Sunday, October 22, 2006

Progress and Plan

I've started to enter my personal flight lesson journals as I discussed on October 20, and will enter more as I have time. I'm going more or less chronologically and have so far entered the few introductory flights and lessons I took in "phase 1" (1997-1998) and the few more lessons I took in 1999 when I started to make some progress in landings before other priorities (such as a new house) took over my time and budget (phase 2). Phase 3 started in June 2000 and ended in May 2001 when I passed my private pilot check ride.

I've also decided that since this is something of a flying blog, I will also eventually add some notes about flight sims (which I used quite a bit as a supplement to my lessons, VOR practice, cross country flight rehearsal, etc.) and maybe even some incidental materials on studying for the written test, buying and using equipment, interesting flight experiences, and perhaps a couple of posts on air shows.

So stay tuned... I know I will (probably).
  • Phase 1 (1997-1998) - Done (intro flights and lessons 1-6)
  • Phase 2 (1999) - Done (lessons 7-14 with Kern Buck)
  • Phase 3 (2000-2001) - In work (lessons mostly at Worcester up to check ride)

Friday, October 20, 2006

INTRODUCTION: So what's up with this?

On the off chance that someone other than me is reading this...

I took flight lessons (mostly in Massachusetts, a few in Los Angeles and Germany) on and off from 1997 to 2001 when I finally got my private pilot's license. During that time I kept detailed notes on my flight lessons and studies, in part to help me better understand and retain what I learned, and in part because I was interested in the learning process itself. I was forty-something, and although I had spent some time flying Piper Cubs as a teen in Civil Air Patrol, and had played with a lot of flight simulators in the mid-nineties, I had no recent experience flying airplanes, and I suspected from my flight sim experience that I was not going to be a "natural pilot." But I had wanted to be a pilot since I was nine years old and I wanted the challenge.

I have not flown very much since getting my license in 2001, sad to say. Life got in the way (business travel, kids, layoffs, the usual things). I keep thinking I will get back into it, and have tried several times, but something always comes up (and New England weather doesn't help much). These days I'm again playing with sims, mostly with Orbiter, a free space flight simulator that I often write about in my original blog Music of the Spheres. I'm hoping that putting this journal on line (gradually, with minor edits) will inspire me to really get back into real flying. We shall see.

I plan to apply my original flight journal dates to these posts, so they will start in 1997 - hence the title "Flight School Retrojournal." It's mostly for me, but if you're a student pilot or flight sim fan and you get some inspiration ("hey, at least I never did that") or tips from it, cool. Some of these notes have been on line for years in a somewhat different form at MiGMan's Flight Sim Museum (where for reasons that are hard to explain I go by the name "Chino"). My friend MiGMan's site is really cool if you are into flight sims or aviation history - check it out.