View Full Version : 90% Done, 50% to go...

05-16-2013, 09:52 PM

I'm a recent joiner of EAA, although I have a decades-long love of flying. I've been reading Kitplanes for almost as long as it has been publishing. I'm 57 and have finally reached the stage in my life where it's possible to fulfill my pilot dream. What follows is a brief description of my experience as a student pilot.

I asked for a Discovery Flight for my birthday last November and my wife was so sweet to get it for me. I live in Manhattan and did the flight out at Republic at Long Island. In the following two months, I managed to accrue a total of 3.1 hours in my log book. Between trying to find time on weekends and crummy weather, it was very frustrating.

Then a miracle/disaster happened. The very large bank laid me off. I found myself with time on my hands. I decided that the right thing to do was to go down to Florida and train intensively. I located a school I liked and made the arrangements. My wife and I drove down to Florida, we went to visit her mom, I dropped her off at the airport and, for the next week, it was me, my instructor and the airplane. Well, at least until my job hunt got in the way.

In about a week, I managed to add 22 hours in a 172. This got me to the point where I was getting started on landings. I also mastered VOR navigation and got much of my hood time as well as about half my dual cross-country. I also learned the other maneuvers (stalls, slow flight, steep turns, ground reference). I flew out of both towered and non-towered airports. Then I headed back up to New York to get back to the job hunt.

About three weeks later, I got a job offer. So I arranged to start in two weeks and booked a flight back to Florida. I had nine days booked. I wanted to try out the school 152 and, after seeing if I fit (barely), I got my chance. I fell in love with the little Cessna and we resumed where we left off, mostly working on a mix of everything, with an emphasis on pattern work. About four days in, I was reliably landing the airplane. That's not to say they were great landings. Some were pretty good and they were all safe, but my instructor wanted me to be smoother and more consistent. This and the weather delayed my solo until the next-to-last day. On that day, conditions weren't great, so we stayed at the towered airport (KFPR) where the school is based. KFPR has both 10L and 10R runways. 10L has no taxiways connecting it to the rest of the airport, so we departed on 10R and entered the pattern for 10L where we practiced. Then my instructor told me it was time. I dropped him off, and soloed! I only got one time around as it was actually beginning to rain on final. I made my best landing yet, picked up my instructor and we headed back to 10R and the FBO where I got my shirt cut.

It was just as satisfying as everyone told me it would be. And something else happened. I'm still a student, but I'm at a different level, no longer in doubt of my basic abilities. The next day we had scheduled a pre-dawn start to get in some night flying, but the weather had other plans. So I reluctantly headed back up to New York. I have almost 50 hours in my log.

This past weekend, I got an hour in a 152 out on Long Island and it felt great. I did three crosswind landings. I'm back to work, so I'm limited to weekends. That's terribly frustrating. If one has the time, training intensively is enormously rewarding. Without distractions and with the time to really work on things, you can accomplish a lot in a short amount of calendar time.

I still need to do my night flying, some more hood work and do my solo cross-country. I really want to complete this by the end of June. We'll see.

By the way, I did my studying on my iPad. I used Sporty's iPad app and I bought an e-book copy of the Jeppesen course. I also read Say Again (which I highly recommend). I got the written test endorsement via the Sporty's app, so I can take the written at any time.

Now let's talk cost. All told, I'm about $10K into it. I expect to spend about another $2K exclusive of the checkride, which, it turns out matches what I've been told. One word of advice I have for students when shopping schools is to enquire whether there is a fuel surcharge. The school in Florida was very upfront about this. The one out on Long Island didn't mention it and I found out about it when I got the bill for the day. Also, I have about $500 in other expenses (books, charts, kneeboard, E6B, headset, checklists, POHs, etc.).

I'm really looking forward to completing my training. After that, I might look for a share in an airplane so that I can build time. To be honest, my biggest handicap is where I live. Getting to any airport with training or rental aircraft is a pain given the traffic. This will persist so long as I continue to live here. Florida really spoiled me. There are airports *everywhere*. I'd also like to pursue an instrument rating as soon as possible.

Well, that's my story so far.

05-16-2013, 11:21 PM
What you described above are the trials and tribulations of almost every student pilot I know (including myself). Weather, changing CFI's, weather, job constraints, weather, airport distance, and did I mention weather?
In my case I even bought an airplane (a Grumman AA1B) due to the lack of available airplanes when my instructor and I (and Mother Nature) were all in a row...
Learning to fly will try your soul but danm brother it's worth it! Make your plans but don't get depressed if they fall thru; you'll get there...remember; if it was easy, everyone could fly!

Never talk cost. Ever! Flight costs what it costs. Dollar to distance. Dollar to time. Dollar to seat-mile. Private GA doesn't make much sense if viewed in the constraints of cost because you can't put a dollar figure on the pure pride and enjoyment of being able to walk up to a plane, hop in and fly. (Fiddly bits required by the FAR's and common sense should come somewhere in between the walking and the hopping in phases...).
Welcome to the board, keep us updated and keep the move to Florida in your plans. You could finish your flight training with what you save in taxes!

Chris in Shreveport

05-17-2013, 08:05 PM
Hi HiperBier!

You're right, of course! It costs what it costs. My point is that it might be better to bite the process off in big chunks. I've done a bit of local training here and there and, frankly, I just don't feel that it gets me where I want to be which is makes it costly both in time and money. I think that has a lot to do with the awful dropout rate. Down in Florida, I was 6 miles from the airport, I had all day (we flew until I was tired) and I was really able to *concentrate*. In my non-flying hours, I was thinking about what I had learned, what I had done wrong and what I needed to do to correct my behavior. I also had the time to build a working partnership with my instructor. I feel that we did it together. He really helped me to understand what I was learning and gave a lot of great advice based on his many decades of flying.

My wife put up with my absences and was really a sport. But it was hard on her. I was off having fun and she was alone. We've agreed that I'll fly every other weekend so that we can have some personal time together. Of course, once I get my license, she can come with me and everything changes.

Here's a little background on me. My dad worked for a European airline. I practically grew up at JFK. He really didn't have any love of aviation, but I was bitten hard from as far back as I can remember. My first seat time was at the age of nine when the captain of the DC-8 I was on invited me to sit in the left seat high over the Atlantic. I worked on the ramp at JFK during summers when I got a little older. I loved being around the 747s, L-1011s and DC-8s on which I loaded food. It was always in my plans to pursue my license but life and obligations got in the way. Last year I got to fulfill another almost life-long dream when I was a contestant (and damned-near a champion!) on Jeopardy. After that I realized that anything was possible and the dream moved to the front burner. That brings us to now.

I have felt some frustration and it was surprising to me how much of early flight training has to do with conquering fear. There's a definite inverse relationship between terror and acquired skill. My instructor had me practice flying level down the runway and it took a while to develop the rudder and aileron control to do it properly. Not feeling in control that close to the ground really made me sweat. When we progressed to actually landing, the cold sweats continued. Landing practice left me soaked and worn out. Part of me was terrified. But almost without noticing it, that passed and it became something that I knew how to do. The terror went away, replaced by concentration and a determination to get it right. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but that transition and the feeling it gave me was worth all the effort, money and time. Why fly? I can only think of JFK's remark about going to the moon: "We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard". We grow by facing our fears, developing skills and understanding and, hopefully, wisdom and a bit of humility as well.

Bill Greenwood
05-18-2013, 10:40 AM
Good for you, and don't give up now, when the mountain top is withing reach.

What school did you go to in Florida and what town is it in, please?
By the way, if you flew the plane solo, you are already a pilot; there wasn't anyone else in there doing it for you. You just aren't yet a fully licensed pilot.

As for as fear goes, there is really not much logical reason to be afraid when just doing basic flying. The accident rate for a student is not high, and it is super low if you are dual with an instructor.

If you are just flying a basic trainer, on a simple flight which is planned out in good weather, it is low risk.
And a with a C-172, it might be a little boring, but not dangerous. It was designed to allow most pilots to safely learn in and it does that well.

05-20-2013, 10:05 AM
Hi Bill,

I trained at Tradewinds in Fort Pierce. The owner, Ernie Carnahan, was my CFI. I trained under part 61, so I did all my own book learning. I wish I had the time to back there to finish up, Ernie was great.

I was never afraid while up at any altitude. Who among us hasn't resisted our instructor's command to "point the nose down" on final. There's a part of the brain that is screaming " No! We'll crash!" it takes a conscious effort to overcome that fear.

05-23-2013, 04:32 PM
Good for you, and don't give up now, when the mountain top is withing reach.

Bunkie, Bill's advice is correct. You're almost to the mountain top. Congratulations.

You may find that the summit isn't quite as close as it seems, maybe it's 1/2 mile away when you thought it was less than a quarter, but either way, you ARE almost there. Persistance will be rewarded.

Blue skies, to you Bunkie.


06-05-2013, 05:56 PM
I sat down today and calculated how much time I need to complete my training. It's about 20 hours, 11 hours of dual and 9 hours solo. That will get me ready for the exam. What I need now is a plan to execute all of the remaining tasks. Since I've self-directed my training (part 61), it's my responsibility to make sure that each hour matches my plan.

I'm really driven to complete this. I find that I have a *need* to fly. I want to get better and better at it. These days, I only have weekends and of those, only every other weekend do as to keep my wife happy. Sunday was a scheduled lesson day where I was going to be checked out so that I could solo up here at Mid Island. On the way there, they called to cancel because there was an issue with the airplane. That was frustrating. I think I'm going to take a day or two off from work so that I can get multiple hours in each day. The drive to Mid Island is almost 60 miles, so going out for an hour lesson isn't very time-efficient.

Bill Greenwood
06-11-2013, 08:42 AM
Ok, what is your update, did you fly this past weekend?

