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

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By Milty
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864120
Evening all,

Bit of an intro. I thought I'd done one already but seems like it was not posted or I didn't press the right button.

Was in the ATC as a yoof and did as much flying as I could. Uni, life, SWMBO, job etc. in the intervening years brought me to July 2021 at the age of 47 with a wife (still - nobody more surprised than me), and 2 kids (18 and 20). The 3 of them got me a trial lesson for fathers day which I took on 20th July. Little did they know...

Upon landing, I knew I wanted to learn to fly. It was brilliant and I had remembered a bit of what I was taught some 30 years+ ago. A bit of haggling with work and wife and last week I had my second lesson.

I had a sight issue in 2001 which has to all intents and purposes left me with virtually no vision in my left eye. I was nervous as to whether I would be able to fly but some great advice from the AME at Gloucester resulted in me taking and passing my class 2 medical today so that's out of the way now and I'm good to go.

I'm learning for fun, not looking to rush it and roughly planning on a lesson per week. Weather and work will get in the way I know but I aim to get PPL in circa 18 months. Looking forward to sharing my experience with you and thanks to all for sharing yours. The forum is an interesting distraction between study for air law and air ops. I'm using EasyPPL so far and finding it OK but yet to take an actual exam.

Cheers all - see you around.
ArthurG, Morten, Rob P and 4 others liked this
By johnm
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864130
Welcome! I share a TB 20 which lives in the Cotswold Aeroclub hangar at Gloucester. Which school are you training at?
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By Milty
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864133
Thank you. Training at Staverton. It’s where I had the trial lesson gift and I seemed to click with the FI. I did take a look at the Aeroclub and was tempted. I had a trial lesson booked there too but it was canned due to weather. I was a bit uncertain about learning in the Robins so in the end, decided to stick with Staverton. Aeroclub looks good though - might look at it during or after qualification.
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By Milty
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864134
The TB20 looks like a nice plane. I’m an engineer by qualification and am looking forward to learning more about different aircraft as part of my journey.
By johnm
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864136
Some in our group trained at Staverton many years ago hope it all goes well, if you want a ride in a TB 20 just send me a PM with contact details and we can sort something out.
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By Milty
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864149
Thanks Johnm - I’ll be in touch. Time is tight at the moment so it will be in a while but thank you for the offer.

Will do T6. Thanks for all your posts. I’ve learned a lot already.

Just in case someone stumbles across this post reference eyesight / monocular and flying, I’ll also add the note that as well as having to do the general medical, you have to complete a medical flight assessment. It must be signed by a CFI or examiner and basically says you can function visually in an aircraft. With this, the class 2 medical is fine. I also asked out of interest if I could get a class one medical which I apparently could, but there would be a restriction that I could only fly multi-pilot.
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By mick w
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864157
Milty wrote:Thanks Johnm - I’ll be in touch. Time is tight at the moment so it will be in a while but thank you for the offer.

Will do T6. Thanks for all your posts. I’ve learned a lot already.

Just in case someone stumbles across this post reference eyesight / monocular and flying, I’ll also add the note that as well as having to do the general medical, you have to complete a medical flight assessment. It must be signed by a CFI or examiner and basically says you can function visually in an aircraft. With this, the class 2 medical is fine. I also asked out of interest if I could get a class one medical which I apparently could, but there would be a restriction that I could only fly multi-pilot.


You are correct Milty , you may find that you will have to do circa 10 or so hrs post PPL, with a safetyPilot , I certainly did . :thumright:
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By PeteSpencer
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864319
Welcome to the forum .
My situation was very similar to yours :Trial lesson bought for me by ‘er indoors age 47, signed up on landing :

PPL 5 months later through the mildest winter for donkey’s years with only one weather cancellation.

Enjoy the process and keep posting ! :wink:
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By Milty
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864570
Can’t imagine doing it in 5 months. Great effort that. Got to try to fit a busy job running a company and keeping SWMBO happy - you know what they say… happy wife, happy life.

Had my third lesson today. I really like my FI - he pushes me pretty hard I think but seems happy enough with what I’m doing. I was shattered again today after 1h5m.

Today was…

Startup checks and engine start
Called tower and got permission to taxi (was in G-GMOX - that’s a bl&#dy mouthful of a call sign when you’re new to it).
Taxied and did run up. Had a long hold on the brakes - legs were shaking after that.
Nice crosswind take off and climb to 3000.
Multiple practice of all 4 stalls (low power, with 20 deg flap, full flap and slow turn). Bit uneventful really - the C152 didn’t really seem to want to stall very much. Need to practice these a bit more - we survived (clearly) but I tend to drop the nose too much too long. Anyone else do that? There’s so much to do (drop the nose, carb heat off, full throttle, anticipate levelling at 70kts, +VE rate of climb all in what seems like a second to me).
On to some steep turns - again more practice needed… the nose was up and down like a nodding donkey.
Last practice was a controlled descent maintaining 70kts while varying the throttle to practice pitch control in the descent.
Then it was back on the radio for the calls back in. Suddenly, it seemed like 2/3rds of Gloucester were up in the air and there was me stumbling over that stupid callsign.
My first overhead join, into a pretty busy circuit and a crosswind landing to finish off. Taxi back along the runway and home in time for tea and tiffin!

