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So I am going to learn to fly...


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I have lurked here a while and since I am about to get started, I thought I would share my experience with you all. I have appreciated the threads and helpfulness of the members here.

 

Flying is something I always wanted to do, but due to some minor health challenges, I had to give it up 20 years ago, I was told a medical would be a challenge and require many hoops. I had sort of lost track of flying regs etc over the years, and only about a year ago learned of the Sport category. I was immediately intrigued and spent the last several months getting my wife and kids on board. I am 45 years old and stoked to get started. The added advantage to waiting until now is that when I do get my cert, I could probably afford a plane (maybe on my own, an older plane or fractionally at least) whereas in my twenties I would have struggled to cover the cost of the lessons.

 

I will be learning here in Stuart (South Florida) in a Czech Sport. I had an introductory flight already and was immediately hooked. Flying in a small plane when you have the stick is an amazing feeling. Yes, it is better than any video game or tv show!

 

I would appreciate any advice from any of you seasoned folks.

 

Like... what do you wish someone had told you before you got started?

 

Is there any gear I should buy for myself, from the start?

 

What do you think is the optimum frequency I should fly to get the most of the lessons and reduce stress?

 

Any advice for this newbie?

 

Thank you all so much and I will keep you posted!

 

Don

 

 

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G'day Don, and welcome. I was more than a decade older than you when I started lessons, so it's never too late. I'd suggest you get your own headset - a decent quality one. An ANR type rather than passive is probably preferable, but it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Talk to your instructors and try a few different ones before you buy. You should also fly fairly frequently while learning, particularly in the early stages, so you don't spend too much time re-learning what you forgot from the previous lesson. Weekly is good, more is better, fortnightly is OK, but anything longer tends to be less effective. You will get there, but it will probably take a lot longer than you'd like. There is also quite a lot of theory involved in getting a licence, so don't put that on the back-burner. The sooner you tackle it the better. Mainly, enjoy the experience. It won't progress smoothly all the time, and sometimes you will probably feel you're going backwards, but keep at it. It's a great feeling when you fly that plane by yourself the first time, and then it gets even better.

 

rgmwa

 

 

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obviously the more you fly, the faster you will pick it up, its not like a bicycle, as in, you do forget what you have learned the longer time between flights, not in knowledge, but more a muscle memory fashion.

 

if doing more than one lesson a day, keep it at 2 at most, about 1 hour each, any longer will get exhausting and your learning will slow for that day.

 

as for what i would purchase, i have my own headset, they will be more comfortable as they will have shaped themselves to your head shape only, and a good quality pair will last almost a lifetime... i have an old set of DC's lasted me 16 years (now spare) and still going strong, and i have a lightspeed Zulu, going on 6 years old now..

 

as for tips, when landing, keep looking at the far end of the runway at all times after you begin the flare. !! if you look just in front of the aircraft as you land, and you will at first, you will flare high.

 

and once you have your licence, you now have a licence to learn, it never stops.... always aim to be the best pilot you can!

 

 

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Welcome Don, I'm sure Florida would be a fabulous spot to fly (with an eye on the weather) and your training / hire costs are much cheaper in the US than in AU..... so all the best, please update us on how it all goes.

 

Like... what do you wish someone had told you before you got started?

Not that my opinion is worth much given low hours but as you asked:

 

Hold the stick quite lightly, fingertips even.

 

Make small, sensitive stick movements particularly during flare / landing phase.

 

Work the pedals, especially necessary while landing.

 

Don't be too reliant on the instructor, imagine they weren't there and try to handle it as if you were alone (instructions aside of course).

 

Picture the critical movements and operations in your mind prior to the next lesson.

 

 

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Welcome donc7. Keep your theory ahead of the lessons. If you don't understand something ASK the instructor. Don't refrain thinking it might make you look foolish. Not much room for confusion in flying. Nev

 

 

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Thanks for the welcome and advice fellas. I start this Sunday, so excited! I did my ITF to a few weeks ago and knew that this was for me. What a feeling the first time you hold the stick in your hands in a small craft. Feeling every bit of turbulent air around you!

 

The sense of excitement, challenge, freedom and wanderlust is consuming.

 

 

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Good on ya mate, best bit of advice an instructor gave me when I was getting stressed out " look out the window, this is meant to be fun", what type of aircraft are you learning in?