06-13-2013, 09:00 PM
Hi Bill, Last weekend was a non-flying weekend. I have a lesson scheduled at Nassau Flyers on Saturday. The weather looks good, so I expect to fly. I'm going back to a 172 to make the cross-country a little easier. With the long summer days, I'm going to try to get some after-work flying in. My job lets me telecommute and has flex time, so I should benefit from the improved availability of both aircraft and instrucors.I promise to post an update this weekend. In the meantime! I've been reviewing my Jeppesen pilot course book, going over some of the sections that I felt needed more attention.

Joe Delene
06-14-2013, 04:46 AM
Bunkie, sounds great, keep it up.

06-15-2013, 04:16 PM
Wow, what a beautiful day to fly! My lesson went well and I really like my instructor, he gave me a solid critique of my flying and it was easy to apply what he explained. I did pretty well. We were flying over the south shore of Long Island near the western end of Fire Island. I'm going back on Wednesday for an hour of ground school to cover airport operations and discuss my cross-country flying. Flying the 172 felt completely natural and I appreciated the extra power of the larger engine. I made a fairly decent landing. My approach was solid, but I leveled off a bit high (maybe 2-3 feet high), so I came down just a bit hard. That I definitely have to work on. I did well on slow flight, stalls and steep turns, all of which, I'm told, were good enough to pass. We also executed a simulated engine loss and, believe me, having all that beach as a potential landing site is very reassuring! The plan is to proceed with the dual cross-country before getting to my solo work. I'm really looking forward to flight planning and executing the plan.

Bill Greenwood
06-21-2013, 11:07 AM
I am glad to know that you are still pursuing this. It may seem to be taking a long time, but if you have the time and money and most importantly the perserverance you will be licensed pilot, maybe even by Oshkosh or at least this summer.
Getting a rating can be a little like my college career. I was the best reader in my entire school as a kid, and never really had to learn how to study. College was a bit of a wake up. Now some people sped through in 4 years, but not me. Like fine wine I assumed it should be savored over an extra year or even two.
I never thought of myself as anything less than an eventual college graduate, and I kept going, not without some detours and I graduated.
Besides, if the good Lord had wanted me to do nothing, but study there he would not have made coeds or waterskiing nearby or a national championship football team to go watch. I even coached an intermural team one semester, but I finally found time to graduate, and guess what, there is no asterisk on my diploma.

So keep going, and I'll let you in on a little secret, despite how many people try to pretend otherwise, flying a small airplane in good weather is really pretty easy, and something most anyone can do, if they are willing to learn.

06-24-2013, 05:56 PM
Tomorrow I do my dual cross-country. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm flying in the morning (taking time off from work) so I shouldn't be bothered by the forecast of scattered afternoon thunderstorms. More once I'm back.

At this point I'm really motivated to complete my training. I *will* get my certificate. I have no doubt, it's just a matter of time and practice, but definitely by the end of the summer. Then I can go on to the next step which will be figuring out how best to continue flying (buying an airplane, joining a flying club, renting, building my own plane, etc.) ;-)

07-05-2013, 10:01 AM
The cross-country went well. It was really interesting seeing how the ground planning worked in the air. On the outbound leg, I filed a flight plan and activated it in the air. For the return leg, I got my first experience with flight following. The flight went pretty much as expected. There was a slight change in the winds which affected timing, but nothing major.

I have a few things I need to work on. First is watching my altitude. I tend to trim the aircraft slightly nose high so I tend to climb. The second issue is trim related as well. As a result of not correctly trimming the aircraft, attention spent on the plan tends to result in slight deviations from straight and level flight. I'll work on this to get it right. the final issue I had was that the landing at Groton wasn't one of my best. There was a bit of a crosswind, it was a right pattern (which I hadn't done for two months), my turn to final was properly lined up and I was a bit high on final. My instructor suggested that I try a different technique. I tend to hold the crab until almost in ground effect. He suggested that I transition to aileron control about 100' above the runway for directional control, holding right aileron for a right crosswind and concentrate on using rudder to keep the nose pointed down the runway. Upon return to FRG, I gave this a try and it definitely helped. I touched down on the upwind main wheel, and led the left wheel drop while holding the nose off. I'm anxious to practice this.

So, here's what's on my list of uncompleted requirements: 1) Long dual cross-country. 2) Night cross-country. 3) Night takeoffs and landings (some of which we'll cover during the cross-country) and, finally, about an hour of hood time to complete the instrument requirement.

Hopefully, I'm not boring you guys with my story. I'm just incredibly excited about what I'm doing.

David Pavlich
07-05-2013, 08:20 PM
Keep on boring us! I'm sure that I can speak for the majority and tell you that it's fun reading your enthusiasm.


Bill Greenwood
07-06-2013, 05:17 PM
Bunkie, re holding a trim setting. Remember to let the plane accelerate to cruise speed after you level off from a climb or slow to cruise speed after a descent and only then can you really do your final trim setting. If you change power you will need to retrim also. Often if there is an electric trim, it may be easy to overshoot, an sometimes a fine tune with the manual trim wheel is good. I don't ever want to trim in level flight so there is a gradual creeping descent, I'd always want to be a little high rather than low.

As for as holding an exact altitude; that is the goal, but really if you are going on a real cross country flight, you want to be paying attention to navagation and weather updates and not just fixating on the altimeter.
If I fly from Colo to Oshkosh, I might often be 100 feet off cruise altitude when I am looking at a sectional or out the window. It really has nothing to do with safety of flight. Let's say you are going east at 7500 and gain 200 feet. Another guy is coming west at 8500 and slips down 200 feet. You are now 7700 and he is 8300. You still have 600 feet of vertical separation. Few people are going to vary as much as 200 feet, more likely 50 to 100 before a correction. It is important to be at odd plus 500 going east or even plus 500 going west, and especially in crowded airspace or in times of marginal visibility like flying into the sunset.
And of course in the pattern you want to fly pretty much at the correct altitude, but again 50 feet is not the critical fact of landing.
It is more critical latter on when you fly instrument approaches, but first things first.

PS, there are such things as autopilots for long trips also.

Good luck, keep going and keep us posted.

07-12-2013, 10:22 AM
Night Flying!

Last night I got my first taste of it. I was somewhat apprehensive. My first instructor told me that he hated night flying and wouldn't do it if it wasn't required. I have heard from others that it's their favorite kind of flying. We spent the time practicing landings in the pattern.

I had a ball!

I actually had very little problem with depth perception as I had a good picture of my attitude resulting from the "shape" of the runway lights. What I found tricky were the following:

-Identifying landmarks, especially the airport. FRG is lost in a sea of lights. I found that I paid much more attention to compass heading to keep my bearings.

-During touch and goes, it was a bit disorienting during the takeoff phase. While on the ground, it was hard to judge where the end of the runway was without referring to the amber lights. Knowing that I had used up a good part of the runway landing, it made me a bit nervous.

-The 172 I was flying didn't have any instrument lighting. This wasn't a problem because I keep in my flight bag one of those headband lights with both white and red LEDs and this worked out great. There's a lesson in this. Early on, I bought a hand-held radio which I keep with me at all times. My flight bag also has a flashlight and my Swiss Army knife. One can never be too prepared.

My instructor said I did quite well.

I loved it. Seeing the crescent moon at what felt like the same level was a wonderful experience. As the session went on, the other traffic died down until it was just us. I have always loved airports at night. Back when I was rampie at JFK, I exspecially enjoyed those quiet times waiting for the next DC-8 or 747 to arrive and wake up the night.

Next week, it's on to the night cross-country. After that I need a little hood time and my solo hours (and solo cross-country) and I've met the requirements and could, theoretically, take the flight exam at any time. Almost there!

Bill Greenwood
07-29-2013, 09:34 AM
Re: night flying. It is easy on a clear moonlit night in good vfr. On the other hand it can be hard and dangerous if visibility is lacking .With no moon you can fly into a cloud .For really good pracitce go do your ifr practice flight on a dark night. I had a friend who was an Air Force instructor during the war in Vietnam trying to teach the S Vietnamese to fly and navingate. The S V guys didn't want to fly at night, too dark, also didn't want to take off from their weekend social events to train.

08-01-2013, 07:46 AM
Well, last night was supposed to be my night cross-country, but my instructor had to cancel. We'll try again on Monday night.

08-02-2013, 09:55 PM
This is the best post I've read in a long time. Keep us informed on your progress!

08-07-2013, 08:37 AM
I did my night cross-country on Monday from FRG to HFD. It was a beautiful night with the air as smooth as glass. It went pretty well and I was able to navigate both there and back. I completed my required 10 night TOs and landings by doing a couple of touch-and-goes at HFD and then at FRG.

I kept a close eye on the VORs and got past the difficulty of reading the chart while in flight. I did a better job of trimming the aircraft so my altitude control improved over the previous cross-country. I did pretty well on all of the landings except the last one. Most of my landing issues begin with being too high but in this case I over-compensated and had to add power which caused me to come in a bit flat. Not pretty but as my instructor said "you got it in there".

Next time it's landing practice in prep for the checkout at Nassau Flyers for my required solo work.

I've stopped tracking the cost. part of that is to keep from getting freaked out. But a larger part is that I'm viewing my training less as an obstacle to my goal but as an enjoyable process in itself. In other words, it's only a matter of degree cost-wise between being a student pilot and a certificated pilot. I'm flying and that was the ultimate goal.

I finally got my FRG airport badge! It's a small thing, but it means a lot to me. I'm in the club!

08-07-2013, 12:22 PM
Feels so good, when you get to clear the different hurdles, as you go along, huh?
Keep up the good work!

08-21-2013, 09:09 AM
Sigh... Another setback. The instructor I was working with left Nassau Flyers. So, this means I have to do yet another "let's get you up in the airplane to see how you do" flight so that I can continue. It's frustrating, not to mention expensive (and time-consuming).

