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Unread 4 Days Ago   #1
InbetweenDreams
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Default Aviation Advice

Best title I could come up with...and best place I could think of to put this.

Is anyone here happen to be a pilot?

So here's the deal. Drones have got me interested in aviation. Somehow I stumbled on Tucker Gott's YouTube channel of him flying a paramotor. Which is pretty cool. Pretty expensive to get into and probably not something I would be able to do over the long term. I looked at ultralights, which don't require a pilots license (but you definitely need to know how to fly and be aware of VFR rules). Also the safety of these things. So I started thinking about a pilot's license. In the US there are two directions, a private pilot's license or a sports pilot license. The difference, one you can add ratings to like IFR and so on where as the sports license is strictly daytime VFR and have altitude limits, only one other passenger and a maximum take off weight of something like 1,300 lbs. Probably, more limitations than that but you get the idea.

So I have been in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk and flown around the area with a friend of mine a few years ago, first time I had been on a plane. Was pretty nervous about the whole thing, didn't know anything. So I downloaded a simulator called X-plane which is pretty popular. Bought it, pretty cheap and that's the cheap part. Can't really learn much in terms of realism or pull off certain things with a keyboard and mouse, got to have a yoke, rudder pedals and throttle quadrant...those seem like they would be the essentials. I think it is a good place to start...

I know I need to know how to read the maps, know how to talk to ATC, know what kind of air space I'm in and so forth. I think the questions I need to know the answer to is where do I really need to start, what are the essentials...

Likewise, getting a pilots license at my age, probably doesn't mean I'm going to fly for delta, so this is mostly for recreation but with a private, I can get instrument ratings and could possible make some money on the side at some point, but that's not my main goal. Also, it's expensive. The training is expensive, the rentals and fuel and instructors are expensive and then after you get your pilot's license. Either you rent aircraft or you buy your own and depending on how much you want to fly dictates whether you should own or rent and both aren't cheap.

Thoughts?
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Unread 4 Days Ago   #2
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I do actually know a member here who is a pilot but he hasn't been active for some time unfortunately. Nice guy.

@LateBloomer if you are watching from afar perhaps you can offer some insight here?
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InbetweenDreams (3 Days Ago)
Unread 4 Days Ago   #3
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I was in flight academy studying aircraft piloting (on winged aircraft) after high school. I left the academy to go into art, and I didn't finish my studies. But I have flown planes a little.

Where you start is by getting licensed, if that's what you really want to do (if this is just a passing mood of yours -- don't do it. It's way too expensive, and aviation is a lifetime commitment. You will be doing it till the day you die. It's maybe difficult to realize it from the outside, but that's the bare truth that you need to understand. It's not a hobby. It's for life).

You can read up on theory by yourself at home (I can give you some good sources, if you're interested), but there's not much else you can do at home. You need to register with an instructor and start getting flight hours. That's where it starts. No computer program (expect the certified simulator ones they have in flight schools) is good really, to even approach real training. Those are computer games, not actual real thing.

Different instructors can probably make you a bit of a different deal. They're all expensive, but they might be able to stretch out the duration of your training, so that you end up paying less per year, for example; although it would take longer to train that way. It would help if you knew anybody who knew anybody who was a flight instructor.

Get your health checked. Eye sight and hearing. If you have problems there, sorry, but it's not gonna happen. I don't know about the standards in the US, but in EU you can't become a pilot if you've ever had eye surgery (surgery leaves a scar or something, so we were told, which is unacceptable for flight standards). And that's one of the restrictions. You have to be in excellent health to do this.

You're 30, so, no, you are not going to be flying Boeings or any other airliners. Boeings take a year to train into by themselves. However expensive PPL training is, getting on a jet is WAY more expensive. Airliners usually pay for training their pilots, which means the pilots will have to fly with them for a number of years to make up the cost. You're simply too old. You'd have maybe 10 good years in the air maybe a few more, before you start to become old for the job. And 10 years is simply not enough. 25 is the ceiling, past which age there's not much point in pursuing a career in the aviation (with the airlines, that is). Air Force is reluctant to take candidates past 20. Becoming a private pilot is not that age-restricted. You can start that in your 40s (given you're in excellent health), which is pretty much the only option open for you.


Another fascinating thing that I would recommend to check out is gliding. And maybe going into that, and getting a glider pilot license. It's still flying (albeit, not on motorized aircraft). From my experience, gliding is a more immediate, natural, relaxing, but an exhilarating experience and I highly recommend it. It is just as good as flying motorized aircraft, but it's simpler. And a lot of people want to experience that, and if you have a glider pilot's license you could get a job flying people in the air for recreational purposes.


