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Guest KenG

First real flight for $49

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I just had my first actual flight lesson in a Cessna 172, after flight simming now for a few years with Microsoft FS. I also have CH pedals and yoke.I felt very comfortable flying, and did 90% of the flying myself. My instructor took over to get us out of a planned stall, and he helped me land as well. He also did all of the talking to the Boeing Field (WA) tower. I think that my years of flight simming really paid off.A website called www.BeAPilot.com has a deal where you get 1 hour of flight time (which is in all 2.5 hours of instruction) for only $49. I think they have participating flight schools all over the US.The gauges looked and functioned as I expected in FS. The only real differences I found were that the flight controls were much more rigid in their movement, and that once you achieve your turn radius, you actually center your ailerons and rudder to KEEP turning, and that you turn opposite of your initial turn to center the plane again. If you kept your ailerons and rudder in a turn position, you would eventually turn at such a sharp angle that you would slip and lose altitude. Also, right after I took off, I had to apply downward pressure on the nose by pushing in the yoke, or else the climb angle would be too great. I don't recall having to do this in FS.Finally, of course the physical affects can't (yet) be modeled in FS. We experienced about 2gs when I turned at 40 degrees. I also felt quite a sudden drop in my stomach when we quickly went into a forced stall.If anyone else took their first flight after using FS, I would love to read about your experience as well.Scott

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Amazing!I've seen an ad for this in a few magazines and now that I've read your story it has me interested.Maybe all those flight sim hours will add up to something.

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>Also, right after I took off, I had to apply downward >pressure on the nose by pushing in the yoke, or else the >climb angle would be too great. I don't recall having to do >this in FS. >If the modeled FS aircraft runs out of "steam (airspeed :))" because of too great a climb angle, then you have to do it in FS also. As you get into more flight lessons, you'll learn to maintain climb angles such as VX and VY in relation to airspeed and climb rate. It will make the climbout nice and smooth versus the porpousing I see from FS pilots who havn't attained the skill. As a real life pilot, I find myself adjusting stick pressure right after takeoff as well as automatically pulling the stick/yoke back in turns to maintain altitude.Note: Higher performance aircraft can maintain some higher climb rates into the several thousand feet a minute or more, just after takeoff. You won't be pushing the yoke as much forward..... if you don't want too. The 172 may only just be able to climb at 500 - 700' a minute after rotation. If you don't push forward, it will stall. The FS model will do this too.L.Adamson

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Had a very similar experience when I took my demo flight too. Just haven't been able to muster up enough $$ yet to actually start taking flying lessons. That sinking feeling in the stomach during a sharp turn and stall is really something. It made me doubt for several days if I'm cut out to learn flying. Aparently, that is a feeling most people have got during their first flight.

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Hi Scott. I live in the area (Bellevue) and would like to know what flight school you flew with. What was your impression? Would you recommend them to someone else thinking of taking lessons from what you've seen so far?Thanks!

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>Hi Scott. I live in the area (Bellevue) and would like to >know what flight school you flew with. What was your >impression? Would you recommend them to someone else >thinking of taking lessons from what you've seen so far? >>Thanks! I went to a flight school called Wings Aloft (www.WingsAloft.com). I did not do a lot of comparing, since right now I was only concerned with the $49 intro flight. I think that the BeAPilot website listed 5 flight schools at Boeing Field. I liked the fact though that the instructor took quite a lot of time showing me the gauges, doing the walkthroughs, and answering any questions that I had. All in all, I was there for 2.5 hours. Of course, he did try to push me towards their flight school and towards membership in their club. They have 30 planes to choose from, starting at Cessna 152's. The cost is $43/month to be a member, which you get insurance and the use of their planes. This covers the maintenance of the planes as well. Their planes cost between $80 and $285 per hour depending on the model. When you take lessons, you also have to pay for the instructor, which is $55 per hour. The FAA says that it usually costs between $7K and $10K to get a private pilot's license.They have regular ground school programs as well. It costs $375 for 50 hours of instruction. They do offer a reduced price Private Pilot package, and a Solo Flight package. The Solo Flight package gives you enough instruction so that by the end of the class, you can fly the plane solo. That is $3K.I was impressed with their operation. A friend of mine also signed up for the $49 deal up at Paine Field in Everett, WA. They told him to only plan on being there one hour. It does not sound like they were going to give him nearly as much instruction as I received.I will probably call around or visit some other places to see what kind of package deals that they have, and what their membership dues and costs are.I hope that helps. In case you have any other questions, or if you find out any more information, my email address is scott_papa@hotmail.com. Scott

