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Tomorrow is my first flight. Lets just say that I'm thankful that Jake isn't taking ballroom dancing lessons.
Oh well, I got a sky diving package for my birthday if that counts.
Time to dissuade Brett....
I went with a bunch of coworkers in the early 80s to a skydiving school and took their intensive training. Then I chickened out, not because of the the jumping, that would've been cool, but because of the single prop plane they were using to haul the sky divers up.
I watched this gutted little plane cramnmed with people even laying down in the fuselage and one sitting in the open door on the way up - and it looked like a death trap to me so I left.
Caught a footnote about a month later that little plane went down and no survivors.
Let me get this straight - Hawkgirl is happy to encourage you to jump out of a perfectly good aircraft but not to pilot it?
So - a parachute is safer than Brett at a plane's controls. Thanks for the heads-up HG.
Re: BakedJake and pmac -
Some things you need to know:
1. Takeoff is optional. Landing is mandatory.
2. Flying is not dangerous. Landing is what's dangerous.
3.1. A 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away.
3.2. A 'great' landing is one after which the plane is still useable.
4. Always try to make the number of your landings equal to the number of your take-offs.
5. There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.
6. The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival: large angle of arrival, small probability of survival; small angle of arrival, large probability of survival.
7. When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.
8. Stay out of clouds. That silver lining everyone keeps talking about is another aircraft on your reciprocal. Also: mountains have been known to hideout in clouds.
9. In the ongoing contest between objects made of aluminum going hundreds of miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose.
10. Gravity is not just an idea. It's a law. And it's not subject to appeal.
11. The ONLY time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
12. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.
13. Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, experience usually comes from bad judgment.
14. The three most useless things to a pilot are;
(a) the altitude above you,
(b) runway behind you,
(c) and a nanosecond ago.
15. Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed.
Silly twits - if you were meant to fly you'd grow wings or buy a ticket.
I started on my pilot's license back in early 2001 ... I have almost 30 hrs total in my log book, then 9/11 happened ... After this, I opted not to continue ... Why you ask? Well, I am of mixed heritage, 50% African American, 50% German, but I look totally arabic ... I catch hell every time I try to fly anywhere (in case you are one of those good people who believes that there is only a random check when you go through security at the airport .... Not so) ...
At any rate, for anyone who may be interested, I have the complete Cessna Computer Based Training (CBT) Pilot Training Course (with all CDs, manuals, instruments, flight bag, etc ... Would need a new log book though) ... Anyone who is considering, or is already working on their pilot's license already knows what this is, and how much it is worth :-)
Since I no longer have any use for the program, I would be happy to give it to any senior WebmasterWorld member who is serious about flying ... Sticky me if interested ...
BTW ... For those who enjoy skydiving (just went for the 2nd time on my 40th birthday), this is what I said just before I went out the door:
" Praise the Lord & out the door ... If my shoot don't open, then I'll jump no more! " :-)
How much did it cost?
It cost me about $7,000 total to get a private pilot's license. I went to a 'part 141' school where they follow a syllabus, etc.
Where can I get the $?
You can usually get educational loans ... ask your local school about it, I'm sure they'd be glad to help you get one (I got mine through Key financial) ;) Whether you borrow the $ or use AdSense income deposit the whole shebang up front. It'll be one less hurdle to getting your license quickly.
How long does it take?
It took me something like 5 months and 43 hours of flying time to complete the training (and I was out of town for a month in that time). The best way to do it is to fly a few times a week, not once a week or 6 times one week and then not for two weeks. You want the last lesson to be relatively fresh in your mind so you can learn more info.
Can I get a job with a PPL?
Once you have a private license you can fly wherever you want with passengers, but not 'commercially'. In order to profit off of flights you have to get a commercial license. If you're interested in flying the big jets consider schools which are specifically tailored for this (check out the adverts in AOPA magazine, which has an online edition).
Can I fly inside a cloud?
Nope, in order to fly through clouds you need an instrument rating which will set you back another several thousand. In spite of the cash it will take I really look forward to getting that rating as I like the 'scientific' stuff about flying.
What were the best/most interesting things about getting the license?
My first solo, hands down. Specifically my first solo landing, wow what a feeling bringing that bird down nice and slow like onto the runway. Also my first solo cross country was really fun... especially landing at an airport I'd never seen before. Finally, the 'final practical exam' was quite an experience. The examiner was a real flight instructing veteran and I learned a lot that day (especially about short field landings ... land right on the nubers ... ok, if you say so) and passed the first time despite the winds and dust in Tucson that day.
What if I don't like my instructor?
If you can find out the name of a good local instructor from a friend or web site ... do it! I got to know the owner of a local school through a flying club I joined and he asked me whether I wanted a male or female flight instructor. I said just give me the best flight instructor at the school, period. He did, my instructor was great. We were about the same age and he had over 2,000 hours flying and most of that instructing. We got along really well. This won't always happen but you should at least get along or be able to learn from your instructor. You're paying mucho cash for their time; if you don't like 'em, switch (ask other students at the school about their instructors and try to get a good one). If you go through too many instructors though, consider the possibility that you might be the problem ;) In that case get your but in gear and get in a learning mode, and be willing to swallow your pride and digest some knowledge.
Is it safe?
The thing that struck me most was that I was actually more worried about getting in an accident on the way to my lesson then during the lesson (i know that's cliche ...). In a plane you're more in control of how safe you are. If you're flying for 'fun' then if the weather doesn't look right then you don't have to fly. Also, um , in case no one has noticed a Cessna is a lot like a glider ... if you kill the engine you can glide to a field or dirt road or maybe even an airport (unlike a 747 which I admit it must be hard to find a good landing spot for in a pinch). Meanwhile most people don't think twice when driving to the store on a saturday night to get more, um , milk ... meanwhile there are plenty of drunk and distracted drivers out there who could end you in a second of changing that coldplay cd.
Safety will be stressed in every lesson and if you pay attention you'll also feel safer hovering in mid air than you will hurdling along at 75 miles an hours poised 3 feet off of a long strip of tar next to two ten ton trucks.
Well anyway my 2 cents is that flying isn't for everyone but if you're seriously considering it then do it :)
[edited by: physics at 3:32 am (utc) on July 13, 2005]