Very interested in learning to fly...

mwwest2004

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Hello,

I have been interested in flying my whole life, and until now, have only gotten as far as playing around with Microsoft Flight Simulator. I am looking to move into training to be a pilot and am looking for some kind of direction as to how to get started. My goal is to eventually be able to fly my family from the US mainland to The Bahamas as well as being able to travel privately to destinations around the US for work.

What would you folks recommend as far as training to be able to do all of this, as well as aircraft that would be good to start in after finishing the training.

Sorry if I sound new to this, and thank you for your help.
 

ALIMBO

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ATP is a great place that or go to your local airport and see if the FBO there offers instruction.
 

7574EVER

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Just be very careful of scams and schools that say "give us X dollars and we'll make you a pilot" (pilotmills). Do your research on these types of places very carefully. ATP is one of these schools; but, while I never went through their "career pilot program" I have done a few individual things with them and can vouch that they are on the up and up. I do, however, believe that if you're not looking at aviation as a career ATP would probably be an overkill.

Your local FBO is more than likely the best bet for someone in your situation. Shop around a bit. Go to a few nearby airports and talk to instructors and see the aircraft. Try to get a feel on who's out to train you to be a good pilot and who wants your business just to collect your money and put time in their logbook so they can finally go play airline pilot.

If someone or a school keeps emphasizing "40 hours" of flight training and you can take your check ride...be weary. I'm not saying that it CAN'T be done in 40 hours; but, it is rare. The PTS (the book that has the published FAA standards and tolerences you must be able to fly by to pass the test and get a certificate) is very very lax. Most instructors could probably teach the village idiot to fly to PTS standards in 40 hours; HOWEVER, all that means is that they passed a test. It doesn't necessarily make the student a proficient and competent pilot that I would trust my loved ones with. There is "training to pass your private pilot check ride", then there is "training to become a pilot".

I'm not saying that just because you finished your training in 40 hours means that you're a shady pilot. It IS possible be become a great pilot in that amount of time; however, the national average is something around 60-70 hours I believe. It all depends on you. My point is just to make sure that the instructor who teaches you is out to make you the best pilot possible and not just out for his or her own gain.

Best of luck!! Flying is the most fun you can have with your clothes on and I don't think you will ever be able to look back on your life and say "I wish that I NEVER learned to fly!" (unless of course you do it professionally. haha that's a whole different story)
 
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CA1900

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What would you folks recommend as far as training to be able to do all of this, as well as aircraft that would be good to start in after finishing the training.

Sorry if I sound new to this, and thank you for your help.
Hey, you're off to a good start just asking the question!

As others have said, your best bet is to go to a nearby airport with a flight school. Virtually every airport has a Fixed Base Operator -- the FBO others have mentioned -- that offer a variety of services, including fuel, hangar, and sometimes aircraft rental and flight training. If you have your choice between a major airport and a smaller one, you'll get more bang for your buck at the smaller airport. Doing training out of a busy airline airport will usually mean longer time on the ground getting to the runway, which translates into higher costs.

You can start in your local yellow pages looking for Flight School (might also be under Aircraft Rental). When you find a school you want to try, call in and schedule a Discovery Flight. That's typically a short (maybe half an hour) flight lesson that'll give you an opportunity to experience a little bit of flying, and see how you like the instructor. He can give you an idea of the program, the estimated costs, and so on.

I'll echo what 7574EVER says, in that the 40 hours is a minimum, and not very many people finish their Private Pilot Certificate in that amount of time. The shortest-time student I had when I was actively teaching was around 45 hours, but he was able to fly 3-4 times a week, studied like crazy, and was very motivated. You will find that the more frequently you can fly, the fewer total hours you'll likely need because you won't forget as much between lessons.

Good luck!
 

SPilot

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Take whatever price quote anyone gives you, and add 50%. That will still only be ballpark.
 

brokeflyer

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DONT do it as a career....it takes too long.

get your instrument rating then that's all you need.

Go to your local airport and start asking questions.
 

pilotyip

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look at the military
 

Mickey

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Where do you live?

The Cirrus sr20 or 22 are nice cross country airplanes. How much you need to carry, how far you'll fly, and how much you want to spend will change which aircraft are good for you. I could go on but I need more of your specifics.

Take care.
 

mwwest2004

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Where do you live?

The Cirrus sr20 or 22 are nice cross country airplanes. How much you need to carry, how far you'll fly, and how much you want to spend will change which aircraft are good for you. I could go on but I need more of your specifics.

Take care.

I live in Chicago, but my family is split between here and the New Orleans area. Our trips to the Bahamas usually include about 6 or 7 people flying out of Louisiana. Last time we chartered a Falcon 20, and that was more than enough space...

