Getting an education in aviation as a professional pilot is no easy task. You must ask yourself some key questions and seriously consider the financial burden that you are taking on over the course of your training. Understanding what is involved in an aviation degree is the first step towards creating a plan and then executing that plan step by step. Picking an institution to do your training was a difficult task for myself as I chose to do my training Part 61, instead of the accelerated method of doing it Part 141 at an accredited University such as U of M Mankato. Paying out of pocket or Part 61 for flight training is a timely method as you need to plan ahead well in advance and get the funds prearranged before you drain the bank. Part 141 training on the other hand allows you to recieve financial aid that pays for nearly all of the ratings and is allocated based on the FAFSA. I have found that by cutting corners and not making impulse purchases or buying things you can live without adds up over time allowing some wiggle room. Another thing that should always be considered is scholarships. Grants and aviation scholarships are awarded by thousands of corporations to whom understand the financial integrity of paying for your degree along with acquiring certificates and ratings. I found that most scholarships are easy to apply for and definitely don’t take that much time to write an essay as you need to remember, you could potentially get paid for the efforts! Aviation is a difficult career that sometimes seems as though it will be nothing more than a dream, but every professional pilot will say, if you have passion and want it more than anything else in life, dreams can become reality.
I want to personally thank Global Air for the scholarship opportunities they provide to aviation students and how they will benefit me personally providing remarkable support for endless opportunity.
As always, safe landings to all and let me know what you think of the blogging so far!
Have you ever gone to work and just been miserable the entire day because you’re just get fed up with waking up early or getting your hands dirty? Well, I am happy to say that I have never had a single day at work where I didn’t get excitement and joy out of my job working around airplanes. Today was a remarkable day due to a large variety of things motivating me to a whole new level! I barely get out of bed in the morning at 0400 listening to multiple alarms blaring at me to get going. My job and education is what motivates me to wake up and smell the coffee.
I live about an hour away from Elliott Aviation in Eden Prairie, Minnesota and make a long commute five to six days a week at 0500 so I can punch in ten minutes before every shift. After arriving at work I get the privilege of unlocking all the hangar doors and flicking on the lights exposing beautiful jets. These simple morning tasks are what motivate and inspire me to make my dreams a reality. One of the greatest things about my place of employment is that also located inside of the Elliott FBO is Inflight Pilot Training where I have been doing all of my training so far towards a career as a professional pilot. Several times I have embarked on morning flights experiencing gorgeous sunrises and the remarkably smooth air before I clock in for work.
Today, I was allowed to take an extended lunch break and go fly an actual IFR flight with Joe Harbison to Crystal (KMIC) and back shooting a couple approaches and even getting some surprising actual instrument time in the clouds! After towing some big jets around and fueling on the ramp I met up with Joe and preflighted the C172N, (N739BN) before getting my first IFR clearance up to Crystal.
The winds were rather gusty making the air a bit turbulent, but also provided the best flight I have ever taken since I started my training. Joe and I picked up our clearance (KMIC via Radar Vectors, RWY HDG up to 2,500′ Expecting 3,000′ – 10 Minutes after departure and a squawk), then proceeded to fly direct to the Gopher (GEP) VOR. We flew a reverse course and were told to climb up to 4,000′ where I experience my first 0.2 hours of actual instrument time. Flying in the clouds was something that I had never experienced up to this point and burned this epic drive to repeat it during a future IFR flight with Joe. Anyways, we flew the VOR-A approach into KMIC and circled to land with a difficult crosswind as icing on the cake.
It was just a short stop on Wentworths FBO before picking up another clearance back to KFCM. I experienced difficult taxi instructions at an unfamiliar airport and impressed myself with my read-backs and instructions prior to departure on runway 24R. We took off and got set up the RNAV 10L approach into Flying Cloud which turned out to be the best approach I’ve flown yet.
It’s days like this that give me perspective on a bright future involving aviation and allow me to strive for more! I hope everybody is enjoying life just as much as I am and can look forwards to upcoming blogs!
Well, after receiving a day full of 30 Knot winds gusting up to 50, we finally got our beautiful VFR weather back and I just had to take advantage of it. Earlier this morning, I drove up to Eden Prairie and did a bit of ground training with Joe. We worked on holding the entire lesson and everything that is involved in performing them. Learning the different entries for the holds can be tricky depending on the approach you are doing, but for the most part I figured out that a Direct entry or Parallel entry is going to be the majority of holding pattern entries. After briefing everything and firing questions left and right we hopped into the simulator and planned on shooting a few approaches into Anoka County/Blaine and Flying Cloud. Joe set the simulator so that we wouldn’t be breaking out of the clouds at minimums forcing me to go missed and follow the instructions listed on the specified approach plate. Most of the missed approaches have a climb and turn instruction on them before telling you to tune the VOR and backtrack so that you can shoot the approach or hold depending on the circumstances. Holding isn’t extremely difficult, you simply enter based on the direction you are traveling and do timed turns and timed legs to fly a simple oval pattern. One thing that I was told is that when you learn the holds, wind isn’t a factor, but in the real world conditions the wind may make everything much more difficult. The wind might make you fly a one minute thirty-second leg instead of just one minute, and I suppose you can understand why that would be difficult. Anyways, I am getting a big head start on the written work by studying using Prepware’s Instrument tests so that I can hopefully pass on the first time. I will post more later this week!
Finally, after getting my mind wrapped around the VOR/DME approaches, we went and threw the ILS/Localizer Approaches into the ring creating this concoction of “Grey Matter” that must be performed simultaneously and with great precision all the while. There is something special about the ILS approach that makes it daunting and troublesome. The second you start losing the Localizer… and then the glide slope slowly disappears… proceeding with Joe slapping the “freeze” button and reversing the airplane with a simple click of the mouse so all the errors of over-correcting begin to work themselves out gives me this dirty feeling deep down. However, the reason I was punching in and out of the Localizer like Swiss cheese wasn’t because of the the horrible trim tabbing on the simulator yoke, or the horrible screeching made by the metal yoke assembly making our ears bleed, but indeed it was pilot error. Making these mistakes in the simulator only prepares us for real world endeavors where mistakes might not be so easily corrected thus wasting valuable educational time. A few things I learned to better setup my approaches involved using mnemonic checklists, each verifying that tasks were performed in order and when required. Reducing the overall workload management involved in actually sending the plane down to the numbers helps immensely. The learning venture never seems to slow, and my curiosity to take on newer more challenging tasks seems to grow on an exponential level of progression. I am looking forwards to hopping in the actual airplane and seeing what I can learn one step at a time. I find that aviation is kind of like the sport of golf, the more you do it and practice your skills, the straighter the ball flies.
I hope everybody is enjoying Blue Skies and everything else life has to offer.