My Learning Path

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Jeffythequick, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi everyone,

    So, I'm going to be logging my learning path on here, just so it's written down. A wall of text will follow, as I am in my "going up in the air" phase of learning...

    My daughter has some special needs, and my wife got her on a Challenge Air flight, and I got to go with her. I loved it, and she did too. We took pictures, and the pilot asked me, "why don't you learn to fly?" For medical reasons, I thought I never could... until...

    First off, the Medical: I went to a local flight school, and the person at the desk (She got an AOPA "Instructor of the year" nod for 2016 told me, "go get your medical". That was the best and worst advice ever. After about a year of tests and half an inch of paperwork, I got it, and I'm in the process of renewing it for the SI. I know about BasicMed, but I've also gotten involved with CAP, and they're not sure about using BasicMed for the Pilots.

    Second, Ground School: My company paid for 60 hours of ground school through their higher education benefit, and so I took that, and then took the test, and got a 94% on it. A word to the testing centers out there: Don't be an #$%$%^ to people that have their endorsements, and say that they're "no good". I have money, and I contacted CATS and showed them my endorsement, and got $50 off of the test. The endorsement was fine, but I've found out from numerous people that this guy is just a jerk to newbies. Seriously, if you want people to enjoy aviation, don't make them jump through hoops to get their basic stuff out of the way. Let the FAA do that... Let me take that back... The FAA has been a lot nicer than some of the smaller flight schools that I've gone to...

    Next... a Simulator: There are battles back and forth on whether simulators are good/bad for learning pilots. I have been blessed with a good one that I put together from stuff off of Craigslist. My yoke/pedals was $160, and the radio, BIP, autopilot, and switches were $75 (total). I also got a Bose headset for $75, and two more (in pieces) for $50, and I've put another $100 in there to have 3 Bose Aviation Headsets (1 Series II and 2 Series I) for about $250. They all work well, and getting FlightSound X helps out with the testing. For fun, I use my aviation headsets on conference calls at work. They drown out external noise from my co-workers. Anyway, I have put about 100 hours on my sim, and it paid off on my first flight.

    Last, flight school... I'm not looking for an argument; I'll just tell you my experience with selecting between 5 flight schools:
    School A: The guy was an old timer, and was about 40 minutes away in traffic. His website was my kind of humor, and I met up with him at the Arlington Fly-in. Nice guy, and when it came time for me to book my schedule, no reply. "Go to FAASlightSchools.com and let me know when you get your medical!" I did, and no response. I checked my junk mail, my account there at FAAFlightSchools.com, and nothing. They booked on Hobbs time.
    School N: This is the place where I was told to "get my medical", and when I went in there to do a discovery flight, I was told that they didn't do those anymore because they were a loss. OK, that makes sense, but when I wanted to book a lesson to get to know the flight instructor, I stood at the desk for 20 minutes and no one asked if they could help me. I was asked once if I was there for a flight, and responded in the positive, and then was asked if I was the 4:00 appointment, and I said that I wanted to book a flight, and was told, "oh, you're not the person I'm looking for." I waited another 10 minutes and was ignored as people came and went. They also booked on Hobbs time.
    School S: No way I was going there. This is the place with the jerk that didn't like my ground school endorsement. He also badmouthed my ground school teacher. I've later found out that this guy does that to everyone, and quite frankly, I don't need to pay someone $10,000 of my hard earned money to encourage him to be a jerk to everyone. Hobbs time again.
    School R: Wow! What an operation! They are friendly, helpful, and make it easy to learn . They have a full FBO, and have people around there willing to help. They are also the most expensive ($150/hour for a C172N + $65 for an instructor), but they have people willing to help. I went there to get my student pilot license entered into IACRA. The CFI was friendly, and I got to meet the lady that was over all of the pilots, and I'd fly with her any day. Loved talking bout flying, and even asked if I was interested in working with them after I told her that I fixed those Bose headsets. I'm not an A&P mechanic, but she said I could work on that, and when I'm ready to give her a call.
    Lastly, School B: This one is affiliated with my workplace, and is a flying club. I sent out an e-mail to 8 CFI that were on the list, and they told me that I had to be a member to have them train me. Partly true, but they do allow their member CFI take non-members up. However, they have a 60 day try out period, so I took them up on it. Of those 8 CFI I contacted, 2 responded, and of those 2, 1 was ready to take me up. I said, "OK," and I've been training with him ever since. I've spent $300 in CFI training, and $200 in airplane training. The cost is good (they use Tach time for billing), and it is 0.7x of Hobbs time. The CFI uses the King Schools syllabus, and this helps me understand what is coming next. He has had several positive comments on my simulator use, and he doesn't demonstrate the tasks, he just tells me to do them, and if I have questions, to let him know. Coordinated turns? No problem. Pitching to land? No problem. Keeping the airplane to Vx/Vy? No problem.

