View Full Version : I Think It Is Time

04-06-2013, 03:34 PM
Right now will probably be the best/easiest time in my life to pursue a private pilot's license. I would like to do everything possible before I step into an airplane. I am considering getting the Gleim Private Pilot Kit (http://www.gleim.com/products/productdetails.php/PP+KIT+CD-_-Private-Pilot-Kit), I have a copy of their Pilot's Handbook but it is a little outdated. Any suggestions or comments on Gleim or other courses? For the flight lessons I am looking at training in a Piper Cub, the old fashion way. Is it reasonable to think that I could get my PPL within a five month period? My work schedule is flexible and probably the biggest limiting factor would be the weather. Any comments/suggestions/stories feel free to share them!

Bill Greenwood
04-06-2013, 08:17 PM
Yes, on both counts. I don't think you will ever regret learning in the Cub, and starting in the back seat rather than in the front like a Super Cub or Champ or Citabria will make you comfortable with flying tailwheel airplanes even if you can't see out the front. The Cub was what a million folks who became good pilots learned in back in the old days.
That is what I did, not as a private pilot , but when I wanted to up my skills to fly other planes.
Not just yes, but Heck Yes!.

Your Gleim book may be somewhat dated, but 90% of learning has not changed. There is Class B, (TCA s) and a few things, but much of the fancy GPS etc. stuff is optional and is not required for basic flying.

Any of the major brands of ground school do a decent job of teaching. If you can get a computer interactive course, it will be even faster and well worth the few $hundred cost over just a book.

You can easily do it in 5 months IF you go for it, and don't waste time. You might be a pilot by Airventure time. Lets say you need 40 hours of flight time, well 5 months is 150 days so that is only an hour each 3 1/2 days, 2hours per week and Wis weather should be getting better now.

And don't let someone tell you that you need 60 or 70 hours to be a private pilot.I think it took me 43 hours, and that was at a tower airport, MYF, under a TCA, and without computer aids like there are now.
Go for it like a cop in a donut shop.
And start tomorrow.

Good luck

04-07-2013, 07:40 AM
If you can fly two or three time a week, there is no reason you can't do it within a five month period. What are you waiting for? Time's a wasting!!

04-07-2013, 07:50 AM
My son is in the middle of taking the "Complete" Private Pilot Course from Sporty's. I have looked it over and it looks pretty good, even though I have to admit that surprised me.

04-07-2013, 08:51 AM
For the flight lessons I am looking at training in a Piper Cub, the old fashion way. Is it reasonable to think that I could get my PPL within a five month period?

it's not reasonable in a genuine Piper Cub. The PP regs require instrument training and the practical test standards require you to demonstrate maneuvering by reference to instruments. That plus radio naviation, plus a communications radio for the requisite training at an airport with a control tower. So unless you have a decked out Cub with electrics, radios and full gyro panel, you'll need a second airplane for some of those tasks, which will increase training times and costs.

As for the knowledge part, it might be a good idea to call local flight schools or ask local flight instructors if they know of anyone that offers a ground school course. Usually you can do this over a few week period and take the test at the end. That part will be done.

Five months is a realistic time frame, just make sure your instructors are on the same page.

Bill Greenwood
04-07-2013, 09:58 AM
Marty, he can certainly do most of his training in a J3 Cub. He can do the important part of learning to fly, not just talk on the radio or play with gadgets like too many students now do in modern planes like Da 40. He didn't say what airport he is at or if it had a tower, but even so our airport has a control tower and my Cub has a portable battery powered radio, that works fine with the external antenna.

For real flying you will use the skills learned in the Cub on every flight, but unless you live and fly IMC most of the time you won't often use the IFR part of the training.And every flight even if on an IFR flight plan, begins and ends with a VFR takeoff and landing.
Of course, any pilot who gets his rating in the Cub, can and should go on to other types of airplanes and other ratings, such as IFR.

Yes, he will need to use another plane for the instrument part, but that is only few hours of the total time.

And if he decides in the future to move up to many of the most fun type of planes, like Stearman, T-6, Pitts, etc., most of them are tailwheel types and he will already have not only a tailwheel endorsment , but good experience in flying a real vintage tailwheel plane.

04-07-2013, 10:37 AM
I would not invest a lot in instructional materials until you have chosen a training outfit. If it's a 141 school you will likely be locked into purchasing what there curriculum follows.

That being said, the Gleim is real nice package. It's what got me through my Instrument Rating. Their CS is top notch which is more than I can say about some of their competitors.

A whole lot of people have learned in cubs. If you can find one that is available to you reliably, go for it. You'll be a better pilot than those that learn on planes with the training wheel. I impressed the hell out of a guy who gave me my BFR in a 152 a couple of weeks after I got my TW endorsement. Far too many recurrent students don't touch the rudders in the air or the ailerons on the ground.

