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Thread: Is learning to fly hard?

  1. #1

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    Is learning to fly hard?

    From the July AOPA Flight Training magazinem by Jason Catanzarti:

    My Dad soloed in 5.2 hours in 1946. Sulley Sullenberg soloed in 7.6 hours in 1967.
    So just learing to fly a basic around the pattern and land is not hard. Getting the private license of course involves more.
    He says he beleives anyone with basic intellligence can learn to fly an airplane.

    So what has changed over the years? Not necessaryily the planes, the ariticle doen't say type, but Sulley may have well flown a C150 or 172 back then, same as a student now.

    What has changed is that while learning to fly was not unusual back then , that for many people now they think it is unusual and therefore must be hard.

    If the CFIs can get folks to take that first intro lesson and they have fun doing it, they may well come back.
    That is of course if they have the money and the time and sadly with all the airports that have closed and all the flight schools that have moved away from the big population areas,if the student still has ready access to flight training.

  2. #2
    kscessnadriver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Greenwood View Post
    If the CFIs can get folks to take that first intro lesson and they have fun doing it, they may well come back.
    That is of course if they have the money and the time and sadly with all the airports that have closed and all the flight schools that have moved away from the big population areas,if the student still has ready access to flight training.
    The biggest issue will be money. People think it must be expensive, therefore it is. Simply there is no way to just fix general aviation and getting people involved, other than printing money and handing it out for free.
    KSCessnaDriver
    ATP MEL, Commercial Lighter Than Air-Airship, SEL, CFI/CFII
    Private SES

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by kscessnadriver View Post
    The biggest issue will be money. People think it must be expensive, therefore it is.
    The drop-out rate for student pilots is 80%. Only 1 out of 5 people that start a license finish it. People don't start a course of study towards something without knowing what it will cost. So they are not dropping out because it's too expensive. They knew the expense before they got started.

    If GA could just work on dropping the drop-out rate to 60%, it would double the number of people getting licenses.

    One of the biggest things that is lacking, according to a study AOPA commissioned on the dropout rate is the lack of a social support structure during the learning process.

    If one looks at homebuilding of aircraft, it probably wouldn't nearly as big as it is without the social support structure of the EAA.

    GA needs to create some type of social support structure that is targeted towards those learning to fly. A club organization only for student pilots where they can get together and share notes. That's what will increase the finish rate and help build the pilot population.

    My thoughts.
    Last edited by Buzz; 09-04-2012 at 10:54 PM.

  4. #4

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    No, flying is EASY ! (Its landing that's the tricky part)

  5. #5

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    Disinterest by a thousand cuts...

    I think the real problem with learning to fly is not learning to fly -- it's the competing inputs that draw students away. These are, in my own thinking about order of impact:
    • burdens associated with the hobby in 2012 are substantially greater than they were in 1960;
    • competing "cooler" options involving powered sports out there that didn't exist before;
    • much more "all-in regulation" to worry about in 2012.
    Burdens: financial, time, and regulatory all add up to...deterrents. I do not feel industry has done nearly enough to force infrastructure change to fight these burdens. It's happened in other industries with success.

    Competing options: given the option of flying patterns, taking a powerboat out for a ski, or riding an ATV through rolling countryside, aviation tends to lose out. Flying is not inherently social -- these other sports most certainly are. Golf, boating, and off-roading are all sports that have a radically different approach to attracting newcomers in 2012. Aviation looks a lot like it did in the 60s; not appealing to most I know.

    Regulation: considering the regulatory infrastructure (both for the airman certification as well as medical) and the severity with which aviation is treated today given legal precedent and punishment for transgressions, we have taken a good deal of fun out of the GA learning process. Frankly, GA as a whole is suffering from this -- not just new students but with established pilots too.

    I firmly believe that the declining interest in aviation is deeper than the burdens of complex airspace in big airport areas like mine (the SF Bay Area). Perhaps it is truly the sum total of so many small inconveniences, fears, or outright negative aspects of flying that turn people away.

    That's my take -- additional thoughts if you're interested.

    ~~

    One of these negative elements might be our training fleet --could it be holding us back? Folks I know have no interest in history when learning to fly. They want safe, modern, easy-to-operate machines that track developments in similar "hobby industries". When you consider boating (power & sail), off-roading (ATVs & bikes), or other "expensive hobbies involving machines" the safety, reliability, and *affordability* of those activities continues to improve. Whereas for our industry, it continues to get harder & more expensive.

    It's important to inspire our new pilots. Does a 1970 C152 inspire anyone? Really? Be honest! My MINI Cooper inspires people every where I go -- people would rather drive my car than fly a plane. That's the real problem.

    It is hard to look through the eyes of a new, potential pilot, but I'd ask you to do just that. When they show up at an airport surrounded with barbed wire, 30-40 year old trainers, old second-hand buildings for training, and a litany of burdens that come before the sheer joy of flight, it's easy to see why 80%+ of students walk away & never come back.

    I'm 15 years into my ticket, and flying modern Cirrus and am IFR current and proficient. Couldn't be happier myself! But alas, I have yet to successfully see one friend through training from start to finish. All I have brought have dropped out; it's the reasons I state above that has turned them away.

    If we can make flying fun again, students will finish. It's not about the money -- look at the cost of boating & off-roading and you'll see that plainly. It's about a spark that refuses to ignite despite our best intentions. Time for us to re-think the approach to "learning to fly".

  6. #6
    dewi8095's Avatar
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    Crimer, a note to say that your assessment is one of the best I have read, especially the points on the weakness of flying as a social outlet, excessive regulation, and the "run down" condition of airports and training aircraft.

    Don

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by kscessnadriver View Post
    The biggest issue will be money. People think it must be expensive, therefore it is. Simply there is no way to just fix general aviation and getting people involved, other than printing money and handing it out for free.
    isnt' that what the gov. is doing?

  8. #8

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    Crimer:

    Flying can be a social activity. But it takes participants. To have participants, have to make airports accessible - even to non-participants.

    I used to fly at a very social aero club. I can tell you the DAY that it started on a downhill spiral; when the airport locked the direct access gate. That forced everyone to enter through the FBO and be scrutinized like a piece of meat in the supermarket cooler. No more parking right at the gate and walking 50' to the viewing deck.

    Aviation really needs to wake up and back off some of the ridiculous access restrictions. It's much easier to go to the lake or hop on a motorcycle and take a Sunday ride than it is to gain access to an airport and instant gratification is what it's all about.

  9. #9

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    Well said crimer.

    1. Z06, ZR-1, F-430, FR-S... Cool!
    2. S1000RR, CBR-1000RR, 1198... Cool!
    3. CRF-450R, KX-450R... Cool!
    4. Cessna Aerobat, Super Decathlon... Ewww. Cold, maybe.

    What?? It doesn't get interesting till you fly an EA-300 or at least a Pitts?? Forget it then...

    In the eyes of a modern youngster: forget 4, they'll just stick w/ their (name your electronic game of choice) and someday save up for 1-3.

    It's sad. The 'cooler' vehicles 1-3 pull significantly less Gs than the said aircraft in 4 can do.

    Maybe the thread should've been called "Learning NOT to fly.". We need to FIX this.

    IAC 434430 (IAC chap 38)
    Last edited by D.A.R.E.; 09-07-2012 at 10:59 AM.

  10. #10

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    I can definitely say and agree that money is one of the biggest problems, as I am going through that myself right now. It's almost $180 an hour to fly in a small single enging plane learning my private certificate!! Hardly affordable.

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