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10/30/2020 2:42:12 PM
Posted: 7/18/2004 4:55:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/23/2004 7:19:02 AM EST by cmjohnson]
Link Posted: 7/18/2004 4:58:20 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/18/2004 4:59:56 PM EST
Congrats! You are realizing one of my dreams.

Have fun and be careful!
Link Posted: 7/18/2004 5:06:33 PM EST
Somehow I doubt that you'll have much trouble  with the  retractable gear  and speed brakes. Mostly 'cause most training planes don't have them LOL!

I hope you stick with it, I got priced out of flying after I got my license 'bout 10 years back. Maybe some day I can get back into it.

Good Luck

Don in Ohio
Link Posted: 7/18/2004 5:10:38 PM EST
I've been wanting to do that for a couple years but my wife has a fit (safety) every time I bring it up...still working on her...
Link Posted: 7/18/2004 5:21:54 PM EST
Good luck CJ, it is a lot of fun.  
Link Posted: 7/18/2004 5:27:05 PM EST
Forget everything (you think) you learned about flying from simulators.  When you start next week, go in with a clear head and no pre conceived ideas.  If the instructor you picked is worth a hoot, he will force you to look outside the airplane and navigate by reference to landmarks on the ground.

[stick and rudder pilot mode] You don't need all that junk on the panel when you start learnin' to fly[/stick and rudder pilot mode] , and especially not a compass for the first couple of hours.  I say this because sim pilots fixate on the compass for turns to a heading and none of them have learned to use a magnetic compass.

What should happen is that you will learn and master small tasks, one at a time, each task building on those that came before.  You are also going to find out that the tactile sense in an airplane is new, and nothing in a simple sim is going to come close.

If you aren't satisfied with a flight instructor, don't hesitate to dump him, same goes for the flight school.  My advice is to find an instructor that is not building time while waiting for a job at the majors, a commuter, or a corporate job, find someone that has been instructing for a good long while and is going to be around to take you to your Private check ride.  There are lives and a lot of money at stake and you will be well served by going with the best primary flight instructor you can find.

If you are learning to fly because your soul demands it, welcome to the club.
Link Posted: 7/18/2004 5:53:29 PM EST
Link Posted: 7/18/2004 6:20:47 PM EST
Getting my PPL was a very rewarding experience.  The one thing that REALLY freaked me out (at first) was the steering with the rudder pedals thing while taxiing.  Crosswind landings were a quite tricky too.  Turning the yoke to the right while stomping on the left rudder pedal just felt plain unnatural!

My first solo was, of course, unforgettable... I remember glancing over at the empty seat next to me, and smiling.

I did it for reasons similar to what you describe.  I had no intentions of a career as a pilot, and was (am) not wealthy enough to own a plane... but it's just something I knew I needed to do.

Link Posted: 7/18/2004 6:37:08 PM EST
One quick funny story.  I showed up at the field one day (post-solo) to go up for a while and do some touch-and-goes.  My instructor was inside.  I took my time pre-flighting the little Cessna 152, and then proceeded to taxi out to the runway.  The tower cleared me for takeoff, but a real nasty looking storm off to the west appeared to be heading in our direction (and the controller confirmed this), so I taxied back to the ramp.  Just as I was tying the plane down, the sky opened up.  It was one of those torrential downpours where the rain comes down in sheets, ripping back in forth in the gusts.  Rather than run for it, I scrambled back into the plane to wait it out.  After several minutes, I decided to call my instructor with my cell phone, as it occurred to me that, as far as he knew, I had taken off a little while ago and was flying in this crap.

When he came to the phone and exclaimed "Mike, where are you?!?!?", the tone of voice said it all... it was a mix of "oh no, one of my students just crash-landed because I let him go up in bad weather... my career is over" and "thank God he's still alive."  Actually, the relief in his voice was more prominent then the panic... after all, if I was still alive and well enough to call him on the phone, it couldn't be that bad.  He breathed a huge sigh of relief when I told him I was sitting in the tied-up plane out front.

Link Posted: 7/18/2004 7:39:35 PM EST
Before I had my first solo, I ached when I saw other people flying, that's how bad I wanted it.

