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Back to the Cockpit

DharanFlyer

Active member
#1
Before reading; possibly oversharing of personal information, but I feel that this is one of the best communities I am part of and want to share here.

So after some soul searching and talking it over with my wife I am excited to say that I am going to go back to my training for commercial piloting.

I have been unsatisfied for a while and kept wheeling around trying to figure out what I needed to be happy. After really thinking on it and contemplating all parts of my life I've realized it's due to my job. While I am good at it and love the people I work with I am just not cut out to be a desk jockey.

I've lamented on here before about my own decision earlier in life to change out of flight training and go into a safer career path so I won't rehash it again. Enough to say that I am going to rectify that now. The office I work at is moving so my wife and I have been looking at moving for a few months now and we've been lucky enough to have bought at a low point in the market and done some improvements to the house that will allow us to not only slightly upgrade our house and remain neutral in payments, but also pay off a chunk of debt in the process.

The area we are looking at (Sugar Grove, IL) is miles from KARR and one of the FBO's there is JA Flight. They have a full program through Commercial and guarantee a job on completion and after 1,300 hours a interview for captain with them. It provides some comfort for us after the training is complete as a way to continue to increase my hours right away. While searching AOPA job board there is a handful of jobs for other airlines right out of that airport as well and will put us in proximity of O'Hare and Midway as well if a job opening comes up there in the future.

Than plan is to stay at my current position and do the training over time (roughly 2 years) during evenings and weekends. It won't be a quick path, but now that I have it I am very excited. I had already renewed my medical and just got my membership with AOPA started up again. I have my hours for Private and just need to pass the check ride. So a half dozen hours or so I hope will refresh my skills and some serious studying to go with it and I can take check off the first box. Instrument I am looking at using the AOPA financing so that I can complete that soon after. The long haul will be the hours to commercial with Multi-Engine mixed in there somewhere.

If anyone has any connections around Chicago or suggestions of how to be thrifty with those hours between instrument and commercial (for me roughly 150 hours). No handouts being asked for, but looking to be as economical as possibly there since beyond the one AOPA loan I will be out of pocket for anything else.

I will share my updates here as I have them.

I want to thank Flite Test and Drew Camden for this in many ways. Flite Test for making RC flight so accessible and keeping my mind on flight and showing in their videos passion for aviation in all it's aspects. Without them it may of been an "out of sight out of mind" scenario that may of lead to a different path than what I am on now. Drew I want to thank for just being him and not following his desk job but following his passion. Making me feel that it was alright to give up that assured paycheck for a passion and love.

Thanks for anyone who read this. I am opening to any and all suggestions and support. Again, I will share updates here as they come up.
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#2
Wow mate thats a pretty big leap. Specially while keeping a family and household going.

No over sharing st all. Stories like this inspire more people to just go after their dreams.

Looking forward to hearing about your journey. Just remember.... video or it never happened. Maybe take inspiration from Drew and do a vlog or three for us about what you have to go thru.

Good luck and I hope a smooth and easy path is presented to you.
 

DharanFlyer

Active member
#3
Wow mate thats a pretty big leap. Specially while keeping a family and household going.

No over sharing st all. Stories like this inspire more people to just go after their dreams.

Looking forward to hearing about your journey. Just remember.... video or it never happened. Maybe take inspiration from Drew and do a vlog or three for us about what you have to go thru.

Good luck and I hope a smooth and easy path is presented to you.
Thanks Bill.

I was pondering that this morning. More along the lines of a podcast maybe of regular updates and experiences. Maybe see if I can get instructors, other students, or professionals local to the FBO to make appearances.
 
#4
Update;

Took a little longer than I had planned, but did first flight again after 13 years on Saturday!

Good news is CFI didn't think I completely regressed to first time flying levels, but defiantly some muscle memory that I need to get back. Some big changes since I was flying last to catch up on. Garmin 1000 glass cockpit! Talk about having the world at your finger tips, but so much more to manage than my old gyro gauges.

Did the Take Off and Landing (with only a little intervention on the landing) and some standard rate turns, altitude maintenance, and speed maintenance.

Also the changes to the ACS system is a little overwhelming, but nice to know the details of what the check ride will consist of.
 

Gazoo

Active member
#5
I don't know if what I did is right for you but...