I have this scheduled for Friday morning. Hopefully I'll get along with the new instructor and I can work out a plan to get me to the top of the mountain.

08-21-2013, 10:23 AM
What I learned from instructor hopping, go find the oldest fart you can on the field, or nearby field.
Talk to some of the pilots that fly there, and find out the longest established instructor/company, and go talk to them.
Remember, you're paying for a service, here, and YOU need to get what you pay for.
I went through half a dozen instructors, and logged waaaaay more hours than necessesary for PPL, before a couple of our pilot friends suggested a little old flight school.
Not only was the old man, an instructor, he was the FAA examiner.
Once I got hooked up with him, I was done, and ready for my checkride, in about 3 weeks.
I wished we knew of him when we first started.
I had an old fart that taught Me how to fly a taildragger, and signed my tailwheel endorsement.
I learned a lot more practical stuff from those few hours, than all the accumulated, FBO, and college training time, before I got with the first old fart/FAA examiner.
Old farts... Find em, and learn from them.
I guarantee you will have fun with them too.
They have more experience, and stories to back up what they're teaching, so you can better understand why you have to do certain things.

08-21-2013, 05:09 PM
Well, since I'm something of an old fart myself, this really rings true. And, truth be told, my favorite instructor was Ernie down at Tradewinds. He and I are about the same age so we had a lot of common ground.

At this point, it's just tough it out, pay what it costs and get it done.

By the way, I'm reading a great book: Making Perfect Takeoffs and Landings by Ron Fowler. I got it on Monday and, on Tuesday, missed my subway stop on the way to work because it was so engrossing. I'm almost done with it and can't wait to apply what I've learned.

Bill Greenwood
08-24-2013, 09:37 AM
Just keep going, whatever someone else does.

Are you flying this weekend?

And if the new instructor works for the same flight school, you should not have to repeat training already done with the previous one. If they are trying to make you do that, I would certainly have a serious talk with the owner/manager of that school. From a fair business standpoint they have some obligations other than just taking your money. If they don't want to honor the training from their previous employee, then they should refund the fee from those sessions.

08-24-2013, 01:59 PM
I did go flying this past Friday morning. As it turns out, the real issue is getting the signoff to solo. The school has a rather involved process which requires about an hour of "simulated solo" with my instructor and then a full checkout with the CFI.

I did get some strong encouragement in that my new instructor says I'm practically there skills-wise.

And I also learned a valuable lesson. We were doing pattern work at FRG and as the session progressed, the traffic got heavy. This resulted in one tower-directed 360 for spacing and a separate break off instruction as well as a change from right to left and back to right traffic over three successive circuits. Upon climb out, asked my instructor if we were still doing right pattern. He said, yes, since there had been no call to make left pattern, right pattern was required. I then made my crosswind and downwind turns and made the call to report right downwind and the tower berated me that we were supposed to make left pattern. My instructor (who seemed to have some history with the specific controller) said that she was just covering for her own mistake and that if we had really busted an instruction that we would have gotten the dreaded phone number go call instruction. So what did I learn? That I should not have asked my instructor, I should have just called the tower to clarify the pattern instruction. I'm not sure who was wrong here, but that doesn't matter. Call and be sure. That gives the incorrect party (pilot or controller) the opportunity to correct a situation before it happens.

As to why we were doing pattern work, it was at my request. I wanted to try applying what I had read about in the book. As it turns out, I think I may have finally gotten what has been eluding me, proper use of progressive back pressure on round out as I greased at least one of the later landings.

09-01-2013, 08:37 AM
I've been doing a bit of thinking over the last week. That's always dangerous. A couple of days ago, my wife emailed me an article about Pocono Mountain Airport in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania. While looking at the airport website, I clicked on a link for the Pocono Mountain Flying club. To make a long story short, my wife and I took a ride out there to meet Paul the club founder who is a CFI and CFII. The airport is a bit far from where we have our weekend house (about an hour and ten minutes), but it's a nice facility with two runways. Both my wife and I had a good feeling about the club which owns two Cessna 150s. I've done the calculations and given the required time, it's pretty close to break-even even given the one-time initiation fee. The per-hour wet rate for club members is less than half what I'm paying at Republic (even for a C152) and the instructor rate is about 30% less. At this point, I only need a few hours of instructor time to meet the requirements, so the real consideration is aircraft cost.

I'm seriously considering making the switch for a number of reasons. First, I really liked Paul. We got along well and we're close enough in age and interests to have a lot of common ground. Second, I can take a few days off from work to accelerate completing my training because weekday availability of the aircraft is quite good. Third, it gives me a way to fly inexpensively once I have my PPL. Fourth, with the reduced cost, I can immediately embark on getting my instrument rating, something I really want to do primarily because of the increased safety factor.

The issue is the distance to the airport. But I think that's a non-issue because getting to Republic from Manhattan is always something of a challenge. Traffic can turn that into a two-hour trip.

Bill Greenwood
09-02-2013, 09:23 PM
Bunkie, you raise a few points I will try to offer my thoughts on them.

The best thing you said a few days back was that you were enjoying the process of getting your pilot's license. That is important and the way it is supposed to be; that the training itself is supposed to be interesting and fun, not just the end result. It is not like a lady going through labor, which is unpleasant but in the end you have a baby. But some CFIs act like that is what the training should be like, and they can make it like going through purgatory before you are admitted as a chosen one. These are not the kind of people you want to give either your money or your time,

Next, how much did you fly this 3 day weekend? How about the week before? I and others enjoy your progress reports and observations on here; but just writing on a website won't get you to be a licensed pilot.
The most important thing is to JUST KEEP GOING, DON'T QUIT, and DON'T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU QUIT.
If you need a little inspiration look up Diana Nyad.

As for switching flight schools again, you have to be the judge of that.

As for getting a instrument rating, well that is fine for the future, but first you have to have the Private, and then a certain number of hours, Getting that rating is not easy, both the written test and the flight test is much harder and more expensive to finish.

As for safety, well yes and no. I have been instrument rated since the 80's, and I stay current with a flight check every year, but I probably have less than 15 hours actual time in IMC conditions. In my opinion, real IMC flying can be very dangerous, and mostly I doubt if any new, low time pilot has much reason to be in real hard IMC conditions. I am sure many others will tell you how easy it is. You can read a lot of bumpf about making every trip on an IFR flight, so as to get used to "Being In The System". What this really means is talking on the radio, to center and towers. Nothing really wrong with that, if you like to do it in good weather. BUT, don't kid yourself that this is real instrument flying, which means when the you can't see the ground at all or the sky and don't even know which way is up, and your life is at stake, can you really control the plane and navigate it? How about when picking up ice or in turbulence or when weather is changing for the worse?

09-05-2013, 04:57 PM
Hi Bill!

I'm still at it and am not going to quit now. I'm suffering a bit of sticker shock as this month we have an opposite-coast wedding to attend, and we have to pay for the vacation we have planned for November. I've done the math and going the flying club route will save me a fair amount of money. But the thing I really like about it is the opportunity to be drawn further into the community of pilots. This Saturday, the club is having a landing contest and barbecue and that just sounds like a heck of a good time. I'm pretty much the only flying guy I know and it gets a bit lonely some times. Community matters.

So, onward and upward as they say. I scheduled my written test for Saturday the 14th. I'm doing well on the practice tests so I'm not worried at all.

Regarding the IFR rating, there's the safety issue, but the other attraction is that this whole process has energized me. Learning these skills has been a real joy and I just want to keep going, challenging myself to see how far I can go. Precision flying, understanding more about how the whole ATC system works, learning more about airplane systems, all of this is like candy to me.

There probably won't be any flying for the next two weeks while I attend to the written and other matters, but as soon as I can, I'm going to make a big push to complete my training. I long for the day when I can announce that I've gotten my license.

Bill Greenwood
09-05-2013, 09:36 PM
Re the written.
Besides having the knowledge there is a method in taking the test. Make sure to read the question very carefully and think about the answer for a moment, then look at the 4 choices. There may be a key word that is the relevant one. Did they say agl or msl, or statue or nautical or gallons or pounds, etc. Often the key word may be in the answer, making one correct and one only seem correct. Two answers may be way off and you can narrow it down to the other two, to find the one that is more right. Take enough time to be sure.
If you have a few that you really don't know, you can leave them blank and come back to them, I think, but don't fail to answer all of them. If it involves a calculation, after you get your answer, take a moment to see if it makes sense.
It is easy to pass, but I know people that have made 100%. I missed one question on mine, something about airport lighting, and it still bugs me.
Good luck, it will be good for you to have it done.

09-07-2013, 04:47 PM
Thanks Bill, I'll heed your advice. On my practice tests, that's the sort of thing that has tripped me up.

09-15-2013, 10:54 AM
I passed my written! Got a few questions wrong, but I'm pretty happy with the result. Now, back to flying!

Bill Greenwood
09-16-2013, 12:37 PM
Way To Go, Man!
Tell us a little more, how did it go for you, did you find any part hard or you were unprepared for? How many did you miss? Take a bit of time to review and learn the missed ones with your CFI.

And now, go get flying, remember, before you know it winter may be there and make flying weather a little less available.

09-23-2013, 11:45 AM
Perhaps I should retitle this thread as the estimate of 50% appears to have been a bit optimistic. I had a bit of a setback as I lost my job last week. I'm going going to have to suspend flying until I nail down my next position. This was a bit of a surprise as I was expecting to be there through June of next year. Such is the life of a contractor. I'm actually waiting for a second phone interview for a new position in about 20 minutes so, hopefully, I'll be back in the saddle shortly. If I do get an offer out of this, I should be able to carve out a few days in which I'll intensively pursue my remaining requirements. I'll keep you posted.