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Scott,I just got my private pilot's certificate last November after taking lessons on and off for several years. It was a personal goal that I've finally accomplished. Fly school can be costly. Some people take a loan to have all the money required in one lump sum. This avoids the running out of money sindrome. I've been flying FS since the Commodore 64 days, and that's when I took my first lesson. It wasn't a clear day, and I remember thinking how different it felt than sitting in front of my computer looking at then wiry buildings. But it's now done, and as soon as I have the chance to start again, I'll proceed to instruments. I've continued flying FS all along. I've already taken instrument lessons with a friend saying that I fly better on instruments than his almost ready to finish instrument students. He knows that's because FS.Stick to it.Dave

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Luis!It's been a while. I remember you from the PP Forum. I hope this is indeed you. What's the latest on PP? Will the next version be out this century? :) Haven't been in that forum in a while, but I'm sure the old camaraderie is still there. Good to hear from you.Take care,Dave

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Dave,Thanks for the response. I was a bit discouraged by the cost, and will shop around the area to see what the best prices are. It is encouraging to hear that you have worked on it for a couple of years, but stuck with it and got your license. I guess that there is no time limit as far as amassing your minimum 40 hours flight time, or taking the ground school class.Do you fight sim and fly interchangeably? Do you pick up any bad habits flight simming, or do they both complement each other? Thanks,Scott

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Scott,I'm an old guy, started my first flying lesson in 1985. It's just that I'm also in the US Air Force, and with all the moves, I couldn't keep my lessons up. Finally, in my last assignment, I went at it with a gusto. It is a Cessna Flight School, so the lessons were structured by me taking a CD-based ground school lesson, then the flight instructor would follow the exact same lesson on the airplane. I was pretty impressed with how close they followed the CDs. Each lesson has a "this is what you'll do with your instructor" section, and sure enough, that's exactly what we did. In the CD you could see a video of what the flight would look like from your perspective while flying, to familiarize you with it. I'm now stationed in Germany. I'm still trying to find out what are the rules to fly here. I hear it's very expensive, like way more expensive than in the US. I will have to do something about it because not flying for three years sucks.While training, I never stopped doing flight simulator. In fact, my instructor also used it. Real and simulated flying complement each other well. I did my cross countries in FS before doing them for real, to include weight and balance, fuel management, etc, using real weather too. It matches very well with the real thing.Take care,Dave

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Hola Dave,We are anxiously expecting the next version of ProPilot in the next few months (how many times have you heard this joke?)Good to see you around. Perhaps you will find Germany interesting. I particularly appreciate the beer, the sausages, and the oom-pa-pa.I have lived much of my life in Europe, and it would seem that the principal obstacles to flying are stricter regulations and greater cost. Perhaps that is why there is a preference for trikes and ultralights. No problem for me, as that is a lot more fun, in my opinion. But, you won't get an instrument rating on a trike!Take care.Best regards.Luis

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>Had a very similar experience when I took my demo flight >too.Same here with my 1st and 2nd intro flights.I might add that the taxi behavior (and THRUST) was extremly different from FS. Much less throttle required, and keepin' it right on the twy centerline wasn't that easy like in FS.Etienne :-wave

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Thanks alot Scott! I was looking at their site a few months back. Sounds like a good operation.

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Great to hear you had a good time. That first intro flight is a real kick. Flight sim can help in many things dealing with real aviation. It also hurts. If you develop bad habits (fixating on instruments, improper trim, etc.) in FS, you will have problems overcoming them in real world flying. That's what I experienced. I've been simming since FS4 and started my PPL training a little over a year ago. I got my PPL last April and am now about 1/2 way through my instrument rating (a rating FS really does help with, but there are still problems).BTW, you would have had to be a 60

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Hi Scott,I hope we can add another to the GA pilot roster - there's strength in numbers, and we need the numbers in light of all the attempts by some regulators to remove us from the sky. Better than that though, we would just like to have your company among the ranks.You do need to leave home and come to Florida though!Your quote "Their planes cost between $80 and $285 per hour depending on the model. When you take lessons, you also have to pay for the instructor, which is $55 per hour. The FAA says that it usually costs between $7K and $10K to get a private pilot's license."HOLY COW! Here in Central Florida 152s rent for $43-$48 per hour, and an instructor cost another $20 an hour ($22 for IFR work). You would come in around $3,000 or so. I even rented a Cutlass (172) RG for only $80.In any case forge ahead and do this thing.Regards,Leon

