Wow, this is a lively bunch, lol.

vote Republican 01-01-2013 20:16

Maybe it's an FAQ? Try looking at all posts in this forum, there's some other beginner threads.

sns3guppy 01-02-2013 01:04

Don't pay the school up front. Paying a little in advance is fine, but don't trust a school that wants everything up front. They have a nasty habit of going out of business.

You have two basic methods: Part 61 schools, and Part 141 schools. "Part" refers to the section of the Code of Federal Regulations (sometimes referred to as the "FAR's") that provide the rules for the training you'll undergo.

Part 61 schools are generally less structured, more tailorable to your needs. Part 141 schools generally use a strict syllabus, with regular checks on your progress.

You'll be tempted to think that your flight instructor is highly experienced. Usually the flight instructor is the least-experienced pilot in the industry, and it's a "time building" entry-level job. Keep that in mind when shopping around for an instructor. Try to find one with more experience. Remember too that flight hours don't mean much; a 20,000 hour pilot with 10 hours of instruction given is a 10 hour instructor. A 300 hour pilot with 50 hours of instruction given has five times the experience, which is still just a drop in the bucket. It's best to find an instructor who has more flight experience and more instruction experience. You're learning judgement as you go, and those without experience often only know what they've been told...and it's not always correct.

High-wing vs. low-wing in a training airplane...doesn't make any difference.

Look for value, but don't scrimp. Many rental places and schools do minimal maintenance. Schools that also run charter services or that have maintenance repair stations attached often have better maintenance. While the outward appearance of the aircraft isn't really a good indication of the actual mechanical condition of the aircraft, it's a good place to start.

Don't get too caught up in schools advertising all the bells and whistles in the aircraft...GPS and display screens. They're not necessary, and you may be better off learning the basics without too many gimmicks on board.

When a school tells you that you can complete the private pilot certificate in 40 hours, they're telling you about the FAA requirements. Students typically take longer...about 70 hours on the average...which means the cost will be about 35%-50% more than what's advertised. You'll also have other expenses, such as a headset, which can add anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars to the cost.

The more frequently you can fly, the better you'll progress. Shoot for two or three times a week, if you can. The more you space the lessons out, the more time you'll need to get through the training, and the more it will cost.

Ground school is a good idea, but not necessary. You can order training videos or CD's. Most are pretty good, except the King series. Sporty's or other pilot supply places have them. Aviation organizations (AOPA, EAA, etc) and aviation web boards are good places to start.

sourdough44 01-02-2013 04:31

Go to the AOPA site & sign up for 'Flight Training Magazine', it should be free for a student pilot(even wannabe).

Look into some of the aviation forums, piperforum.com is a good place to start. You have to be a member to get to the AOPA forums, another good one.

If I lived closer I'd take you up in my Piper Warrior. It's in the shop for the 'annual' now. I plan to go check in on it today.

If you're really serious, try to make it up to 'Airventure' in Oshkosh, WI this Summer. It's near the tail end of July or so. There is also 'Sun n Fun' in Lakeland, FL in April or so.

For flight training I'd try to keep the flights fairly condensed, once a week or more, weather permitting. That's so you don't have to keep relearning the same thing with longer breaks between.

CJStudent 01-02-2013 10:14

Quote:

Originally Posted by sns3guppy (Post 19809779)
Don't pay the school up front. Paying a little in advance is fine, but don't trust a school that wants everything up front. They have a nasty habit of going out of business.

You have two basic methods: Part 61 schools, and Part 141 schools. "Part" refers to the section of the Code of Federal Regulations (sometimes referred to as the "FAR's") that provide the rules for the training you'll undergo.

Part 61 schools are generally less structured, more tailorable to your needs. Part 141 schools generally use a strict syllabus, with regular checks on your progress.