 

Matty

 

 

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hey donc7 i hav only just started as well. im 48 but was 47 when i started but am still loving it and i reckon thats the secret u hav got to do it cause u want to. i fly fortnightly but i reckon 1 a week would b better , however money does rule at the moment.no flying advice from me as im still just starting out, except stick at it and enjoy it and yeah u will never stop learning but its all fun

 

 

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no mate am only up to 20 hrs so am still in my b 4 learning more after gaining my certificate learning period haha.however i went for a training flight today after a 6 week break and wow am no behind slighlty so have to get back into the groove of things , but my instructor is great and where i fly is quiet so i dont have to worry too much about other aircraft. and yes once you realize u want to do this then u end up just continueing and its not only just the flying i have made a swag of new friends both in person and some involved in flying via facebook as it is the new social medium, and these days it is easy to keep in touch and get ideas/advice etc.so keep flying bloke and im sure a mate an i will get over 1 day for oshkosh is it ya big flyin, which would be great

 

 

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Well I had my first lesson today. Pretty much another ITF with some more info thrown in as I did my first ITF about 8 weeks ago. I have 3 more lessons scheduled over the next 7 days.

 

It sure was fun, great, great fun...we went up to 5500 ft and shot through some cloud gaps. Mostly worked on straight and level flight through turns etc and working through checklists etc. Tomorrow my FI tells me I am starting landings and from now on I will be doing them all. Gulp... Sure does seem like that little plane is hanging out there in a a giant sky of vastness and that runway looks so small from up high! All the radio stuff gives you alot to think about while trying to actually figure out how to fly, so not thrilled to tackle that at the same time, he tells me he will give me a couple of lessons before I have to. It does seem like a lot of info to process but I know from reading all the threads here, you take it one lesson at a time.

 

I think I did pretty well keeping my eyes out the window and worked on listening the engine to know when I was dropping the nose, I can definitely feel when I am slipping around by the weight changes and equilibrium change. I found not watching the glass/gauges and instead listening to motor pitch change when I descended or climbed and trying feel the changes rather than "screen stare" to be fun and challenging.

 

Jeff- Sun n Fun down here in Florida would be a fun one to visit as well!

 

 

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Stating to do landings with an instructor sitting next to you is just a little "Gulp...". Once you take off for the first time by yourself and realize you now have to land without anyone else there to help you. That's the big "Gulp...". Don't worry though, your instructor won't let you go up by yourself until (s)he's sure you can land the plane yourself without hurting yourself. The feeling of taking off for the first time by myself is something I will never forget.

 

Sounds like your training is progressing well and your doing exactly what you should be going. Having a great time, and listening to and feeling what the plane is telling you. Try not to worry to much about the radio calls. Its intimidating for everyone at first and gets easier with practice and time.

 

 

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If your worried about radio calls, get your instructor to write down the most common calls you need to make, learn them at home, and practice them when in the car, example, every red light you stop at, say the calls out loud. Also at home, if you have a largish table you can walk around, you can simulate the traffic pattern, radio calls and checklists, such as pre landing checks, as you walk the pattern. All learning that's costs you nothing, and will speed up your learning in the aircraft.

 

 

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If your worried about radio calls, get your instructor to write down the most common calls you need to make, learn them at home, and practice them when in the car, example, every red light you stop at, say the calls out loud. Also at home, if you have a largish table you can walk around, you can simulate the traffic pattern, radio calls and checklists, such as pre landing checks, as you walk the pattern. All learning that's costs you nothing, and will speed up your learning in the aircraft.

Yup - I agree. Have you seen those Red Bull Air Race guys before they fly? They walk through their routines in the hangar, turning and moving as they would be flying, and saying out loud what they are doing. I'm sure if it works for them - it should work for lowly mortals like us!

 

Cheers

 

Neil

 

 

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I was trying to remember what the issues were for me when I started the learning process and the main thing as I recall was not the checklists, radio or the rudder or the ailerons, engine or the instruments or any other single factor, it was that I was incredibly busy with so much to think about and do and learn all at once. I wondered if I would ever understand it all and if I would ever be able to do all the things I was being taught and in the correct order and accurately and safely, look at what was going on inside & outside, listen & understand the stuff coming over the radio, do what my instructor asked & try to make sense out of it all.

