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

Moderator: AndyR

By flyingsam
#1841793
Hi everyone :) I'm really interested in learning to fly. I've had a trial lesson on a rotary, R22, and fixed wing, C152. My gut feeling is that I preferred the rotary. The vision was much better - but maybe I'm just too short - I could hardly see over the dashboard on the plane! The cost is obviously a huge consideration, but can anyone offer any other useful points I need to be thinking about please? Thank you!
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By muffin
#1846743
I learnt to fly on a C152 about 40 years ago and did quite a few hours on them before moving on to C172 etc. Then about 20 years ago I too had a trial lesson in an R22 and was an instant convert. About 9 months later I had a PPL(H) as well and have since accumulated more rotary hours than fixed wing. Flying fixed wing is much easier than rotary as the aircraft is dynamically stable (ie it wants to fly and will do so hands off for a short while). Flying a small helicopter is like trying to stand still on a pogo stick - a split second of inattention will have you in a dive towards the ground. Luckily your brain learns the muscle movements so after a while it becomes much easier but you still need to be very careful.

I still fly both but use the helicopter (R22) far more that the fixed wing aircraft (EV97A if you want to look it up). I much prefer rotary because you are not tied to using airfields - in fact I almost never land at one.

However the costs of the two are hugely different. My fw aircraft is on a permit to fly and the cost is so small as to be irrelevant whereas depending how many hours per year I do in the helicopter the hourly cost is huge. The fixed costs such as insurance, maintenance etc are well over double fw and the annual depreciation alone is over £10k.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
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By Danny
#1846938
I am a fixed-wing pilot that would love to fly rotary too. However you do mention that cost is a "huge consideration". I think that makes your mind up for you to be honest. As Muffin said, helis are extremely expensive and demanding and not the sort of aircraft you want to be scraping by on minimum hours just to maintain a license. A cushion is a cheaper option to see over the panel! I jest of course.... I think...

Have you considered fixed wing microlight ( or even flex wing if so inclined)? The Eurostar has brilliant visibility, as do some of the less common GA fixed wing aircraft such as Tomahawks and Robins. You may get what you are after by looking round at other options to the mighty Cessna 152. Many places have a selection of aircraft in the fleet if you are happy to travel to train. The Heli training fleet is a bit more limited.

If you do go for Rotary, I'm jealous.

If you go for fixed wing I'm jealous too as its a brilliant thing to be starting out learning to fly whatever it is in! Its all in the sky at the end of the day...( as long as you have a Night Rating...I'll get my coat)

Good luck,

Danny
By flyingsam
#1846951
Thank you both for your replies :)

I took the plunge... put aside some savings...and have had a few lessons now in the R22. I absolutely love it and it is definitely the right decision for me. I can't yet imagine being able to fly solo, but I'm sure it will happen before I know it!
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By muffin
#1847029
Congratulations, an excellent choice!

You will enjoy the learning process. Once you master the hover the rest is much easier. Where are you training?
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By Jon G4LJW
#1847364
flyingsam wrote:Thank you both for your replies :)

I took the plunge... put aside some savings...and have had a few lessons now in the R22. I absolutely love it and it is definitely the right decision for me. I can't yet imagine being able to fly solo, but I'm sure it will happen before I know it!


Good luck with the training. I was just wondering whether you tried an autogyro at all.