You'll be tempted to think that your flight instructor is highly experienced. Usually the flight instructor is the least-experienced pilot in the industry, and it's a "time building" entry-level job. Keep that in mind when shopping around for an instructor. Try to find one with more experience. Remember too that flight hours don't mean much; a 20,000 hour pilot with 10 hours of instruction given is a 10 hour instructor. A 300 hour pilot with 50 hours of instruction given has five times the experience, which is still just a drop in the bucket. It's best to find an instructor who has more flight experience and more instruction experience. You're learning judgement as you go, and those without experience often only know what they've been told...and it's not always correct.

High-wing vs. low-wing in a training airplane...doesn't make any difference.

Look for value, but don't scrimp. Many rental places and schools do minimal maintenance. Schools that also run charter services or that have maintenance repair stations attached often have better maintenance. While the outward appearance of the aircraft isn't really a good indication of the actual mechanical condition of the aircraft, it's a good place to start.

Don't get too caught up in schools advertising all the bells and whistles in the aircraft...GPS and display screens. They're not necessary, and you may be better off learning the basics without too many gimmicks on board.

When a school tells you that you can complete the private pilot certificate in 40 hours, they're telling you about the FAA requirements. Students typically take longer...about 70 hours on the average...which means the cost will be about 35%-50% more than what's advertised. You'll also have other expenses, such as a headset, which can add anywhere from a few hundred to a thousand dollars to the cost.

The more frequently you can fly, the better you'll progress. Shoot for two or three times a week, if you can. The more you space the lessons out, the more time you'll need to get through the training, and the more it will cost.

Ground school is a good idea, but not necessary. You can order training videos or CD's. Most are pretty good, except the King series. Sporty's or other pilot supply places have them. Aviation organizations (AOPA, EAA, etc) and aviation web boards are good places to start.

Quote:

Originally Posted by sourdough44 (Post 19809913)
Go to the AOPA site & sign up for 'Flight Training Magazine', it should be free for a student pilot(even wannabe).

Look into some of the aviation forums, piperforum.com is a good place to start. You have to be a member to get to the AOPA forums, another good one.

If I lived closer I'd take you up in my Piper Warrior. It's in the shop for the 'annual' now. I plan to go check in on it today.

If you're really serious, try to make it up to 'Airventure' in Oshkosh, WI this Summer. It's near the tail end of July or so. There is also 'Sun n Fun' in Lakeland, FL in April or so.

For flight training I'd try to keep the flights fairly condensed, once a week or more, weather permitting. That's so you don't have to keep relearning the same thing with longer breaks between.

Thanks, guys. My family got me a groupon for three hours of ground school and a 30-min discovery flight at a local flight school (Cardinal Wings Aviation) that seems reputable; I know for a fact they've been in business at least 15 years or more, as my sister did a ride with them when she was really young with her girl scout troop (amazing reference, I know, lol, but at least I know they've stayed in business). It seems the owner also runs a charter business as well.

Well, I have the ground school initial section on Saturday, and they said I can schedule the flight anytime thereafter. I hear you on the frequency of training; I'm just trying to do as much as I can afford, though. At least I have some extra holiday pay and overtime on my next check!

ETA: Link to the school. http://cardinalwingsaviation.com/

I seem to recall that they are Part 141, but I could be .wrong

CJStudent 01-05-2013 18:22

Well, did the three hours of ground school today, and scheduled the flight for next Thursday! We'll see how it goes then. As an aside, when he showed us how to do a preflight on a Cessna 172, well, he also inadvertently showed us WHY preflights are done, lol. The lower hinge on the port side door was missing the pin, causing the door to almost fall off when he opened it. Yeah, that grounded it until they could get the part. The bad part is someone was scheduled to use the plane at noon, and we found this at 11:30.

sourdough44 01-22-2013 04:22

How's the flying going? Did you get er up? I was going to go yesterday, to meet a guy about a possible firearms related deal, we postponed over some last minuted issues.