    Well, if you've gotten this far, I'm going up today.

    Logbook Time: 1.9 hours
    Checkbook Time: 1.3 hours
     
  2. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Nice, I'm glad you finally seem to have found a CFI and are getting started. I noticed the lack of customer oriented attitudes when I went looking for a first flight. I went into an FBO 2 or 3 times before I finally got someone to schedule me, even then it seemed like I was an inconvenience. I left a couple of times puzzled, no info, wondering what had just happened and how they're in business. Luckily the 2nd FBO I tried ended up being a good one and I got a good CFI and was able to do all of my PPL with that CFI.
     
  3. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Cleared for Takeoff

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    I must of lucked out with CFI/CFIIs, I've never had a bad one.
     
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  4. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Have fun. The flyin season starteth in the Pacific Northwest
     
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  5. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I just wonder how many peoples' flight path ends there.
    Yeah... I don't even look at Weather Underground predictions anymore. I am planning and flying and letting the weather at the moment determine whether we go up.

    My first flight lesson was scrubbed, but we sat in the airplane and went over procedures. It was a good lesson in that we talked over the limitations of weather, when to make decisions, and go over checklists.
     
  6. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Oh yeah, I'll wave down when I'm on my way to Aurora... my daughter lives in Wilsonville, and I'll be visiting her and her siblings (all my older kids).
     
  7. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    After you solo, ask the CFI if your daughter can sit in the back seat during a lesson once in a while. I suggest after the solo because you'll be much more comfortable flying.
     
  8. brcase

    brcase Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks for the write up.

    I have encountered and worked both good and bad FBO's,

    Bad 8:00am flight scheduled, student and I show up, place is locked up and airplane is locked in a hanger. Occurred fairly regularly.
    I once drove 300 miles to meet an instructor to complete the training for an endorsement, spent the whole weekend there, did a few flights but the instructor I needed for the endorsement(glider ground launch) never showed up.

    I have worked for some very good FBO's well, but even then the 1st lesson I tell students that one of the primary things we are teaching them is to "be the pilot in command", meaning if things are going the way they should, then they need to "act" to get things going the way they should as much as possible.

    If we don't schedule the next lesson, I am not going to be calling them to see if they still want to fly, They need to call me.

    If my style or schedule isn't working for them, then they may need to find someone or someplace else to learn to fly, I will be happy to help them do so.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
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  9. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I did go on a flight with a passenger, and you're right... I was a bit nervous with her back there, but once I got up in the air, I forgot about her until she asked about warming things up back there.

    After she went home, I asked the CFI if we could go on our own until I was comfortable. W&B was 30lbs high with all of our stuff and her (she was 120lbs of it), and it really distracted from the pre-flight. It was my idea to have her come along, and no fault on her, it was my bad.
     
  10. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Jeff, sorry you've had such ups and downs with flight schools. If it makes you feel any better, it's been like that for literally decades.

    Schools often act like they don't want new customers, it's the dumbest thing ever and all over aviation.

    All I can say is, glad you found someplace, and got up. You got past that hurdle.

    An awful lot of CFIs have no idea how to be businesspeople and put things in their calendar like "follow up with X" and actually set aside time to do it.

    Front desk staff, rarely motivated correctly to help the business.

    Just depends on the business and the owner and whether or not they're paying attention or even asking customers what their experience was like.
     
  11. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

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    Getting aviation certificates and ratings is more of an exercise in tenacity than anything else. Only the most dedicated make it all the way.

    Unfortunate, since it doesn't have to be that way. As someone previously noted, we'll never know how many people decided it was a colossal pain in the ass and took up some other activity.
     
  12. AKBill

    AKBill Cleared for Takeoff

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    I must agree with you paflyer.

    My company moved me around a lot when I was going through flight training. I think I had 8 flight instructors over an 18 month period. Started training in northern IL, got transferred to the D.C. area then transferred again to SD.

    I must have been lucky because each time the CFI would say well lets go fly and we will base your training on how you preform. All and all maybe it was a good thing because each instructor was just a little different.

    Finally got my PPL in Spearfish, SD. The local paper even had an article about the CFI and myself as I was his first student to earn their PPL.

    Took me 59 hours, I think that was not bad for moving so much and having so many instructors..:)
     
  13. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    OK, Lessons 3 and 4 in the books...

    Lesson 3: Slow flight... I should have spent more time in the sim practicing this, as I wasn't used to the mushiness of the controls. After about 15 minutes, it made sense, and we called in for a Touch and Go, and got down to the ground, rolled for a bit, had about 300 feet of runway left, and lifted off. We were well above Vr (about 63-65), and rolled it back, but the strange thing is that I was calm. No "oh crap!" moment, just when he said "roll", I just did, and we climbed nicely.

    Lesson 4: S-Turns and different runways. This was a fun lesson! I got to take off from a 9000 foot runway (16R at KPAE) and didn't even get to the first 1000 foot marker on the ground. I have to say that I'm one of the luckiest people in the world to be able to have 747, 777, 767, and 787's wait for me as I pass them on the Boeing ramp. The fun thing is that it's a mainly quiet airport with occasional jet noise. Anyway, we flew up to Stanwood, and did S-Turns over a railroad track, and I need to work on those. My turns are coming along great (+/- 30 feet, roll out +/- 5 degrees), and then I got to land at KAWO.

    When they say an airport is uncontrolled, they mean it. Saturday morning it's like a bee's nest. Luckily, everyone is calling out their positions, and we had a couple of traffic warnings from the Garmin. Spotted them all, even the ones that were missed. A few notes on KAWO: Wow, those Glasairs are beautiful to watch in the air, from the air. Everyone on the radio is professional, and I think that my initial "what the heck is everyone doing????" is more just newness, not the chaos of the airport. After a while, it settled in on what was going on.

    Next stop: S43 (Harvey Field)... It's funny when the girl on the Unicom says, "Hi Ken!" when my instructor called out the approach. We landed, and some kids playing basketball at a nearby house waved to us as we taxied around for take off. Notes on S43: Who puts up power lines at the (N) end of a runway? I mean, really? If you're taking off to the North, and something goes wrong, you have options... get electrocuted or decapitated, then plow into the ground? Anyway, we took off to the South, had a few rudder control problems, but after they got settled, straight down the runway, exactly down the centerline. Narrow runway (compared to what I'm used to at KPAE).

    Back to KPAE, and we had a little cockpit confusion there. We were told to land at 16L, and we called back 34L, and I aimed for 16L pattern, which was essentially a long base from S43 along 526. The Garmin was having problems zooming in, but I just remembered, Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. We didn't need the GPS, and I think that contributed to the confusion. I flew it to the approach leg, followed Airport Road, and Ken landed the airplane. I taxied over to the fuel station, and prepping the airplane for the fueling and getting my stuff out, and Ken's next student was arriving, and met us at the fuel pump. We walked around the front of the airplane and noticed some kind of oil on the prop, radiating from the hub. This isn't a variable prop airplane, so I took some pictures of it, and filed a squawk, and grounded the airplane. That was a good lesson: If it doesn't look right, squawk it, and make a determination whether to ground it or not. The chief mechanic for the club thanked me for the pictures, and let me know it was a good call.

    Logbook: 5.5
    Checkbook: 3.4
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
  14. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I agree about the PIC philosophy but that student is also something more important than PIC - they are a customer. And I see (and have dealt with) far too many school and CFIs that don't understand the concept of "customer". I also have the same issue with the medical profession, but that's a different rant for a different website.
     
  15. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It wasn't me...
    http://komonews.com/news/local/reports-smoking-plane-near-paine-field
    http://q13fox.com/2017/05/02/small-plane-crashes-in-mukilteo-injuries-unknown/

    I wasn't even in aisle 6...

    (follow up):

    My daughter was surprised, as when we walk home from church, that is on the path, including the extended stay hotel there. The end of 16R at KPAE is about 500 yards from there, a little off to the SW. By the way, Cyrus Way is not where you want to have an off airport landing. There is a steep dip in the road followed by a steep uphill. Loads of fun in the car (weeee!!!!) and by the time you get to the top, you're going about 10mph.

    More updates... the q13 link has a dash cam video of the crash. Impressive that the guys lived, and even more so that they missed the gas station on the corner there. At the far intersection, it's a gas station and a bank. Right off the end of 16R at KPAE.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  16. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lesson 5:

    It was a beautiful day to fly; I just wish I got to see it. Got up to altitude, the CFI called out vectors, and kept the altitude steady. Then, he said, "put these on" (glasses for Instrument Flying), and I followed his direction. This time, it was a little harder, so I need more sim time doing instrument flying. He told me to go to a VFR marker, and said we were going to land on 16R. It was around 8:50, and it was getting dark. I asked him if we could do an ILS approach, and he set me up for that. Got it all lined up, and he finally said, "take the glasses off", and it was beautiful! The runway all lit up and me 200 feet off the ground. He called out, "Make a decision"
    I said, "we look good, land."

    So, I now have 0.6 instrument hours, so I need to update my totals:

    Logbook: 6.6
    Instrument: 0.6
    Checkbook: 4.2
     
  17. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Hood flights were my least favorite, you get to do extra work and also get jipped out of the view.
     
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  18. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    OK, what happened to Jeffy?

    Well, I moved across the country to Charleston, South Carolina, and now I need a new CFI.

    I have the following:
    • Money
    • Medical (BasicMed)
    • Headset (and one to spare, if the CFI needs one)
    • A Piper Tomahawk that I can schedule
    • Motivation
    • Afternoons free
    • A logbook with 11.6 hours (recent hours - May was my last flight, and the 11.6 hours were all done in the May)
    I have visited the local flight school, and they are willing to have several CFI take my name down and not call me back, and quite frankly, I need names and numbers of CFI that I can contact that are:
    • Wanting to teach someone to fly at current local rates
    • Motivated
    • Knows how to use a phone
    • Can get cleared in a PA-38
    • Flies out of KCHS
     
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  19. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Lots of suggestions.....

    Go on the FAA airmen database. Download everything for South Carolina. Put it into Excel.
    Search for CFII in the Certificates ( I forget which column) and zipcodes near KCHS.
    Take that list and start calling.

    Go on the FAA N number database. Search for thr PA38 in SC, download into Excel.
    Start calling and ask for recommendations for a CFII.

    Join local CAP, ask about instructors.

    Find as many aviation groups in the state, join them, ask for CFII recommendations, such as:
    https://scaaonline.com/

    If nothing else, you'll talk to a lot of interesting people.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
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  20. TommyG

    TommyG Cleared for Takeoff

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    One thing I have learned, stay away from cheap. Usually the cheapest price is the crap planes and service. But don't go high end either. Find middle of the road, and follow your gut.
     
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  21. TylerSC

    TylerSC Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Stand by, I will try to get you a recommendation.
     
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  22. TylerSC

    TylerSC Pre-takeoff checklist

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    PM sent
     
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  23. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    Checkbook log? 4.2? $420 or $4,200?
     
  24. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I know... a poor man pays twice.
     
  25. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    4.2 Hours from the checkbook. The flying club I joined charges by the tach hour, not the hobbs hour.

