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Don't worry about how you are perceived when you walk into the flight school. Everyone was a beginner at one time or another.I was about 25 or 26 when I got my private ticket. I just went to the FBO that offered Private Pilot training at my home airport and signed up to take lessons. This was over 30 years ago, so you can imagine it is much different today. Still, the best thing to do is visit several FBOs in your area and decide which one seems to be the most "trainee" oriented. Take a "Learn to Fly" ride with a Cessna outfit and get into it!Flying is very easy and with the right CFI it can be one of the best experiences you will ever have. As to cost, many FBOs have package costs that include everything from ground school through the check ride. You can visit some of their web sites to find out particulars. You can plan on $3 to $4 thousand to get your Private license. Some might make arrangements to let you pay as you go, but that will be more expensive. If you want to pursue this in an educational institution, look for some of the "aeronautical institutes" that advertise in the various flight pubs. Also, take a look at the AOPA web site. They have a LOT of training info.Good luck to you, my young friend. You are about to enter a world that very few will ever challenge and none will master :)

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I'm not a pilot, but wanted to mention that if you sign up for a six-month trial Flight Training membership at the AOPA website (which I did recently), you can get a $49 coupon for an Introductory Flight that is honored by many FBO's.KP

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As far as buying your own plane, it depends on what you want out of it. There are an infinite combinations of aircraft out there, kitplanes where you buy a kit and put it together yourself, new planes straight from the manufacturer, and of course lots more old planes you get second hand.It's like buying a house, how do you afford the $450,000 for a 1950's 1000 sq ft 2 bed 1 bath house? Well you start with a down payment, and take out a loan, etc.You really need to fly a lot to justify buying your own aircraft. But you can get a used 172 for around $30-90,000 depending on a lot of factors, condition of engine (right after overhaul, needs overhaul, new engine, old engine, rebuilt engine, etc.), avionics (your avionics will probably cost more than the aircraft, e.g. you can put a $15,000 Garmin GNS530 in a $11,000 Cessna 152, but why?.), etc. Otherwise if you don't see your self flying several hundred hours a year, it'll be better to rent.Another option is to see if there are other people interested in owning a plane and setting up a "club" where each member owns their share of the plane, but there are perils in this setup. Don't worry about that right now.As far as how I got started, I got started flying gliders. And I thought I would just stay with gliders. So got pretty good a flying without an engine. So how hard could flying with an engine be?Gliding is more like playing chess. You're always thinking ahead to figure out how to stay in the air, where to find that thermal, figure out where the winds are so you fly on the correct side of that ridge, or looking to clues to catch the mountain waves.After I got the private single engine, got the instrument, then the commercial, then came the multi-engine , and then why not helicopters (and of course the instrument helicopter -I'm not there yet, I need to get the hovering part down- is totally different from the instrument airplane)? So aviation has turned into this big hole that money goes into. I started looking into getting a B737 type rating, but it'll be a while before I can get there. I found one place that'll do training for $65 per MINUTE of flight time in a 737-200.But everyone starts somewhere, go out to the airport, talk to the instructors out there, and invariably there will be the pilots who just hang out at the airport. Talk to them, I always like listening to the airport rats. Lots of good tall tales but equally lots of good real life lessons from mistakes they've experienced.

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Good lord .. where to start :)I guess as the Nike ads say "Just do it!". If you don't try it you will forever be second guessing yourself.Flying isn't cheap, but nothing worthwhile in life is. Depending on the flight school, the equipment and your own abilities you should plan on between $3,000 and $4,000 to complete your private certificate. The minimum requirements are around 40 flight hours to get your certificate, but most students take between 60 and 80 hours.Talk to a couple of flying schools in your area. Most offer introductory flights for around $50. The most important factor will be finding an instructor you're comfortable working with.For a couple of good online resources check out http://www.aopa.org/learntofly/ and http://www.beapilot.orgFlight sims can be really great training aids, but there's much more to flying than reading the guages. If you can't afford to get started right away, go buy a private pilot training kit. Sporty's Pilot Shop (www.sportys.com) has very good course materials. Read the books and view the lessons and integrate them into your sim flying.Finally, check those "arrogant teen" attitudes at the door. Flying is as much about good judgement as it is about stick-and-rudder skills. Be willing to learn and keep an open mind. You'll find there are a lot of folks willing to share their knowlege and experience as you move through your training.Good luck!!

