Learn to Fly and Become a Pilot
So you're curious about how to learn to fly. Maybe you've always wanted be a pilot, learn to fly an aeroplane around the world, train to be a commercial pilot, or even become an aerobatic pilot. Maybe you even have a fear of flying. Whatever form this desire takes many of us at some stage are curious about what it takes to learn to fly and become a pilot. The following article will highlight some important points and provide you with some guidelines as to how you can go about satisfying your desire to become a pilot and learn to fly.
There are surprisingly few basic requirements you will have to meet to commence pilot training. You must be able to:
Pass a basic medical exam prior to flying solo
Be at least 16 years of age to fly solo
While there is a minimum age requirement to fly solo, there is no strict age limit to begin your flight training. It is probably inadvisable to start earlier than 13-14 years of age. At the other end of the spectrum, if you are medically fit, it is never too late to start and there are many people who take up aviation at a more mature age.
Just a final point on the medical. Unless you are aiming for military or airline flying – if you are medically fit enough to drive a car you are probably medically fit enough to hold a private aviation medical. Don't just assume you can't – go talk to a qualified Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (these can usually be contacted through your country's aviation body). For more information on commercial pilot medicals click here
The cost of flying is always a sticking point. Depending on what country you train in, what type of licences and what type of aircraft you want to learn to fly – costs can vary greatly. For training, each country requires you to do a minimum number of training hours so it is hard to reduce your costs below a bare minimum. However once you have your licence, if you are creative – there are lots of fun ways you can reduce your costs. Friends and family will want to come flying with you and they can help pay for the cost of hiring. Quite often you will find people that are flying somewhere for business or pleasure and would love you to come along for the ride and to share the flying. If you are really keen you can also talk to the businesses at your airport. It is not unusual for them to need planes repositioned to other places and are quite willing for you to do it for them at no cost. It saves them paying for one of their employees to do it! Be creative.
More so than anything else, safety comes first in the aviation industry. In fact, safety is the basis of your flight training and will continue throughout you aviation life. Every time you approach an aircraft you will go through the safety procedures you have been taught and every check ride will be a safety refresher
The aircraft are also engineered and built to rigid standards and are serviced by aircraft engineers every 100 flight hours, and comprehensively checked by a qualified pilot at the beginning of each day.
Alright – you've decided you'd like to learn to fly – so what now????
You need to contact some flying schools and have a chat to them. Find out where they are, what type of training they do, what they charge (both hourly and a basic quote for the type of licence you are looking at getting) and what type of aircraft they use. If you are looking for an “aero club” type of place, also ask about social activities. When you have found a couple you like the sound of – book in for a Trial Instructional Flight or TIF.
Trial Instructional Flight (TIF).
This is where you basically take the aircraft (with a qualified instructor of course) for a test run. It is for you to both see if you like the sensation of flying and also if you really are interested. Usually the session takes about 1 hour and involves such things as:
A look through the flying school facilities
Your own instructor who can answer any questions you may have
A hands-on preflight inspection
A basic explanation of the aircraft instruments and controls
A guided lesson on how to taxi the aircraft
Flying the aircraft under the guidance of your instructor
30 minutes flying that can be logged and counted towards a pilot licence
A debriefing on completion and an opportunity for you to ask further questions
You will feel what it is like to take the controls and fly!
This is also a great opportunity to get to know if you can relate to the instructor and enjoy the environment of the school. Every school and instructor is different so find one you like and can understand. Some schools specialise in training pilots commercially for airlines while some are more tailored towards hobby flying. Whichever way the school goes they should all uphold a very high standard of training – if you feel even slightly uncomfortable about their level of professionalism – go elsewhere. Remember, you are going to be paying a lot of money to them – you want to get a lot out!!
This is also a really great chance for you to check out your instructor. As with any learning, the teacher can make or break the experience. Find an instructor that you relate to and can understand. Even if it means going to a few schools and having a couple of TIFs. Sure it will cost but trust me – if you get the right instructor from the start – it will save you thousands!!!
Now you've had your trial flight you can make a decision – Is this for me? Do I really want to learn to fly? There are thousands of people, just like you, taking flying lessons. They come from all walks of life and have a variety of reasons for wanting to be a pilot. Some fly to expand business opportunities, others to explore careers in the aviation industry. Some are looking for an activity they can share with their friends and family, most fly for the sheer fun of it! Why do you want to learn to fly?
Finally, if you want to explore how to become a commercial pilot and the training required then go to www.commercialpilottraininginfo.com
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