Here's a pretty good taxi story - when I started working toward an Instrument rating, the first time I taxied for takeoff in a Warrior I had to practice taxiing for a little bit!  It had been so long since I had flown a nose dragger (several hundred hours), steering felt very strange and even more so in a Piper with direct linkage (unlike a Cessna or a tailwheel airplane with springs or bungees in the circuit).

I wish I could give you an introduction to aerobatics - as soon as you get the Private ticket, go spend the money for 10 hours of basic acro training.  Then you will always have a mission for each flight and won't get bored from boring holes in the sky.
Link Posted: 7/18/2004 8:14:53 PM EST
Nice sim setup, when I win the Lottery I'll have to get something like it.
I was lucky and got my Private in Hawaii.  Great place to learn to fly, just not that many places to go.
There were only 4 times I almost died.  First was a left turn, lift the wing and looking at a SH-2 Seasprite coming straight at us.  Second was turning left again, in the same spot and looking at 4 Hueys coming straight at us.  Third time was landing at Maui on the left runway after a DC-10 took off on the right.  Wake turbulence is a bitch.  First time I saw my Samoan flight instructor white as a sheet.  Forth time was again in Maui, controller pulled a twin commuter in front of me and told it to hold takeoff while I was on short final.
Hawaii was great.  Best flight was when I reenlisted in a Cessna over the Arizona memorial.
Flying is fun, it's all the regulations that made it a PITA for me.  I'm into RC airplanes now.


Link Posted: 8/21/2004 12:40:54 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 12:43:16 PM EST
... Man, your pocketbook is gonna be a thinning with both  hobbies now
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 12:46:30 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 1:25:33 PM EST
I too just started, lesson #5 will be Monday.
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 1:34:27 PM EST
My dad has his pilots license and got pulled over and the trooper with his mountme hant tipped down and his gold rimmed tinted flight glasses on  asked him for his license to fly. so he showed him. he got a ticket out of that one
Link Posted: 8/21/2004 3:16:55 PM EST
Good luck cmjohnson
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 7:09:04 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/23/2004 7:11:22 AM EST by cmjohnson]
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 7:21:15 AM EST
Yep I guessed a comp air before I read the rest of your post. You do need to be careful about the sim training though. The physiological effects are not going to traslate and WILL get you killed. While realistic visually, no one relys 100% on sim training. BTW a 90 degree bank to final is not bad, just a higher skill level! We do get a number of military pilots dead each year as a result of lack of currency with low performance aircraft. Thrust is not always a trump card when circumstances are going against you. Airmanship is necessary for single engine land survival. Just watching out for you.  Planerench out. PS had a head to head landing with a buddy of mine this morning. Seems he had an main buss failure and didn't hear my radio traffic. NBD.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 9:21:23 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 11:48:53 AM EST

Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
I don't apply what I do in the sim training to real life, at least, not in a mechanical way.   It's been useful to acquaint me with the principles of flight,  turns, banking,  rudders, ailerons, stalls, slow flight concepts, landing configuration concepts, and so forth,  but there's just no way that I think I know how to fly as a result of my sim experiences.

Real life does NOT have a reset button.   You're careful and thoughtful or you're in the wrong place.


Sims are good for cockpit orientation and proceedure. You are going to do fine. Welcome to the real expensive hobby! Planerench
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 12:03:19 PM EST

Originally Posted By cmjohnson:
Here's a bit of a shocker:

After completing my lesson on Saturday, I watched this plane make several takeoffs and landings.  It's pretty high performance, I'd say, and looked like a lot of fun.


The pilot slid it off the end of the runway the very next day.  That would be Sunday.

Link to the article:


It was a new plane.  It still is, but it's now a scratch and dent special.

No life threatening injuries sustained, fortunately...but man, that SUCKS!

This plane is a Comp Air 7.   Comp Air is based at the airport where this happened.


Getting the pilot's license has been an unfulfilled dream of mine as well.  I have .6 hours of flight time from back in '88!!