That's all off the top of my head, right now. Anything else you wanna ask me about?
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Unread 3 Days Ago   #4
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@meridannight I know there are different medical certificates you can get depending on where you're allowed to take your pilot licenses in terms of rating or whether you're flying for delta or something. Vision is a big one, same with some heart problems. I don't think there's anything else other than making sure you're not going to either have a stroke or have a mental episode in mid flight. I know the medical would be the first thing to get out of the way. I just have to find out how long a FAA medical certificate is good for, I don't think costs for that are an issue and pretty sure I could get a class C or B...probably not A.

As far as the simulator goes, X-Plane can be certified depending on what version you have and what controls (Saitek) you have connected, head tracking, etc. Which I don't have and all that stuff does get expensive itself.

I guess a lot of it is just going to require me to get books and study the material. Questions most involve reading sectional maps, knowing what airspace you can fly in and what airspace you're in and talking to ATC. That aside, what would be essential aviation knowledge?

The simulator seems like a good place to start as I need to save money to do all this, I think it will be quite a while before I think about buying an airplane or really even getting hours in a plane. Seems it would be something you need to continuously put time into, especially in the beginning. Likewise, I don't want to go too crazy with the simulator stuff because it only gets so good and you can spend a fortune on it, which could be put towards actual time in a plane with an instructor.

I do think having more time in a plane would be helpful, just to get used to the feeling on being in a plane and making observations, how far away things are, not something you can learn from in a simulator, at least not within budget.

Not that I would be looking at buying an aircraft anytime soon, but what would be a good plane to own? I'm sure that's a lot like asking what kind of car I should buy. It does seem Cessna 172 Skyhawk's are pretty well known and have been around a while and that is probably both a good and bad thing since I'm sure you can find some well maintained and some that are totally unfit for flight and either might crash or spend thousands and restoring and having work done.

Paramotoring would be fun but unlike flying a plane, probably not something I would be able to do 20 years from now, or I should say unlikely anyway - but who knows. Also, not cheap to get into, either and have to find a good instructor and there's no simulating that lol

I did look at helicopters, thinking along the lines that they might be easy to fly....they're not. Takes a lot of skill to fly those things. They're also considerably more expensive and use a lot of fuel and thus all the simulator stuff is way more expensive than things for a plane.
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Unread 20 Hours Ago   #5
meridannight
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@InbetweenDreams

Quote:
I guess a lot of it is just going to require me to get books and study the material. Questions most involve reading sectional maps, knowing what airspace you can fly in and what airspace you're in and talking to ATC. That aside, what would be essential aviation knowledge?
Physics of flight is where you start. Before you get behind the controls, you gotta understand the basic principles of flight. Aerodynamics, most importantly. Aircraft design and structure (very important!!), weather theory, navigation, meteorology, instrumentation (this is studied in parallel with flying). Then it would be highly recommended you touch up on your college physics and mathematics. It will make things a lot easier for you.

Here, I'll give you a link:

download and read this text:

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_poli...t_handbook.pdf


Maps is the least of it. Reading a map is easy, and that's not really something you study for. So, don't worry about that, you'll get used to the maps.


As for aircraft, different aircraft is needed/wanted/chosen depending on circumstances. Cessna is okay just for flying around solo as a private pilot. Check out Piper aircraft as well. I'm afraid it's a bit too early for you to start picking out a plane for yourself. That's not how it works anyway. It's not a car that you pick out the model you like and go by that. Most of the time, pilots rent and/or fly someone else's planes. You're gonna have to do your own research on that one, buddy.
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InbetweenDreams (17 Hours Ago)
Unread 20 Hours Ago   #6
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Here's another link for you :

https://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-04-203.pdf
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InbetweenDreams (17 Hours Ago)
Unread 17 Hours Ago   #7
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Looks like a lot of good material. One thing that is settling in is one. It takes A LOT of practice. It's one thing to keep a plane in the air but getting back on the ground is another. While I don't think anyone would disagree that a simulator is just that and not the real thing but certainly a good learning tool...

I got my first bit of training in the simulator, one I have actually helped out with and again with the drone and everything else I have been looking at. Free is a good price to learn something new and might be a possible career path (I know I wouldn't be flying for Delta or anything, but ATC is a possibility and they make good money).



Anyway, I can tell that it will be several years before I would be able to obtain a license, lots of material and training... Does seem landing is always something people focus on improving. I notice that I "chase" trying to correct things and that is something that is hard to resist.

The guy who's offering to training me in a plane and simulator let me have a joystick which isn't of course as good as the simulator but better than using a keyboard and mouse (as the mouse doesn't give you rudder control among other things).

