Well, I was planning to post the lyrics to the song “Learning to Fly,” by the Foo Fighters, but I figured that it wouldn’t be a very aviation related blog, so I will stick to the aviation content and discuss the process involved in what it takes to become a pilot. Everybody has looked up at the sky at some point in their lives and pondered about what it would be like to fly an airplane. Many people consider aviation to be one of those hobbies or interests that are simply unobtainable or out of their comfort zone, but I am here to tell you that it is very much a realistic and worthwhile experience from start to finish.
Alright, the first thing that comes to mind with flight training is money. Aviation is a very expensive hobby, but if you break down the process into manageable expenses and allocate the time to devote yourself to learning something new, you will soon find out that obtaining a pilot’s license is priceless. Breaking down the costs involved in obtaining your PPL (Private Pilots License) is critical to understanding the overall expenses and exactly how much it will cost in the end. Something that I will note is that the quicker you train and satisfy the requirements for a PPL, the easier and more cost effective everything will be in the long run. Finding a flight school that has affordable rates is difficult. Many schools hire instructors that are simply there to build time and further their own aviation careers without having the compassion for others with the desire to delve into the aviation world. Oddly enough, you can tell fairly quickly if a CFI (Flight Instructor) is pushing you for your money and providing an “okay” experience, rather than an instructor that simply gets excited about talking aviation and shows a passion for the lifestyle they chose.
Personally, I considered many flight schools in the Twin Cities for starting my flight training, or simply scheduling the first flight better known as an introductory flight. I visited Inflight Pilot Training located in the Elliott Aviation FBO at Flying Cloud Airport (Eden Prairie, MN) and was blown away with the initial interaction that I received upon walking into the office. Inflight has several CFIs varying in age and experience, but something I noticed is that the one thing each and every instructor has in common is the passion for aviation as a whole. The atmosphere that I experienced through Inflight is the exact reason why I have such a big interest in flying and also feel obligated to share the experience with others so that the general aviation community can grow.
Understanding the time requirements and specific standards for qualifying for a PPL is important as working through the training with an idea of what to expect for each and every flight will allow for time and money efficient lessons. The following list of time requirements and standards for a PPL are…
A TOTAL time of 40 Hours involving the following two categories:
20 Hours with an Instructor while satisfying these specific requirements:
- 3 Hours of cross-country
- 3 Hours of night flight including a cross-country in excess of 100 nautical miles in distance and 10 takeoffs/landings within a traffic pattern at an airport
- 3 Hours of training with reference to the instruments (Hood Time) in a Single-Engine Airplane (S.E.L.)
- 3 Hours of flight training within 60 days of the practical test date (Checkride)
10 Hours of Solo time in a Single-Engine Aircraft while also completing:
- 5 Hours of Solo cross-country time
- A cross-country flight to three separate airports to a full stop in excess of 150nm total and 50nm each leg
- At least 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop at a towered airport
In addition to these items, general requirements include things such as acquiring at least a third-class medical certificate and passing the FAA Private Pilot written exam. Out of all the things that you can do to start your training on the right foot, the first step should be to study for the FAA written exam and PASS the test with at least a 70% . The written test is 60 questions out of a HUGE 1,000+ question bank that you should be able to answer prior to being ready for the test. I found that the written exams is always the most difficult part in getting any sort of rating whether it be the PPL or Instrument rating. Taking a ground school will be the best way to prepare for the studying and will introduce many important basic aspects involved with flying airplanes. Inflight offers ground schools for both the private and instrument ratings to introduce the study topics required for the written and are extremely valuable for the minimal expense.
Flying an airplane expresses freedom and is also a huge achievement as the general aviation community is on the decline. If anybody has the slightest interest in learning to fly, I would say “GO FOR IT,” because you will NEVER regret the decision. If anybody has any questions regarding flight training, or suggestions for my blog, feel free to comment and I will provide answers to the best of my knowledge. If you enjoyed this blog, please like and follow me on wordpress, or add me on facebook for more aviation blogs in the future.
As always, V1, V2, Rotate, Positive Rate, Gear up, smile.
Interested in becoming a pilot? Visit Inflight Pilot Training’s website at http://www.inflightpilottraining.com Best flight school in the Twin Cities!
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