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Pilot License Tips?

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Hi peops, I was going to add this to another post "Back to the Basics" but thought it would have better success as a new post (plus easier for people to find in a search).I have been contemplating getting my PPL (Private Pilot License) for years and even when I had the money something would come up or it was just needed elsewhere, more. This probably won't happen until NEXT fall, or at best next spring. But, I was wondering what others might have for advice for new up and coming pilots, or what you would have done differently if anything when you went for yours?A couple years ago I bought a couple sets of DVD's from Sporty's Pilot shop. I got the Private Pilot and the Instrument Pilot dvd sets. They are great dvd's and offer lots of advice but mainly emphasis on shopping around before settling on a school. This I now know and already know where I'm going to train (Eagle East, North Andover, MA, USA). At least that's what I planned after looking around a couple years ago so that may still change my mind. For me I just liked the instructor. I just hit it off with him and we seemed to share the same frame of mind (I know, scary thought) and I had a great experience in a free intro flight.So that said, I would appreciate what others that have already got their license would recommend or as I mentioned "do differently". Anything at all, but to kick it off, here are a couple questions.* Prices of course vary based on the aircraft you'll be training in and most places do their training in C152's or maybe even cubs. I plan on doing mine in a C-172M, is there a reason I shouldn't other than the cost? It should run a little over $5,000.00, but will probably get a good discount (since I've plumbed some of their houses :(). * I read all the time people saying how simmers have no clue to what piloting is really like. I don't pay any attention to these since I normally see such comments on youtube. Do instructors think this way? I would think a simmer would have a step up in most ways. I'm sure with the inertia and just the reality of it all is quite an awakening but the things I've learned about flight, instruments, and just terminology I would think would be more than a good headstart, right?I also bought the Flight Simmers Bible a few months ago and was enjoying it until my sisters dogs got a hold of it. I plan on getting another, unless you think it's a waste. From what I read was good, except most of the downloads they talk about don't seem to be around anymore.* The closest thing to a pilots license I have is my Scuba cert. That meaning with Scuba if I don't dive for a year or two some places recommend you take a refresher. If I got my license would I need to fly X amount of hours to keep it?* And just for curiosity, do you own or rent? I highly doubt I will ever be able to afford my own aircraft and even a ultralight seems out of reach. I think the rental rates are pretty cheap so that is the way I think I'll go. What about you? Own, Rent or flying club? (Personally, I don't like the idea of a shared aircraft, but that's just me).* Anything else you feel like writing, since I'm sure I don't even know the best questions to be asking (which is another reason for this post, <grin>).


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Dan Prunier

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Dan, pursuing actual flight training is one of the coolest things out there. I wish you the best of luck with your instruction. A few points:-As to where you are flying, I fly at at local flying club that rents at cost. As such, the rates are far lower than most other locations. The downside is that there are no "new" aircraft.-Find an instructor that has a good teaching style. There are plenty of instructors out there who are excellent pilots and friendly people who don't have good teaching styles. The CFI I fly with the most is a band instructor at a local high school, and he knows exactly how to teach people complex tasks.-Another word on instructors: Make sure you fly your first couple lessons with the same guy. That way, any experience you have in FS can carry over. If you impress one CFI, and then fly with another, you are going to have to demonstrate that you know the basics again. Sort of playing the system, but it works to your benefit.-Also on the topic of FS: Don't let anyone tell you different, FS can give you a huge jump start on your flight training. Online communities like VATSIM are a huge help in dealing with the ATC system. My first lesson, I did all the radio comms. The only thing to be watch out for is gauge watching. In FS, it is very easy to get accustomed to using the gauges a your primary reference to the state of the aircraft. When training for your private, it is hugely important that you keep your eyes outside the cockpit and fly with minimal reference to the gauges. Most climb/turn attitudes are referenced by the sight picture. Personally, I find flying in real life easier than in the sim. Your inner ear can help you, as can the physical feed back from the yoke. That's something you don't get in the sim.-On aircraft selection: For training, the 152 is easier to fly, and specifically, easier to land. There is a rather specific reason I have been told and that is this: In a 152 on a training flight, you are much closer to MTOW, and as such, control inputs tend to rotate the aircraft around it's datum more before you see a response in the actual flight path. I logged my first 7 hours or so in a 152, and this is noticeable, especially on rotation, as you rotate, and the aircraft will roll on the mains. A Skyhawk won't do that on a training flight. You will rotate and the aircraft will be airborne immediately. The Skyhawk climbs faster, cruises a little faster, and lands about 5 kts faster. If you choose a Skyhawk, wait until you have a few hours under your belt, then bring a friend/relative along for a lesson, and have them ride in the back. The difference in handling characteristics is amazing. You noted you are going to be in 172Ms, which if memory serves me correctly, have flaps 40 on them. Apparently these can bite you if you have a flap failure (which has happened to a friend of mine). What ever you choose, that entire part of the Cessna line is filled with great trainers. They all should serve you well.-Currency: According to the FAA, once you have your license, you simply need to pass a flight review every 2 years to keep it. To carry passengers, you must have flown 3 take offs and 3 landings in the past 90 days. Individual club and FBO rules vary and may be more strict.If you've got any other questions, feel free to ask, and I'm sure someone will be willing to answer!


