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Not a proper pilot

RayV

Cross Country Pilot
#1
Hello all,
As a frustrated student pilot I am amazed that anyone ever passes their NPPL . This year (I know, not the best) I have booked 30 hours of lessons and have actually flown 8. 8. This is the most frustrating thing I have ever tried to do. When it goes ahead it is the most amazing thing ever and I absolutely love it, but I am getting to the point that I would rather quit than have the continual disappointment of cancelled lessons. Is this usual for microlight flying? Today the weather was great, perfect. Cancelled due to a soggy airstrip. Honestly I am at my wits end. Tell me it will improve!
 
#2
Hello Ray,
Don't get disheartened, this year is certainly unique, but it took me 5 years to get my license due to weather, money and health issues. I got there in the end but it is frustrating and you just have to take every opportunity you can.
Keep the faith and you will get there.
Frank.

PS. I knew someone who took 20 years. He went to Spain towards the end to finish his tuition which is not unusual.
 

Halibut

First Solo Pilot
#3
Like FD says, don't lose heart. This bit of the journey - on the way to your licence - will be full of delays. That is completely normal, as everyone on this forum will tell you. But it is such a fantastic time and, believe it or not, you will look back and not regret one single minute of it. Enjoy.
 

RayV

Cross Country Pilot
#4
Thank you for the encouragement, I do love it when I get airborne, it’s absolutely fantastic! It’s just so frustrating when it’s cancelled. This year has been especially annoying as covid restrictions seem to correspond with great weather! I am lucky that so far my family have been spared any covid related issues, so I am grateful for that. Fingers crossed that we can all get flying again next year. Best wishes to you all.
 

ginge

First Solo Pilot
#5
You will get there, no matter how things seem at present many of us have had the same sort of thing.
My particular frusration was actualy getting to fly my GST. The school I was at had no examiner and to say the local guy wasn't interested is lot more polite that I felt was his due. A whole series of cancelations due weather, his availablity and on one noteable occasion his dropping his phone in the loo let to me switching to taking a 2hr drive to Popham. I had a few more weather cancelations then the day arrived. Home was fog, but the Popham forecast was good so we drove there the fog cleared just before Basingstoke and once there was great. It went well despite hving to fly an aircrfat type that I'd only flown once before, heck it even had the wheels the other way round. On the way home we plunged into fog again, was it worth it, you bet it was.
A whole new world opened up that I've been loving for better than twenty years now, still love it.
 
#6
Ray, welcome to our sport!

There's one thing you will learn - just why the congratulations are so genuine and heartfelt when a new pilot gets their first solo, and then their licence (whether restricted or with nav privileges). For most of us it is a massive hurdle that's been overcome.

I suggest you concentrate on enjoying the journey to your licence without focussing too much on the destination. It'll arrive one day. Treat every flight, every lesson, every test as a new adventure in its own right.

And have compassion for the instructors; they make this journey with each of their students.

Edit PS. ... and don't give up until you've at least experienced a couple of winter flights in the crisp clear air when the propeller and wing bite the air with relish and the air's so clear you can see what seems forever. If you experience that without wanting to come back for more, once you've warmed up a bit, you've no soul (metaphorically speaking of course).
 
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#7
...I would rather quit than have the continual disappointment of cancelled lessons...
I'm sure you don't really mean that.
You need to learn to cope with weather related disappointments. There will be lots of those throughout your flying career. Dealing with them is part of being a safe pilot.
Having said that, you're right - it has been a particularly frustrating year as all the good weather happened when we were in lockdown! Actually I think you've done reasonably well to get eight hours given everything.
In a normal year, and assuming you are reasonably available, you will do 25-30 hours without too much trouble. But even then you should expect to lose 30-50% of your bookings due to weather. How to overcome this? Book twice as many as you can afford and it'll work out ok.
Incidentally this is normal for learning to fly in any type of aeroplane - and if you think that's bad, try asking a balloon pilot.
Trust us on this - it is worth it and eventually you'll look back and realise that not only have you learnt to fly, but you've also had a fantastic time and have grown as a person.
Good luck and remember to enjoy the journey :)

(PS my post crossed with Joan's - and it looks like we're saying the same thing)
 

Peter Twissell

Cross Country Pilot
#8
I was simlarly frustrated with the British weather limiting training hours, well before Covid.
Eventually, I went to Portugal where the weather is more consistant. In a week I was able to get 10 hours flying, a GST and the last couple of exams finished. Back home, I flew the second solo XC and was then able to send off for my license.
It's well worth it!
The first flight in my own aircraft was like the (now distant memory of) my first time out on my own motorcycle.
Keep it up, you won't be disappointed.
 

Mike Calvert

Moderator
Staff member
#9
All good advice above. Especially on booking twice as many lessons as you would normally budget for in the sure and certain knowledge that you'll be doing well to get half of them while the weather constantly thwarts the rest.
 