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Hi there,I too started flying the summer after I turned 16; I received my private about 6 months later shortly after turning 17. I worked two part-time jobs during the summer and helped around the airport as well, that led to me working part-time as a lineman.I attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where I studied Aviation Business Management and (for a short time) Engineering. I completed my Commercial and my CFI ratings while there, then taught part-time and worked at the FBO my second year. My third and fourth year I worked full-time as a CFI and concentrated on my degree. I applied for every grant and scholarship I could find and the rest I (and my parents) just financed as best we could. After graduation I instructed for a short time, towed banners and flew sightseeing tours then flew for a small company who hauled night freight and checks as well as did day charter, mostly to and from Florida, until I landed my first

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Hi Uhclem :) where do I begin with my story, Well I guess my love of flying has been all my life, because I was flying in airplanes before I could walk. My dad was a pilot for usair but has since moved on to retirement life from airplanes. He use to take me flying with him since about a yr after I was born :) I always loved flying but I didn't want to do it for a living until I was 11 yr's old. It was a rainy day in charlotte nc and I was on my summer vacation. My dad asked me if I wanted to go with him on his 3 day trip for usair express and I jumped at the chance to go, so we loaded up and went to the airport. We got there about 7:40 am and vis was about 5 miles and overcast right at 1,000 ft or somewhere right around there, anyways we got on the plane and watch my dad who was captain at the time get everything ready for flight and then we departed, on climb out it was a little rough but nothing to bad, we got to cruise altitude at 24,000 and my dad told me to take my seatbelt off and come stand up and look out, when I did it was nothing but white carpet and blue sky for as far as I could see and that was the defining moment in my life I knew right then that this is what I want to do for a living :)Well about 3 yrs later mom and dad divorced and I had to go with my mom and move away so I didn't see my dad very much,so I didn't know what I was going to do about my dream of flying. Well after high school I worked my butt off until I was 21, then one day I was sitting in my nice office and looked around and asked myself what am I doing here. So I gave my boss a 2 weeks notice and my journey began :) I tried for several months to find ways to pay for my training. One day I stumbled across a student loan program through sallie mae and thats how I got in to north american institute of aviation. I was there for a year and got my private instrutment when they lost there right to take goverment loans, So I had to leave but I did get almost 20,000.00 in training for free long story but that worked out :) Now the hard part trying to find somebody to take a student almost done with his 141 training and a student loan(not that easy) I found 1 school that would take me and that was flight safety academy :) the gave me my commercial multi instrutment,crm training course and upset and recovery traing :) I finished sept of last year. I got my single commercial in january and now i'am flying part time as a jump pilot and also working as a security officer right now :) I wish I could have done the cfi thing but just didnt have the money. Oh well sorry this is so long but thought I would tell my story :) All I can say Uhclem is if there is a will there's a way. If I was you i would take some traing at your local fbo and get your private at home, then try to go to a big school if you want to. Because it wil save you some time and money :) I hoped I helped

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Hi,As some others have already stated, this is a very intense topic for those of us that have gotten our "wings". I'm most likely repeating other's comments, but here are some pointers:1. Regarding your FS experience, whether you are a virtual "captain" of a B777, or still progressing through the "licenses" that FS offers in adventures: Firstly your FS experience will help with the very basic interpretation of flight instruments (which is why FS will become invaluable later on when you do your instrument rating), but expect the real thing to be a very humbling experience. There are so many more variables to have to take care of in the real world that it will appear as overload at first (even if you are a "United B777 captain".2. Flying is (to me) the ultimate in constant challenges and confrontation with your own abilities. Expect to reach plateaus where things don't get better (or even appear to get worse) from time to time. It gets very frustrating. You have to really want to fly to put up with all that, and the cost isn't cheap either.3. Cost wise- my C172SP rents for $93 an hour (say $100). You'll legally require 40 hours ($4,000), but more likely need at least 60 hours, and that could easily get to 80 (and you'd still be in that "normal" region). $6,000-$8,000. CFI's come usually at $30-$40 an hour, you'll legally require 20 hours with one, plus more hours to be re-current for various phases in your training.4. Cost wise again- once you have your license, unless you never plan to use it again it doesn't stop there either. You then have to keep current, and that means flying every week or so. That's still at the $100 / hour rate too. When you get certificated you'll think you "know it all", as you can now legally be "captain" :). However, as you keep flying afterwards and maybe do other licenses or ratings, you'll find out just how much you didn't know when you got your license. So, constant practice becomes paramount.5. And for all the above issues, you do get a reward. It's the ability and privilege to go fly under your own command, and it's a thrill that I can't even begin to express in words. It's worth every penny and hour of sweat that you put into it. And if you don't mess up, you have it for life (other than medical issues), requiring only recurrency requirements.I would echo some other statements here. Be really choosy about a flight school, try and talk to some folks where you live that might know if the schools there are good or not so. Get a recommendation. And before you sign up, go talk to a CFI there, and be really sure that you can bond with this person, as he/she and you will need to become "as one" in your dual hours. I would also recommend going for a Third Class medical (your CFI can recommend a doctor). I've know people that have put in those hours of sweat and $$, only to find out that they have a disqualifying medical issue. Some medical issues have you right out of flying as PIC at the get-go. If you're taking, or have taken, non-prescription drugs then also seek advice from an FAA medical examiner up front.Good luck with your endeavors. Keep us posted on how this works out!Bruce.