Joe Sherrill

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Hi Dan,Getting your PPL is a great idea! I have PPL and am now studying for CPL in Australia so the prices and rules may vary from CASA to the FAA, however im pretty certain that once you have your licence you have it permanently however it is necessary to take a refresher every 90 days, at least thats what my flight school recommend i encourage all other pilots to fly in a 30 day period though as you maintain currency alot easier over a 30 day period as opposed to a 90 day period after 30 days your stale, after 90 well who knows as i fly all the time i wouldnt know!!The cost is pretty well spot on with what you said i spent roughly $7000 AU however i had already been flying for 4 months in a sportstar and cub before i made the transition to the C172. as far as i know even though the exchange rate is roughly 80c to the dollar ATM that does not affect your prices over there in the slightest so id say probably about $3500 american dollars is what i spent on my PPL but that was AFTER i had been flying recreational for some time so the skills were there to build on not to learn from scratch.I think the C172 is a wonderful bird i greatly prefer it to say a piper arrow for example its absolutely personal preference though alot of pilots ive spoken to have said the complete opposite, but i for one just find it a more stable aircraft and is i believe more comfortable to fly in many ways. My advice is to learn in what will be the most cost effective if money is tight and then you can always get rated on other aircraft afterwards for only a few hours dependant on which aircraft it is. (please bare with me yanks as this is all ozzie info it could be different where you are) Now as for having prior knowledge due to simming, heres my 2 cents and it is absolutley that just my opinion everyone has a different point of view and that is to be taken into consideration and respected aswell. Here goes, simming i believe does have an impact on flying a real aircraft but not in the way alot of people imagine, for example when i took my first flight i thought sure i know all the checklists and i can start this thing with no help from the instructor what so ever, that may be the case but you never have things in simming like cold starts and flooding etc. simming can greatly improve aircraft knowledge and familiarization with systems switches and also what the gauges are and what they do, it can also provide good prior knowledge for ground theory as you need to know the ins and outs of aerodynamics and other things too like NAV & MET. However in my opinion simming lacks but one critical feature which i personally believe makes up 80% of flying.... FEEL, flying is very much about feeling knowing bump from bump as you fly through the air and knowing when your bird is ready to fly at takeoff or be brought back to the earth in a hold off. you get to know aircraft you feel them hear them smell them and with time and practice you learn what feels right and wrong, this is something i do not believe simming can reproduce with any amount of butt kickers or track ir or triple head 2 go's or anything for that matter it is purely something you get with experience and it is crucial to flying well.All that said i think flying is wonderful it is not simming nor is simming flying they are i believe 2 completetley different entities that have their own benefits and connect sometimes through their common relationship to the task. they can help each other but when i started flying i treated that as flying it was pleasureable and serious in its own right, and simming was simming both fun and creative.i know i rambling so ill end on this, go for it get you PPL if you have the money youll be proud to say your a pilot and you will always cherish the memories you gain, my CFI once said to me while taking me for a cruise at 500 ft along the coast of South Adelaide "this is a view only ever experienced by the privleged few" Good luck Dan take care and fly safe!-Dan Parker

