Sunday 19 May 2013 15:47 UTC
If you're learning to fly, or thinking of learning, then here's the place to post your questions, comments and experiences
Just thought I'd say hi.
My wonderful wife got sick of me moping around the house failing to complete the DIY jobs and bought me 3 hours (YES 3!!) at the local flying school for an introductory lesson and some "take it from there" time by way of a much-needed-kick-in-the-rear bribe/incentive.
I'm now up to 6 hours (with 3 different instructors) and wishing that the weather would sort itself out so that I can go flying again. Well and truly hooked I'm afraid. Why didn't you lot tell me that resistance is futile? And how am I supposed to finish the kitchen kick boards now?
The instructors say I should write down my learnings (minimal and slow as they are) as I go along, so I figured this forum might be the very place. I'm a big fan of Richard Bach's aviation writing (can't live up to the writing skill I'm afraid) and love his descriptions of student pilots who make flying seem impossible by sheer force of misguided determination they squeeze into the control column. I reckon that's me at the moment.
Right, off to bury my head in Pratt's Aviation Law amid the chilly commuters on the Picadilly line!
Last edited by ZG 862 on Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:29 pm, edited 13 times in total.
Hello and welcome!
Easy, book a lesson a week. Half of them will get cancelled before you even set out from home, use that time to finish the kitchen.
Trouble is, of course, that there's a huge disparity between theory and practise. A bit like learning to fly sometimes.
I suppose it depends on personalities, but I was lucky to do the core of my training with a single instructor. There seem to be too many stories of changing instructors and then not really benefitting from a lesson where you spend a fortune just to show the new guy where you have got to.
Hope you continue to enjoy your training, keep us informed, and any questions just ask.
I only qualified in March, and for club rules we have to fly at least every four weeks. Unfortunately this last bout of snow scuppered my last flight, so it'll be off with an instructor in the new year to see if I can still get airborne, and back down again safely.
Suiting the action to the words
Thanks chaps - and I love the tip about the kitchen Charles. If only it was just the kitchen...
I was a bit surprised by the second change of instructor - I only discovered this as I checked the board at the flying club. From my point of view, there have been both positives and negatives about this changing:
On the plus side, I've got to see what is common to all and what are the personal perspectives of each instructor. In the interests of anonymity I'll call them Alpha, Bravo & Charlie to compare.
Alpha was perfect for me for a 1st lesson: Whilst I'd done my homework (the voucher came inside Book 1 - nice touch eh?) I was still a bit apprehensive and concerned that I'd make an idiot of myself. Alpha was very professional but at the same time also very calm and friendly. "Where did I want to fly today?" I was asked at the end of the brief. So, in some way I was to be in charge. We flew down the river, west across the forest, circled around a sunlit town. In a hour's flight, my practiced "You have control" covered about 10 minutes. Fabulous. 2nd lesson started in the hangar was a little more serious and involved a couple of radio calls. Learned that I had poor abilities to trim a Cessna, but improved a bit apparently. Lesson 3 had to be a new instructor.
Beta had a very different approach to the briefing which was far more linear and tracked the syllabus closely. Beta had clearly forgotten more than I'll ever know about flying but had a different approach to some of the physics. "Yaw induces roll because the wing on the outside of the rotation axis is travelling further through the air and so generates more lift." OK - on reflection I see where this is coming from but made a little less instant sense to me than Alpha's explanation. No problem though as I now feel like I have 2 explanations from which I can make my own mental picture. Both taught me which pedal to lean on. Bit of a crosswind on the landing of lesson 3 and Beta had me rolling into it. "Hold it there!" I was told. Could I? Nope. Brain wanted me to have a level aircraft pointing down the runway centreline, which turns out to be a pretty dumb way to deal with a crosswind.
Lesson 4 was with Alpha again and was great. Circumstances conspired to make it very hard for me to get the "GolfSomethingBananaReadyfordeparture" call in on what was already a late-ish afternoon take off which led to a memorable return to the pattern in a setting sun and a gob-smackingly beautiful sky.
Five was unexpectedly with Charlie - whom I'd never met before. Ex military maybe? Commercial pilot? probably. Briefing time. "What have a got up to? Cruise descents? Glide descents? What lesson are you on?" "Er, um, I, er um had a er great flight er over um that er way and we er did lots of climbing and er descending. Er, had to talk to miltary ATC and er that er um we er..." Not impressive. Clearly I had a learning difficulty and had been on a bunch of jolly pleasure flights. Right. Time for a PROPER briefing. Then I screwed up the pre-flight inspection, and forgot to pick up a headset. If looks could kill.
So this leads to the downside.