David Pavlich
09-23-2013, 12:29 PM
Congratulations on the written, but it sure does stink about the job. Good luck on the search!


09-23-2013, 07:34 PM
Good luck on the job search.

09-29-2013, 08:31 PM
I decided that even though it's something of a financial risk, I'm not going to suspend my pursuit of my license. So I have joined the flying club and hope to be back training later this week. One big advantage of being between jobs is that it makes scheduling much easier!

09-29-2013, 08:53 PM
I decided that even though it's something of a financial risk, I'm not going to suspend my pursuit of my license. So I have joined the flying club and hope to be back training later this week. One big advantage of being between jobs is that it makes scheduling much easier! Good luck, you are either single or have one fantastic, understanding, loving wife!

10-03-2013, 07:20 AM
My wife has been absolutely great about this. She understands that for us both to be happy, we need to look after each others dreams. Hopefully, I understand this as well. She's even okay with my plan to build an airplane.

For now, it's complete my training, then build some time. Joining the flying club is a big part of that.

I got a little frustrated with commercial flying schools. I realize that learning to fly is expensive, I was fully prepared for that. With the exception of my time at Tradewinds in Florida, I never felt that I was developing a relationship with the school. And given the cost, I really felt that I wanted to be appreciated not just as a customer but also as an aviator. I was looking for affirmation as well as training. Which is not to say that the individual CFIs weren't dedicated, it's just that I think there's a defined track for professional pilots and that's the main focus of the flying schools.

In any case, I'm meeting a fellow club member and CFI this Saturday to do a short cross-country, some hood time and, hopefully, get signed off for my x-country solo work. He's about the same age as me and, coincidentally is also in the same professional field, so we have a lot in common and, I expect, a similar approach to evaluating situations and solving problems. We had a long talk on the phone and he made me feel very comfortable.

I'm really excited to be flying again. I had a look at my log book and it's been over a month since my last flight. That's just too long.

10-03-2013, 09:42 PM
[QUOTE=Bunkie;35364]My wife has been absolutely great about this. She understands that for us both to be happy, we need to look after each others dreams. Hopefully, I understand this as well. She's even okay with my plan to build an airplane.QUOTE] Beautiful!, you are a lucky man. Would your wife happen to have a sister with the same DNA make up and attitude? ;)

10-03-2013, 10:23 PM
This is a great thread -- and we're all right there with you!

Don't give up! Every moment you put into flying is worth it, times ten. Better yet, time spent flying is not deducted from your lifespan -- so fly more often!

Bill Greenwood
10-04-2013, 10:18 AM
Bunkie, I like your attitude. I am sure money is a problem, but you have invested your time and money and with some of your flight training done, and the written passed, you are over half way.
The only person that can make you a pilot now is you, that is if you just keep going. There was a man on tv who talked about the secret to finishing a distance race. Simple he said, just don't stop.
I have a friend who works at the Boulder FBO who seems a bright, capable, guy; a recent college graduate who loves aviation. Yet it took him 70 hours to get his private pilot certificate. He started in a Piper Warrior, great plane to learn in, but after about 10 hours the school sold the Warrior, so he switched to a Cessna and guess what, another 10 hours or so and the school sold that plane. He then switched to a Diamond DA 20. which is quite different and has a long and more complicated procedure, as well as being significantly harder to land. He never quit and is now both a pilot and has just gotten his instrument rating.
Oh, yes in the meantime he had to get over a broken neck vertebrae that he suffered falling out of a tree.

I would suggest you have long frank talk with your new CFI and school/club and emphasize that you really want to get your license, but that money is limited and you want to make sure it is not wasted.
Good luck and let us know how you do. Get going before winter shuts you down. We just have snow here this morning.

10-04-2013, 11:10 AM
I'm glad that folks are enjoying my ongoing tale. I really appreciate the encouragement! I promise to write an update this weekend after my cross-country. If I get my solo sign off, I'm going to try to get one or two sessions in the 150 during the upcoming week. My personal feeling is that the only thing keeping me from being ready for my practical is knocking off the required solo time.

10-06-2013, 12:29 PM
I had a pretty good flight yesterday. I really like my new instructor, Larry Gordon. The original plan was to do a short cross-country, but it took a while for the ground fog to burn off. We also had a lot of low clouds. The field is at 1600 feet of elevation and the clouds were at or below pattern altitude. So we changed plans plans to work on air maneuvers and pattern work.

First off, the club C150 is a very sweet airplane. It's down on power compared to the C152s and C172s I've flown but this particular airplane handles very nicely. After the initial takeoff we did a few climbing 360s and the aircraft held the turns beautifully. Control pressures are all very light and not once did I need to use any trim. I flew the entire time on the initial takeoff trim setting. We did a power-off stall and the airplane stalled nicely, giving a firm but not overwhelming shudder and it stalled without requiring very much rudder.

The clouds started to move toward the field, so I did a long straight-in approach and once I touched down, Larry told to me turn the landing into a touch and go. I applied power, lifted off turned crosswind and then downwind, not quite at pattern altitude and just short of being abeam the numbers, Larry reached over and cut the throttle. It took me a moment before I realized that we were doing a simulated engine-out landing. This was the first time I had done one with an actual landing (as opposed to simulating it at altitude). I hesitated a bit, trying to extend a bit before turning base and Larry quickly corrected me telling me to abandon a pattern landing, just turn 180 and get down to the runway. We had to add a bit of power to make up for the time I lost, I'll definitely remember not to hesitate next time.

Today is a rainy, foggy day so there's no flying for me today. We'll see when I can schedule the next one.

10-16-2013, 10:28 AM
Finally got a chance to fly again yesterday afternoon. This was my second flight with my club instructor, Larry. He wanted to get some time with me doing maneuvers and some of my required hood time. I know that in previous posts, I've expressed frustration at the small setbacks resulting from my journey from instructor to instructor, but there is definitely a positive side. I can understand his responsibility. Yes, my logbook says I've performed required maneuvers, but he needed to see them. After all, he has to sign me off. Larry had me doing some things I've never done before: steep turns under the hood, the most extreme unusual attitude recoveries I've ever faced, and what happens when you try to hold the airplane in a power-on stall. I'm not sure if I just would never have progressed to these items with my other instructors, or if it's just the classic case of the student (that would be me) thinking that they know more than they do. I'm betting it's the latter. It's humbling, at times, this learning to fly thing.

So, at this point, a little reflection on the process and advice for beginning and potential students is in order: First, I've experienced a series of breakthroughs, plateaus and frustrations. It's part of the process. Some of it is not being able to fly when or as often as I want. Weather, scheduling and finances all play a part. The solution? Get over it and keep plugging away. The moments of sheer joy when I get the landing flare right or I get a 'nice job' from my instructor are the foundation of the determination to keep at it. Blow a maneuver? Keep at it. My first steep turn was awful. My second was better. At that point Larry was ready to move on, but I asked to do another one. That one was good enough to meet the standards. I wanted to get it right after getting it wrong.

Second, my major advice for potential and starting students is this: It will take how long it will take. Yes, some people solo in 12 hours. Good for them, but they are not you. While there are milestones, this isn't a race, it's a process. I try my best to learn something new each time I fly, no matter how small. There's an inspiring story out about a student pilot who had a landing accident whose video went viral. After some initial dismay, he got back in the left seat, faced his fears, completed his training and earned his certificate. My small frustrations pale in comparison. If you want to fly, keep at it, keep at it, keep at it. At this point, I'm guessing that I will be a 75-80 hour pilot by the time I get to my check ride. As I said earlier, I'm still flying even if I'm only a student and every hour is satisfying. The actual number of hours isn't nearly as important as being a safe, capable, always-learning pilot.

10-16-2013, 11:40 AM
Having been there and done that with multiple instructors, even though a ton of money was spent in the process, one positive thing was, I was in the air...

10-26-2013, 10:24 PM
Today, I learned a hard lesson. No amount of desire can make up for factors that should not be ignored. Today's lesson was scheduled over ten days ago. It was a short cross-country flight from KMPO to N40. Conditions were marginal: wind 270 at 12 gusting to 20. My instructor said that we were about at the limit. I really wanted to get this done as this was the second try.

My performance was mixed. I did well on navigation and pilotage. Enroute to N40, it was bumpy and the airplane was dancing around. I was feeling a bit nauseous, but I located N40 and entered the pattern a bit low. On final, I was a bit high so I chopped the throttle, set full flaps and wrestled the airplane into position. There was a point on short final where I thought I might blow the landing, but I actually made a really nice landing, almost automatically. We taxied over to the ramp, I got out of the airplane for a minute and then I got back in and we departed. The nausea got worse and I actually had to make use of the sick sack. After that, I was feeling better. As neared KMPO, I made a really stupid mistake: I mistook field altitude for pattern altitude. My instructor asked "why are we below pattern altitude?" I corrected and entered downwind. Again, on final, it was a bumpy ride. And, again, I made a really nice landing, rounding out exactly where I was supposed to, landing on the upwind wheel.

Here's what I learned. In retrospect, it was clear that I was really in no condition to fly. I had returned from the west coast late Thursday night, had driven over 200 miles on Friday (much of it back and forth to a 2-hour job interview), was a bit jet-lagged and was fighting off a cold. The result was some dumb mistakes on my part. I think it contributed to the nausea and it definitely affected my cognitive skills. I won't make this mistake again. It was a form of "get-there-itis" and I now know, first-hand what can happen. I don't think that we were in actual danger at any time, but had some other factor come into play, I can see how it could have been serious.

Contributing to my desire was that the trip out west included a helicopter descent into the Grand Canyon which I thoroughly enjoyed. It really pumped me up and made me anxious to get back in the airplane. As this process goes on, I realize more and more that self-management is the name of the game. Preparation, skills, vigilance and judgement are the watchwords here.