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-Also on the topic of FS: Don't let anyone tell you different, FS can give you a huge jump start on your flight training. Online communities like VATSIM are a huge help in dealing with the ATC system. My first lesson, I did all the radio comms. The only thing to be watch out for is gauge watching. In FS, it is very easy to get accustomed to using the gauges a your primary reference to the state of the aircraft. When training for your private, it is hugely important that you keep your eyes outside the cockpit and fly with minimal reference to the gauges. Most climb/turn attitudes are referenced by the sight picture. Personally, I find flying in real life easier than in the sim. Your inner ear can help you, as can the physical feed back from the yoke. That's something you don't get in the sim.-Currency: According to the FAA, once you have your license, you simply need to pass a flight review every 2 years to keep it. To carry passengers, you must have flown 3 take offs and 3 landings in the past 90 days. Individual club and FBO rules vary and may be more strict.
Absolutely agree on the FS, i remember my instructor saying to me so many times "ATTITUDE WATCH THE HORIZON!!!" DONT CHASE THE GAUGES!!" ha haas for the currency thanks for clearing that up as i didnt know.-Dan Parker

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Thanks a ton guys! Really glad I posted this since your posts have some awesome and greatly appreciated points!I realise all the toys and gadgets only add to the simmers immersion and although they do make things "more realistic" they don't necessarily make them realistic,,, if that makes sence. The buttkicker has been back in it's box since my rommies don't enjoy the vibrations at 4am, but the triplehead2go and my screens do give me more field of view than my old res. Again though, I know none of it makes it any more "real" :wink:It's funny you mention it about the gauges. Lately I've logged about 100hrs simming and once I'm wheels up I've had my view only on my instruments until approaching DH. I've been trying to finish a spreadsheet on short flights around the states for IFR peops (VOR to VOR). I look forward to the "feel of it" taking precedence over my current habits. Especially after watching the dvd's and reading what I did in the book with looking out for other aircraft. I know that sounds obvious and I know it is, but sometimes I wondered, "When do pilots have time to actually look outside?" haha. You can probably tell I really enjoy flying IFR.Even if FS didn't mean anything to real flying, the fact that I know what every button, dial, knob, etc... is, does and how to use it, I think alone is a huge plus. I just worry more about bad habits like you mentioned haha.I'm not sure about the instructors "teaching style" though. I mean that to me seems like something I probably won't see until after I'm waste deep invested in an instructor. I know exactly what you mean about knowledge vs teaching and have tons of friends that should be teachers and the one that actually does teach (not flying) really shouldn't haha.I hope once I get licensed I'll be able to keep flying (afford it) and continue my education. I reallllly want my IFR cert more than anything. I can't see going higher than that for me but envy all those with your CPL! I have a CDL with all the endorsements, motor cycle license and Master Scuba, but would trade them all for my IFR right now :Big Grin:Thanks again, Joeseph and Dan, this info is great and I even copied it to a word doc just in case I lose my internet (gatta have your contingency plans :().I do have a couple follow up questions that your answer made me think of.* Mentioned above and a term I'm slightly familiar with, the term of being checked out on an aircraft. I always thought of it as if I was licensed on say a C-172, I would be able to rent something in it's class and below. I'm now thinking this isn't correct. As for "Checkout", is this something added to your license like say Hazmat or airbrakes is to a CDL? Or down the road do you just tell them you've already been checked out on it? Also, if it is a similar aircraft would it just be a matter of renting the aircraft to be checked out on and paying for the instructors time? As you can see, I'm clueless here.* Great,,, now my minds blank,,, I had an important question but now I'm drawing a blank :( (will be back).Thanks again guys, really appreciate you taking the time on this!


i9 10920x @ 4.8 ~ MSI Creator x299 ~ 256 Gb 3600 G.Skill Trident Z Royal ~ EVGA RTX 2080ti ~ Sim drive = M.2  2-TB ~ OS drive = M.2 is 512-gb ~ 5 other Samsung Pro/Evo mix SSD's ~ EVGA 1600w ~ Win 10 Pro

