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

Moderator: AndyR

#1610568
Summer of '76, 420KIAS at 250' in a Hunter FGA9 - could flying ever be more fun?

If you must condemn your future to clattering about in helicopters, that's your business. But low level in a fast jet cannot be beaten for fun!

As for ME, well, trash hauling with freight or passengers is deadly dull. Don't believe the Alberteers; 'tactical' low level at 240 KIAS isn't much more than we did during basic training on JPs 44 years ago !

Single seat, single engine - the only true military way to fly!
#1610598
I would suggest simply positioning yourself as best as you possibly can for military pilot selection, and assuming that you are hopefully successful, see how the RAF streams you. They will almost certainly have better and more accurate data about cockpit anthropometry than you do anyhow (and have casting vote on your levels of skill).

One thing is for certain, that if you succeed in earning military wings, you will be doing vastly more interesting flying than you would flying for Easyjet, whatever job they give you.

G
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By PaulSS
#1610614
420KIAS at 250' in a Hunter FGA9 - could flying ever be more fun?


Yeah, 550kts at, ahem, a lot less than 250' and then bringing your jet into the hover and landing on a tiny, pitching and rolling metal airstrip in the middle of the ocean.....and then repairing to the Wardroom Bar :D

I loved the Hunter, especially when the 'wars' were on and it meant attacking ships off Portland but nothing has come close to stopping a jet in the air and then landing somewhere that shouldn't really be possible for fixed wing :mrgreen:

Even better, of course, was the fact that you were paid to do it, so a very cheap way to maintain a licence (that was my bad attempt to steer the thread back on course).
#1611062
One of the downsides of a military career is that just occasionaly someone tries to kill you. Or you have to kill them. I only mention that because a number of people I knew in the Services (and, I have to say, more than a few military pilots) seemed a little taken-aback to discover that clause in the contract. It's not just free flying, y'know...
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By Skylaunch2
#1611147
Harry Karmel wrote:That would be a good way of maintaining my license - I’m pretty much set on gliding since it is just so cheap relative to SEP, but I’ve enjoyed my careers advice which has also been super helpful! Thanks so much for all the replies - they may well shape my future career!


Best of luck in your endeavours. I was in a similar position to you a few years back (though a few years younger) when I started Gliding. Went solo at 15, at 18 I was given a job in professional instructing and at 20 I became an Examiner with 3000 launches and over 1000 hours. Also been given the opportunity to start flying the towplane shortly to build hours for CPL. No other avenue other than Gliding gives you these opportunities and the ability to network with industry professionals.

It sounds like you're looking at joining Surrey Hills Gliding Club who are a great bunch and I have many friends there, but do remember they do not operate like most gliding clubs, they are weekday only and the airspace limits the flights.

Perhaps you should have a look around further, you have the world's biggest club nearby, Lasham which is near Popham which has the best junior package by far, they might be oversubscribed currently but worth finding out. There's also East Sussex Gliding Club, Kestrel RAF GSA (open to air cadets) and others.

Oh and don't forget to apply for every scholarship you can get, :D I'm afraid you've missed out on the 2018 round though!
#1611186
I didn’t realise Surrey Hills was different - but it was so much cheaper the Lasham in every way. Although East Sussex also looked quite cheap, whilst permitting weekend flying. Looks like I can get a lot of hours through gliding!

I have applied for all the scholarships I can, including the cadets gliding one, and a civilian one (Honourary Air Pilots Association or something like that), but didn’t get them.

With the RAF Kestrel club, would you have to ring to join and then turn up for instruction or flying- there was minimal info on the website, all I found was that it’s £6 winch and 25p per min. If I could glide there I think that would be really good to build up a network for later on.
By TLRippon
#1611250
Hello Harry

My advice would be to treat the private flying and military aspirations as two separate goals with similar but competing needs.

The military route is quite prescriptive and is clearly outlined in the regulations. Let’s put a pin in that.

If you want to use your scholarship and finalise a licence to fly an SEP, do it on an EASA aircraft. Then get very involved in a local flying club where there are lots of group and private owners. By very involved I don’t just mean join, I mean socialise, network and become known.
The opportunities to fly at a reduced cost would then become apparent. For example, I’d quite like a suitably qualified young person to take my aircraft to engineering for me and deal with the hassle of getting another pilot to fly them home. You’d get 1.5 hours for nothing each time. I know a couple of pilots who won’t fly alone, wanting a second pilot in the cockpit on every flight, sharing the flying. You’d be surprised just how many low cost opportunities are around in the you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours community.
Having access to a proper passenger aircraft can also let you get into flight sharing either privately or with one of the online companies, they are a good way of hour building at shared cost.
You also seem to live in a very expensive part of the flying world. A few miles north will save you a stack.
Finally, you could always have a relationship with another pilot or someone who enjoys travel and is willing to contribute. The latter is how I manage to pay for most of my flying from our joint account without my wife ever mentioning it.
By Skylaunch2
#1611314
Harry Karmel wrote:I didn’t realise Surrey Hills was different - but it was so much cheaper the Lasham in every way. Although East Sussex also looked quite cheap, whilst permitting weekend flying. Looks like I can get a lot of hours through gliding!