On a more happy note, both my wife and I loved the Grand Canyon flight. It was an incredible experience to *descend* into flight. The rim of the Canyon is about 5000' AGL and the landing point is about 1500' AGL (about 200 feet above the river), so you lift off, rushing over the ground which falls away dramatically. Flying so close to the walls of the canyon fulfilled almost all of my childhood fantasies about what helicopters could do. Absolutely incredible!

10-28-2013, 07:12 AM
Sounds like you're going about it right.
No one's perfect, you made a mistake, owned up to it, and learned from it.
Good job!

11-13-2013, 09:15 PM
This past weekend I did pattern work and, once again, I'm humbled by the experience of learning to fly. I learned a few new things, made a few dumb mistakes and need to really work on making it all flow rather than getting fixated on one thing or another. At the outset, I was paying too much attention to the DI so my instructor covered it which made me spend more time looking out rather than in. I thought I was doing pretty well, but at several times he told me "you seem tense". At the time my perspective was that I was trying very hard to pay attention and get it right. In retrospect, I see that he was right, there's a flow that I need to develop, to relax so as to be ahead of the airplane and not to over-think or over-control. He commented that on final he saw me fighting every small movement of the airplane "too much rapid, small deflection of the ailerons" and that I needed to relax and let the airplane settle.

Much to think about, for sure.

On a very positive note, I had one of those "Ah-ha!" moments having to do with the landing flair that points out a curious fact. At this point I have over 130 landings in my log book. Yet I realized that I wasn't doing things right until just recently. On final, with the nose pitched down, I was holding my fixation with the numbers too long and not transferring my point of view to the end of the runway. I must have worked it out subconsciously with my landings of a couple of weeks back. This time, because my instructor told me to do it, I was in control of the flair. Simply *looking down the runway* gave me the proper perspective to judge the height and since then, I've been much better.

One of the most interesting and rewarding parts of learning to fly has been what I've learned about myself and how I approach things. It can be a bit harsh, however. One needs a certain amount of ego to fly and the realities of the process can tend to give said ego a bruising.

Bill Greenwood
11-14-2013, 04:04 PM
Bunkie, I am glad that you have discovered that you now have a flair for the flare.
And knowing this, you should have more confidence and be able to relax and just fly. After all, flying a basic airplane in good weather is not really very hard.
A little bit of alertness is good, helps you focus more, but too much is a definite handicap and makes you tense and narrows your attention and can impair good judgement or just make your view too narrow. One way to overcome some of this is to practice the main procedures you do for each phase of flight.
You mention steep turn as a problem. First understand that as the turn steepens, there is less lift and the nose tends to drop. And it is not liner, but progresssive as you go past 35 degrees. , Asyou roll into the turn to begin to add back pressure and/or trim as you go past 30 degrees. if you get over to pretty steep, say 55 degrees and the nose is dropping and starting to get away from you, then just take out some of the bank angle for a moment, back to maybe 35 degrees and catch up with back pressure and then roll back into the 60 degrees or whatever. Trim wil help if you are staying in a large bank for long, like in a 360 degree turn. And remember to remove the back pressure and/or trim as you roll back to level.

In actual practice, not just training there is really not very many times when you want a very steep turn, that is over about 35 degrees. You don't want to do much more that 30 degrees in normal landing pattern. So it is something to learn during training , but not the way one normally flies a light trainer.

Now in a few years when you are flying a Pitts or P-51, that is another matter.

01-21-2014, 06:33 PM
Just wanted to let everyone know that, at this point, the only thing getting in my way is weather (three consecutive weekend lessons cancelled!) and time.

When my current work contract ends (six to eight weeks, depending), I'm going to take some time and go back down to Florida for an intensive effort to get it done.

Never give up, never surrender!

Bill Greenwood
01-26-2014, 11:54 AM
Bunkie, it may not seem like it now, but the N Y weather is not always bad and will break eventually. Give us an update on your progress now, how many hours do you have, how many solo? Have you done your cross country flights?

Good luck, and the only thing you really must do to be a fully licensed pilot is just keep going.

02-01-2014, 12:20 PM

I've completed all of my dual work (including the cross-country and night requirements) with the exception of some hood work. I have a grand total of .3 hours PIC!

I'm currently at 62.3 hours total.

02-01-2014, 01:41 PM

I've completed all of my dual work (including the cross-country and night requirements) with the exception of some hood work. I have a grand total of .3 hours PIC!

I'm currently at 62.3 hours total.

Bunkie, something's amiss unless there's a significant typo above. How is it possible on a standard PPL course curriculum to have only 0.3 solo out of an accumulative total of 62.3 hours on course so far. The 0.3 I'm assuming is your first solo in the circuit. Why didn't you at least do the required(still?) 5 hours of solo circuits shortly thereafter? Not being negative here or casting dispersions in any manner, I'm just shaking my head a bit and wanting to understand the "why's" of your training to date.

02-01-2014, 07:23 PM
Your hours and only .3 PIC/solo strikes me as odd. It took me awhile to figure it out but my first instructor was using me to build his hours and to give an example of how terrible the guy was, when he saw the venturi's on the side of my Cessna, he said "are those horns"? Seriously.

Im not saying your going through the same thing but be conscientious. Paying students keep flight schools open. Take the reigns and dictate what you want to accomplish and a good instructor & flight school should heed that and meet your goals. Your the Boss!

Bill Greenwood
02-02-2014, 09:03 AM
That is an unusually low amount of solo time vs total time, but at this point it is not going to matter. He has done a lot of the required flying and the goal of being a private pilot is in sight. Just make a plan of what you need now and keep going. Hey, some pilots get their rating in 40 hours or so just like some people get their degree in 4 years. For others, like myself, college was like a fine wine to be savored and it took longer. I still got that degree and had a lot of fun in the meantime.
I would have an understanding with the instructor, hopefully one that you are already using, that you are interesting in finishing the program and not just riding around with him as a source of funds.
As for as confidence goes, if you have soloed once you can do it again, just like millions of other student pilots do.

02-04-2014, 05:25 PM
Yes, .3 hours of solo isn't very much. But if you read all my posts, it will start to make sense. I have no doubt that, had time not run out on me last spring, that I would have rapidly progressed from my (and only!) solo to completion and my PPL.

For someone at my stage of life, it's exceptionally difficult to get the necessary contiguous time and focus. That sounds like an excuse, but it is the major factor here. I flew this Saturday. I spent most of the first part of the lesson forgetting and then remembering things. By the time the lesson was about two-thirds over, I was consistently performing at a high level.

02-05-2014, 09:17 AM
I understand entirely Bunkie and apologize for not grasping your earlier posts. A friend of mine has been working on his Private for about four years now. He said he's pushing roughly 60 hours and stated at times, he could fly only one day per week. And each lesson/week thereafter, he found himself going over and repeating what he had learned the week before. I commend him for sticking with it, and commend you as well.

Hopefully this weather will break soon and I look forward to reading more of your journey.

02-05-2014, 07:13 PM
Infidel, no apology is necessary! My journey has been a convoluted one, largely the result of my own choices.

My flying club just brought a second Cessna 150 on line, so things should get a bit easier as we have several CFIs, so I expect the schedule to loosen up a bit.

02-06-2014, 12:24 AM
Good to hear Bunkie. My flight school had so many 172's, some days I was flying three different planes in the same day. As soon as I would begin to get acclimated with a planes panel, they'd stick me in a different plane. Fortunately, the differences in the panel (avionics) weren't too bad.,

02-06-2014, 01:29 PM

When I did my solo, I was at the end of my available time in Florida. I was between jobs at the time and my new job was starting in a few days. I would have done the traditional 3 circuits except that the weather was closing in. It had been lovely and clear for over a week and during my solo, it was actually starting to rain. The next couple of days were full of nothing but Florida thunderstorms, so I never got a chance to do any more solo time. Since then, I've been trying various means to get back to doing solo work but I just can't seem to get that magic combination of sharpness of skills and time in the airplane to get signoff.

My current job will end within the next two months and I'm going to carve out a block to go back to Florida and fly every day rather than the average of twice per month that I've been managing lately. I'm hoping that will do it.

02-06-2014, 08:17 PM

When I did my solo, I was at the end of my available time in Florida. I was between jobs at the time and my new job was starting in a few days. I would have done the traditional 3 circuits except that the weather was closing in. It had been lovely and clear for over a week and during my solo, it was actually starting to rain. The next couple of days were full of nothing but Florida thunderstorms, so I never got a chance to do any more solo time. Since then, I've been trying various means to get back to doing solo work but I just can't seem to get that magic combination of sharpness of skills and time in the airplane to get signoff.

My current job will end within the next two months and I'm going to carve out a block to go back to Florida and fly every day rather than the average of twice per month that I've been managing lately. I'm hoping that will do it.

Thanks for the info and insight into your long affair with the air. You are spot on--flying twice/2 hours a month ain't gonna cut it to put you where you need to be. If you do as you say, you will save a ton of money and an enormous amount of aggravation and self-doubt. Go get that licence and then enjoy the privileges and specialness it grants you. All the best and good luck.

02-12-2014, 01:48 PM
Well, last week's lesson was much better. We flew from KMPO to KABE to do pattern work at a towered field. I was sharper and my instructors comments were for different things than last time. This time I was climbing out at a higher airspeed than Vy, once he mentioned it, I fixed that. The other issue was that I need to be sharper on the rudder pedals right at touchdown to improve my directional control.

While on downwind, the tower spoke up: "Cessna, could you fly a tight pattern? We have an A320 on eight mile final."

On the next downwind leg, I watched the A320 touch down. It was a very unique perspective and one I very much enjoyed.