Dan Prunier

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Here is what I would have done differently. I would have saved up more money before starting. IT was a pain having a month btwn flights at times. Everyone has hit the nail on the head about all the other nuances. When it comes to simming, It helps tremendously when starting IFR. It can get your scan cemented into your head and can help you holding and flying approaches and all that jazz. When it comes to vfr.....well ehh. You cant feel what the plane is doing in the sim. You cant feel the control forces and at times it keeps you from looking outside the aircraft.When it comes to looking outside of the aircraft in the real world, it will be weird at first but think of driving a car. You dont keep your head in the dash the whole time do you? No, You keep your eyes outside the car and glance in every once in a while. The same is true in vfr flying. Only look at your instruments to check altitude and to cross check what you SEE outside the airplane.


FAA: ATP-ME

Matt kubanda

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Hey Dan i recently started my flight training with a flight school where i live. I have flown sim for quite awhile. It really does help i can attest to that. But really do watch out for gauge watching i have caught myself doing that very much. My suggestion try and fly atleast twice a week. I am soloing with only 10 hrs the national average is 15-20. Alot of that is due to my instructor being able to relate with me and also haveing some idea of what to do because of vatsim and flight simulation. Also ENLOY IT! Its by far the most fun thing i have ever done.Best of luck

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Thanks Matthew and Tyson, I think the comparison to driving a car is great. I guess I just don't fly much VFR in the sim so normally wont see anything if I did, at least not with the lighter aircraft. I do practive my VFR approaches a lot, and try to use the papi lights by feel alone. Feel of course meaning trying to wait for my current throttle setting to take effect rather than add more (I think it's referred to as ballooning). That alone took me a long time to learn even in the sim. I always wanted to pull back or increase throttle more rather than wait for the my plane to just rise on it's own. IFR I can maintain glideslope muchhhh better than watching the papi's in the sim, that probably has a lot to do with what a lot of you said about the feel. Tyson, I wish I could afford to fly once a week, let alone twince a week, haha. If I had my license right now I would only be able to afford once a month at best, and that might involve skipping a meal here and there :(. That's another reason this won't happen for a few months. I agree with Matthew on saving. I actually did once enroll in flight school back in Florida in 1988 and they took payments and I never did much of anything. Eagle East as well as many training places offer discounts on how much you pay up front and I'm not going to start until I have at least 70%. That way even if something comes up I will still finish it since there is no way I'll let that $3,000 get wasted :wink:One thing I no longer regret is some things I bought years ago. I have two kneeboards and some pilot protractors. The kneeboards are good quality with lighting, pencil holder etc. I use to use them simming but not for a while. I just looked online and can see after all these years one of the ones I have would still be my top choice :Big Grin:Thanks guys!


i9 10920x @ 4.8 ~ MSI Creator x299 ~ 256 Gb 3600 G.Skill Trident Z Royal ~ EVGA RTX 2080ti ~ Sim drive = M.2  2-TB ~ OS drive = M.2 is 512-gb ~ 5 other Samsung Pro/Evo mix SSD's ~ EVGA 1600w ~ Win 10 Pro

Dan Prunier

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* Mentioned above and a term I'm slightly familiar with, the term of being checked out on an aircraft.
Checkout goes into your logbook, it is not a license.Basically anytime you want to fly something new you have to get checked-out. You will also need a checkout after a long period of inactivity. Also, there may be a more serious checkout - like getting 'endorsement' to fly higher performance aircraft with constant prop, etc. You may also need a checkout whenever you go to a new club - the don't know you and may need to look closer at your flying skills. This is done to satisfy insurance requirements.The worst thing is to over-analyze selection of club/instructor. Just go to your local club and meet some instructor and start flying. The chances are overwhelming that it will be a fine instructor. But you definitely need funds - it makes no sense to start flying if you really can't afford it.I learned primarily from books but some prefer video courses, it is a personal choice.

Michael J.

