• Factors in Successful Learning by Gene Whitt

    * Time of year

    Summer flying gives longer days but does not provide the most desirable range of experience. Aircraft are more available in the late fall and winter. Darkness in early morning and early evening is a problem. Learning to fly during the worst weather periods is the best way to maintain your attention to the vagaries that affect flying. Learn in the fall or winter; enjoy in the summer.

    * Schedule

    You should not even consider learning to fly unless you can allocate at least two or three flying periods a week. Each period should include travel time and two scheduled flight hours. Actual engine time will be about one hour + 15 minutes. Two hours of study time must be planned for every hour of flying.

    * Finances

    Do not begin flying until money is set aside just for flying. The first twenty hours of learning to fly will be the most concentrated cash-outflow you will face unless you buy an airplane.

    * Weight

    If our weight requires the use of a C-172 as a trainer the cost per flight hour will be more. The increased cost is somewhat offset by the time saved meeting cross-country requirements and enroute time to local airports.

    *Ground School

    There is no reason that a person should not be able to self-study ground school with about 3-5 hours of tutoring. I do not charge for such time.

    * Preparation

    Don't fly if you are not prepared for a lesson. You will get the most bang for your bucks by being prepared. Even the best instruction cannot fully compensate for lack of preparation.


    Commitment to Flying


    * You must be able to give priority to the time and energy required for learning to fly. If you can't or won't establish the priority, don't start. You must keep ahead of the flight program with your reading and preparation. You must not allow money to become a detriment to your commitment. Flying is not cheap and will not become any less expensive as you continue.

    * Your life ambition must be to become an old pilot.

    * Being a pilot is a state of mind; a personality. A pilot's attitude, not just experience makes for excellence. Excellence is a quality standard in flying sought but not often achieved. Desire must be there but unless it is accompanied by application there will be no progress.

    * The good pilot is able resist the temptation to do something unsafe, illegal, or stupid. The temptations will always exist.

    * A good pilot will not fly in aircraft or conditions beyond his capability or certification.

    * A good pilot does not ignore the FARs. The FAA looks to the pilot to answer for any violations. Sometimes a magnifying glass is used.

    * A good pilot is always a student, striving to make every maneuver a bit more precise than the one before.

    * A good pilot knows his equipment, its limitations and how to handle its malfunctions.

    * ATC can determine much about a pilot by how well he utilizes the system and the required communications. Always admit when you have a problem.

    * A requirement of being a pilot is in knowing the FAR rules that apply to your rating, your responsibilities, and the flight involved.

    * An instructor can only show you the way to the required learning. It is your responsibility to know what you need to know and to confirm that you get it. This is the most difficult area of student responsibility. Flying the plane is a relatively minor part of what you need to know.

    * The best time to get involved in an activity is before interest in it peaks.

    * Being a pilot is a state of mind; a personality. A pilot's attitude, makes for excellence. Excellence is a quality standard in flying sought but not often achieved. Desire must be there but unless it is accompanied by application there will be no progress.

    Gene Whitt
    gwhitt@ix.netcom.com