Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

Hello! First-time poster here after a bit of advice on re-starting learning after not one but two training breaks - the first was thirty years, the second eight months...

I took an ATC Flying Scholarship a long time ago at Tollerton, loved it, and then just couldn't afford to keep going. Finally decided that the time is right to learn again in 2017, and got a further 30 hours under my belt between then and autumn last year. Life then got in the way (new house, much renovation, much cost) and I had to stop for a further eight months. Now re-signed up and back to it again, and very much looking forward to getting back up there. I'm just a few miles from the lovely Compton Abbas (and learning there), so watching their aircraft fly overhead has been torture! Beautiful place to fly from :D

Any suggestions as to what I ought to expect as a re-learner, what I ought to concentrate on or ask for? Aim is to finally get that PPL before I hit 50 in November!


Enjoy the training as an end in itself, not just a means to an end. Get the exams under your belt and make sure you understand what you are learning rather than cram for a pass.
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Thanks John, I will and am.

What I was interested in though is how do best I get back into the flying training after the 8-month break? I'd made it to initial cross-country flights before I stopped. I assume I will need some hours to get back to standard; what should those training hours concentrate on? Is there a likely set of tasks others have found useful to revise in similar situations?
As most Forumites know, I'm not a qualified pilot, but have a lifelong interest in boats, aircraft and motor-vehicles.......so........

You will probably have a chat with an instructor....depending on personality-fit, you'll no doubt do a refresher- flight. You'll find out if that's the right person to spend your hard-earned cash with, they'll decide what remedial raining you need , to "knock the rust off".

Your" old" study- books will still be current, except, possibly Air- Law (but the exams will be equally outdated as well) Apparently, they accept the right answer to an outdated question, as well as a "current" answer.....
There are many tales of people taking breaks of several years and, in fact, my old flying-buddy did just that....started at Blackpool, soloed, parent fell ill, so he dropped -out, both parents passed, he started a business and resumed training at Barton, gained his PPL and met his now-wife!
HTH- :) Steve.
There is no general prescription, so the key is to maintain a systematic approach to everything you do. Plan every flight in detail, use checklists and essentially have a script from start up to shut down.
Many thanks Cockney Steve and Johnm. Encouraging that others have done this without issue. Instructors haven't changed so familiarity there should be fine, so I guess I'll just have to see how much I need to re-learn after a refresh after a flight or two. booked in a couple of weeks so I'd best get re-learning checklists.

I doubt present MrsCoffeeChops would be keen on me meeting an updated version so I'll stay clear of that part :-)

Hopefully I'll be reporting successful PPL achieved soon...

Colin, you'll be fine. I did a scholarship in 1986, did the final few extra hours for a PPL then did nothing for two years, then there was a gap of 16 years before I had enough money to come back to flying and got an NPPL. I kept that up for five or six years until circumstances meant I had to stop again. Returned to flying last summer and renewed my licence after a handful of trips and have been flying two or three times a month since then. My private flying career is more gaps than flying but it has meant that I've had four first solos which are always memorable. Just take time with an instructor to find out where you're up to and enjoy the rest. I'm sure you'll have a great summer and have the licence squared away well before your birthday, all the best.
Good luck Colin. I'm sure it's just like riding a bike after a long absence; a few safe routes and scenarios to reconnect then a few tests/challenges then away with pushing on...

Welcome and keep us posted.


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Hi Colin,

Been there, twice, at a similar stage in the PPL, and for a similar amount of time off. In both cases I started with a couple of refresher lessons: a bit of upper air work, general handling, steep turns, stalls and so on. Then a couple of PFLs. Back into the circuit for a few laps, instructor hops out, and a few more on my own. After that, back to it. I seemed to remember a good chunk of what I had before and only needed an hour or two to be back to standard, but YMMV. I would say the biggest thing for me was remembering the speeds, radio calls and checklists, so if I had a recommendation, it would be to refresh these at home beforehand, and be honest with your instructor if you can't remember how to do something.
Oh, and remember to enjoy it! It's a blast :thumright:
So, as you'd suggested, it all went very easily.

Quick refresh on upper air work, stalls and steep turns, then back for some circuits (crappy weather, so unfamiliar bad-weather circuits), then out the instructor hopped and of I went on my own for some circuits.

Didn't expect to get back solo in less than 2 hours so all very positive. Onwards!

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