I got tired of spinning my wheels with a few hours here and there. I had over 40 hours but didn't think I would be able to pass the checkride. I took a week off of work and drove to Sporty's Academy near Cincinnati, OH. The instructors were great. I was able to study and fly with no interruptions. I left there with my certificate.

It was nice to just knock it out with no disruptions from life if you know what I mean.

I wish you luck!

Gazoo
 
#6
@Gazoo Thanks for the idea. I'll see how this goes for a while at least before I consider that route. Current log after my 0.7 this weekend is 54 hours even. See how much rust there is after a few more flights. I have been planning on using the AOPA financing for the Instrument rating so that I can do that at a faster pace than a hour or two a week. The stretch between instrument and commercial is what has me more concerned.

I have the ACS printed and in a binder to start studying. Some of the stuff is coming back quick, and others not so much (weight and balance in particular).

Also, an update on plan. Discussing it with my wife I'm still going to get Commercial long term, but instead of changing careers I will just get my CFI as well and then instruct on the weekends/weeknights for both fun for myself, cost control of flying, and to spread the passion.
 

Gazoo

Active member
#7
@Gazoo Thanks for the idea. I'll see how this goes for a while at least before I consider that route. Current log after my 0.7 this weekend is 54 hours even. See how much rust there is after a few more flights. I have been planning on using the AOPA financing for the Instrument rating so that I can do that at a faster pace than a hour or two a week. The stretch between instrument and commercial is what has me more concerned.

I have the ACS printed and in a binder to start studying. Some of the stuff is coming back quick, and others not so much (weight and balance in particular).

Also, an update on plan. Discussing it with my wife I'm still going to get Commercial long term, but instead of changing careers I will just get my CFI as well and then instruct on the weekends/weeknights for both fun for myself, cost control of flying, and to spread the passion.
Cool. Weight and ballance were a mystery to me until it finally clicked. I'm certainly no expert but if you need help with anything, let me know or just throw it out there.
 

Gazoo

Active member
#8
I want to share this with you because I like to fiddle around with this stuff and thought you might be interested. I created this worksheet for the 1960 Cessna 175 Skylark that I fly. The W&B info comes from the documentation when it was calculated.

Disclaimer: This is not from the POH so is not official.

Here are the calculations:
W&B.jpg

Here is the worksheet that I made up from the POH:
Worksheet.JPG

This is only one way to calculate weight and balance. You are required to have your calculations with you when you fly. This worksheet makes it easy for me to calculate and keep with me for the flight.

You would need to calculate the takeoff and empty weights/moments to be sure that you can not only takeoff (obviously) but also that you can fly the plane all of the way to the crash site if you are an idiot and run it out of fuel. You do not want to have an uncontrolled crash. I joke but it is important to not fall out of the CG envelope if you run out of fuel...or before.

I have examples of other planes that I have flown if you are interested as well. And, if you have questions, let me know if I can help.

Gazoo
 
#9
@Gazoo Thanks again. It's a Cessa 173 that they have for training. Have to get the POH for the plane and start digging in.

I like your chart. I searched a bit online and found a few calculators and it brought back some memories.

I am feeling a bit of age now. Internet back then was for Napster and grainy videos and my GPS was a handheld Garmin that used a serial cable for updates and was in black and white pixels.

Now you just use your phone/tablet and do all your flight planning there. Heck, the one I downloaded can even file your flight plans for you.
 

Gazoo

Active member
#10
@Gazoo Thanks again. It's a Cessa 173 that they have for training. Have to get the POH for the plane and start digging in.

I like your chart. I searched a bit online and found a few calculators and it brought back some memories.

I am feeling a bit of age now. Internet back then was for Napster and grainy videos and my GPS was a handheld Garmin that used a serial cable for updates and was in black and white pixels.

Now you just use your phone/tablet and do all your flight planning there. Heck, the one I downloaded can even file your flight plans for you.
When I first started training in 1987, I had to learn about LORAN and solve a wind triangle with grid paper, ruler and protractor.
Airspace was much different in those days. I think there was Class I, II, and III airspace if I remember right.

The difficult thing to remember for me was the requirements for airspace like Class E, below 10,000' is 1000' above, 500' below and 2000' horizontal from clouds with 3SM visibility... I have asked many instructors how far away from a cloud we were and never really got a straight answer.
 
#11
Haha.

Yeah. I think that's a lot like that line from Pirate of the Caribbean, "There more like guidelines".

Had an instructor back when I started flying around the clouds that was most defiantly those numbers /100 and that's being generous.