Apparently next time, weather permitting, we’ll be doing emergency descents. Something was mentioned about losing 2000ft / min which sounds exciting but if the cockpits on fire, I can see the benefit of getting down quickly (as long as the bump at the end is soft enough).

Got a week off as work is busy so going to try to hit the books a bit. Finding air law a bit dry but I can see the importance. Onwards and upwards!
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By T6Harvard
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1864589
Great write up, thanks @Milty .

I have struggled over many a thing so far but oddly (! :mrgreen: !) I found stalls straightforward and my recoveries were all fine. You're right, the C152 takes its sweet time mushing around before you finally get the nose drop but then recovery is simple. After I did the full lesson I was actually left wondering why my instructor shoved the nose down quite so dramatically on the demo 'cos I recovered without a mad 'off-the-top-of-a-rollercoaster' descent :lol:

You'll soon get medium rate turns and you'll enjoy steep turns :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Keep up the good work!
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By Milty
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1867634
Afternoon all. Update on today's lesson. If it's not interesting to read it all, feel free to skip on by but I know that I've enjoyed looking over the experiences of some other students and I hope it's of use to others currently undergoing training or thinking about it.

Lesson/hour 4 this morning at 9.

Arrived EGBJ in good time. Was a bit concerned as the METAR was showing marginal VFR and 1600ft cloud base. When I got there, all was fine and we could see the Malverns. Once up, the cloud base was well above 3000.

It was busy on the way out and we were third to take off. 2 in front of us seemed to be held for ages, then it turned out they'd not called their readiness to depart. Tower eventually asked if they were ready to go. Mental note - don't be that person in the future but I probably will be at some time. :(

We went to the south today for the first time which was a nice change of scenery, out over the estuary for a bit.

More stalls today - getting better but I still have a tendency to throw it too far forward on correcting. I think it's because I'm too tense and throwing the column forwards rather than gently pushing. There just seems so much going on at the same time. A couple were OK though so just need to work on it. I need to work out how to chill out a bit. I'm really enjoying it still, but it's a steeper learning curve than I was expecting. Nice to be out of my comfort zone.

Next up was an engine fire simulation requiring a dive. FI is not keen on this as an option to get down. I understand that the theory is that if you build up enough speed, it might put the fire out. Sounds a bit Hollywood to me and my logical mind thinks throwing more oxygen at a fire making it blow back towards me more might not be wise. You then have to bleed off 130kts, flaps down etc. to find a field to land in. But, it has to be done and was relatively straightforward. The other method seems more sensible with a 45 degree turn and pitch down to maintain I think it was 80kts or so with flaps in - this went OK too - quite alarming to see 2000ft/min sink rate but once pulled out, nice and ready to find a field.

Climbed back up and was then treated to an engine failure. Picked a field and would have just about made it. Quite encouraging to see how far it will glide without power.

Then back to the field for a join on the deadside, back into the circuit and a reasonable landing after completely fluffing a couple of radio calls but nailing some others. All part of the process I guess.

Was quite tired again - it's quite an intense hour but I know I'm being pushed hard which I quite like. I'm hoping that it will work out that pushing hard to start with, then using the rest of the hours to hone and get better. FI seems happy with the progress so who am I to argue. I do need to chill a bit though - my left arm was rigid.

Hopefully next Friday will be a little cross country nav intro up to Hapenny Green where landings are cheaper than Gloucester I'm told and it's a bit quieter. Will be quite nice to mix up some circuit work with a short cross country to get a feel for what it's like to actually fly somewhere.

Air law slowly starting to sink in bit by bit. As a whole, this learning to fly lark is harder than I thought it was going to be. Just goes to show that at 47, I've become too comfortable and it's a great feeling to be out of my comfort zone and be struggling a bit.

Fingers crossed for good weather next week...
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By Milty
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1868708
This weeks update...

Firstly, seems like I'm flying too much (if there is such a thing). Plan was to do this over 18 months. I booked a weekly lesson expecting some to be cancelled due to weather or work and that doesn't seem to be the case. Winter is on its way though which I'm sure will peg me back a few weeks.

Today was a trip from Gloucester up to Halfpenny Green (Wolverhampton). Plan was to intro a bit of nav (enjoyed this part) and do plenty of T&G/landings at Halfpenny Green where it's cheaper than Glos. A good plan, until we got to Halfpenny Green and the cloud base was pretty low and murky. Managed a T&G, then landed for a brew to see if it cleared. Got back in the air, it hadn't cleared so one more T&G then back to Gloucester. It seems like it was just murky around Halfpenny Green as it cleared just a couple of miles south.

Back in for a reasonable landing at Gloucester.

It's all good learning experience and I enjoyed it today without the intensity of exercises crammed into the hour of flight. Landings starting to get better I think - FI still telling me to do things but seemed to be tweaking the controls less. I've felt at times so far that the plane was flying me. Today, some of the time at least, it felt like I was flying the plane. Straight and level, trimming, FREDA checks etc. all seem to be OK so the basics of that part are coming together.

Nice to get experience of landing away and going to the tower to pay landing fees (probably sounds stupid to many on here, but it's a new experience for me). Shame not to get more landing practice in but got a few so not all bad.

Happy overall. 5 lessons in, 5 1/2 hours flown. Same number of landings as take-offs.

Same again next week and hope the weather is better.
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By johnm
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
#1868714
Glad to see you doing a trip. It’s more realistic and less pressured. I find revalidations hard work and fiddly compared to journeys
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