About to start flying to get my PPL.....questions


Well-Known Member
Hey gang,
Ive lurked here for a couple years but never posted. I"m currently a soph. at Auburn university and have finally saved the required money to earn my PPL this summer back at home where I live in Pensacola. I will be flying out of the regional airport and the FBO uses Piper Tomahawks to train. First off how fast can i realistically accomplish this goal? I want to do it as fast as possible and I'm dedicated to putting in the required work to get it done...i also have all the funds ready to knock it out fast. Can I realistically get it done within a month with flying everyday? Second i'm about to purchase a headset and i need some good recommendations for one that is under 200 bucks or slightly over....i dont want to buy one that is more expensive until i earn my license. Thanks so much for any advice or opinions you can give me.
Hi, and welcome to jetcareers.
Congratulations on starting your exciting journey of flight!!
A month to do your private might be a bit excessive even if you're flying everyday. It can be done. It matters on how fast you
learn and if indeed you fly everyday and don't have to cancel due to weather/maintenance problems.
I would plan on 2 months to get your private flying everyday. I think if you are aggresive you can earn your private somewhere
between 6 to 8 weeks without any problems.
Have you started your written yet? If not, get a jump on it now. The sooner you get your private written out of the way,
that's one less thing holding you back when you're ready for your checkride.
If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to ask.
I don't understand why you'd want a cheap headset for training if you're planning on finishing in a month or two. Why spend $200 one month and $500 the next?
I'd definitely go with ANR. I have a Lightspeed 20XL and I can't complain. Do a search for ANR or headset on the forums, and you should be able to find a ton of info. Fly in the mid-morning to early afternoon to better your chances of flyable weather. Otherwise, you'll be dealing with those annoying 'popcorn' t-storms in the evening!
Ditto on the question about why you would want a cheap heaset for training. Hearing loss is cumulative and once you lose some it doesn't come back--hearing lost during initial training is as much a problem as hearing you lose later.

Buy the best headset you can afford, and I would recommend an ANR headset very highly, too. If you have all the funds that you need to finish your training, I'd strongly suggest taking some of that and getting a good quiet headset that will last. Lightspeed sells reconditioned headsets at their web site, if you want to save some money. You'll probably want to try several on, since fit is important, too.

Good luck with your training. If you've got the drive, the time, and can find an instructor who will have the time, I'd think it's possible to finish in about a month. Time not spend flying will be spent studying, though, so don't count on any time for a part-time job or much of anything else.

I highly suggest buying the headset you actually intend to use in the long run the first time around (it will save you money); ANR is REALLY nice. As for the second question, it is definately possible, but you must really know your stuff prior to training so you can concentrate on the flying aspects. Also, a bit of luck will be involved because weather will be a factor. Just don't forget to enjoy it while you rush to get it done!
Hey USAFplt,

I, too, am going to be gettin my PPL this summer, and would like to try and get it done by the end of the summer. What my instructor told me was that if I was flying about three times a week, I should be done in a couple of months, but he would not recommend flying everyday because a big part of flying is thinking about it (e.g. studying). He said that flying is the easy part, but a lot of it is the studying the rules, the weather, navigation, etc., and if you try to fly everyday, you might not get that time you need to do that thinking portion. Good luck, let us know how it all goes.
May I suggest the AvComm 900 headset. I have been using mine for over two years now and cannot complain. Although it does not have ANR, the PNR seems suitable for all the flying I have done, especially in the Piper planes, which generally have quieter cockpits.