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Im glad I could help Dan! One other thing. Trim is your best friend. When you get into the real plane, trimming takes on a whole new meaning when you can actually feel what it is doing. Also to look into the future, I seriously recommend getting at least your PPL and your IFR rating. With the IFR, you are a better and more precise pilot and insurance payments are usually lower for a pilot who is IFR rated. Like I say, VFR can get you there but IFR can get you back. Good luck and keep us updated.


FAA: ATP-ME

Matt kubanda

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Thanks Michael, I figured the bigger ones would need aditional instruction too such as flight hours logged with an instructor or similar, thus more costs etc. I'm glad they aren't additional licenses since that could get pretty expensive. I know when I get my license I would want to get checked out on the limited aircraft available for rentals so the odds of being able to fly a day that I want will increase and would stink to only be able to fly the 172 and then show up and find out the only one they had was just rented or something. Thanks for the info!Thanks again Matthew. Trim is the one thing I've been looking forward to in the real deal since that is probably the main thing in simming that annoys me trying to fine tune and I wish they made something like a wheel that had resistance to help simulate the tightness I imagine you would feel in an actual plane. I know I want IFR in the long run, but will definitely be skipping Recreation pilot and doing the PPL course, then later do my IFR. I'm assuming there isn't a course anyway straight thru from ground pounder (no license) to IFR pilot. I imagine that you need a certain amount of hours before going for IFR? I remember going up in a friends plane and he had a face shield on the floor. It looked like a welders mask that basically cut off his field of view and was cut out just to see the instruments, he said it was for his IFR training. He'd been flying for years and never got it. I want to get it as quick as possible once I get my PPL but of course money will be the deciding factor.Thanks again guys!


i9 10920x @ 4.8 ~ MSI Creator x299 ~ 256 Gb 3600 G.Skill Trident Z Royal ~ EVGA RTX 2080ti ~ Sim drive = M.2  2-TB ~ OS drive = M.2 is 512-gb ~ 5 other Samsung Pro/Evo mix SSD's ~ EVGA 1600w ~ Win 10 Pro

Dan Prunier

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I was attending a flying lesson given to me as a birthday present. The plane, a Piper Archer. The instructor asked me if I had any experience flying an airplane? No, I told him, but I use Fsx very often. Ok Then you have some kind of experience and know All the gauges. Lets go flying, he Said. Then he let me perform takeoff and landing and some cool steep turns. It was so much fun! I'm looking foreward to the day I Can afford a PPL, but in Denmark the price is 80.000-100.000 DKR which is approx 15.500 USD.


Heino Nikolaisen

 

Copenhagen

Denmark

 

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but in Denmark the price is 80.000-100.000 DKR which is approx 15.500 USD.
Wow! You'd be better off flying here, getting a Suite at the Hilton and taking your lessons and flying back 1st class for that price!Back when I was going to do it, I was living in Florida and the cost was $1,800.00. The cost here in Massachusetts was somewhere above $3,000.00 at the same time, nearly double. This was back in 1988.This brings up an interesting question for the more knowledgable,,, is a PPL transferable? Meaning is it valid internationally? If someone got there license in the UK could they rent a plane and fly it here in the US and vice versa?

i9 10920x @ 4.8 ~ MSI Creator x299 ~ 256 Gb 3600 G.Skill Trident Z Royal ~ EVGA RTX 2080ti ~ Sim drive = M.2  2-TB ~ OS drive = M.2 is 512-gb ~ 5 other Samsung Pro/Evo mix SSD's ~ EVGA 1600w ~ Win 10 Pro

Dan Prunier

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I haven't looked into the cost of getting a PPL but I thought it was around 8-10,000$? I could be very wrong though