04-07-2013, 11:14 AM
Marty, he can certainly do most of his training in a J3 Cub.

I agree. But he can't do ALL of the training or ALL of the practical test in a Cub. That requires a second airplane and now the issue has just become unnecessarily complicated.

Nothing says you can't learn to fly a Cub after getting a PP certificate and it may provide incentive to continue flying after certifying as a PP, a point where a lot of people quit.

04-07-2013, 11:16 AM
Having learned to fly in a Cub has served me well. Lots of tailwheel opportunities because of it.

Bill Greenwood
04-07-2013, 11:29 AM
If one is going to spend 40 hours and pay for it, perhaps $6k or so, then it ought to be FUN, and something a little extraordinary.

And that is not a 152 or 172. Basic Cessnas do a great job of being safe and pretty easy and usually reasonably priced for a trainer, but they really are sort of lowest common denominator designs. They are for the below average skills student pilot to learn safely in and they do that well.
But they are not going to overwhelm you with excitement.

And after the Cessna experience, what does a pilot feel when he goes to fly a Stearman or T-6?
Now it is , "Oh my God, I can't see out directly in front and down, this must be impossible."

You can learn in virtually any type plane, simple and boring or even like my friend did in the Navy who started in an SNJ.
The type of plane is not as important as the determination of the pilot., and the quality of the instructor.

04-07-2013, 11:53 AM
And don't let someone tell you that you need 60 or 70 hours to be a private pilot.I think it took me 43 hours.

And don't let someone tell you that you don't need 60 or 70 hours to be a private pilot.

Everyone is different. Some take the minimum time, others much longer. Too many students become frustrated and discouraged and some give up if they can't do it in the minimum time that "everyone else" seems to have done. Watching the clock is detrimental to training.

Don't let an instructor take advantage of you either. Ask how long their average student takes. Then talk to some of their students. A good instructor should not have a problem giving references.

04-07-2013, 12:04 PM
But he can't do ALL of the training or ALL of the practical test in a Cub. That requires a second airplane and now the issue has just become unnecessarily complicated.
True. Now in the middle of his training he has to learn not only radio navigation, but a completely different panel, brakes, and controls including the throttle and "stick" being reversed.

Bill Greenwood
04-07-2013, 03:19 PM
Well, I can't speak for everyone else,or maybe anyone else, but when I went to the flight school for the first time, I had it in my mind to be a good student, certainly above average. I was interested in learning to fly and would spend the time and effort to cover the material and do some extra things on my own like watch from the parking lot as others flew.

I think the minimum required hours was 35 back then, probably still is. If the school or instructor was to try to fill my head with the idea that it was going to take me twice that long just to become a private pilot, I would probably have gone to another flight school or CFI, one where the instructor had confidence in his teaching ability and did not regard the student has as endless source of funds.
You mention the student, "not watching the clock". Will the CFI have the same don't care attitude? Or will the CFI and the FBO be diligently watchiing the clock and the Hobbs meter and billing the student for $150 or so per hour?

Of course a student may be lax, but this was the same years ago when I learned. But I think there were more schools and CFIs back then and thus some competition.
This idea of a CFI discouraging a student and dragging the process out for more than 20 hours to solo and 70 to get the license seems to be a recent thing, and a bad one.
I have seen a few CFIs that were unhappy in their jobs and regarded the student as an obstacle rather than a customer.

We have one very good CFI at our local FBO, and he does just fine with students finishing up in well under 50 hours.

By the way, Turtle and Marty , do you by any chance own or teach in Cessnas"? I own a Cub, but have no dollars at stake in the discussion.

And yes, if a person learned in a Cub then moved to a Piper or Cessna, they would have a different panel. And it would be pretty sad if that was an insurmountable obstacle. Do you expect them ever to fly anything above the basic trainer?

04-07-2013, 04:42 PM
Learning a new plane during training can be a good experience. It seems most folks don't have much issue with it. Granted it might add an hour or two to the total, but is good experience. Few folks want to fly a 150/152 or even a 172 forever.

champ driver
04-07-2013, 05:26 PM
Lots of good comments and advice from the previous posts. I think that 5 months should be no problem considering that the days are getting longer and the weather is better in the summer. You'll probably need to schedule 3-4 times a week for lessons and plan on getting weathered out maybe at least once in that time.

Find a good instructor willing to work with you on this program. What's a good instructor you say, glad you asked that. Someone who's a good pilot and a good teacher who can communicate and explain the manuevers and everything you else you need to know. If for some reason you and your instructor can't seem to get along or communicate well together, then get another instructor. It's your money, and your choice!