 

I averaged 1 lesson a week & had my PPL in just over a year. Somewhere along the journey, there was a tipping point, like a critical mass where everything gelled. I then didn't have to think about everything every time, it became a process, a routine as it were & all the steps were performed & it worked.

 

A good headset is what I would get but not straight away. Talk to others, ask opinions & find out what you like or dislike about the trainer supplied headsets.

 

I'd also get a good training manual (your school may supply one or be able to suggest a good one) an E6B, protractor & ruler ( for navigation & map reading) & a flight bag to keep everything in.

 

Kevin

 

 

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hey donc7 i hav only just started as well. im 48 but was 47 when i started but am still loving it and i reckon thats the secret u hav got to do it cause u want to. i fly fortnightly but i reckon 1 a week would b better , however money does rule at the moment.no flying advice from me as im still just starting out, except stick at it and enjoy it and yeah u will never stop learning but its all fun

Right on Jeff- thank you - I am managing to get 5-78 lessons a month in! Fortunate for sure. I cant get there fast enough, I am smitten...

 

Forced landings early on springs to mind and getting things in the right order in the circuit.

Started on those, I am now on lesson 7!

 

I was trying to remember what the issues were for me when I started the learning process and the main thing as I recall was not the checklists, radio or the rudder or the ailerons, engine or the instruments or any other single factor, it was that I was incredibly busy with so much to think about and do and learn all at once. I wondered if I would ever understand it all and if I would ever be able to do all the things I was being taught and in the correct order and accurately and safely, look at what was going on inside & outside, listen & understand the stuff coming over the radio, do what my instructor asked & try to make sense out of it all.I averaged 1 lesson a week & had my PPL in just over a year. Somewhere along the journey, there was a tipping point, like a critical mass where everything gelled. I then didn't have to think about everything every time, it became a process, a routine as it were & all the steps were performed & it worked.

 

A good headset is what I would get but not straight away. Talk to others, ask opinions & find out what you like or dislike about the trainer supplied headsets.

 

I'd also get a good training manual (your school may supply one or be able to suggest a good one) an E6B, protractor & ruler ( for navigation & map reading) & a flight bag to keep everything in.

 

Kevin

I did get some great materials, thanks mate. I also bought a good headset, using the same mouth piece as a hundred other people was kinda not cool with me. Plus I am in this thing and so bought the Bose on the 12 month payment plan they offer with no interest. Expensive, but over 12 months it is palatable.

 

Thank you all for your input. I am off for vacation then when I am back we start patterns and landings. I have done 3 so far, about to do many.

 

 

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Hi Don

 

Welcome to the club. The biggest advice I can give to you is embrace and enjoy yourself every time you climb into the cockpit.

 

I have been flying for many years and still get a thrill every time I fly. Don't get hung up on terminology patterns and landings etc. because it will all fall into place.

 

The biggest mistake I see in students is they worry about things before they even get started. Really wish you the best of luck in your quest.

 

http://www.learningtoflyaplane.com

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
Well friends, I just did my first solo. It was exciting and fun. I guess I am about halfway there! I think I was more nervous communicating to ATC all alone then the actual pattern!Thank you all for your encouragement thus far. I will report back when I do my cross country!

Nice landing! Looked a lot better than my first solo landing. Good to hear your making such good progress.

 

 

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Nice landing! Looked a lot better than my first solo landing. Good to hear your making such good progress.

Thanks m8! I got to go do some solo practice two days later and that was exciting and fun. X Country tomorrow and then solo X Country later in the week. I love it.

 

 

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Thanks m8! I got to go do some solo practice two days later and that was exciting and fun. X Country tomorrow and then solo X Country later in the week. I love it.

Your going to have lots of fun with your X Country solo. I think it was the most stressful part of training but also the most interesting and rewarding. Just make sure you don't forget to fly the plane. A couple of times during my x-country solo I looked down at my charts a little to long and when I looked back up and was in a 10% bank. Also you have to be constantly ready to adapt. On my first x-country solo the river I was expecting to follow on my chart was actually empty. So I had to do some unplanned dead reckoning to find my next way point. I don't think I've had a cross country without having to make some small change to my original plan. Its also exciting to be able to land at some airports you have never been to before.

 

Hope you continue to have lots of fun and success.

 

 

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