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* I read all the time people saying how simmers have no clue to what piloting is really like. I don't pay any attention to these since I normally see such comments on youtube. Do instructors think this way? I would think a simmer would have a step up in most ways. I'm sure with the inertia and just the reality of it all is quite an awakening but the things I've learned about flight, instruments, and just terminology I would think would be more than a good headstart, right?
This is what I have also gone through and there are a lot of (mostly slightly arrogant) people who will try to tell you simming is good for nothing. OTOH I am convinced most of these folks obvioulsy don't have the slightest idea about what sims are doing nowadays in turn.
-Also on the topic of FS: Don't let anyone tell you different, FS can give you a huge jump start on your flight training. Online communities like VATSIM are a huge help in dealing with the ATC system. My first lesson, I did all the radio comms. The only thing to be watch out for is gauge watching. In FS, it is very easy to get accustomed to using the gauges a your primary reference to the state of the aircraft. When training for your private, it is hugely important that you keep your eyes outside the cockpit and fly with minimal reference to the gauges. Most climb/turn attitudes are referenced by the sight picture. Personally, I find flying in real life easier than in the sim. Your inner ear can help you, as can the physical feed back from the yoke. That's something you don't get in the sim.
Now as for having prior knowledge due to simming, heres my 2 cents and it is absolutley that just my opinion everyone has a different point of view and that is to be taken into consideration and respected aswell. Here goes, simming i believe does have an impact on flying a real aircraft but not in the way alot of people imagine, for example when i took my first flight i thought sure i know all the checklists and i can start this thing with no help from the instructor what so ever, that may be the case but you never have things in simming like cold starts and flooding etc. simming can greatly improve aircraft knowledge and familiarization with systems switches and also what the gauges are and what they do, it can also provide good prior knowledge for ground theory as you need to know the ins and outs of aerodynamics and other things too like NAV & MET. However in my opinion simming lacks but one critical feature which i personally believe makes up 80% of flying.... FEEL, flying is very much about feeling knowing bump from bump as you fly through the air and knowing when your bird is ready to fly at takeoff or be brought back to the earth in a hold off. you get to know aircraft you feel them hear them smell them and with time and practice you learn what feels right and wrong, this is something i do not believe simming can reproduce with any amount of butt kickers or track ir or triple head 2 go's or anything for that matter it is purely something you get with experience and it is crucial to flying well.
Can only agree to most of what has been written above. I have been simming for about a decade before officially starting flight training (I did a single flight every once in a while but those were just for fun and not logged). That way I went to flight school with these years of simming plus those few real C152/C172 flights plus a number of full flight sim flights in jet aircraft. I can only assure you simming has helped from day 1 up to the day I left school with PPL plus quite a bit more.
Hey Dan i recently started my flight training with a flight school where i live. I have flown sim for quite awhile. It really does help i can attest to that. But really do watch out for gauge watching i have caught myself doing that very much. My suggestion try and fly atleast twice a week. I am soloing with only 10 hrs the national average is 15-20. Alot of that is due to my instructor being able to relate with me and also haveing some idea of what to do because of vatsim and flight simulation.
Absolutely right. Would have to check for exact numbers but I soloed in even less back then and I will say simming has helped to save significant $ after all (but still you need to fly at least minimum hours, obviously). Nevertheless you can advance way more quickly through the lessons and actually concentrate on the more fun things way earlier instead of doing some basic stuff and fly millions of traffic patterns over and over again just because it's all new to you. The sim simply is a great training tool if used wisely, and I only mean, not just playing it like a game but I am sure you know what I am trying to say here.The only downside might indeed be that you develop bad habits. As long as you stay flexible in your mind though, you will still be able to adapt quickly once sitting in the real deal. Trimming etc will just be a matter of feeling, as will landings be and so on. In the sim you have to rely on your eyes 100% unless you have a motion platform. In the real deal you get one quite important additional sense - your whole body. Indeed, like it's been said above, I also find a number of things so much easier when actually flying compared to simming. The 180° field of view that your eyes provide (aren't they great tools...), the motions and also the sounds will let you know what the aircraft is doing so much faster and more intense than it could ever be in a desktop sim. But that will only help you after all!Edit:Oh, and as to your new question, licenses are not completely transferable at all times. I for one could go to the US but they would have to transcribe the license to a US one in some way. Don't think it's a great deal, although I really don't quite know how it actually works. I think I'd have to write a test in at least US air law maybe...!? Believe I have heard something like that. Also I believe if you come here with your US license you can only fly N-registered aircraft. But there is quite a number of them even for rent because people love to do their PPL in the US... go figure Big%20Grin.gifsig.gif

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