Daily Pilot's Journal

Read the complete day-by-day flight log of an actual student pilot, from the first takeoff to the signing of his private pilot's license. Written promptly at the end of every flight, each entry is completely unedited - detailing the successes, failures, and mistakes we all encounter along this long road.
Flight Training Log - Stats and Totals
When you tell people you're a pilot, they inevitably ask the same two questions:

"How much did that cost?"

"How long did it take you?"

These are the questions I asked pilots before I started flying, and they always frustated me with the same answer: "Well... It depends". I always thought that answer was a lame copout.

Ironically enough, that's the same answer I give people now. The hardcore truth is that it DOES depend... it depends upon how frequently the person flies, what airport they fly out of, what plane they fly, and most importantly, how good the weather was for them during training. Different airports, planes, and times of year will cost different amounts of money. On top of all that every student will learn at a different rate - some will take their flight test at 40+ hours, and some won't be ready until 60 or 70. My training was concise and I got lucky on weather, but that certainly won't be the case for everyone.

In any case, here are some stats regarding my flight training:

FIRST SOLO: 30 days
FIRST SOLO X-COUNTRY: 56 days
TOTAL TIME TO GET LICENSE: 90 days
NIGHT HOURS: 3.7
INSTRUMENT HOURS 3.0
SOLO HOURS: 10.7
X-COUNTRY HOURS: 9.3
X-COUNTRY SOLO HOURS: 5.7
NUMBER OF LANDINGS: 130+
TOTAL FLIGHT HOURS: 44.1


Having been 'through it' already, here are my best pieces of advice for pilots in training:

FLY EARLY - Especially in the beginning stages of your training. Winds are calmer in the morning, and you'll gain confidence more easily. Once you're comfortable flying the aircraft, the benefit of some windier afternoon lessons will be of greater value to you.

FLY OFTEN - This one's probably the most important. Don't begin flight training at a busy time of year for you, when there will be tons of excuses not to go up. The more frequently you fly, the better you'll fly, and the more your schooling will stick. Training to fly an airplane packs a lot of knowledge in your skull all at once... and it'll be easier to remember everything if you're not taking weeks off between your flights.

FLY RELAXED - Settle into your seat. Become one with the airplane. Feel its weight beneath you, its every movement... feel it respond to your hands and feet. Treating the aircraft as a separate entity will make you feel disconnected and will often lead to jerky, uncoordinated manuvers. Understand that the smallest inputs to the controls can have big results, and begin from there. Once you're comfortable and confident, you'll see big improvements in your flying.


STUDY HARD - Ground school begins and ends with you. Don't expect your CFI to hand you everything on a neat little platter - this isn't college. Beyond your study books, anything and everything you should know about flying can be found on the internet, so go out there and read about it. Take practice tests. Go over the answers you missed. Concentrate on your weak points and make them strong. If you're unsure about something, ask your instructor to go over it again - don't blow over something thinking you might not need it, because that'll be the stuff that comes back to eventually bite you in the ass.

ALWAYS KEEP LEARNING - Sounds cliche', but you're always going to be a flight student. Yes, even after you get your license. A good pilot is always learning - whether he or she is boning up on old material or studying something new. Grab some subscriptions to flying magazines, find some online forums, and join a flying club. Suck up all the knowledge you can. Keep interested, keep updated, and above all, keep safe.



← Day 33 (Flight Test)