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Keng corrected the 2g at 40 degrees is really 60 degrees. I'll add that the trim was set for take off which has to have you climb at 65kts or so with no pressure on the yoke. As the plane continues to accelerate it will find a stable state of climb to maintain 65 kts. So as your speed increases so does your attitude. Remember in your future real life flights as well as your simming flights to trim to relieve pressure.My lesson costs were $43.00/hr for a C150/152 in 1999. Today those same ac are up to $67.00/78.00 depending on the newer C152II's with 125hp instead of the older 152's 110 hp motors. Instruction was $25.00 hr and is now up to $35.00/hr. A C172/C172SP is between $79.00/hr and $105.00/hr.I think I'll move to Florida for some instrument training. :)HIO-Portland-Hillsboro Airport

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I've also been a simmer since the Commodore 64 days. I've since worked my way up to the latest 2002 Pro and have to say I'm very impressed with it. The first real plane I got to fly was a Marchetti pre-jet trainer owned by the stunt flying team known as Team America (since disbanded). Three hundred hp hotrod and geared for full combat simulation and aeobatics! I got my first combat pre-briefing and flight lesson in about an hour. They we headed to the planes to try the real thing. I had the stick from just after takeoff until the wheels touched again at landing. It was a total blast! Got to feel what 6G's feels like while you're on the tail of a bogie. The smoke effects as you shoot him down are the finishing touch. Also did a little aerobatics and formation back to the airport. What I noticed about the whole flight was that, even though I had never even sat in a real cockpit before, I felt perfectly at home with the plane and controls. The plane was actually much easier to fly than most sim planes I've tried. I found that to be the case with the several Cessnas I've flown since. But I have a feeling the big jets are NOT as similar! Anyone know of one I could try? :) Speaking of Cessnas - Has anyone else had a bad experience with Cessna Av schools? I bought two tickets for intro flights a year and a half ago. I still have them. The problem is the pilots never feel like showing up for appointments. If they do show they're 2 hours late. I finally decided one Sunday when I had all day to kill that they were going to get me a pilot and take me flying. After all, I'd had this scheduled for almost 2 weeks to give them plenty of notice. Finally someone shows up and throws me in the plane after a 30 second briefing. Hands me the key and I was pretty much on my own after that. He ran the radio and chatted with his buddy back at the fbo on the radio while I attempted to keep us on the imaginary course around restricted airspace and at our assigned altitude. Luckily I was watching the instruments becuse he sure wasn't! I noticed we were drifting and asked him what I should do. Then, while setting up my landing approach, he again drifted off to never-never land while I was getting ready to stall. I knew airspeed was dropping seriously so I slammed the throttle and dropped the nose as we started to stall. His eyes got rather huge at that point when he realized he almost killed us both and the plane too since we were maybe 100 feet agl at this time. I managed to make a nice two bounce landing with him screaming at me to "pull back!" for some reason AFTER I had already recovered very nicely. At that point I said to hell with him, I'm flying this thing and proceeded to a fairly civilized landing. I didn't mean to write a novel here but that one instructor really turned me off of the Av Center. Luckily I found a local group of pilots familiar with the Avcenter's lack of service and they started their own flight club to which I am joining shortly. These guys are all pros and very serious amateurs. I think I'm going to enjoy flying with them and earning my private licence.

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Good luck on the training! There are good training centers and bad ones. There are good instructors and bad ones. It's not necessarily due to any outside association. I've had 1 bad instructor and 2 good ones. My current CFII is excellent and I got my PPL with him. This was all at the same school. Remember, you're the one paying for all this training so it's up to you to choose who's right for you. Sounds like you found a place that is more suited to your needs.

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In case anyone is curious, this is how I am breaking down how much my PPL is going to cost. I am still not sure though since this seems pretty expensive. Costs are based in the Everett,WA area, which is still cheaper than the Seattle,WA area. Since I am 6'2" I am told that I need to rent the C172 instead of the smaller C152, and I am quoting the average hours needed from the flight instructor at the airfield (the FAA minimum is 35 hours):3rd Class Medical Exam $80.0040 hours Ground School classes $375.00FAA Written Test $70.00AOPA yearly insurance coverage $125.00AOPA yearly membership $50.00Kneeboard, charts and guides $50.00Headset $100.0060 hrs C172 rental $93/hr $5580.0040 hrs flight instruction $45/hr $1800.0015 hrs pre/post flight brfgs $45/hr $675.00FAA Practical Test $300.00 1.5 hrs dual for FAA Practical Test $207.00Total $9412.00

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Scott,Suggest you check with other flight schools in the area. Though I can't speak of the prices for your area, there are some items on your list that aren't required for a PPL, i.e., the AOPA stuff. A friend had a similar experience when a local school quoted him a similar list. He found a nearby school costing about half the price. So, check around.Dave

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