Once I was driving around some dirt roads around my hometown and saw a small aerobatic plane doing rolls, loops, stalls, etc....    He seemed to be practicing over one particular field and I stopped to watch him for awhile.   About a month later I saw what was left of his plane on the front page of the newspaper.  He was performing at an airshow and didn't pull out of a dive soon enough.  
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 2:08:32 PM EST
Good Job at the taking the leap.  You will not regret it.   I remember my first solo flight like it was yesterday (been almost 10 years).  The only draw back is that it is expensive.  I have not flown in almost 4 years due to career, getting married, mortgage and children.  One day I will get back into it.

Scariest moment I had was with my instructor about 1/3 the way through my Instument rating.  I had just called "Left Base" for the runway and not 4 seconds later I hear a another plane call "Left Base" for the same runway. He was flying a little high performance number (we saw him taxiing earlier).  I looked over at my instructor to make sure he had heard what I just heard.  We decided to keep heading straight instead of making the turn.  Never saw the bastard till we got on the ground, at which time we both gave him a talking to.  

Good Luck
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 3:05:30 PM EST

                 1 DOA at hometown airport
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 7:15:14 AM EST
Wow, that crash was a fatality?  Sad indeed.

I used to own a Quicksilver 2-seater...

This was a very fun craft to fly, but I did have a close call one beautiful day...

It is said that most police officers never fire their pistol during their entire career (aside from training). I suppose this could also be analogous to pilots of small aircraft... most will never experience an engine failure in flight (though we train for it all the time!). On the other hand, pilots of ultralights fly with the ever present possibility that the little two-stroke Rotax screamer powering their craft will conk out... it's a matter of when, not if.

It is highly unadvisable to go skimming across a lake at 100 feet, or fly over densely wooded areas that have no clearings large enough for an emergency landing, because there is a significant chance you will experience an engine failure. So, most ultralight pilots follow this basic rule of safe flying: always be within gliding distance of a safe landing site.

Such was the case one bright spring day in 1995 as I was up for an afternoon flight over a rural area west of New Orleans. With farmers' fields abound, and large highways with mostly light traffic, it's pretty hard to NOT have an emergency landing site nearby. I had only owned the Quicksilver for a few weeks, and had remained very close to our club's airstrip during this time. But this day, after those several uneventful flights, I had decided to venture out a bit.

Flying south over a large highway, I climbed to around 6,000 feet. I had no real reason to be that high, aside from wanting a better view of the scenery. During my scans of the airspace around me, I happened to glance up and to my right just in time to see a commuter turboprop on approach to New Orleans International pass overhead, perpendicular to my course. I don't know exactly how close we passed, but I do remember that it was close enough to make me uncomfortable (probably 300 - 500 feet). Put this on the list of stupid things I've done in my life.

Not wanting to be splattered like a bug on the windshield of a 747, I dropped down to a more reasonable altitude of about 2,000 feet, and turned west to follow a different highway. The sun blasting right in my eyes, as well as the incessantly loud engine noise gave me a splitting headache, and I wished to myself that it were not so loud. It was amusingly coincidental that right after having that thought, things did indeed get MUCH quieter... my engine sputtered to a halt!

No problem, I figured. Traffic was very sparse (again, this is way out in the sticks), but I preferred not landing on the highway itself, favoring instead the grassy median. As I lined up on approach to my chosen runway, I decided to attempt an engine restart. This was pretty dumb, since engines don't simply stop running for no reason... there was no reason to think that it would just start right back up and allow me to fly home to the field. Regardless, I tried to give the starter rope a pull, but given the awkward position (over my shoulder), this was futile.

Giving up on a restart, I continued my approach. But as I got down to a few hundred feet, I realized that this median was not the pleasant landing strip I thought it was from higher up. It was concave shaped, and looked rough enough to make me worry about damaging the landing gear. A quick glance over my shoulder revealed that no cars were coming, so I briskly "changed lanes" and touched down on the pavement. I rolled to a stop, hopped out, and pushed the aircraft off to the side of the highway. A few pulls of the starter rope yielded nothing, and I checked for obvious causes of the failure.