I have the plane heated & ready to go. With temps down just above zero I had the Tannis plugged in along with a smaller 'space-heater' inside the plane, low setting.

Pilotdude3407 01-22-2013 04:50

The write up by guppy is spot on. Good luck with flying. Keep us up to date!

CJStudent 01-22-2013 22:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by sourdough44 (Post 19896562)
How's the flying going? Did you get er up? I was going to go yesterday, to meet a guy about a possible firearms related deal, we postponed over some last minuted issues.

I have the plane heated & ready to go. With temps down just above zero I had the Tannis plugged in along with a smaller 'space-heater' inside the plane, low setting.

Well, I discovered it's not for me, lol. I had a pretty bad panic attack as we got in and started to start it up. It didn't help that when I was trying to rest my arm on the door I accidentally opened it, either, lol. It's weird, though; they absolutely fascinate me, and at the same time scare the ever living **** out of me. Weird dichotomy, I know.

sns3guppy 01-23-2013 00:05

Don't let it deter you.

I'm scared of heights, too. Still managed to have a fairly successful career, though.

Give it a few more tries.

CJStudent 01-23-2013 08:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by sns3guppy (Post 19900148)
Don't let it deter you.

I'm scared of heights, too. Still managed to have a fairly successful career, though.

Give it a few more tries.

I'm not talking a little scared, lol; I'm talking full-blown almost crap my pants panic attack!

It did get me to stop and think about what I was doing, though. All this would be for me really would be a hobby; why would I want to go into debt over a hobby?

sns3guppy 01-24-2013 22:35

Only you can answer that.

A lot of folks have gone into debt over that "hobby" and then turned it into a career.

I never got used to heights. Still don't like ladders. My first 100 parachute jumps, it never changed. Neither did the next...and I still get the same feeling near the edge of a building or cliff.

An aircraft, though...the floor is only three feet beneath you.

If you don't want to fly, however, don't. Nobody is forcing you.

Why go into debt? Because you want to do it. Flying isn't a necessity, but it does ring true for a lot of people who feel they've got to do it. Most never regret it. One or two flights isn't enough to tell.

CJStudent 01-28-2013 17:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by sns3guppy (Post 19908073)
Only you can answer that.

A lot of folks have gone into debt over that "hobby" and then turned it into a career.

I never got used to heights. Still don't like ladders. My first 100 parachute jumps, it never changed. Neither did the next...and I still get the same feeling near the edge of a building or cliff.

An aircraft, though...the floor is only three feet beneath you.

If you don't want to fly, however, don't. Nobody is forcing you.

Why go into debt? Because you want to do it. Flying isn't a necessity, but it does ring true for a lot of people who feel they've got to do it. Most never regret it. One or two flights isn't enough to tell.

Thanks. I'm pretty well mid-career in corrections at the federal level, so I'm near 100% certain this would not end up as a career for me.

I do want to say that I have greatly appreciated the advice given here.

sourdough44 01-30-2013 08:03

O.K., sorry about the anxiety. Here are a few options, the main being don't judge flying by the 1st flight or 2. It takes a few to start developing your 'seas legs'. You could always try again, on a day with ideal weather, no bumps.

If you sniff around the airport you may be able to find someone you can go up with at times, for free. One can also be an aviation buff without being a pilot, another way to be involved with the joys of flight. Go to a local fly-in next Summer some time, should be several not to far from you.

CJStudent 01-31-2013 21:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by sourdough44 (Post 19928964)
O.K., sorry about the anxiety. Here are a few options, the main being don't judge flying by the 1st flight or 2. It takes a few to start developing your 'seas legs'. You could always try again, on a day with ideal weather, no bumps.

If you sniff around the airport you may be able to find someone you can go up with at times, for free. One can also be an aviation buff without being a pilot, another way to be involved with the joys of flight. Go to a local fly-in next Summer some time, should be several not to far from you.

Thanks! I'll keep that in mind.


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