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

Moderator: AndyR

Hey guys, a broad query for you

I've just passed my skills test so hope to have the magic license in my hand before too long. It's a LAPL so can't carry passengers until 10 hours after getting the license in my hand, so want to use the time while I'm waiting for the CAA to do their thing productively.

I've trained in a 152 and will probably keep renting those for a while, certainly building those 10 hours and some fun little trips with my fiance, but I will want to start using more practical aircraft sooner or later. My school have a fleet of quite nice 172s which dont cost much more than the 152 to rent, so that would be the logical next step. I'm also considering purchasing a share in a Cherokee 180

So - how much time do you think I'd need to spend with an instructor to get used to the 172 after learning in the 152. The systems and processes all seem pretty similar, are they much different to fly?

What about the Piper? Obviously that has a few more differences to the Cessnas but is it likely to be a significant transition period? Is moving to something with nearly double the power of the 152 a concern for a green LAPL holder?

Thanks for any thoughts, just trying to plan the next month or so of flying :)
Shouldnt take long but side issues might be more important than you think..
Mass and Balance. Most club rental four seaters will not take 4 people plus decent fuel. Also some pa28s need ballast in back if no one in back or you cannot flare properly.
Back seats - checking passengers behind (note lack of apostrophe there ;-) ) strapped in and ok generally
Climb out lookouts better to change course than dip nose as back seat passengers further from CofG and can feel sick
Cessna flap operations different in different models
New approach speeds including maybe mph/knot change - don't mix them up
Piper does not really need a first stage of flap for anything but most Cessna pilots think it does and fail to use 2 stages on short take off ... which brings to main point... reading Op Handbook... well... including spin recovery.
The 172 is so easy to fly that I doubt you'll need much time at all. The 152 is lighter and twitchier and needs more care to fly properly than either the 172 or the PA28 series so from a pure stick and rudder perspective, you should not be worried at all.
However, the look over the nose will be different (especially between Cessnas and Pipers) so the automatic trimming for level flight will require some conscious thought again - having said that, as long as you are aware of that, you're already halfway there.

However, they are heavier and, as you say, bigger engines, so getting used to the speeds and time it takes to accelerate/slow down as required.

But early post license, the avionics can play a big role; even though your handling is good, it may not yet have become second nature, so 'small' changes in avionics may upset good routines and stress you out. Which is another reason to take some time to get to know the avionics properly in the new types you fly.

Regardless, I wouldn't image taking much more than 3-5 hours to feel as happy with a 172 or a PA28 as you do with the 152 today.

I would in general say that you should fly as many types as possible if you can. Widening your repertoire, so to speak. Each new type you learn will make learning another one easier and boosts confidence. Go and get an hour in Tiger Moth - there are lots around and they're a hoot. Or get a tailwheel conversion. etc.

It may feel a bit silly to continue to fly with an instructor on new types now that you have your license, but don't let that distract you...

Also try to fly to a new destination every flight. This helps you feel 'at home' in your neighbourhood and with airfields within easy reach from around you and also to get more confident after you've seen a few different joining procedures, dealt with a few idiosyncratic runways/taxiways/noise abatement procedures etc.
Thanks guys, thats really helpful!

Avionics - interesting point, although my school has about 6 152s and not one of them has the same avionics setup. All the way from ancient bendix nav/com and transponder with lashed together audio panels all the way to fully fledged GNS430 with new transponder and proper audio panel - so don't think I'd struggle too much moving to a different type.

I definitely don't want to stand still and one of the things I'm excited about is trying new types (my school aslo has a Citabria I'd be keen to do some tailwheel training in) and I'm already racking up a list of places I want to visit :)

I don't really plan on getting stuck in a particular type, just trying to utilise whats around me and keep costs down - if I can fly for £80-£90 an hour by buying a share in the PA28 then it leaves more money to go further afield or spend some time in the Citabria, or with the Robin group down the road, or doing a night rating.... :)
Morten liked this
When I transitioned from the C150 that I trained on (10hrs post PPL issue solo on the C150) to the clubs C172 I did around ~2.5 hrs with the CFI plus ground tuition.

This included:
Ground briefing on the differences (performance, fuel system, nav com et al)
1hr flight doing general handling and some PfL’s
1hr 20 of circuits with 7 landings (6 at a local grass field and an RTB at humberside).
0.5hr and three circuits with the aircraft fully laden for an appreciation in the performance differences.

That satisfied him that I was competent to fly it.

You will find that on cross country flights it will end up costing less to rent the C172 as the time between airfields is shorter, I think I worked out that the time I flew the C172 from Humberside to Turweston and back it would have cost me £80 more in the C150, so it is worth doing. However, a well-run syndicate (I am fortunate with the T67M that I am flying) with a bunch of people that you get on with is an even better bet. To be honest if you don’t need four seats and can rent one on the odd occasion that you do, look for a suitable share in a permit type as they often represent even batter value for money.
iaindings wrote:So - how much time do you think I'd need to spend with an instructor to get used to the 172 after learning in the 152.

It depends on the 172. Early 172s are quite easy, and although everything is heavier to push/pull/turn/whatever, it's not that different overall. As the 172s get newer, the elevators get heavier, and as well as relying more on trim, when it comes to the later models, you'll need to learn how to land again!
The really most important bit is as Irv mentioned weight & balance, you get close to the edge and you fell it and learn how to make use of all those avionics (they are included in the hire price)

I will add for any new type: have a good idea of real fuel burn and oil consumption (time it yourself not the fishy gauges or inaccurate school numbers), read the POH, taxi and slow flight a lot on it and try some stalls.

On handling characteristics, what I found just after my first transiting to new types,

Most of low wings (PA28, Money, DA40...) are slippery and easy to land on big runways as you have more time in the flare but can be challenging on short fields, so know your numbers for these.

On high wings wing strong flaps (C152, C172, PA18...), they tend to have more drag and timing the flare is really important but they do well on short fields.

Flying (or just taxi) tail-wheel is a valuable experience to have

Also valuable advice, if you ever think of side slipping a given type, learn how to do it high in the air to get the feeling not on that first landing where you discover that you were a bit high :mrgreen: