New Private Pilot

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by HouTxPilot82, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. HouTxPilot82

    HouTxPilot82 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hello everyone,

    I just passed my ASEL private pilot checkride about 2 weeks ago, training out of Sugar Land Airport (KSGR), close to where I live. My first post on this forum and thought I'd share some details of my experience for others in my area getting started or considering getting started on their training.

    Starting in April 2014, the whole process took roughly about 6 months. With an aggressive scheduling approach of trying to get 3-4 sessions in a week, I managed to get maybe 2-3 in per week due to the many weather related cancellations. Solo'd for the first time around the 30 hour mark in July, and the consistency slowed down a bit in late August through October due to several weeks of uncooperative weather and a very busy work schedule. Kicked it back into gear mid October to prep for the check ride and complete it. I was at about 75 hours when I went for the check ride and way over my desired budget.

    Some things that factored into the additional time and money required:
    1. Rigor/formality of the flight school - my flight school is fairly strict about 'progress checks' with an instructor other than your primary at various stages of your training before moving on to the next stage. This serves as a QC on the instructors but also verifies you are truly ready for the next stage. Obviously this means more time and cost. Especially before the check ride, I went through a complete 'mock checkride' with my own instructor (passed) and with another (failed first time on a couple maneuvers, practiced and passed on second attempt).
    2. As with any other skill - repetition is KEY. Most people recommend consistency in training and not having long gaps between sessions so you retain and build skills faster. I certainly found this to be true. The 6 weeks I stated above set me back a bit at precisely the time that I needed to be getting all my maneuvers into PTS standards. The rustiness meant I needed to do a few more hours to be ready.

    I would have loved to be done at 60-65 hours so I'd have some $$ left to enjoy my private pilot privileges! But hopefully the additional time means I'm a slightly safer pilot at this stage :)

    I had taken my written exam during the solo stage and passed with a good score thanks to a lot of studying and the ASA written exam prep book. In preparing for the oral, I went through the FAR/AIM highlighting and tabbing stuff for quick reference; also went through the ASA Oral Exam prep guide. This was in addition to the King Schools online course required by my flight school.

    Checkride day:

    Although I had been through 2 mock checkrides, I was still very nervous about the flight itself as I had heard the examiner was very demanding. The oral portion felt like a breeze - all the studying I had done paid off. I was given a flight scenario a day ahead of time - something to the affect of flying with family members to a get together in Menard, TX and it had lots of other details. First thing I did was pulled out all special safety considerations: runway lengths, external time pressures/constraints, passenger expectations, night currency requirements, weight and balance considerations, flight into higher terrain, aeromedical factors. There were at least 10 things I found to talk about during the XC discussion. When we got started on the oral exam, talking through all this stuff meant I touched on a lot of things the examiner would've quizzed me on - he was able to check all those off. I had filled out the nav log completely and walked through that, then we opened up the sectionals and he asked me a lot of questions about the airspaces and everything else depicted there. Oral portion lasted a couple of hours and we were done.

    I checked the weather and updated the nav long for wind correction based on latest numbers and headed out to preflight. The examiner came out a few minutes later as I was finishing up, asked me a few questions about systems and we were off. Started with a soft field takeoff from KSGR and headed out on the NorthWest heading for planned XC and checked off the first couple of checkpoints, showing the examiner where we were on the sectional. Then came the diversion and the first unexpected challenge. He asked me to turn towards Wharton but covered up my compass instruments with postits - said I couldn't use any navigational aids on my way to diversion - pilotage and dead reckoning only. So i turned in the general direction but without the compass turned an extra 30 degrees so I was off track. I knew where I was before turning so was able to compute the distance, fuel, time to diversion but was not heading the right way. I had landmarks identified on the sectional and could see them out the window but was not setup on exactly the right heading immediately which lost me some points with the examiner. After some embarrassment and getting pointed in the right direction, we pressed on and did a bunch of maneuvers. I have a tendency to take my time in between maneuvers to stabilize my airspeed and stay on assigned altitude but the examiner wanted me to move faster from one to another. This made me extra nervous and with each one I thought "this is the one ... where he tells me its all over and to take him back to Sugar Land" but he never did so I just kept on going. We ran through everything required then he had me navigate to Lane (T54) for a short field landing and take off. This is a tiny, narrow strip as compared to the long, wide runway of KSGR. That went pretty smoothly until I tried to add just a touch of power to smooth out the landing and ended up adding an extra 100 RPM increasing the landing roll more and I had to more firmly use the brakes. We taxied back to start of runway and did short field take off and I thought we'd head back to KSGR but he wanted me to come around the pattern and do the soft field landing on the same strip - had not done that before. That went allright and we headed back to Sugar Land. "A forward slip landing without flaps and off on Taxiway Charlie 2" he said. A bit of a long float but managed to get off on Charlie 2 and on engine shut down - "Congratulations - you've met the standards set forth by the FAA for private pilot...". Tied up the plane and went inside for debrief and paperwork before settling the bill for the plane rental and walking out with a huge sigh of relief!


    What's next:

    As stated by many new pilots on the threads I've read here, no friends or family are jumping up to go for a ride with me just yet, but I don't hold that against anyone...I can understand nervousness on their part. For now I'd like to take a couple of short trips out : maybe fly to Galveston for a few hours one day, and slightly longer trip out towards Austin/San Antonio area to visit friends or family.

    As for additional training: in the short term (next year or two) I'd like to go for the high performance endorsement and the complex endorsement. Anyone know if I can apply those hours towards WINGS credit to reset the BFR date? No plans on instrument rating. At some point, would love to get the tailwheel endorsement and do some aerobatic lessons.
     
  2. Hobobiker

    Hobobiker Line Up and Wait

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    Congrats! Enjoy the freedom of not practicing short/soft takeoffs and landings all the time. Now you'll be waiting by the mailbox like so many of the rest of us for the "real" piece of plastic to arrive...
     
  3. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    Congratulations!!!
    It appears to me you have the makings of a good pilot.
    There is so much to learn and experience.
    Remember to have fun.
     
  4. HouTxPilot82

    HouTxPilot82 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thank you both. Yes, I am anxiously waiting for the 'real' certificate to show up, and looking forward to my first few trips away from the home airport that are for enjoyment instead of meeting the experience requirements.
     
  5. PedroB801

    PedroB801 Filing Flight Plan

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    Congrats!
     
  6. JasonM

    JasonM Pattern Altitude

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    Congratulations! Now go and fly somewhere far away!
     
  7. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Congrats! Now, make an easy cross-country flight to Mustang Island, and your first night will be on the house!

    Private message me, and I will send you a certificate good for one free night at our aviation themed hotel, Amelia's Landing, in Port Aransas (KRAS), as a reward for all of your hard work. You deserve it! :)
     
  8. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Congrats.
     
  9. HouTxPilot82

    HouTxPilot82 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks - I'll plan for a trip down there sometime!
     
  10. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Congrats ,now go fly.
     
  11. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Good job! Best of luck to you in your flying future.
     
  12. RalphInCA

    RalphInCA Cleared for Takeoff

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    Congratulations!

    All of us on this board know how great of an accomplishment this is.

    Now go out and enjoy your new privileges.

    you are one of the very few can say you are a licensed pilot.

    Enjoy!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  13. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Congrats!!

    Sounds like your oral exam was well executed, by both you and the examiner.

    There are many PoA members in the Houston area. Maybe you can engineer a meet up session.

    And if you haven't already checked into it, seek out the local EAA chapters. Through them, you can meet folks just as passionate as you (or more) and make some great network contacts.
     
  14. Badger

    Badger Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    congratulations!
     
  15. HouTxPilot82

    HouTxPilot82 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks everyone - I will checkout the local EAA.
     
  16. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Congrats!
     
  17. dlsmith

    dlsmith Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Congrats pilot!

    I would definitely recommend getting a tailwheel endorsement. It is one of the most beneficial things I've done as a pilot. It really hones your stick and rudder skills and makes you truly understand how your control inputs affect the airplane. I fly forgiving glass panels all the time, I have the Luscombe to keep those basic skills sharp.
     
  18. Scott@KTYR

    Scott@KTYR Pattern Altitude

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    Congrats!!!
     
  19. davef22

    davef22 Pre-Flight

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    Congrats!!
     
  20. rchamble

    rchamble Pre-Flight

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    congrats, I'm just now fixing go embark on the journey you have just finished!!
     
  21. Circuit Flyer

    Circuit Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Congratulations! Thanks for a detailed write-up.
     
  22. kayoh190

    kayoh190 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Nice write-up, and congrats!
     
  23. Cpt_Kirk

    Cpt_Kirk En-Route

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    Sounds like a real personable guy.
     
  24. skynewbie

    skynewbie Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hearty congratulations, pilot! For the complex and hp endorsement you can do wings faa course but the training time is contingent on the flight school insurance requirements and CFI discretion based on how well you do on the transition. Go for it, I like flying retracts better than fixed gear aircraft on long XC flights.
     
  25. DaytonaLynn

    DaytonaLynn Line Up and Wait

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    One who misses Daytona!
    Nice job!
    If you ever want to fly somewhere to eat, let me know, I'll be your wing man and bring the Ms's. We fly out of TME.
    Congrats on the accomplishment.
    PM me if you want to fly.
    Lynn
     
  26. marcoseddi

    marcoseddi Cleared for Takeoff

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    congrats
     
  27. HouTxPilot82

    HouTxPilot82 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks!
     
  28. CapeCodFlyer

    CapeCodFlyer Pre-Flight

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    Congratulations! Great accomplishment and nice debrief.
     
  29. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Conga Rats!

    Great checkride writeup.

    Lots of great places to which you can fly from SGR for fun; and you should take Jay up on the Mustang Island offer - Amelia's Island is a gem of a hotel, and the proprietors are OK, too!


    Maybe I'll see you down there at KSGR some time - we go there for family on a regular basis, and my wife's Grandma is there - 107 years old now, 108 in February.
     
  30. the other german guy

    the other german guy Filing Flight Plan

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    Congrats!!

    I just got my wings back after 10 plus years of being inactive. Thank you to the great ppl at TX Flight @ KDWH. And I'm def gonna check out Amelia's landing at Mustang island very soon.
     
  31. Ramprat75

    Ramprat75 Filing Flight Plan

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    Congratulations!!
     
  32. NickC99

    NickC99 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Congrats!!