Peter's flight log

I'm training to be a pilot!

I have joined Scouts and volunteered at the Scout Air Activities Center in Camden, New South Wales, Australia.

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)

Let's start with the "Why?"

I always wanted to fly. As a toddler, one of my earliest memories is of my mother spooning food into my mouth on the balcony while I was watching planes land at a nearby airport. The balcony was well positioned to have the flight path right before it. Feeding me was a slow process.

Later on, I remember 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 an airline and a fighter pilot. My obsession with technology and engineering was the only thing that competed with this obsession.

As I grew older, I became more engaged with computers and electronics, and my obsession with planes took second place but never disappeared. I decided 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 on sleeping under the canvas.

The "carrot"?

They pointed out that Scouts Australia have an air activities center in Camden. This airport is within driving distance from home. At this centre, 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 I could not resist the calling any more. So, I joined the next available flight training camp in January 2023 and completed my first 5 hours of training (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 massive factor in aviation. Almost everything a pilot learns and practices has an element of safety. And with safety, we can't cut any corners.

For me, or any pilot in my situation, I must allocate enough time for all aspects of training. I am working towards the first license, RPL (or "Recreational Pilot License"), which allows me to fly an aeroplane on my own near 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 means I still need to finish tests. To keep my license active, I must also:

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

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

  1. Complete the training required to get the RPL license as quickly as possible. Don't let it stretch over time because fatigue will set it, and life will likely find the opportunity to throw a wrench in and wreck the plan.
  2. I treat flight training as part of my work. I dedicated 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 interested in aviation. I plan to explore as many related topics as possible during my training, including theory of flight, practical tips, training flight videos, aviation gadgets (like radios, headsets, etc.), and engineering (like aviation piston engines!).
  4. Add Saturday to my regular work week so that I can continue to produce content for Tech Explorations and look after students. Yes, I give up a Saturday to ensure Tech Explorations continues evolving, but I get a lot more in return.

That's it. That's my plan. Take flight training seriously, steamroll through it, document my experiences, and share them.

How is this flight log organised?

I will use text, video and photos to document my experiences for every lesson and share them with you on a dedicated page. These are the "log pages". This page (the one you are on now) will be a hub for all log pages. Just click here and click on the thumbnails below to get to a log page.
When I write these lines, I have completed 6.1 hours of training. This includes the five activity hours in the January 2023 flying camp, and last week's refresher hour. I will complete log pages 1 or 2 days after Wednesday's training.

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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