Halibut

First Solo Pilot
#10
I
The first flight in my own aircraft was like the (now distant memory of) my first time out on my own motorcycle.
Keep it up, you won't be disappointed.
Is that better than your first time flying by yourself in a rented aircraft? I don't own one so I just don't know
 

RayV

Cross Country Pilot
#11
Thank you all for the good advice. I thought I would have to be patient, I just didn’t realise how patient! Of course I love being a student pilot, I always think it’s such a privilege to experience the joy of flight , it’s amazing! That’s why it’s so disappointing when it’s cancelled. On the plus side I am saving a fortune! Onwards and upwards, I have booked double lessons for the next couple of weekends, I will get there eventually! Thanks everyone for your experiences and encouragement 😃👍
 

frozendreamer

Cross Country Pilot
#12
Everything has already been said... seriously... the whole experience of getting your licence, dealing with the weather... the bloody virus... the weather.... did I mention the weather.... makes you appreciate the time you spend 'up there' all the more.
I don't know about all of you, but when I see a window of opportunity creep up on Windy, and validate it with a good looking TAF in the morning, I'm practically skipping to the airfield!
On the other side of the coin, when it's crappy... you feel crappy... because it's your passion and you want to experience more of it.
The joys of flying I guess :)
 
#14
How realistic do you find the simulators?
I find the lag and lack of all round vision to be an issue, so unless you've got front and side monitors you can't get good spatial awareness. Maybe 3D goggles would be the way to go.

How realistic do you find the sim and which software do you use?
 
#15
Use -> used. I retired from instructing over three years ago and the simulator's in private hands somewhere in NI.
A decent simulator is not a replacement for flying for real, but with the right instruction it can be a very useful preparation for the real thing. With a good proportion of my students (I admit not all) I found I could train them up on an exercise over a string of bad days and on the next good day they'd have it to full expected standard within a few minutes in the real aircraft (once we'd reached the exercise area).

Did you look at my video link?

I don't fly flexwing, so I'm not sure how well they can be simulated in a training environment.
 

Peter Twissell

Cross Country Pilot
#16
Is that better than your first time flying by yourself in a rented aircraft? I don't own one so I just don't know
Yes. The first time I took off in my own aircraft, on my own terms, with no restrictions as to when I had to be back (other than fuel and VFR) was totally liberating. I made the flight from Priory Farm to Northrepps, where I stopped for lunch and a natter, before flying back.
 
#17
Use -> used. I retired from instructing over three years ago and the simulator's in private hands somewhere in NI.
A decent simulator is not a replacement for flying for real, but with the right instruction it can be a very useful preparation for the real thing. With a good proportion of my students (I admit not all) I found I could train them up on an exercise over a string of bad days and on the next good day they'd have it to full expected standard within a few minutes in the real aircraft (once we'd reached the exercise area).

Did you look at my video link?

I don't fly flexwing, so I'm not sure how well they can be simulated in a training environment.
I didn't see your video before my previous post, but have now and it actually looks rather good. I can understand it would have been very useful. I'm currently doing my flex to fixed difference training (well trying to in the current climate) so could see it would be of real benefit.

I tried the flexwing simulator at the last Flying Show but seem to remember it only had a front screen. I also remember it had quite a bad roll bias so probably hadn't been set up properly. That said, I managed it ok but side screens would have made it so much better. I had an hour in a proper 737 simulator a couple of years ago and managed to land at Kai Tak but don't think that counts 😁
 
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SafetyThird

Cross Country Pilot
#18
After having similar issues with weather when learning to skydive, when it came time to do my ppl I went to a school in Florida. From zero to ppl in 21 days. Being able to pretty much guarantee flying several times a day was great for committing things to mind and muscle memory. Obviously less of an option these days but if things keep going, perhaps it's an option when the world goes a bit more back to normal.
 

GeeJay

Cross Country Pilot
#19
Thank you for the encouragement, I do love it when I get airborne, it’s absolutely fantastic! It’s just so frustrating when it’s cancelled. This year has been especially annoying as covid restrictions seem to correspond with great weather! I am lucky that so far my family have been spared any covid related issues, so I am grateful for that. Fingers crossed that we can all get flying again next year. Best wishes to you all.
I've also been very frustrated, it's taken me over 5 years to get my aircraft back in the air due to lack of money, laziness and other problems. Just as I get her sorted I manage 2 hours of testing, get the permit sorted then lockdown, what can I say? The frustration is so annoying but don't give up, like others have said the delays you'll get through the disappointments will pass and you'll never regret sticking with it other than perhaps in your wallet.
Anyway, training is still flying enjoy the experience and the social side. Just being at the airfield and talking to others who've most likely had the same or worse experiences to you makes it all worth while.
 

Halibut

First Solo Pilot
#20
Use -> used. I retired from instructing over three years ago and the simulator's in private hands somewhere in NI.
A decent simulator is not a replacement for flying for real, but with the right instruction it can be a very useful preparation for the real thing. With a good proportion of my students (I admit not all) I found I could train them up on an exercise over a string of bad days and on the next good day they'd have it to full expected standard within a few minutes in the real aircraft (once we'd reached the exercise area).

Did you look at my video link?

I don't fly flexwing, so I'm not sure how well they can be simulated in a training environment.
Did you build that simulator? It's amazing. How did you do it?
 

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