    I put hobbs in the logbook, and pay a different amount from the checkbook (about 65% of the hobbs time). The ones I flew in the Northwest were beautiful Cessnas, and the one I like the best was a 172SP, but the one here in Charleston is a Piper Tomahawk, and I love the view I get with no wing above me.

    I guess any airplane that gets me up and down safely is my favorite airplane!
     
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  26. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    I still don't get it but you go have fun. ;)
     
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  27. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    I never understand why people turn down business. Guessing they don't like money. As a cfi I called everyone that left a number, even if I thought I would not be able to answer their questions or thought they were just tire kickers. Keep trying... maybe visit at the airport and talk face to face.

    Good luck, we are all counting on you..
     
  28. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well, I have good news! I finally got a CFI to work with me, and we're planning on going up 3-4x/week. We'll meet up next week and get things going. Thank you all for your help.
     
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  29. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Nice, you might do your long XC up my way, I'm at KILM, I did my long XC to KLRO which is near Charleston. I made a 300nm or so triangle Florence to Charleston and then back. Have fun.
     
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  30. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm hoping to make my home airport KLRO, as I'm in Dunes West, and it is about 2 miles from my house, but 5 miles by road. However, day trips can be scheduled out of there, if our flight club doesn't get larger airplanes. Making trips from KCHS 4X to get the family somewhere in the Tomahawk might get my flight hours up, but my checkbook balance low.
     
  31. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just an update to my journey...

    I meet tomorrow (hurricanes and all delayed the start) with the CFI, and when he asked (on the phone) what I wanted to do, I told him, "get a license as soon as possible. I don't want to learn some, wait... forget... learn some more... wait... forget..."
    He was on board with that, and it looks like 2-4x/week for me.

    Still at 11.6 hours, and I'll keep y'all posted (see, I can learn the local lingo...) :)
     
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  32. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's great that you can fly more than once a week. I always recommend at least twice a week. You'll build on your previous lesson and move forward from it. My experience of a student who flys infrequently (once very 2 weeks, etc) is we'd end of repeating most of the previous lesson. So in the end, it costs more and usually more hours of training as well. So glad you can fly more than once a week. Good luck!
     
  33. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Good. Keeping your 'muscle memory' current helps a lot with aviating the plane. And keeping the muscle between your ears current helps to.
     
  34. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Mark
    Whew thought for a sec you were gonna address every muscle....
     
  35. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    Tim
    How about 2x a day? Get it done in two weeks (I did 3x a day for two weeks, done!). Nothing but a long vacation and you have your license.

    Jeffy I've enjoyed reading your story so far, and I was just down in Charleston last week, too...
    Flight schools must have changed in the 24 years since I got my PPL, because I was getting repeated (and unsolicited) calls from all the schools I checked out before I started flying.
     
  36. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Sure, but not all students can handle twice a day especially early in training. I know I was whipped when I started, and have had many students who were too. Just depends if the student can handle it.
     
  37. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Use it or lose it
     
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  38. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Uh, some memory muscles just got jogged. Once upon a time there was a publication loosely associated with certain luxury apartments atop tall buildings. This publication was way ahead of its time. It had a forum to, like what we have here. It was slow though, the internet hadn't been invented. Posts and replies were measured in months. Not seconds, minutes and days like here. There was a certain somewhat nautical group of aviatiors who posted on said forum. Something about performing a certain very personal activity whilst flying their airplanes to land on airports that weren't really airports but a reasonable facsimile thereof with a nautical relationship to airports. Said personal activity would culminate when crossing a point relative to said nautical equivalant of aforementioned airports that related to threshold. Anyone else remember this?
     
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  39. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No.
     
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  40. Jeffythequick

    Jeffythequick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'll let Mrs. Thequick work on some of those.

    Anyway, I met with the CFI on Saturday, and he looks to be a good fit. His suggestion that, for the next two lessons, to take the plane up, review what is already in my logbook (slow flight, turns around a point, power off stalls, engine out, landings, radio communications), and then see where we go from there. I was thinking the same thing. Do the basics, and he also gets a chance to learn how I learn.
     
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