General update – less than 6 weeks to go!

Things went a bit quiet over Christmas. But with the 28 February 2011 start date just over a month away, here’s the current situation:

  1. Training plan/assignment of flight instructor. After a couple of phone chats with the CFI, I’ve been put in touch with one of the Schofields club’s instructors who also runs the flight theory courses for the club. Seems like a pretty good bloke. I’m headed out to the club on Saturday to meet with him and to hammer out a training plan that (hopefully) gets me qualified by end of April, weather and my aptitude permitting. I’ll also discuss ways of doing a few of the theory exams in advance – be good to get some of this out of the way.
  2. BAK/PPL theory study. Completed the BAK study manual before Christmas – that’s twice I’ve been through the BAK stuff now. Am well into the PPL manual, just completing Operational Meteorology and about to get into Navigation.
  3. Club membership. My membership of Schofields Flying Club is now official, as announced on the club home page.
  4. ASIC/AVID ID and student license. Just before Christmas I received the final bits of paperwork from CASA that I need to legally fly – my Student License and my ASIC card. All square now.

So – my excitement mounts! Some questions/challenges on my mind at this point:

  • Will the weather get in the way? The eastern states of Australia – in fact much of the country – is well and truly in the grip of La Nina, with summer rainfall well above average and once-in-a-century flooding in Queensland and Victoria. Rainfall above average is projected into early autumn. Which is when I’ll be flying – so the wild card is, can I get my 60-odd hours of flying done in the 8 weeks of March/April given the weather situation? I’m wondering if I need to plan a 9th week as some sort of contingency reserve of time.
  • Can I get enough theory study done? It’s been a challenge to focus on this satisfactorily, frankly. My ability to get through the theory has been severely limited by the fact that I can only do it in very small chunks of time – an hour here or there (mainly on our holiday week away in early January), and the 15 minute commute to and from work. It’s not been enough to get really solid study periods in. (Mitigating this to some extent is the fact that I’ve done the theory once already. Nearly 3 years ago admittedly, but it means that I’m not having to spend quite the same amount of time absorbing/learning the second time around – it’s more like a thorough refresher course). During the actual March/April period, I’m planning on getting a lot of my day-to-day study done at the club, because when I get home, available time will be scarce …
  • Can I balance training and family schedule? Apart from study requirements, the other thing is the family schedule during the week. Laura is back at work Mondays/Tuesdays. Lilu is in long day care on the same days and needs dropping off in the morning and picking up in the afternoons 4-ish. And Seth starts school full time in early Feb, meaning that most days he needs to be picked up at 3pm sharp (4pm on Mondays after his tennis class). Some days I’ll have the car to drive to Bankstown, some I’ll have to schlep over by train and bus. What does that leave me in terms of a time window for flying training Monday to Friday? Looks as though Mondays and Tuesdays will be the challenge days – I might have to have short flying days those days, or if Laura can do morning drop-offs, I get train/bus out to the club at sparrow fart and then leave after lunch to get the kids. Wednesdays through Fridays will be less of an issue, hopefully, with Laura not back full time. Wow.

But it’s all good. Can’t wait to get started. A lifetime’s ambition is about to be fulfilled, and it promises to be 2 of the most exciting months of my life.


7 responses to “General update – less than 6 weeks to go!

  1. Good for you, learning to fly. I started at age 48 and it was well worth it but had the same struggles as you did trying to juggle family, job, kids and schedules. It can really be discouraging when you throw weather into the mix but don’t give up.

  2. Thanks, Jeanne! Good to hear that it’s not just me then. Met with my instructor on the weekend, who cautioned that in 8 weeks (March/April) with the change of seasons into autumn in Australia, I may not necessarily get to the full PPL. I’m more or less preparing myself for that in advance to avoid frustration down the track. If at the end of 8 weeks full time learning I’ve got the GFPT done and I have do do Nav training part time, there’s just no avoiding it and I’ll have to do what I was trying NOT to do ie. take time out mid-week and/or on weekends to finish.

  3. I’ll be praying for some good flying weather for you. It sounds like you have a pretty full schedule besides flying. I’ll be watching for updates on your progress. It was so much fun to take my husband up as my first passenger after I finished and show him all the things that I learned.

  4. Pingback: First meeting with my instructor: A mild dose of reality and some good learning « MidLifePilot's Flying Blog

  5. Thanks Jeanne! Can I say to you as warmly as I can (lest my written tone be misinterpreted as negative, because I want it to be 100% positive), I wholeheartedly welcome your prayers while as an atheist I can’t rely on their efficacy. But they clearly represent warm wishes on your part, which I gladly receive in equal spirit and with thanks. 🙂

    Not sure how excited my wife will be with first flight with me. She’s very supportive of this project (long story short, I won some money on a game show last year and diverted some of the winnings towards this), but she’s not a lover of flying herself. But I’m looking forward to taking up my father, my son (currently 4 1/2), and also a good friend of mine who’s been flying heavies for Qantas for 10 years now.

    How often are you getting up? Local training area flights, or are you finding reasons for the odd cross-country flight?

    (New post just out by the way).

  6. Take my prayers as warm wishes if you desire. I would never impose my beliefs on another. How exciting to win on a game show and be able to do something special with part of the winnings.

    I plan on taking my parents up on a flight as soon as I get checked out on a Cessna 172. I trained in a Cessna 152 for financial reaasons which is a two seater. The 172 is four-seater. I don’t own a plane so I need to rent. I only have one more flight with an instructor before I can rent the 172.

    My husband and I took a few flights after I got my PPL, the most recent was to Superior, Wisconsin to take in the fall colors on the trees. It was a beautiful but bumpy flight.

    If you check out my post titled “A Good Tired” from September 30, 2010 there are photos from that flight.

  7. Hi Jeanne

    Will definitely check your post out. My club has a couple of C152s but the majority of the fleet is Piper Warriors. While I have the option of starting on a 152, in fact they are too small for my 6’4″ frame so I’m starting on the Warriors from the outset. 🙂 The upside is that once my GFPT is completed, I won’t need to spend extra time having to transition from the 152 up to the Warrior.

    I do love the 172 – have been for several flights in these workhorses of Cessnas. Like yourself, I don’t (and won’t) own my own aircraft – the game show was lucrative, but I’m still working my day job! I think once qualified on the Warrior I will over time do my Constant-Speed Propellor rating and then type-qualify on the club’s Piper Archer. A lovely touring aircraft, roomy, cruises at 115kts. But that’s down the track …


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