How To Be A Pilot – Blog
It is an incredible privilege to take someone from the beginning of their flight training and teaching them how to be a pilot. I just had the privilege of “minting” a brand new private pilot and I can tell you it’s an incredible feeling. Daniel came to me a few months ago with a few hours in his logbook and a mission, he wanted to get his pilots license. We started training immediately and it was apparent that Daniel was going to be a great student, he flew the airplane with confidence and wasn’t completely terrified to talk on the radio. I had been a flight instructor for years, but Daniel was going to be the first person I put through a check ride in the last 5 years. We both had our work cut out for us. I got back into the groove of teaching and Daniel more than stepped up to his responsibilities, he studied hard when we weren’t flying and tried his best when we were flying.
It wasn’t long and Daniel was ready to solo an airplane. I had soloed many students before, but this fact didn’t make it any easier to step out of the airplane and send Daniel out on his own. As it usually does, the minute the instructor steps out of the airplane, the wind picked up and the radios got busy. I sat helpless on the side of the taxiway and Daniel did what he had been taught to do, successfully making 3 nice landings and 1 aborted landing. Now that we had topped the “solo” mountain, it was onto cross country flights and finishing up requirements.
To obtain a private pilots license you have to meet some minimum requirements, the truth is the minimum requirements are better suited to a pilot in Kansas than a pilot in Los Angeles. The minimum requirements are 40 total hours of flight time a couple cross country flights (50-150 miles), a few hours of night flight and a few hours by reference to instruments. Of the total hours, 10 need to be solo flight hours. The reality is it takes the average person 60-80 total flight hours if you fly on a very regular basis and it’s likely to be 80+ hours if you fly around a major city like Los Angeles and/or take any breaks in your flight training.
Daniel finished his flight training in just about 60 hours which is very good, he did fly on average 3 days a week, which helps maintain currency and increases efficiency.
Once You’re A Pilot
Now that Daniel has his pilots license what will he do with it. I wish that everyone that obtains their pilots license would use it to travel the world and seek flying adventures but this just isn’t the reality. Once you are a licensed pilot you have to find an airplane that you can rent and take out on your own, most of the time you can use the flight schools airplanes but this isn’t always the case. Flight schools use their airplanes to make revenue and if you take it to Palm Springs for the weekend, it severely limits the airplanes earning potential. The best thing to do is to purchase an airplane on your own, with a partner or join a flying club. That way you have the freedom to take the airplane overnight or on extended trips. You are also likely to fly more if you can take the airplane anytime and on short notice. Purchasing an airplane is also intimidating so ask several airplane owners what to expect and how to navigate your first airplane purchase.