I immediately pulled out my cell phone and called for assistance, hoping I could get a hold of someone to either help me get the engine running again, or partially disassemble the ultralight and load it on a trailer. Unfortunately, my would-be savior (a friend of mine who was a Quicksilver dealer and very mechanically knowledgeable) was out of town attending a fly-in. His wife said she'd try to contact someone else who may be able to help, but was doubtful she'd be able to find anyone.

"Now what?" I thought. It was a weekday, so no one else was at the club's field to call. The last thing I wanted to do was leave my craft on the side of the road. I sat there for a while, trying to figure out what to do. Then, just for the heck of it, I decided to give the engine another try. Oddly enough, it started on the first pull. Great! Of course, I was still concerned, since I hadn't done anything to "fix" the engine. My theory was that perhaps it was an overheating problem, which would explain why the engine was fine after sitting for a while. Then again, the CHT (cylinder head temp) gauge hadn't been reading abnormally high at the time the engine quit. Maybe it was a faulty gauge? Regardless, I was hopeful that I could limp home. As I was preparing for takeoff, waiting for a good, long gap between the occasionally passing cars before taxiing onto the highway, a rural police officer arrived in a Chevy Bronco.

I shut the engine down and walked over to explain that my engine had failed, and this was why I had landed on the highway. "But it was running when I pulled up," he said, as I realized that my story sounded awfully fishy. After a while, I managed to convince him that the engine really had quit, and that I hadn't simply landed to go take a leak or something. He kindly offered to block the road for me, and I was on my way.

I kept a careful eye on the CHT, followed the highway, and didn't attempt to climb much (to avoid overheating the engine). A little while later, a little more than halfway home, the engine stopped again. The median of this highway clearly consisted of very tall grass and weeds, so I lined up for a landing on the road. Unfortunately, this landing ended up being a mirror of the previous one, as there was a car approaching. I shifted over and landed in the median, resulting in chunks of weeds becoming wedged in various spots of the frame, but not causing any significant damage.

After waiting a while, I again took off, and managed to make it back to the field. After landing, I discovered the culprit that had caused my troubles. A CHT gauge reading in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit had mistakenly been installed. So, during the process in the prior weeks of setting the engine's mixture screw to attain the proper temperature, it was actually significantly hotter than what we thought the gauge was reading, resulting in a much too lean mixture (and hot running engine). Doh!

Once the gauge was replaced, and the mixture adjusted properly, the engine ran perfectly, though I was always a bit nervous when flying more than a few miles from the field.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 10:36:29 AM EST
Hi all,
I have my PPL and have been flying for 15 years or so.  Only small planes like Cessna 150/152/172/177 and the Piper Archer/Warrior/Arrow series.  It is great, I love it.

Some of my most memorable flights:
A beautiful october day out of Boulder City Nevada out over Grand Canyon and back in a new Cessna 172, just amaxing, 75 miles + visability.

A (real) cross country flight from Edmonton Alberta to Toronto Ontario, 17 hours over three days, but a great flight.  Lots of stuff to see flying most of the way accross the continent!

Scary moments:
Doing VFR on top on a cross country and then decending through a hole in the clouds, I could actually see ice forming on the struts!  Luckily it did not last long and when I got down through the hold it was no longer icing conditions.

During PPL training with inscructor practicing forced approaches on a field, we came down under 500' before he had me put the power on and a flock of birds took off in front of us, I swear one went close enough to pass between the door and the strut of a 172.

With about 15 hours total flight time the instructor had me stay 500' above circuit altitude as we got near the airport.  Right above the runway before turning down wind, he TURNED OFF the engine.  It was pretty wild to not see the prop spinning as I few in "quiet:" mode for the first time.  He shut down the engine and said "execute a force approach on runway 11".  I did and it was ok, but the runway was 10000 feet long and 200 wide, I could almost have landed widthwise!

Always fly safe, follow and practice procedures even after you get your PPL.  Its amazing how many pilots I take flying who say "gee, I have not spun a plane in 10 years!".

Link Posted: 8/24/2004 2:38:36 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 4:47:03 PM EST
We used to practice over Malibu, right where those two planes mid-aired and hit on the beach.

The only thing I had fail on on my first  short solo cross country was the radio.  Flying over Sepulveda Pass north of LAX.  As shittt.
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