I have applied for all the scholarships I can, including the cadets gliding one, and a civilian one (Honourary Air Pilots Association or something like that), but didn’t get them.

With the RAF Kestrel club, would you have to ring to join and then turn up for instruction or flying- there was minimal info on the website, all I found was that it’s £6 winch and 25p per min. If I could glide there I think that would be really good to build up a network for later on.


Just for your information, up and until solo in Gliding, hours don't count for much, it's the launches and landings that count, probably around 40-50 before you'd solo. A lot of your early flights will be as short as 5-6 minutes, practicing launch, circuit and landing, especially during the winter when there is little/no soaring, that's just the nature of the game with Gliding, you'll also be expected to spend at least half a day, if not more helping with the operation, it keeps the flying cheap.

You're probably also looking at the adult flying fees for Lasham so double check the website. It might be that they've closed their Junior Scheme at the moment due to being oversubscribed, Lasham's rates I'm almost certain are very similar to Kenley's, with the benefit of Lasham being a world leading professional setup open 364 days a year.

Kenley is great for getting to Solo, but the airspace limits them to 1900ft, a very narrow height band for a glider, not easy to do hours of soaring, the vast majority of flights at Kenley are under 30 minutes.

Can't say much about Kestrel, but their website has a Junior Gliding section that I suggest you have a look at.

Finally be aware that gliding hours are not the same as powered hours, they are separate disciplines, as a power pilot cannot just have a quick checkride and hire a glider or vice versa, they have separate qualifications and as a result I have two separate logbooks for each discipline, in my case considerably more Gliding Hours than Power Hours!
Gliding hours can be credited up to a maximum 30 for CPL (A) hour building. There are shortcuts from Gliding to Power via Motor Gliders etc. If I'm honest most people in Gliding are more interested about how far they can fly a glider in a day (up to 1000km) than how many hours go in their book.

Check out the British Gliding Association website, drop me a line if you have any more questions.
#1611588
Sorry for the late reply. I’ve been caught up in revision

@Skylaunch2 I’ll look more into both Lasham and Kestrel when the time comes, as they both seem like ideal clubs, although Lasham may be a bit far. I just want something that’s accessible and cheap, not necessarily having an amazing program. Just somewhere I can arrive take out a glider and fly for as long as I like and launch as many times as I like without worrying too much about the price. And thanks for the offer - if I have any specific questions later once this thread is old, I’ll come to you

@TLRippon I like the idea but surely I’d have to invest a bit first as well (paying to fly at the club I mean) before I start to get known and then people will start allowing me to fly their aircraft? And also surely the same applies to finding a group to buy a share in (off the expensive internet!). And if I’m going to do this, is the Ikarus C42 EASA rated (it’s the only one I can afford to train in at the moment). Unfortunately non of my mates are all that interested in flying so unless I looked to start a group elsewhere, I don’t think I could do this. To be honest, if I’m being realistic I won’t be able to afford powered flying sustainably until I’ve got a full time job, but by that time (fingers crossed!) it will be flying at Mach 1 with the Forces! Thanks for the tips though
By Skylaunch2
#1611607
Harry Karmel wrote: I just want something that’s accessible and cheap, not necessarily having an amazing program. Just somewhere I can arrive take out a glider and fly for as long as I like and launch as many times as I like without worrying too much about the price.


Please remember Gliding is cheap because it is based off everyone volunteering and doing their bit. Unless you're at the bigger clubs like Lasham and booking a glider for the day for a fee of cira £90 a day + launch, you will not just be able to get out a glider and fly for as long as you like and launch as many times as you like. Most clubs have only one or two single seat gliders and those have to be fairly shared shared between the members during the day, most of the time getting a couple of hours done each if the weather is nice. If you want to arrive and be able to do whatever you want you'll need to buy your own glider when suitably qualified, same goes for any flying club. The only way guarantee undivided access to any aeroplane is to expect to pay a premium.
By TLRippon
#1611634
C42’s are microlights in this country although “Light Sport” in the US.

I think the point of my post earlier was not to suggest you do those exact things but to suggest that there may be a few things you may not have thought about which would help with costs after you are qualified.
If you have savings it may be more cost effective to go to Florida, Eastern Europe or Sweeden and do your training there on an intensive basis.
Whichever way you look at it, private flying is never a cheap hobby or even a cost effective gateway to a career. Cadetship, military direct entry or airline sponsorship are probably better.
By low&slow
#1611803
Lasham Youth have two single seat gliders available for juniors to fly, free of charge, so Harry literally could turn up & fly as long as he likes for the price of a winch launch.

Best do the initial training somewhere local though.
#1611824
Unfortunately I don’t have much savings, and definitely not enough to do an intensive week abroad! That’s why I think the military is best for me

I like the sound of those free gliders! But as you say, I think I will try to do training at a local club. I have some very basic training with the cadets in September for gliding at a VGS, so I’ll probably start full training after that.

When I said take a glider out for the day, I meant for a few hours. I don’t think I could fly for more than five hours, even when I build up the skill I expect I’ll just get bored! But I enjoy a club atmosphere, only I’ll be quite limited for time for various reasons, but I’ll test it out after my initial stuff in September.