05-07-2014, 09:00 PM
Just wanted to let everyone know I'm still at it. I've taken this week off to get some concentrated time in the club 150, but the weather hasn't been all that cooperative. I flew yesterday and will do so tomorrow provided the predicted thunderstorms happen at some other time than my lesson.

On another note, I came close to buying my first airplane. One of the club members has a 150M that was going for a nice price. I lined up the money and had a friend of mine (an A&P with IA) do a pre-buy on it only to discover that it had a bad cylinder. the owner is having that one replaced. Given that the compression on the other cylinders wasn't all that great, I've decided to pass. It was an important lesson is the economics of owning an airplane. My budget really didn't allow for these sort of gotchas at this point. My plan was to use my own airplane to make it easier to complete my training and to build time. The club airplanes are often fully booked on weekends. Instead, I'll take another week off from work later this month to try to get it all done when the airplanes are easier to book. One thing at a time...

05-28-2014, 12:27 PM
Well, another update. I did take that week off but a combination of issues with the club airplanes and weather roulette, I only got to fly once. That was incredibly frustrating.

However, this past holiday weekend, things turned around. I *finally* got to do a proper solo, three times arounds the pattern, full-stop. My rudder control has improved and there was a bit of a crosswind, so I got to demonstrate crabbing and landing on the upwind wheel. My instructor said that I had done a fine job. Next on the agenda is my solo cross-country flying.

champ driver
05-28-2014, 04:22 PM
Good for you, I would try to get some more solo time soon so you can keep your confidence up.

06-24-2014, 06:41 AM
I'm *slowly* getting there. Weather has improved and with it, access to the airplane. This past weekend, I go some more solo time in and even made a break from the pattern. My instructor said "take off, leave the pattern, fly to Camelback (a ski resort a few miles south of KMPO), circle back and do three landings. That will give me time to hit the restroom". We both had a laugh at that one.

Time for a bit of reflection...

Like so many aspiring pilots, at the beginning I focused on time and cost. That's to be expected, one is spending a lot of money and trying to meet some high standards with real risk. At this point, I have a little under 75 hours in my log book. It has taken longer than I had hoped. But a funny thing happened on the way to the (still-to-be-completed) check ride: I've discovered that the journey itself is the reward. I'm lucky that I have a good relationship with my instructor, we get along really well and I view our relationship as teamwork with goal of making me a safe pilot.

Advice that I would give prospective and beginning student pilots is this: relax and enjoy it. Even with the instructor in the right seat, you are still flying. At times it will be scary, hard, frustrating or even a bit boring. But it's important to remember to have fun. When I was let loose to solo, my instructor told me to have fun. He knew that I was ready that this was both a reward and a chance to demonstrate my skills. I learned that the 150 gets off the runway a whole lot quicker without a second person. And that's the second takeaway: no matter how many hours I accumulate or how many ratings I might earn I will always be learning. That, to me, is the single most important thing about flying: *never* stop learning.

This upcoming weekend, I'm visiting my son in Ohio who just turned 21. I got him a discovery flight and it will be interesting to see if he enjoys it. I'm planning to get some time with an instructor and shoot some landings to stay sharp. If we have time and the inclination, we'll head off to the Dayton Airshow to see the Blue Angels. It should be fun!

07-07-2014, 08:06 PM
Well, my son had his discovery flight. He loved flying the airplane but was not so enamored of getting airsick. I was listening on my handheld radio and when I heard the instructor request a direct approach because "I have an airsick passenger", I knew he wasn't having the best time. The instructor had him perform a stall which brought on the queazy feeling when the nose dropped. Since he needed something to calm his stomach, I skipped the flying lesson.

It didn't really matter because I had a great day today. I flew my last dual cross country from KMPO to N89 and it went well. The outbound leg was all pilotage and dead reckoning and on the return leg, I tracked to the Hugeunot VOR then from it to KMPO, all of the time under the hood. My instructor had me fly the approach to 200 feet and than had me land the airplane visually which went well. My confidence is growing, I'm getting better at maintaining heading, altitude and pitch and my landings are more consistent.

Next week I do my short solo cross country, I'm planning a flight to either Reading (KRDG) or Smoketown (S37).

07-08-2014, 08:48 AM
Congrats, dude!
Feels good, don't it?
Soon, you won't be the one cutting, you'll be the pile it!

07-27-2014, 01:50 PM
Today, I completed my final training requirement. All the boxes have been checked, my instructor says I'm ready! Next weekend we'll do a simulated check ride and then, assuming all goes well, I'll schedule my check ride with the examiner, possibly for the week after next. So, 90% done 5% to go!

08-14-2014, 08:44 AM
My check ride is scheduled for next Wednesday (8/20/2014) at KWBW (Wyoming Valley, Pennsylvania). I've been studying hard almost every day, so I'm as ready as I'll ever be, all I need is cooperative weather! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

08-14-2014, 10:56 AM
No fingers crossed are necessary. You WILL do it, you WILL pass!!! All the best and blue skies.

Keep us in the loop.

08-15-2014, 10:52 AM
Good luck and best wishes to you. I just found this thread and appologize for the long and difficult road you have followed. It was so much easier in the 60s. I can certainly see why the drop out rate is so high. You are to be congratulated for getting this far and then again at the completion of your check ride. You appear to be well prepaired and will likely dazzle the examiner.

PS: If you feal a slight hint of checkitce take three deep breathes relax and then ask the examiner to please repete the question. We are all pulling for you.

08-15-2014, 11:06 AM
Good luck to you! Relax and don't over think it. Keep us informed

08-15-2014, 01:38 PM
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't at least a bit nervous about the test, what I'm really sweating is the weather. The long-range forecast is for PM scattered T-storms. If I miss this date, it will be a few weeks until I can arrange it as I'm up against club scheduling and availability of a particular pilot examiner as I'm about 220 and in a 150, I need the lightest DPE I can get!

Also, in two weeks, my wife and I are going on vacation to Alaska where we have a helicopter excursion booked. We also have a seaplane excursion booked, I'm really looking forward to that.

Thanks so much to everyone for your encouragement and support, it means a great deal to me!

Bill Greenwood
08-20-2014, 09:59 AM
Good luck, Bunkie but you probaably can do it without needing luck.

08-20-2014, 10:37 AM
OK "Bunkie" we haven't had a post from you for a month.

Not true Bill, go back and read post #72.

08-20-2014, 08:08 PM
Sigh. This afternoon, we had a big line of thunderstorms a few miles west of where I was scheduled to take the test. Conditions were MVFR at my home airport, so it really wasn't a good idea to fly to the examiner's airport and my instructor and the examiner agreed. I probably earned points for good judgement here ;-)

So, instead, the examiner and I covered the paperwork and I completed the oral exam. Afterward, she complimented me, saying that I had done really well. It was more of an interesting conversation than a formal test format (although we did cover every area in the test plan) and I really enjoyed the experience. She issued me a continuance and we have re-scheduled for next Thursday to try to complete the practical portion.

Bill Greenwood
08-21-2014, 06:31 AM
Bunkie, no problem doing it half one day, and the flying part another day. It may be even easier and less tiring,

3 Suggestions:
1. Make sure to do clearing turns and look around for traffic before doing stalls and maneuvers.
2, Expect an engine out forced landing, maybe when you least expect it. First thing is to turn toward a good landing spot, or at least away from the bad spots. Then, try to restart, which in most planes means switching tanks, fuel pump on, and carb heat if you have it, and check mixture rich enough. The CFI will probably have their hand over the mixture shutting it off, but show them you are checking it.
Fly the plane, you have done this before, and also when looking for a good spot to land, look out both sides. Don;t get fixated on a check list, fly the plane, trim for best glide to get to an area, then trim for landing speed.
You probably know your area well enough to know where a dirt strip or flat field is in the area, the CFI may use one of those.

For this, and everything else, relax, they are looking for safe, you don't have to be Bob Hoover, and you have done it all before.

08-22-2014, 09:41 AM
..........2, Expect an engine out forced landing, maybe when you least expect it. .......For this, and everything else, relax, they are looking for safe..........

Engine out may be high or low altitude or one of each. Different proceedures for high or low due to time available. Low altitude engine failure may occure after ground reference maneuvers. Have a engine failure plan whenever operating below 2,000 feet. In fact have a plan at higher altitudes also although the plans may be more general.

08-22-2014, 02:19 PM
"you don't have to be Bob Hoover"

Is *anyone* Bob Hoover? ;-)

I feel much more relaxed having completed the oral. I had a good rapport with the examiner, she was very clear on what she is looking for and I know I can show her that I can do it competently.

On Tuesday, my instructor and I were scheduled to do the final pre-exam flight. That happened because I had a bad day on Sunday (our first try at it). It started with me making a poor (but safe) landing while doing a little solo practice and it rattled me so much that the rest of the session was largely a write-off. Tuesday started with the scheduled airplane being returned by another instructor with its seat broken. So we had to drive to the other airport to get the second club airplane. What sounds like a chore was a relaxed and fun day of flying. We enlisted the help of another club member with a 172 and my instructor ferried the stricken 150 to the repair shop about 20 nm away. I got a nice ride in the 172, we picked up my instructor and on the way back it was just three pilots flying together and having a nice time. Once back in the other 150 in training mode, I performed well and my instructor signed me off.

I'm so glad I joined the flying club. I've made some new friends and had some great experiences. Even after I acquire my own airplane, I'll remain a member if only for the sense of community.

08-28-2014, 02:35 PM
Well, the weather got in the way again. The winds were gusting to 24kts, so we had to postpone the exam until September 13th.

Hopefully, the third time will be the charm.

08-29-2014, 06:23 AM
Too bad, but you've waited this long so 2+ more weeks is nothing. Hope you get no to very light winds to show off your skills. Once again, all the best.

