04 – Itching to get up in the air! (16th May)

It’s been nearly a month since my first flight… I’m no nearer to getting back in the air as work has been incredibly busy, and most weekends have been filled up helping out with wedding preparations for my brother-in-law and his bride-to-be (the wonderful Rosie aka Secret Santa who contributed towards my intial flying lesson).

I’ve immersed myself in all things aviation. I’ve been watching plenty of videos on YouTube including one of fellow PTT student Khalid Nazar completing his first ever solo circuit with PTT Aviation — the smile on his face as he takes off is just brilliant (skip to 3'50'’).

Khalid Nazar on his first solo circuit with PTT at Leeds Bradford

I’ve joined the ‘GA — General Aviation Group’ on Facebook, a super friendly bunch with a couple of current/former PTT students, and I’ve also received few invites to go along as a passenger on upcoming PPL flights. I’ve really been astonished by the generosity and support of the group, even more reason to love the idea of gaining my PPL. Beyond that, they were all really encouraging about documenting my PPL journey with many remarking they wished they’d done the same… so if anyone is bored to death with this blog already, you have the GA group to blame.

Despite the relative expense involved with gaining a PPL, it hasn’t deterred me from being frugal. Ebay has been great for used textbooks in generally good condition (some of the pages have already been highlighted as well — time saving!), so I’ve been spending few hours each week reading various chapters and piecing the information together.

A lot of pilots mention their fear of the radio when they first take to the skies. With this in mind and from the outside looking in, it probably sounds like a sad way to spend your time listening to ATC recordings on YouTube (usually while doing the wahsing up) but the sound of the radio & instructions issued are already starting to make some sense.. if only they could talk a little bit slower! There are plenty of reviews for the Jeremy M. Pratt books on Amazon but I can definitely recommend them. Double check you’re getting the most recent edition if purchasing used as there have been several editions of each book.

The chapters on communications are worth taking your time over!
‘Leaving the zone via Menwith’ in a Piper PA28 Warrior

Apart from reading books, watching videos and dreaming about being back in the Piper PA28 in the skies above Yorkshire, I’ve been spending a little bit of time in X-Plane 11. I found some used controls on eBay (Yoke, throttle quadrant and rudder pedals) so I’ve been practising take-offs and landings from Leeds Bradford, leaving via the various zones (as you would be instructed by Leeds Radar). I’ve managed to find a free scenery add-on which includes the golf balls at Menwith Hill (one of the visual reference points ‘VRP’s for Leeds zone) as well as a few other features such as the mast at Stainburn Forest.

Logitech Pro Saitek Flight Yoke and Throttle Quadrant

When I mentioned flight simulators to Martyn in my first lesson, he groaned and said that he wasn’t the biggest fan “a lot of students develop bad habits with flight simulators”. He went on “they spend all their time with their gaze on the instruments and then when they fly in real life they do the same. There’s far more out there which’ll hurt you than there is inside this cockpit”. He explained a little bit more that although there is some basic IFR (instrument flight rules) training included in the PPL sylabus, it’s more precautionary training for bad weather/if the pilot gets lost/to assist with navigation. Other than that, PPL pilots must fly visual ‘VFR’ until such a time as they gain their instrument rating.

View from the pilots seat, re-entering the Leeds Zone via Menwith.

I know Martyn is probably going to bollock me for trying to run before I can walk, but it’s going to be a little while (a few months perhaps?) before I can get a good run at a block of lessons and get some substantial hours under my belt. A few things need taking care of before I can commit to routine lessons, so all of this revision, learning and practice is about putting my time to good use, making sure I’m not going to bail when I struggle with the concept of a ‘whiz-wheel’ flight computer (bloody confusing things they are!) and generally trying to be as prepared as possible when the time comes to put all my energy into the PPL.

Hopefully I’ll have more to report on in the next few weeks as I’ll try and make time to take up one of the kind offers of a passenger flight from one of the GA community.

If you’ve read this far and are enjoying the blog or would like to suggest a particular theme/topic for me to consider during my training, then I would genuinely love to hear your feedback. Feel free to leave a comment or drop me a message. Thanks for reading. Pw

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