Sure, ANR is great, and I have sampled it on several occasions. But I have found that the AvComm 900 more than fulfills all of my needs. Keep It Simple!
Hey there USAF. First off, I know it's already been said, but try to do as much of your flying in the morning and early afternoon as you can. You'll have less chance of pop up T-Storms, and, it'll be a little cooler and smoother to fly. As for finishing the Private in a month. That's a pretty steep order. It won't be the actual flying that is the hardest part, it will be the bookwork. I don't think flying every day initially would be a good idea, as everybody needs time for what actually happened to soak in. Down the road, when you get close to checkride time wouldn't be as bad, but in the initial phases, it would be pretty rough to absorb that much info. As for a headset, I paid 110 bucks for my first one (can't remember what brand) and the guy I sold it to still uses it to this day (4 years later). But, like others have said, get the best one you can buy, ANR preferably. I use a non-ANR David Clark (around 300 bucks) that I would personally use over anything except a Lightspeed (400-500 bucks...... I think). Try a bunch on, and see which one is most comfortable for you. Good luck with your training!!!!
ANR headsets are a pain in the ass. Pick up a David Clark H10-13.4 for around $300. Its lightweight, and keeps out a lot of noise. Plus its comfortable and durable...I've been using mine for about 4 years now, never had a problem.
As long as you do your homework you can surely do it in a month. A ground school or home study program is gold before you start the flying portion of your training. If you understand the theory of what is going on before you fly, it is a lot easier to understand in the air, and this will save you time, frustration, and money. As for the headset, if you plan on pursuing flying beyond private, make the investment now in a good headset, it will pay off in the long run. Good luck.
If I can add one more thing:

Lots of people start training with the idea that they will finish in such and such time and spend such and such money. It's always a good idea to have a plan, but like with so many things, plans do not always work out. Many, many people have experienced delays in their training due to things outside their control including weather and maintaince.

A month is about the absolute minimum time you can count on assuming the weather is near perfect, the plane is working great, and you are a fast learner who is willing to fly A LOT (beleive me, flying a lot wears you out no matter how much you enjoy it). It can definately be done but don't let your sucess be determined by time, only by outcome.
guys thanks so much to respond! All this has been great advice. I totally forgot to mention that I have taken Private Pilot Ground this past semester here at Auburn as my major is Aviation Management. I feel that this should accelerate things some. However i know there is going to be lots of studying involved but I feel this should help speed things up right?? Im about to take the ground test which will get that out of the way. As for the headsets right now i'm looking at a Sennheiser or Peltor for around 230 bucks....these brands good? Lightspeed is just way to much right now.
The important thing is how you like it and how it fits on your head. Virtually all companies are the same after that; if something goes wrong you send it to them and they fix it for nearly the price of a new one; the notable exception is David Clark, who sends new headsets or great recondition ones at no charge (or close to no charge; they really are a good headset company). Pilot Avionics is also very good; the one question I've had I just dropped it off overnight (they are near my house), picked it up the next day free.
I agree that you should go ahead and get a good headset to begin with. It will save you money in the long run.

I like the David Clark H10-13.4. It is very comfortable and durable. I've had mine for about ten years now.

Avcom and Softcom also make some less expensive, but very nice headsets as well.

Personally, I don't like the ANR headsets. I think that passive noise cancelling works well enough. The ANR headset make things too quiet. The engine and wind noise can tell you a lot about what the airplane is doing, if you care to listen.
I did my Private SEL in less than a month at a small FBO. It took 45 hrs.

I took a months vacation and had the money set aside so there were no distractions. I just flew and studied. I did not do a formal ground school. I just studied my Jep manual and asked my CFI when I had questions.

Find a CFI that wants to fly. That should not be hard these days. Like someone mentioned above the flying is the easy/FUN part. The bookwork was the hard part.

It can be done! Good luck!
The ANR headset make things too quiet. The engine and wind noise can tell you a lot about what the airplane is doing, if you care to listen.

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I disagree; you can hear the air and engine noise just fine even with ANR.... just my observation anyways.

I disagree; you can hear the air and engine noise just fine even with ANR.... just my observation anyways.

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If that's the case, then why spend $800 for ANR, when my 13.4 does just as well?

The ANR's that I have tried make the engine noise almost totally inaudible.
As I said it is a personal observation, do whatever suits you. In my comparatively little experience, I've found ANR to be a GREAT help in transmitting and recieveing clear radio calls, not to mention increasing my ability to communicate with my instructor or passengers. It has never created a problem with hearing engine noises. In fact, the one time I've had a serious problem in an aircraft I was able to hear everything just fine. Mine was $450, which is only a bit more than the 13.4s ($300); or 1 - 2 hrs less time in a plane.
I find that ANR cancels prop noise, not engine noise. I can hear the engine better, as all the other junk is removed. There has been more than one instance of me hearing something that my 'non-ANR' CFI or other pax doesn't detect. Why spend more money? Your hearing is priceless!!