Peter's flight school log

I'm training to be a pilot!

So, I joined Scouts and volunteer at the

Scout Air Activities Center in

Camden, New South Wales 

(that's Down Under in the land of Oz).

In these pages I chronicle my journey and share

the ups and downs (literally) with you.

Let's Fly!

Jump to a flight log page (or read about the Why and How)

Basics, Camp

RPL, theory

Basics, Revision

Basics, Revision

Circuits, touch-and-go

Briefing, Circuits, Weather

Pre-solo, theory

Let's start with the "Why?"

I always wanted to fly. As a toddler, one of my earliest memories, is my mother spooning food into my mouth on the balcony, while I was watching planes lands in a nearby airport. The balcony was well positioned to have the flight path right in-front of it. Needless to say, feeding me was a slow process. 

Later on, I remember myself using my toy binoculars to obverse traffic in their final approach to land, and keeping notes about which airline was landing, when, and what type of aircraft it was.

I was obsessed with planes, and wanted to be both an airline pilot and a fighter pilot. The only thing that competed with this obsession was my obsession with technology and engineering.

As I grew older, I became more engaged with computers and electronics, and my obsession with planes took second place, but never disappeared. I settled with the idea that I would not become a pilot, but an engineer. 

That's life.

Or is it?

Many years later, my children joined the Scouts. My wife re-joined the Scouts as a leader, and they (slowly and skillfully) coerced me to become a Scout Fellow. I wasn't too interested because of my workload. I am also not particularly keen to sleeping under the canvas.

The "carrot"?

They pointed out that Scouts Australia have an air activities center in Camden. This airport happens to be within driving distance from home. At this center, members of the Scout association can experience the joy and thrill of flying, and even get training. 

The idea of doing flight training simmered in my head for about a year, until I decided that I could not resist the calling any more. So, I joined the next available flight training camp in January 2023, and got my first 5 hours of training done (more about this below).

I was hooked.

And continue with the "How?"

Training to become a pilot is a serious undertaking. It requires a significant amount of study and hands-on training. The aviation industry is very regulated, and regardless of whether you want to fly for fun ("recreational") or work (as a commercial pilot or instructor), the same rules apply. 

Of course, safety is a huge factor in aviation. Almost everything that a pilot learns and practices has an element of safety in it. And with safety, we can't cut any corners.

For me, or any pilot in my situation, this means that I must allocate enough time for all aspect of training. At the moment, I am working towards the first license, RPL (or "Recreational Pilot License"), which allows me to fly an airplane on my own within the vicinity of the originating airport. The minimum requirements to achieve my first goal are:

  • To pass the RPL exam (done!).
  • To complete at least 25 hours flying time (6.1 done).
  • To pass an RPL flight test.
  • Pass the various medical examinations.

But getting my RPL license does not mean I'm done with tests. To keep my license active I must also:

  • Do regular flight reviews.
  • Do 3 take-offs and landings in the previous 90 days, if I want to carry a passenger.
  • Maintain my medical certificate.

As I am working full time at Tech Explorations, I had to find a way to make this work. The solution:

  1. Do the training required to get the RPL license as quickly as possible. Don't let it stretch over time because fatigue will probably set it, and life will probably find the opportunity to throw a wrench in and wreck the plan.
  2. Treat flight training as part of my work. I decided to dedicate one full day every week (Wednesdays) to flying theory and practice. Book two flights each week (morning and afternoon), and use the time before and between to study.
  3. Document my experiences in a blog format and share it with everyone who might be interested in aviation. During my training, I plan to explore as many related topics as possible, including theory of flight, practical tips, my training flight videos, aviation gadgets (like radios, headsets etc.), and engineering (like aviation piston engines!).
  4. Add Saturday to my normal work week so that I can still continue to produce content for Tech Explorations and look after students. Yes, I give up a Saturday to ensure that Tech Explorations continues to evolve, but I get a lot more in return.

That's it. That's my plan. Take flight training seriously, steam roll through it, document my experiences, and share them with you.

How is this flight log organised?

For every lesson, I will use text, video and photos to document my experiences, and share them with you in a dedicated page. These are the "log pages". This page (the one you are on right now) will serve as a hub for all log pages. Just come here, and click on the thumbnails below to get to a log page.

At the time I am writing these lines I have completed 6.1 hours of training. This includes the 5 hours of training in the January 2023 flying camp, and last week's refresher hour. I will endeavor to complete log pages 1 or 2 days after Wednesday trainings.

Blue skies and cool air at the Air Activities Center.

This Cessna 172 with call sign VH-JBC is the plane that took me to my first fly lesson. Sitting outside the Scout Hangar.

Cessna 172 taking off. Leo (son #1) recorded this video.

This Cessna 172 with call sign VH-AHH is the second (out of three) in the small fleet of airplane owned and operated by the Australian Scouts Air Activities Center in Camden.

Ari (son #2) experiencing his first flight in a Cessna 172 during an air activity day.

Typically there is a briefing before a new training segment. Before we fly, we take the time to understand the objectives, mechanics, conventions and safety considerations. Greg, my flight instructor, gave me this briefing ahead of circuit training next week.

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