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

Moderator: AndyR

Hi All

Very new here, long time aviation fan. Would have loved to be a commercial pilot but fast forward 30+ years (I'm 37) and I find myself wanting to get into GA.

I've got myself booked in for a trial flight in a c172 so I can see if smaller planes actually float my boat. (The wife is hoping not). I've picked the 172 based on my current weight @ 300lb (checking W&B and space)

Now, my main question is related to a medical, I've a number of issues and would love some advice (I've researched CAA and spoke to a harsh but valid AME).

I don't know the likelihood of passing a class 2.

    - Weight/BMI - I'm 300lb & about 43 on the BMI - I am losing steadily through diet and exercise but to hit 35 its gonna take me some time
    - Eyesight - Long sighted (+2.75) with astigmitism (+1.75) - My eye sight is good corrected & ok uncorrected ( distance things are not so sharp hence correction)
    - Hearing - I am moderately deaf in my left ear circa 45db and my right ear is circa 5db I have a hearing aid for my left ear but only wear it when 100% needed such as work events I wear it approx 2 days a month. I am confident I would fail a hearing test unaided in my left ear but right would be fine.

So questions!
What are my options?
Hearing wise, I would prefer PPL so I can add ratings but means class 2. I am sure hearing would be good in a functional check. If I passed with hearing aid, could I do a function check without a hearing aid?

My weight... The AME basically said come back when I have a BMI of 35 which is a bit of a blow but also valid, I am overweight, severely so. I am also built big and will be losing weight. I'm 5'10". Regarding movement I can reach everything in a plane ( I sat in a piper 28 and c172 so checked this out) - I'm also an advanced open water scuba diver (4-5 dives a year), granted I won't run a marathon anytime soon but I'm also not too unfit. What is the best advice here? CAA don't say BMI for class 2 but what other factors should I be wary of?

Do I just head for LAPL with AME cerificate or Class 2 or can an AME do both and issue LAPL if class 2 is out. Or am i destined to not get off the ground.

Any recommendations for flying schools/clubs within an hours drive of Oxford (where i can also wet hire once passed). Higher powered pipers & c172s preferred!

Sorry for the long post and thank you. :D
Can’t offer any guidance on the medical stuff, but why don’t you start with the LAPL then upgrade to the PPL later down the line. Gives you a lower cost entry point for you to figure out how you want to be flying (you might find you’re quite content with 3 passengers VFR) and it’s a relatively simple change - as and when you can get the medical sorted. If you can’t get the medical then you can still have a lot of fun with a LAPL.

It’s what I’ve done, I have the class 2 medical already but just went for LAPL on speed and cost reasons. Don’t plan on needing the privileges of the PPL for the first few years so i can just do the skills test whenever suits.
A BMI of over 35 doesn’t automatically preclude issue of a class 2 medical, but does complicate things.
If you already know that you can get into/out of your chosen craft and can move the controls fully. Your CFI can sign a form stating that.

Then you will need additional tests for cholesterol and potentially a exercising ecg.

The below links are what your AME will be working to...

https://www.caa.co.uk/WorkArea/Download ... 4294973798

https://www.caa.co.uk/WorkArea/Download ... 4294973799
Neither issue, (weight, sight or hearing - as described) is a problem for getting either a Class2 or LAPL.

The road is a bit longer and you will need further tests and reports to demonstrate you meet the requirements.

But at your height and weight you may find the 172 a squeeze.

Good luck in getting sorted out, if the flying is an additional motivator to sort yourself out, then all the better!

Frank (AME and ex BMI 41.5 holder)
Thank you for the replies. Positive signs, and yes, Frank the extra motivation to lose the weight has certainly increased once the wife realised this is more than just a passing dream and allowed me to book the trial. All for the greater good as they say. So much so I've got myself a BP monitor and some funky scales (not OCD just a gadget fan). Although my BP is higher than I'd like (high mormal) and this will hopefully improve with the weight loss...

The LAPL is certainly an option and the more I read the more it makes sense practically, however if you've gone that far and can get the medical why wouldn't you get the PPL? The reality is even doing the LAPL I'll exceed the minimum hours of the PPL. But I do need to research the whole validation piece of both licenses. That and the ongoing issues of revalidating the class 2. Would I need a functional checks each year? Or would it be based on annual health progression/imprvement/detoriation?

Thanks Guys!

Any advice on preparation for the trial lesson tommake it beneficial, it is an hour long one.

For me, I decided to get the LAPL first because I wont need the extra priviledges for a few years anyway. There's a lower hours requirement and you can get through it in fewer than the PPL minimum - I did it in 42 and we covered the things which aren't in the LAPL skills test too.

Plus the QCX and skills test are longer - so its a more expensive entry point. I'll have met the PPL hours really soon, I can do the QXC by taking the form on a trip I'd want to take anyway so it would just be a skills test whenever I fancy it :)
I am not a doctor so please take this with a pinch if salt.

Although I had a personal trainer since April last year and my fitness levels were increasing really well, my BMI was still hovering at 35.7 (5' 11", 18st 4lbs) back at the beginning of the year and I had to do something about it. Least my parents have high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes so I need to look after myself to avoid these in later life!

My issue was with what I was eating. All of the wrong things and I needed help so my wife asked me to join Slimming World with her (also needed to reduce her BMI for her ATCO Class 3 Medical).

Joined on 3rd January and haven't looked back.

As of this week I have dropped from 40" jeans to verging on 32" comfortably. I bought a new Medium Jacket yesterday. A far cry from XXL and 40" jeans. My BMI now? 26.8 at 13 st 10.5 lbs. My target is 13 st and I will be completely happy with that.

Best thing about it? Never hungry. Really eat as much (of the correct foods) as you like!

I got my EASA Class 2 back after 7 years of no flying back in April, I was at 15 st 7 lbs and the weight wasn't even mentioned until I brought it up!

What I'm saying is it can be done, I find the support helpful but everyone is different and may not be for everyone.

All the best for learning to fly, it really is a wonderful experience. You'll find plenty of help and experience on these forums.
Thank you. Me and the wife are on a 6 day slimming world diet and 1 day off if needed (synned take away for example) and yes this is helping no end. Got myself some smart scales and BP monitor to help build my health picture. Combined with lots more exercise and it is dropping slowly. Getting excited now. Currently in Florida and lots of GA planes flying around (why I would like the PPL and class 2 over the LAPL but I'll take what I can get!)

Sent from my SM-N960F using Tapatalk
Just a quick update.

So 7 hours in and just been for my medical, AME has been great everything was going good, bloods okay, hearing and sight okay, functionally all ok, and then the ECG... Picked up an issue declared unfit currently but needing cardiology review, Exercise ECG, 24hr ECG Test and an Echocardiogram. Possible pathological q wave is suspected.

So somewhat bummed, no symptoms and no previous issues that I was aware of, but glad whatever the outcome I'm better knowing and dealing rather than not know at all.

Was really enjoying the flying and some of it was going in.
So flying is paused for the next few weeks while I work this out and hope for a positive outcome.