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 Getting my Private Pilot Cert....... Questions Inside
hikenc  [Member]
3/7/2011 12:48:11 AM
I live right in the middle of Class C airspace. I haven't been able to find a local CFI that is willing to train locally, which means I will have to drive almost an hour to find an airport/CFI.
My medical is complete, so I'm good to go for the initial ground school and written knowledge test.

Since I can't find a local ground school, I've been researching the online ground schools. I found 3 so far (Gleim, Gold Seal and King)

I was really impressed with the Gold Seal online school. They let you take almost half of the courses for free before paying. The online videos and presentations are awesome. They explain all the concepts in a way that's easy to understand. Everything looks detailed. It will only cost $77 for the entire ground school through them, and they will send me an endorsement when completed.

Questions:

Are online ground schools good to go?

Anyone used Gold Seal with success?

Will I need additional ground school before I can fly with a CFI?

Can anyone recommend a better alternative?


Thanks for all the help. I want to do this the right way (the first time).
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SharpCharge  [Team Member]
3/7/2011 2:34:19 AM

Originally Posted By hikenc:
I live right in the middle of Class C airspace. I haven't been able to find a local CFI that is willing to train locally, which means I will have to drive almost an hour to find an airport/CFI.
My medical is complete, so I'm good to go for the initial ground school and written knowledge test.

Since I can't find a local ground school, I've been researching the online ground schools. I found 3 so far (Gleim, Gold Seal and King)

I was really impressed with the Gold Seal online school. They let you take almost half of the courses for free before paying. The online videos and presentations are awesome. They explain all the concepts in a way that's easy to understand. Everything looks detailed. It will only cost $77 for the entire ground school through them, and they will send me an endorsement when completed.

Questions:

Are online ground schools good to go?

Anyone used Gold Seal with success?

Will I need additional ground school before I can fly with a CFI?

Can anyone recommend a better alternative?


Thanks for all the help. I want to do this the right way (the first time).

Which airport? Try www.beapilot.com and do a search there. My recommendation is to do the ground training in conjunction with the flight training. I think you learn more that way. Yes companies like King have been around for a while and guarantee their stuff, but a your instructor is going to go over what he needs to to get you to understand and pass the practical. If it's a part 141 school, they're going to want to do it there. If you go to a part 61 school, then go ahead, but the CFI will still spend some ground time with you.

I've never used any of the companies you mentioned, so I can't give you any info on them specifically. Good luck!

BillofRights  [Member]
3/7/2011 4:11:43 AM
It depends upon your personal aptitude and knowledge base. I have had students who have done just fine with self study, combined with a little one on one ground instruction. Other students? no f-ing way.

Potential students are always asking "How long does it take" "How much money" etc, etc. Answer is: It all depends on you.

Any one of the internet ground schools mentioned should be adequate, provided that you have a real interest in learning, slightly above average intelligence, self discipline, and a good Instructor. Spend the $77- it's well worth it. However, that's just the beginning. Get recommendations for books, and read them.

A good CFI/Flt school shouldn't require you to pay for much more ground school, PROVIDED that you know the material.

Everyone learns differently. The Class Room is mostly a waste of time for me. Luckily, I managed to get from Pvt though ATP, two airlines, bunch of type ratings, and about 30 other scary check rides, pretty much all on self study.
trav1921  [Team Member]
3/7/2011 4:57:15 AM
I used the King Schools computer course back when I got my private. It was great information and I learned alot but I found my self not feeling ready for the written so I went out and got the Gleim Written Private Pilot book and studied that as well. Best $20 insurance policy I bought it covered some stuff on the test Kings didn't.

Now with that said I also found the flight school pushed this product on their students so I bought it. But as they said before, there may have been 4 or 5 flights where my instructor and the King program where at the same place in the training. But I passed with flying colors. Just study and keep studying.
hikenc  [Member]
3/7/2011 7:11:11 AM
Originally Posted By BillofRights:
It depends upon your personal aptitude and knowledge base. I have had students who have done just fine with self study, combined with a little one on one ground instruction. Other students? no f-ing way.

Potential students are always asking "How long does it take" "How much money" etc, etc. Answer is: It all depends on you.