09-15-2014, 07:09 AM

Saturday was an LIFR day, so we've postponed, yet again, to this Thursday.

My wife offered to get me an award for perseverance!

Bill Greenwood
09-17-2014, 11:22 AM
Nah, never gonna happen. We don't believe there is a pilot named "Bunkie", after all this time. Bunkie is just a myth, that one hears about but never sees, like Bigfoot, "Nessie", or an honest politician, or white men who can actually jump.

Just on the chance I am mistaken, good luck, but don't think you are going to need it.

09-19-2014, 07:48 AM
The thought for the day relates to Zeno's Paradox.

Why bring that up? Well...

It was going quite well. The DPE was about 2 hours late, so I spent that munching on donuts and trying to compose myself. We got started completing the paperwork and then I did a thorough pre-flight. The first takeoff (normal) was almost perfect. We started directly into the cross-country, so I made the crosswind and downwind turns (this was to avoid KAVP airspace). I then turned to course for KBMG but something in my brain conflated 330 with my actual TC of 360. After about a minute, I realized my mistake, did some quick work with the chart, got re-oriented and flew to my first checkpoint and then came back on course. The examiner was satisfied with this saying "you made a mistake, but you recognized it quickly and corrected using good procedure". She then asked me to divert to a nearby airport which I had no trouble finding by calculating the MC and distance from the chart. We then did ground reference maneuvers which went pretty well, not a well as I would have liked (and have done in the past), but enough to meet the standard. We then did stalls which went perfectly. Hood work and unusual attitudes also went well.

And now we come to the issue. Wyoming Valley airport is, as the name suggests, in a valley. There's a high ridge to the north of the field. We were doing pattern work landing on 07 with the wind at 330, 7-8 knots. My mistake was that I wasn't compensating enough for the drift and, as a result, the base and final didn't have enough distance or time. Worse, I let my "I'll fix this" voice have control. The result was a poor landing. It was safe, but not good at all. I had too much altitude, and the track looked like a J rather than a nice square-cornered pattern. We then tried again and even after a picture-perfect soft-field takeoff (the DPE complimented me on executing it perfectly), I made the same mistakes.

So, I have to re-test on x-wind landings. I know what I'm doing wrong: I don't give myself enough lateral distance on downwind. This compresses the approach which makes it almost impossible to get stabilized. I also need to really use ground references to make sure I'm consistently at the correct distance laterally, and to automatically correct for drift. The DPE was very supportive, encouraging me to work on the landings and saying that she saw a lot of good flying.

The flight back to my home airport was difficult. The flight itself went very, very well. I was processing what I had learned but the feeling wasn't all that good. My approach and landing at N53 (a somewhat difficult field with a displaced threshold and a width of only 50 feet) was almost perfect. I kept my distance on downwind, flew a nice, square base and final and put the airplane down right past the numbers.

Not much sleep last night, I was going over and over it in my mind. So, I'm 90% there. Again.

I *will* get this right. I console myself with having done well on the other parts of the test and knowing how to fix my issues. I'll get the required training, lock in the good habits and get past this.

Zeno's Paradox:

1 +1/2 + 1/4 +1/8 + 1/16 + 1/32 and on and on... will never get to 2.

09-19-2014, 08:40 PM
...will never get to 2.Ah, next time you'll add a whole count and jump over the threshold with margin to spare.

Crosswind landings are one of the most challenging things we do regularly. And I think probably the most satisfying when we do them right, even after many years of experience. They're never a sure thing. My last landing was a stiff crosswind and the landing happened to be so good I was congratulating myself for a long time afterward. Unfortunately, when you do that there's never anybody around. When you mess one up, as happens all the time, there's an examiner in the right seat or a row of old cronies sitting in front of the FBO watching the airplanes land!

With only one thing to concentrate on and one thing to demonstrate, I'll bet you have no problem at all next time. Hope it's easier to schedule than it was this time!

Mike E

09-23-2014, 01:34 PM
I had a session with my instructor this past weekend. My first landing was, as he put it, ugly. But each one got better as I worked on the issues, one by one. The last two landings ware actually pretty good, certainly good enough to meet the standards. I'm not really sure why this happened. I had this down and it all seemed to go pear-shaped. The most likely explanation is that I was overconfident and I started to let the small mistakes pile up, with a resulting decline in the quality of my landings. The answer, of course, is to think it all through, have the plan and decision points ordered and the standards in place. Am I in a good position on downwind? Do I have the right attitude for the first notch of flaps? At the turn to base, am I in good position? And so on. When I execute this plan, I do well.

I'm working through some scheduling conflicts with my instructor and the DPE to get the required dual practice, signoff and retest. That may take a few weeks.

On a personal note, I've been offered a position in my firm's office in Dublin, Ireland which I'm almost certainly going to accept. That certainly throws a wrench into the immediate future. I may end up getting my PPL and then only being able to fly on periodic trips back to the US. Alternately, I may pursue a Eurozone license, which sends me almost back to square one again. Such is life, full of surprises!

Bill Greenwood
09-25-2014, 04:12 PM
If you do the retest, and pass the landing part, as I think you will, then you are a pilot. And you are a legal and certified pilot forever. You may get rusty if you lay off, but you don't have to redo all you have done. You are 95% there now.
As for the technique, you come into the pattern, probably on a 45, level at the pattern alt, probably 1000 ft agl. You should know the power setting for the speed you want, ( just a guess, 1900 rpm and 75 knots in a 172) and trim for that speed. Make any heading correction for any crosswind as needed. Just use flaps as you have learned and fly the pattern. Don't pinch it too tight. Carb heat on if you have that. Fly down final, full flaps, reduce throttle as needed, close it by the threshold and just hold the nose off til it lands itself.

You may be overconfident and not doing each step , but a 172 moves so slowly that you have plenty of time to get each step. OR GO AROUND IF NEEDED.
You may also just be too nervous and not flying as well as you can.

Go get it.

Bill Greenwood
10-07-2014, 01:17 PM
So, Bunkie whats going on ? Give us an update, please.

10-08-2014, 08:44 AM
I was supposed to fly with my instructor on Friday, but the weather wasn't cooperating. I rescheduled for this past Monday and got a hard-core lesson in crosswind techniques. The wind was 16 gusting to 23 kts. On one approach, my crab angle was about 35 degrees! My instructor was satisfied and signed me off.

I flew to KWBW for my exam yesterday afternoon with winds at 16G20 right down runway 25. We did three circuits and it was really a bear. Each time I got the airplane down safely, but the gusts were playing havoc with airspeed and altitude. After the third landing, the examiner said "I'm calling a discontinuance". My heart sank. I thought I had failed again. But then she said "You did fine. You had full control and made all the right responses to the difficult conditions. I'm just not comfortable flying today". So, I get to go back this Saturday and she promised me that I have to show her three solid takeoffs and landings and I'll be done.

My fellow club members have started to use my aircraft bookings as a de-facto weather report. If I have the airplane scheduled, they know the conditions won't be favorable. ;-)

Bill Greenwood
10-09-2014, 12:59 PM
Bunkie, don't they ever have good weather up there in Yankee land?

One thing about your flying, no one can ever accuse you of shortcutting the foreplay.

One day, and soon I hope, you may be able to look back on it and even laugh about it.

10-09-2014, 06:43 PM
I'm sending you this to provide encouragement, motivation and clear, calm weather. Canada's youngest pilot is now a young lady who just received her PPL this past weekend on her 17th birthday! She understands it's a licence to learn.


10-10-2014, 09:06 AM
Thanks for the encouragement! I admire her work ethic and her attitude.

If I've learned one thing from this experience, it's that perseverance matters. I think it would be hard to accept a failure to reach the goal.

10-10-2014, 10:37 AM
If I've learned one thing from this experience, it's that perseverance matters. I think it would be hard to accept a failure to reach the goal.

Given your history to date, that's an understatement. Look up perseverance in the dictionary and there's a picture of you. Failure at this point in your pursuit is NOT an option. When you tell us you passed, I will toast you with a glass of wine in your honour.http://eaaforums.org/images/smilies/smiley.gif

10-11-2014, 05:39 PM
Overnight and into the morning, we had rain. The forecast was for improvement, so I was hopeful. Sadly, the weather at KMPO was either MVFR or IFR until well after my scheduled time with the DPE. We try again next Saturday at 1PM.

10-12-2014, 12:02 PM
You could write a book. Let's see, you could call it...."Long Days Journey Into Night, Part 2"

Bill Greenwood
10-13-2014, 08:52 AM
Well, Bunkie I was talking to a FSS briefer in Scottsdale but who knew your airport since he used to work in N J and the weather was CAVU there and calm yesterday, Sunday. Maybe you were in church praying for good weather.

10-13-2014, 01:40 PM
Yesterday was lovely, calm and beautiful. Sadly, neither the DPE nor the airplane was available and, since yesterday was our wedding anniversary, neither was I!

My wife has been patiently waiting for her first flight. We will just have to wait a bit longer!

10-16-2014, 09:27 PM
Bunkie, 5/13 to 10/14 isn't bad, a year to a year and a half, not bad at all. Make sure you review the requirement. You've got 24 months from the last day of the month that you took your written test on to complete your license. Additionally you have a certain number of days to get back to finishing a test after a discontinuance and maybe a bust also.

Since your discontinuance was after the bust, that is probably the date to watch, but it wouldn't hurt to review both scenarios just to be safe. I think it may be 60 days. I took 11 months to PPL and 22 months from commercial written to commercial check ride (15 years after PPL). Stay after it, like a dog on a bone, you got this.

10-18-2014, 10:01 AM
One more day, one more deteriorating weather situation. I have to drive about an hour to get to the aircraft and when I was about halfway there, the DPE called me to say that the winds were gusting to 22 knots so, again, I have to postpone. We try again next week.