Starting in something like a Cub is an excellent idea. It'll teach you loads about coordination, which when added to commom sense and good judgement, will keep you and your passengers safe in years to come.
You'll have to transfer to another plane like a Cessna 152 to complete your instrument, VOR and night requirments. You could do this in about a couple of extra hours. You could help this along by just sitting in the plane on the ground and getting used to where the controls and instruments are before you fly it. This should be free, just some time on your part. Also you would have to "re-solo" in the more complex plane too.
Good luck, and let us know how things are coming along.

04-07-2013, 06:53 PM
By the way, Turtle and Marty , do you by any chance own or teach in Cessnas"?

I did learn to fly in a C-150. I thought it was pretty exciting but I am a well below average pilot. I did later learn to fly tailwheel airplanes so my mediocre skills transferred to that type.

Just wanted to point out some ramifications of private pilot training in a plane type that can not complete all the regulatory training requirements and PTS tasks. The original poster may not be aware of this. He can use the information to make a choice that fits his needs.

I'm mostly curious who does PP training in an original Cub. Perhaps they can explain how they do it.

04-07-2013, 07:40 PM
I learned to fly in 1978 in a 1946 Luscombe 8A without an electrical system. I had to rent a Cessna 152 to get my instrument/VOR navigation time. I rented a 1956 Cessna 172 to fly my long cross-country which included a stop at a controlled field. I did everything else in the Luscombe. I actually used the Cessna 172 for my PP check ride because my examiner could not fly a tail wheel airplane. I did take my commercial check ride in the Luscombe and a Piper Arrow (different examiner). I don't think it matters what you learn to fly in, just learn to FLY. Everyone is different. Whatever it takes to grow the pilot/aircraft owner ranks, I am all for it.

04-07-2013, 08:28 PM
I realize that not everything can be done in the Cub, the flight school also has a Piper PA-28 Cherokee for the "other stuff". I have complete confidence in the flight school, friends of mine have gone with them and the owner has a passion for teaching people how to fly. The airport doesn't have a tower and the next two closest airports are shutting down their towers so I wouldn't really have a choice on whether I went to an airport with a control tower or not. Before I even go to a flight school though I am going to do all the book work first.

Jim Heffelfinger
04-08-2013, 12:31 AM
If you are over 50 you might find you will need more than a minimum number of hours. Learning any eye/hand/muscle memory skill in our youth (16-30) takes half the time it might at say 60. So your number of hours might vary. Each student will have a plateau where more time is needed to get past skill development. For me it was my feet. I learned on coaster cars and sleds as a kid and every time I would shift to pucker factor (a common condition during training) primal learning would set in. I wouldn't freeze (another common condition) I would work my feet just fine...only backwards. Lots of relinquishing flight controls while on final. Spent one whole lesson driving around the airport - never did get airborne.

04-19-2013, 04:18 AM
"See How It Flies" is an online book (Free) and is a great place to start. Google it. Download and read it. All FAA publications are also available online at no cost and all written tests are baised on those publications. It is a lot of material and some guidance is needed to find the appropriate material for your stage of learning but your flight instructor should be able to give guidance on what to study. No need to spend $200 on a student pilot course but it will spoon feed you with the necessary information. However by going to the source, FAA Handbooks, you will learn the system and be beetter informed in the end. You will save money and flight time by studing the ground work. However, you need to study the right material at the right time to keep it relavent and interesting.

Gliem is a great choice if you go the purchased study material route.

Cub is a great place to start and the Cherokee is a great follow on trainer. Split the two about 50 50% and you will become an excellent pilot. Be sure to fly the distance to do same of the pattern work at a tower airport early in your (Cherokee) training so that you are comfortable with both small and large airports. The cub will teach the rudder and aerodynamics and the Cherokee will teach proceedures, X-C and ATC operations. . Your school has selected an excellent combination of aircraft. Do get an hour or two in a Cessna before too long though to see how the majority of pilots enjoy flying.

If I were your CFI and had the airplane access I would take you to (near) solo in the Cub. Then do a few hours in the Cessna. And finally transition to the PA 28 for the check ride. It may add a few hours to the total course but you would be a well rounded PP in the process.

Schedule three times a week and accept a few weather delays. Insert a few extra days or longer X-C lessons as appropriate.

Other CFIs are encouraged to comment on this oppinion.

05-08-2013, 07:09 AM
Gday,When I learnt to fly the majority was in the Grumman AA1B but unusual attitude flights were in the decathlon 8kcab this included learning spins loops rolls ,it improved my flying and confidence so go for it and have fun. Cheers Ross