Any one of the internet ground schools mentioned should be adequate, provided that you have a real interest in learning, slightly above average intelligence, self discipline, and a good Instructor. Spend the $77- it's well worth it. However, that's just the beginning. Get recommendations for books, and read them.

A good CFI/Flt school shouldn't require you to pay for much more ground school, PROVIDED that you know the material.

Everyone learns differently. The Class Room is mostly a waste of time for me. Luckily, I managed to get from Pvt though ATP, two airlines, bunch of type ratings, and about 30 other scary check rides, pretty much all on self study.


I guess I should explain a little more about my situation. I'm 25 years old, fresh out of College (NCSU). I started a ground school this past Fall, but it seemed as though everyone (about 30) in the class was unprepared and we spent waaaaaay too much time going back over alot of the material. I figured the online school would help me get the basic knowledge needed for the written test.

I feel that a self-paced study regime will be the best choice for me. I just don't want to put myself in a situation where the CFI will force me to redo my entire ground school because I took the easy route online.

I'm motivated, pretty smart, and I feel that I can master the material in a couple weeks. I'm curious how many "brush up" hours of ground school my CFI will require. I was hoping to just review the ins and outs of the specific plane before our first takeoff.
flightsimmer  [Member]
3/7/2011 9:08:37 AM
As a private pilot I would say that unless you enjoy frustration and are very well heeled financially just go buy an X-Plane or Microsoft X computer simulator and have fun. Flying used to be fun but not so much any more. I've flown and owned planes since 1982 and I'm sorry to say it just isn't fun any more. If you just have to give it a try, find an instructor who will fly you around for a while, it'll be cheaper in the long run and if you want a job as a pilot......... FORGET IT! .......There are tons of pilots looking for work.
hikenc  [Member]
3/7/2011 10:56:16 AM
Originally Posted By flightsimmer:
As a private pilot I would say that unless you enjoy frustration and are very well heeled financially just go buy an X-Plane or Microsoft X computer simulator and have fun. Flying used to be fun but not so much any more. I've flown and owned planes since 1982 and I'm sorry to say it just isn't fun any more. If you just have to give it a try, find an instructor who will fly you around for a while, it'll be cheaper in the long run and if you want a job as a pilot......... FORGET IT! .......There are tons of pilots looking for work.


I love flying. My dad is a PP, but his medical was yanked for health reasons (diabetes). He owns a small grass strip in the mountains. As soon as you take off.... youre over the lake.

Some of the most enjoyable moments in my life have been flying with my dad. Since he can't fly anymore, I want to get mine so I can take him up. It might not be fun for you, but it's alot of fun for me.
FluxPrism  [Team Member]
3/7/2011 2:55:03 PM
Good for you!

You have a reasonable plan, and good motivation, both for yourself and your father.

I've never met a CFI who wasn't happy to have a student who already had all the ground stuff done, including the written and medical ready to go. That's just less time they have to spend out of the airplane teaching you stuff. You might think they get paid the same either way, but when you are getting flight instruction, the CFI is both getting paid AND logging PIC hours, which is the real reason most of them do CFI work anyway. Not all, but most.

So, I'd go ahead and do whatever feels good to you for the ground stuff. Personally, I did the entire ground part by self-study, with only a little bit of coaching from my instructors. I also missed only one question on the written, so I feel I did OK that way.

I would also like to add though, the FAA has gotten much more agreeable the last few years about medicals for those with diabetes. It might be worth pursuing that for your father. The worst they can say is 'still no'.

Good Luck!


FluxPrism
gubernator  [Member]
3/7/2011 3:25:52 PM
Congrats on deciding to get your PP-ASEL. Getting your ticket is a major accomplishment and something you'll always look back on with pride. It sounds like you're doing this for the right reasons and you know what is involved.

When I was in your shoes about 10 years ago, I did one of the online ground schools. I worked at it full time and knocked it out in a week or so. The school sent an endorsement in the mail allowing me to take the written exam. After passing the written, I walked over to the local flight school and signed up for flight lessons (part 61).

Even though I had completed the online ground school, I still had to do some ground school with my flight instructor. The online ground school is geared toward getting you ready to pass a test; the ground school with your flight instructor is about teaching you how to fly an airplane. If you go part 141, you'll get both from the same place. If you go part 61, you can probably save some money by showing up for flight lessons with your written already passed. If you go to a good school, they won't make you sit through a bunch more ground school ($) for things you already know.