Anyway, I am a long way off from the point of determining which aircraft to use. I would like to know which ratings and certifications I need in order to safely fly these kinds of flights. I am impressed with the responses I have gotten so far and plan to spend some time in the near future checking out the airports here in Chicago and down in Louisiana.

Thank you for all of the responses, and any more information that you all can give me will be greatly appreciated.
 

ALIMBO

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OMG your from Chicago! Go to Clow airport in Bolingbrook. Ask for either Keith, Al, or Kristin all are great instructors prices very reseaonable Jolan the woman that co-owns the FBO is a great women and will set you up with whoever has an open schedule. More than likely you will fly with at least 2 of those 3 instructors while your working on your ratings. Or you can wait until summer and I'll be your CFI. If you don't want to wait which I don't blame you give them a call asap A&M Aviation is the name (630) 759-1555. BTW they use C-152 Newer C172R/ and SP and a C-172 G1000. They also have bigger/faster planes to step up to when the time comes. Tell them Tony sent. Anymore ?'s just ask!
 

ALIMBO

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If money isn't an option I would say get all your ratings from Private Instrument Commercial. If you plan on owning a bigger faster plane ie. multi engine you will need a seperate rating called your multi engine. PM if you have more ?'s I can set you up with some good places in Chicago where you can rent some planes perfect for your type of trips.
 

Princedietrich

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In order to do the kind of flying that you're thinking about, you're going to at least need private pilot with instrument rating. It is possible to go long distance and even international without the instrument rating, but it's much safer and just plain easier to go with. Getting private AMEL may not be a bad idea considering the number of people you are intending to take on these trips. You may want to even keep going and get commercial pilot, mainly because the more training and "experience" you have the lower your insurance premiums are.

To carry 6 or 7 people you're going to need something rather substantial in terms of airframe size, either a turboprop single or a cabin class twin at least. Hell, you may even want a turboprop twin or even a small jet like a CJ2. There are 6-seaters out there like a Stationair or a Seneca, but with every seat full plus bags you'll be able to carry enough fuel to roll about 10 feet. Since you mentioned that you chartered a Falcon 20 for this trip in the past, I'm going to assume that monetary resources are plentiful albeit not unlimited.

Definitely follow the advice of the previous posters and shop around at the FBOs, and talk to the instructors you meet. You'll be able to tell very quickly which ones genuinely want to teach you and which ones just see you as ink in their logbook and 20 bucks in their pocket. And above all, have fun with it!
 

VW Pilot

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I would search around at local FBOs and small airports and talk with an instructor. If you'd just like to get a coupla ratings an FBO would be better. Also don't be afraid to take some action....Like schedule a
Discovery flight after talking with a Trustworthy school and an instructor whop won't yell at you or slap your hands away fromt he controls.....just kidding!! But good relations make the learning experience much more enjoyable and fun....By all means DO IT!! It will be the best thing!!!
 

ALIMBO

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Like I said before A&M Aviation outta Clow airport in Bolingbrook is your one stop shop for this.
 

LewisU_Pilot

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Like I said before A&M Aviation outta Clow airport in Bolingbrook is your one stop shop for this.
I think it all depends where he lives in Chicago. If you live southwest burbs Morris or A&M, if you live South or South East/Indiana check out Lansing, If you live East your going to get wet. North check out Palwauke sp? or Schamburg sp? And finally West check out Dupage or Aurora. They all have instructors and airplanes to fly. I think what ever is closer to you would be your best bet.
 

Amish RakeFight

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The one thing I recall instructing students who had "heavy" MS sim time tended to stare at the instruments 95% of the time.

During your initial training, keep in mind that most maneuvers you'll perform for the Private certificate are visual maneuvers. You should be looking outside as much as possible and refering to the instruments only occasionally. This is important for two reasons. One is that there's a lot of GA traffic at the lower altitudes and another is that the maneuvers are learned and performed visually. You'll find that you can hold altitude and heading much easier by picking out points on the horizon and maintaining the proper nose attitude.

In terms of training, my advice is to go part 61 and earn each rating and certificate with a different instructor and different airplane. This will help broaden your experience and confidence level.

Part 141 programs may be a little cheaper and structured, but a lot of them are plain old certifcate mills where you don't really learn much. YMMV of course, depending on the particular program.

Good luck and make the jump to a real pilot. I'm sure you'll do fine.
 

Grey Ghost

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I live in Chicago, but my family is split between here and the New Orleans area. Our trips to the Bahamas usually include about 6 or 7 people flying out of Louisiana. Last time we chartered a Falcon 20, and that was more than enough space...

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If you can afford to charter a Falcon 20, then who cares where you go?
 

ALIMBO

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Well I can vouch for a lot of flight schools in Chicago used to work at a couple different places A&M being the better plus even if you have money to burn why waste it you will save at A&M.
 
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