It seems to me to be inevitable that instructors can't easily and probably don't want to hand over students between each other. They can't instantly know what you're good at or what you really need to consolidate as part of this lesson. Hour 5 found me defensive and apprehensive and as a result I didn't learn as much as I might. I went backwards in my radio skills (that makes it sound like I have the faintest clue, which would be a gross exaggeration). Don't get me wrong, Charlie was great - he actually made all that visual reference stuff make sense. I banked around and on one turn I think I actually kept the horizon at the same position on the pillars and without a glance at the altimeter or VSI stayed bang on altitude. Ish. But I found out that to learn well, I for one need a bit of a smile on my face rather than a furrowed brow and vice-like grip on the controls.
I had to cancel 6 with Charlie due to an unavoidable family commitment. Then this weekend's weather scuppered my next chance - which is a great shame as I'd worked myself back up to really looking forward to learning with Charlie. Sharpen up my act. Require less reminding. Listen harder. Relax. Learn more. Smile inside.
If you lasted this long without drifting off, I appreciate it. Any advice on how to cope better with instructor schedules will of course be gratefully received!!
Last edited by ZG 862 on Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Hi! And welcome to penury.
Just remember that the hours of training leading up to your PPL are not something to be 'got out of the way'. They are amongst the most enjoyable flying you will ever do, however long your subsequent flying 'career' is.
Relax and make certain you relish every single minute of them, including the frustrating lessons where you appear to be progressing backwards.
Forum Diversity & Equality Officer (unpaid)
"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready
in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
- George Orwell-
Having multiple instructors can be really great thing. Therebare downsides obviously.
As you go you mind find that the ones tha were great in the begging are actually holding you down.
I personally just have few I like to fly with, mostly the patient and calm types that walk you through things and let you commit few mistakes and fix them before they grab controls .
Write on, I did enjoy what you wrote so far. I keep a record of my own too, and it is fun to read what I wrote a year ago when I started .
There's a ton of great people here and hopefully you'll receive at least as much great advice as I did.
<-- (yet another) ppl blog.
Prob75 this msg was sent from iPad, not any toy.
Ah yes - the white knuckle death grip! We have hall been there. Like most things which seem unnatural the trick is learning to relax I have found this to be the case with most adrenalin high activities - from skiing and rock climbing through to skydiving. Once you start to get used to the environment and relax things become easier.
As for instructors - well first and foremost you need to feel comfortable (and yes relaxed) with your instructor. If you feel he/she is tense then you will also be tense. So find a good instructor who you get on with and stick with him/her initially until you start to gain confidence. Further down track don't be afraid to go up with other instructors because you will find that they all have something different to offer - and it also prepares you for sitting next to that strange person who will finally appear by your side - namely the examiner!
Anyway - enjoy the experience. You will have your ups and downs (quite literally!!) but it's great fun.
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act. (George Orwell)
One of my instructors used to tell me he wanted to see daylight between my hand and the control column...
"Let's go flying"
Scribblings of a novice PPL
One of my instructions told me to hold a pen/pencil in the left hand (holding the controls) above your index and baby fingers, underneath the middle two. if you go into the death grip, it hurts your hand and forces to you just use your thumb and index finger. Worked well on me.
PPL (A), IMCr.
Thanks for the responses everyone.
The relaxing problem is quite a funny one; personally I try to bring to mind the image of the learner car drivers on the road who exemplify this condition (bless them). The quick "oh no I'm doing a L plater!" moment makes me think of the relaxed-but-alert state I occasionally attain in a car and seems to help; as did the trimming lesson with my 2nd instructor who brought it home exactly how light a touch is needed to tell whether I'm drifting up or down. I'll try the pencil if I'm still doing this regularly a few hours down the line.
Incidentally, do you ever reach a stage when the radio chatter divides itself neatly in your brain into "stuff I need to respond to", "stuff I need to be alert to" and "stuff that's unlikely to change my day"? I'm beginning to latch on the 1st where the call initiated my end of the sky (though it takes about 20 minutes to figure out the response), but everything else is getting assigned to a category called "unwelcome distractions" - which seems like a strategy that won't get me far in this game.
Don't worry too much about radio. If you have a look through the other new student threads you'll see it's a very common concern which irons itself out with time and practice (like a lot of other things in flying ).
You'll eventually get surprisingly adept at recognising which transmissions are for you, and even those which are to aircraft in the same bit of sky as you, whilst subconsciously filtering out the irrelevant stuff. I'm not sure how it happens, but it does.
Done: PPL (A), ATC Aerodrome Instrument and Approach Radar Ratings
To Do: Get valid, and get my PPL revalidated when I can afford it!
Hi Zed, welcome to flying.
Where are you training? I am an instructor at Blackbushe and I work Mondays to Fridays. If you want a single instructor for the rest of your course you know where to come!
Having said that there is nothing wrong with multiple instructors as long as they communicate with each other and none of them go that far off piste.
Glad you are enjoying your training. Happy Christmas. Ask the missus for a Bose headset!
CPL, IMC, FI(A)... And a beige devil.
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