After completing my PP-ASEL, I went on to get an instrument rating, CP-ASEL, CFI, and CFII. I've got about 600 hours but haven't flown in five years or so.

I'd recommend finding a flight school you like and paying them a visit. Maybe even go up for an intro flight with one of the instructors. (Get yourself a logbook before you go so you can log the time!) Also find out if they're part 61 or 141 and whether you'd save any money by showing up with your passed written exam in hand. If you go that route, any of the big online schools would probably be fine.

Best of luck to you. Feel free to PM me with any other questions.


Kalahnikid  [Team Member]
3/7/2011 3:51:30 PM
Originally Posted By flightsimmer:
As a private pilot I would say that unless you enjoy frustration and are very well heeled financially just go buy an X-Plane or Microsoft X computer simulator and have fun. Flying used to be fun but not so much any more. I've flown and owned planes since 1982 and I'm sorry to say it just isn't fun any more. If you just have to give it a try, find an instructor who will fly you around for a while, it'll be cheaper in the long run and if you want a job as a pilot......... FORGET IT! .......There are tons of pilots looking for work.


You gotta knock it off with them negative waves.

hikenc: Good luck! I used the King school program and it was boring as hell but got the job done.

Did you dad have his own plane? What was it?
hikenc  [Member]
3/7/2011 4:16:47 PM
Thanks for all the good advise and kind words everyone! It sounds like my plan is coming together.

My dad owns two Pipers, an Archer and a Cherokee.

Even though he's technically grounded, he's keeping the planes because they were given to him by my grandpa (also a PP before he passed). From time to time he'll still fly a few patterns around the strip, but he doesn't feel comfortable flying any distance with his medications.

The plan is for me to get my PP and pick which plane I want for myself. (He doesn't know that yet!) I will probably pick the Archer. It has more upgraded equipment and is a little faster :).

I will have to pay a local club to use a student plane though. I'm keeping this a big secret from my dad. I want to surprise him when I land at the strip and let him cut my shirt tail. He'll probably have a heart attack, but I really want to surprise him with it. (Hey if he has a heart attack at least I'll get both planes!).... Just Kidding!


Originally Posted By Kalahnikid:
Originally Posted By flightsimmer:
As a private pilot I would say that unless you enjoy frustration and are very well heeled financially just go buy an X-Plane or Microsoft X computer simulator and have fun. Flying used to be fun but not so much any more. I've flown and owned planes since 1982 and I'm sorry to say it just isn't fun any more. If you just have to give it a try, find an instructor who will fly you around for a while, it'll be cheaper in the long run and if you want a job as a pilot......... FORGET IT! .......There are tons of pilots looking for work.


You gotta knock it off with them negative waves.

hikenc: Good luck! I used the King school program and it was boring as hell but got the job done.

Did you dad have his own plane? What was it?


FB41  [Team Member]
3/7/2011 7:39:39 PM
Originally Posted By hikenc:
Thanks for all the good advise and kind words everyone! It sounds like my plan is coming together.

My dad owns two Pipers, an Archer and a Cherokee.

Even though he's technically grounded, he's keeping the planes because they were given to him by my grandpa (also a PP before he passed). From time to time he'll still fly a few patterns around the strip, but he doesn't feel comfortable flying any distance with his medications.

The plan is for me to get my PP and pick which plane I want for myself. (He doesn't know that yet!) I will probably pick the Archer. It has more upgraded equipment and is a little faster :).

I will have to pay a local club to use a student plane though. I'm keeping this a big secret from my dad. I want to surprise him when I land at the strip and let him cut my shirt tail. He'll probably have a heart attack, but I really want to surprise him with it. (Hey if he has a heart attack at least I'll get both planes!).... Just Kidding!


Originally Posted By Kalahnikid:
Originally Posted By flightsimmer:
As a private pilot I would say that unless you enjoy frustration and are very well heeled financially just go buy an X-Plane or Microsoft X computer simulator and have fun. Flying used to be fun but not so much any more. I've flown and owned planes since 1982 and I'm sorry to say it just isn't fun any more. If you just have to give it a try, find an instructor who will fly you around for a while, it'll be cheaper in the long run and if you want a job as a pilot......... FORGET IT! .......There are tons of pilots looking for work.