I'm beginning to feel like I'm a character in a Samuel Beckett play.

10-18-2014, 05:25 PM
I'm beginning to feel like I'm a character in a Samuel Beckett play.

Waiting For Gadot?

10-24-2014, 08:59 AM
The weather forecast looks good, the aircraft is booked and free of squawks, the DPE and I have scheduled the remaining part of the test for 10AM tomorrow morning, at this point all systems are go!

Hal Bryan
10-24-2014, 09:01 AM
Good luck and have fun, Bunkie - keep us posted!

10-24-2014, 10:14 AM
Good luck and have fun, Bunkie - keep us posted!

My wife thinks that I must have offended the Pilot Examination Gods because, not long after I posted this the DPE called me to reschedule because of a last-minute priority flight she needed to make for her employer.

I did, of course, anticipate this and had backup time booked in the club airplane, so we'll try on Sunday instead of tomorrow.

I'm thinking of changing my username to Ulysses.

10-24-2014, 06:59 PM
Bunky, if Sunday screws the pooch again, c'mon up to Toronto where it 's 18C, unlimited everything and sunshine this weekend. And you'll have a terrific dual cross country and learn how to clear customs to boot.

10-27-2014, 08:25 AM
The winds were howling on Sunday, so we try again tomorrow (Tuesday).

10-28-2014, 05:42 PM
Yes!!!! I passed. The DPE had some very complimentary things to say about my performance. More later as my wife and I are off to have a celebratory dinner!

10-28-2014, 05:47 PM
Congratulations to you!! Enjoy the celebration

10-28-2014, 06:10 PM
Yes!!!! I passed. The DPE had some very complimentary things to say about my performance. More later as my wife and I are off to have a celebratory dinner!

Congrats. Good to hear the weather finally cooperated. That was quite possibly the most delayed checkride ever.

10-28-2014, 06:32 PM
Yes!!!! I passed!

Mazel Tov!!! A few posts ago I said I would pour a glass of wine and toast your great accomplishment when it finally happened. It's a Baron Herzog Sauvignon Blanc Clarksburg, 2013.

Here's lookin' at you kid! Blue Skies and Happy Landings! Now move to south Florida where it's VFR almost always.

10-28-2014, 09:21 PM
Congratulations indeed on your accomplishment. Now you have one more thing to look forward to; waiting for your Certificate/card to arrive in the mail! Good job Bunkie!

10-29-2014, 07:01 AM
I'm certainly very pleased. I've had this dream for over 50 years. But I'm even more pleased with how things went yesterday. As we all know, there are ups and downs, sometimes we just can't get the aircraft to behave just the way we want. But yesterday was not one of those days. Everything came together. the DPE wanted to see all three types of takeoffs and landings: normal, short-field and soft-field in that order. There was a 10G15-knot wind blowing right down runway 25. I made the mental notes to make sure that I got enough altitude on departure before making the crosswind turn as I knew that the downwind leg would be quick. I had good position, good pitch in slow flight and I did a nice, stabilized approach, making the flair right at 5 feet and had a sweet touchdown. On the short-field, the DPE called for me to hit the numbers. Again, I took my time, thought things through, made a nice approach and flair over teh grass and nailed the numbers. "You really brought your A game today, that was competition quality!". On the soft-field, I did a proper takeoff, lifting off below normal rotation speed and accelerated in ground effect then climbed out. I turned downwind and the DPE chopped the throttle. I started making the turn to return to 25, but she said, take 27 instead. 27 is a grass runway that spurs right off 25, with a short asphalt portion right at the spur. "Put it down right where the grass begins". Again, nailed it after a nice flair. While rolling out I told her "That's my first grass landing." She laughed and said that she had thought so.

I know that not every day will be like this. But it was a glorious way to complete the process of earning my certificate.

10-29-2014, 09:06 AM
Congratulations, Bunkie! It's good that the weather finally cooperated. You're on the brink of a lot to learn and a lot to enjoy. Make the best of it.

Bill Greenwood
10-29-2014, 10:35 AM
Best thing I have read today. Man, I have said some prayers for you, lot's of people would have quit by now.
How sweet it is?
There is another man who didn't find immediate success, Abe Lincoln lost almost every election untll he became President.
And there was a football player who came out of a small 3A Texas high school as all state in 3 sports. The first year in college he caught the coaches eye. Then he broke his leg in preseason. He couldn't play all that year, had to let the leg heal and then do arduous rehab. Next season he might be starting, the coach said, "He's fast and catches everything". No such luck. In spring practice he torn his ACL. and missed another season. The coach even said, that if it was him he probably would have given up. He rehabbed all year and finally got to play next year, and the next, Jordan Shipley became one of the top 2 or 3 receivers ever at U, of Texas, not only catching passes but returning kicks. In the national championship game his senior year he got two touchdowns playing against Alambama, the no 1 team in the country even though Texas had to play with a freshman quarterback due to an injury to the starter. He also was drafted and made a pro team!

10-29-2014, 02:38 PM
Congratulations, Pilot!!!!!

Now, go find some gusty crosswind days when everyone else is to scared to fly, and practice, practice, practice!
The more you do, the more it becomes second nature to you.

Jim Hann
10-30-2014, 07:22 AM
Congratulations Bunkie!

10-30-2014, 10:16 AM
Congratulations! :thumbsup:
Nothing like that feeling of passing the checkride!

Bill Greenwood
11-10-2014, 03:21 PM
I think the Bunkie demons are targeting me. I need a BFR, and my plane is in for annual so I found a CFI who has a similar one, at a nearby airport. I was to do the flght with him yesterday but when I drove to his airport it was windy and rough alorft, so we did the hour of ground instruction. All went fine, no really difficult questions and I had read a briefing booklet on the ground school part. So we hoped to fly today, but no such luck. We have had weeks of "Indian Summer" and warm CAVU weather, but it changed this morning, in came cold and even light snow.
So I will be patient and look for this to pass.
If you are a skier, come on out, several of the ski areas are open and many more like Aspen open for Thanksgiving.

Just for the info I phoned FSS this morning. They were full of warnings, moutain obscuration, icing, and turbulence, most everything short of ebola. In somoe ways I kind of like days like this when there is no question that you are NOT flying at all. so no if and or buts and no grey area to try to analyze or work your way around.

11-12-2014, 06:47 PM
Sorry to hear that, Bill. But be patient. If I've proven anything, it's that patience pays!

Speaking of which, last weekend was supposed to be the payoff for my wife as my very first passenger. I had the aircraft scheduled, the weather looked good and she was excited. Then the AC we had reserved (and based at KMPO) developed a carburetor issue and we had to scrub. We're on for this week in the other AC which is based at N53. I'll get a chance to demonstrate my skills as N53 has a 30 foot wide runway with "alligator" asphalt and a 700' displaced threshold. I've promised her that we will fly over our house which is is high above the Delaware about 30 miles upriver from N53. I've flown out of N53 a number of times and am actually quite comfortable with it. If the crosswind gets a bit too high, I have the option of landing on the grass instead which is much wider.

Bill Greenwood
11-14-2014, 08:43 PM
!We got it done today f

12-05-2014, 09:10 AM
Sorry to hear that, Bill. But be patient. If I've proven anything, it's that patience pays!

Speaking of which, last weekend was supposed to be the payoff for my wife as my very first passenger. I had the aircraft scheduled, the weather looked good and she was excited. Then the AC we had reserved (and based at KMPO) developed a carburetor issue and we had to scrub. We're on for this week in the other AC which is based at N53. I'll get a chance to demonstrate my skills as N53 has a 30 foot wide runway with "alligator" asphalt and a 700' displaced threshold. I've promised her that we will fly over our house which is is high above the Delaware about 30 miles upriver from N53. I've flown out of N53 a number of times and am actually quite comfortable with it. If the crosswind gets a bit too high, I have the option of landing on the grass instead which is much wider.

Bunkie, Congrats on the PPL. Now that you are all official, you can be let in on the unspoken and unofficial VFR pilot motto: "Time to spare? Go by AIR" I took my wife down to the Gulf once (worked it in with a work trip to keep the cost down). It was half the time down there that driving it would be, 4 hours instead of 8 or more, which was really cool in the A/C that we had only owned for about a year at that time. On the morning we were to return, a tropical depression had blown ashore in the early morning hours, we kept catching up to it and having to stop at the most random places. One of them was even a crop duster strip. So I tell everyone it was 4 hours down there and about 4 days back... But you guys will be able to make memories that most just can't even dream about, remember its all about having fun. Don't get yourself in those serious situations (especially weather). My friend Bo, before he passed on, had 900 and something hours and crisscrossed the country 100% VFR and to my knowledge never carrying a GPS. All sectionals, flight following, and good old fashioned navigation.

12-09-2014, 09:11 AM
A few weeks back, I got to take my wife up as my first passenger. We took off from KMPO, headed northeast to the Delaware river and flew up to take a look at our weekend house from the air. It was a beautiful afternoon and she really enjoyed it. Just for her, I made the softest landing I have ever done, putting it down just past the numbers with barely the tiniest tire chirp. Great fun and really satisfying. Since then, a business trip to Ireland and some bad weather have gotten in the way of more flying, but I'm patient.

12-09-2014, 12:02 PM
A few weeks back, I got to take my wife up as my first passenger. It was a beautiful afternoon and she really enjoyed it. Just for her, I made the softest landing I have ever done, putting it down just past the numbers with barely the tiniest tire chirp.

Happy wife, happy life.

You're a lucky guy, my wife doesn't like/want to fly in SE airplanes. Has only happened once, on our honeymoon 28 years ago. She's a terrific lady though and completely understands, encourages and accepts my love affair with airplanes and my hangared mistress.