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Well, I have to say, I didn't expect such a positive response. Thanks for all your wisdom guys.I'm going to be checking out my local flight school in a few weeks, take my orientation flight, and if all goes well, start ground school. Maybe some of you guys know the place, its Midfield Aviation, located on the Apple Valley Airport in California. Unfortunately, they only have 5 planes for rent, though, each at about 60 dollars an hour so it seems pretty reasonable. From the 150, the 152, the 172, the Piper Archer, and the Decathlon I

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Well, I am 17 right now and am about to get my private license. One thing I can tell you is it is WAY different from FS. Sure, the VORs act the same and the radios do the same thing... the land layout is pretty accurate, but aside from that I cannot compare the two... If money is an issue, train in a 152. It has just the right amount of 'gadgets' needed for a student pilot. Once you get your ticket, get checked out in a 172 and above!

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This tragic situation with your father's friend brings up a point that I don't remember seeing here and that is your own flight physical. Before you go much further, contact a flight physician and get your class 3 medical out of the way. Make sure you can physically qualify before you invest time and money in learning to fly. You cannot get a student ticket without the physical.Also, the best trainer is a good ol' 152. They are twitchy as h#$% but really provide the best platform for basic flight training. They are simple to fly, provide the navigation instruments you will need to know and will not let you down. I did my ppl in a 150 and then type-rated to a 172 for my commercial and instrument.A lot of arguing goes on for high wing (Cessna) vs low wing (Piper, etc) for basic flight training and I favor the high wing airplanes because of their stability and overall view out of the cockpit. Sure, when you turn, the wing gets in the view but overall, the high wing is better to me. Anyway, the best of luck to you and as other's have said, keep us posted. The experience will be one of the best you will ever have. Many of us envy your youth and the world you have ahead of you.

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G'DayIm only 16 and have logged 1hours in a C172M. Ive completed my first solo (1st Mat this year). The point is that you can start very young.In my case, Ive got myself a job and have paid my own way to get my licences. I havent got my PPl yet but am slowly working on it. It all comes down to money really. I for one can only afford a lesson every 2 months (there abouts) as it costs $180 an hour here in Australia. If your really keen, just go for it. All you have to do is look around at your local flying schools and get the prices. See what the instructors are like and make a decision on what one you want to be a part of. As for buying a plane. I cant really answer that. I went to the International Airshow at Avalon (melbourne) earlier this year and was told that a Cessna 182 with everything in it would cost about $660,000AUS. (I dont think Ill be getting one anytime soon) lol.Hope this helps you mate.Good luck.Ryan

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Well I think its a great move to get into flying at such a young age. I did it myself and received my ppl at 17. I have been flying for 8 years now and fly as co-captain on Gulfstream series jets, and captain on Cessna Citations. The biggest hurdle in flying is actually getting off your rear and going to do it. I grew up in a family of aviators dating back all the way to the early 1920's. It was a fairly natural step for myself, however probably harder for me than it would be for you, due to the fact that every pilot in the family had to throw their 2 cents in. As far as paying for mine, I worked at the FBO I learned at and traded work for flight time. It worked out good for when there would be dead time and I was able to hop in the plane and go. As far as the aircraft you wish to train in, my flight school never had cessnas, they were all pipers. In light of what I know now, and having flown both, I would reccomend that anyone who is training for a PPL start with a 152. Like someone said in an earlier post, you truely get a feeling for flight in one. The problem that I do see though is that you have alot of confidence in your ability already having not even stepped into a cockpit. Sure there are some similarities with FS and flying, but the biggest thing you will come to notice is the speed at which things will happen, even in the 152. Flying in the real world adds a third dimension. That is one thing that is impossible to duplicate on a PC. The best thing you can do to help yourself in your training is to completely forget all that you think you may know and walk in there with a clean slate, pen, paper, and the attitude of I am here to learn something. The rest of the stuff will come in time, dont try to rush or jump ahead of yourself when applying what you think you know on your computer to your real world flying, its a quick way to get hurt. Something I will reccomend to you, is that you look into purchasing a set of Gleim's manuals to prepare yourself for your written test. Its a good set of study material, but it wont suffice for enrolling into a good ground school. I along with everyone else here, wish you the best of luck in all this, if you keep up your enthusiasm, you will do just fine....Max JaquesATPGulfstream 1159,IV,VCE-500

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