You gotta knock it off with them negative waves.

hikenc: Good luck! I used the King school program and it was boring as hell but got the job done.

Did you dad have his own plane? What was it?




There's nothing wrong with using the ground schools you mentioned, although the King School courses may bore you to tears. What you’re looking for is the sign-off to take the written exams; if they provide that after you successfully pass their required curriculum, you're golden.

As for your dad, he CAN still fly as a Sport Pilot IF his medical wasn’t rejected/revoked for diabetes and he CAN still get a Third class WITH diabetes, but it’s a pain in the ass. Check www.aopa.org for more details on that topic.

In any event, welcome to the club!
itgoesboom  [Team Member]
3/7/2011 10:49:17 PM
Nothing wrong with doing self study. It may get you 10% of the way there, or 95% of the way there. Depends entirely on you.

Either way, a good CFI will appreciate the effort and initiative you are taking to get ahead and work with you to fill in the gaps. Sounds like you also would be better off 1-on-1 with an instructor, rather than in a classroom setting.

SharpCharge  [Team Member]
3/8/2011 2:07:29 AM
Just wondering..... If he's already got a Cherokee, why not see if you could use that to get your rating? I know you want to surprise him, but paying for a plane when you already have 2 seems like a waste. Take that extra $$ and put it into your own planes.
Kalahnikid  [Team Member]
3/8/2011 2:12:05 AM
Originally Posted By SharpCharge:
Just wondering..... If he's already got a Cherokee, why not see if you could use that to get your rating? I know you want to surprise him, but paying for a plane when you already have 2 seems like a waste. Take that extra $$ and put it into your own planes.


+1

It will cut your flying costs in half to fly someone elses plane. I wouldnt have been able to afford it (or at least it would have taken a lot longer) if I wasnt flying my parents plane.
broken_reticle  [Team Member]
3/11/2011 9:57:45 PM
Don't forget Sporty's has a similar ground school that has good reviews. If you want to review there are a bunch of online test banks like : http://www.exams4pilots.org

It depends on you. I started flying a month or so ago but about ready to take my ground test. In the mean time I have been catching what the ground students have been learning in the twice weekly class. If I had to sit through that it would bore me to death. So I am doing self study, reviewing stuff a bit with the instructor anyway before we fly.

I did the Gold Seal free stuff a few months ago. Actually didn't seem too bad. I also have the King videos. Boring really, but to be honest they really do a good job of getting the right information across. If you have trouble with a subject its not bad to review their videos. Many people make jokes about the King stuff, but I keep it in my DVD player in my bedroom, watch a half hour or so before snoozing. It works. I also have the Gleim book, seems to be very condensed information to get you to pass the test, but not everything you need to know. Good review for the test.

The biggest thing I have discovered is know your information BEFORE you start flying. Sounds common sense, but many people do it in parallel with beginning flying. Its much easier to go over a few things to review with the instructor before flying than him trying to explain it. Even on your very first flight you will absorb a lot more if you understand what a hold short line and taxi marker looks.

BTW, why no flying in Class C? I am learning in Charlie, its a bit of a pain in the ass but I suspect it will come in handy later.
Star_Scream  [Team Member]
3/13/2011 12:39:24 PM
I'm not seeing how class C is hindering you. Getting in and out is easy
icebrain  [Member]
3/13/2011 8:21:34 PM
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
I'm not seeing how class C is hindering you. Getting in and out is easy


If I had to guess, class C = bigger airport = more $$$
Star_Scream  [Team Member]
3/13/2011 8:45:46 PM

Originally Posted By icebrain:
Originally Posted By Star_Scream:
I'm not seeing how class C is hindering you. Getting in and out is easy


If I had to guess, class C = bigger airport = more $$$

Or less due to competitive FBOs?

It is a good point
a555  [Member]
3/13/2011 9:18:19 PM
Don't get your flight instruction at RDU. After a couple lessons there I learned quick that you'll spend 8/10ths of an hour combined from your wait on the ground and flight to/from the practice area.
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