So anyway, going to stick with it and hopefully I can have a reasonable landing and get some time in a plane next month. We'll see how that goes...and of course I will share my experience when that happens.

I was told that for as long as humans have been on the Earth that in the last 100 years have we been able to fly and it would be a shame not to take advantage of it... I'm paraphrasing but makes sense. Being able to do something that not everyone does and something most humans don't get to experience. At least as a pilot. I know that a lot of people fly in commercial flights but I gather it's not the same as flying in a small aircraft...
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Unread 15 Hours Ago   #8
meridannight
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@InbetweenDreams, some people do seem to think that small aircraft is ''not as good'' as Boeings or other jets, but actually, a plane is a plane and you get the thrill of the experience just as well in small aircraft. Same laws of physics apply to all planes. In a lot of ways Cessna 172, for example, is better than a Boeing. It's a lot more flexible and maneuverable aircraft for one. In my opinion, it's about the experience and thrill of flying, rather than the exact type of plane you're doing it in (although, I would have loved to have got a Lockheed SR-71 certification -- that's my favorite aircraft right there. But for that you have to go into working for the government, fighting other people's wars, etc).

If this is truly something you're willing to commit to in the long-term, and if you have a passion for flying, then I wish you all the luck with it. I can tell from experience that being in the cockpit and holding the controls of the plane in the air -- i.e. flying -- is a feeling and a sensation incomparable to anything else in this life. You feel like god. That's the closest I can put it.

If you want it, then go after it, and don't give up. It is doable. It's worth all the effort and cost in the end, and I hope you get there.

You look good, by the way. Cute picture. I don't know why you ever doubted you didn't look attractive.
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Unread 6 Hours Ago   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meridannight View Post
@InbetweenDreams, some people do seem to think that small aircraft is ''not as good'' as Boeings or other jets, but actually, a plane is a plane and you get the thrill of the experience just as well in small aircraft. Same laws of physics apply to all planes. In a lot of ways Cessna 172, for example, is better than a Boeing. It's a lot more flexible and maneuverable aircraft for one. In my opinion, it's about the experience and thrill of flying, rather than the exact type of plane you're doing it in (although, I would have loved to have got a Lockheed SR-71 certification -- that's my favorite aircraft right there. But for that you have to go into working for the government, fighting other people's wars, etc).
Yeah I have no desire to fly in the airforce and drop bombs. I do think I am probably too old to become an airline pilot, after hearing one's account on starting in their 30's it just sounds futile to go through all the hell to get the required hours and experience and be 55 and have all the debt that goes with it. That being said, ATC is a good career, at least as far as salary is concerned, pushing six figures and I'd say buying a plane would be small potatoes if were to go that route. So that being said, I do amateur radio so I have some working knowledge of radio, likewise the format in which ATC communicates. But hey you never know.

Quote:
If this is truly something you're willing to commit to in the long-term, and if you have a passion for flying, then I wish you all the luck with it. I can tell from experience that being in the cockpit and holding the controls of the plane in the air -- i.e. flying -- is a feeling and a sensation incomparable to anything else in this life. You feel like god. That's the closest I can put it.
Well, probably too early to say with certainty that this is what I want but I'd be a fool to pass up an oppurtunity to get training that would help me prepare to fly with and instructor and the base knowledge I need to have. Especially when the expense is small compared to what it would cost to go in blindly and find out it isn't for me.

Rental 172's are about $110 an hour, not cheap but an hour in a real plane can go over the basics and get the feel for some things. At any rate, flying in the simulator, it makes a lot of sense why the FAA requires a 40 hour minimum to get your private pilot's license.

Quote:
If you want it, then go after it, and don't give up. It is doable. It's worth all the effort and cost in the end, and I hope you get there.

You look good, by the way. Cute picture. I don't know why you ever doubted you didn't look attractive.
lol Thanks. Not sure, I guess it must be something else. Guys are very superficial, at least most of the ones I have met. Either it is looks, weight, money, career, personality...Honestly, I shut down more guys than anything else. So if I am chasing after someone, it isn't just because of their looks but I digress.

Anyway, I guess I'll just have to find out where this aviation stuff leads and curious how many of my friends and family think I am crazy and when I do get licensed how many will actually get on a plane with me flying it lol
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Unread 2 Hours Ago   #10
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Well just looked at what the requirements are to become an ATC and guess what. There is an age restriction, you have to younger than 31 when first hired and I turn 31 in about 3 months. So, no dice... Not sure what the age restriction is all about or if there's exceptions so, probably no career change there. Is a bit disappointing that at least in terms of aviation, there's not so many doors in terms of career. I'm perfectly fine with going into aviation for recreational purposes, however, although the idea of making $125k a year was pretty enticing,,,
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