coupla questions for current FSI dudes and dudettes


Well-Known Member
I start private audit in June. I would like to get a better feel (read as 'non-marketing literature') for the tempo of school.

1. How many days a week does an average student fly? Is there a standard lesson length for dual? Overall hours per week?

2. Do you fly during ground school? How many hours a day is ground school? Mon-Fri?

3. Is there time to do the occasional course at ERAU? I'm only 4 classes from my BS, but since 9/11, I haven't had time to finish them. I understand there is an extension campus near FSI. True?

4. Is it possible to work a part-time job while enrolled? How about at, dispatch, etc. Any discounts if you do?

5. Does anyone reading this drill with the reserves?

I know that's a lot of questions, but trying to budget time and money is challenging without prior intel.



Back in the USA 5/1/02
Civilian 5/21/02
FSI 6/18/02

I just did the private audit, so I can tell you what you will be doing (unless things change and depending on your hours).
The private audit is two weeks long. You will take a test the first day to see what you know and a test the last day to see what you have learned. Basically you cover the private material at a rapid pace, but very helpful. I recommend it, it is free.

Next step, (currently where I am)is the Commercial Ground School and it last 2 1/2 weeks. You get a CFI about the first week, and have to do some stuff before you fly (3 hour briefing, POH worksheet, etc.). You can fly whenever you get your CFI, but I am waiting to fly on the weekends. I do not want to bite off more than I can chew. Ground school is very quick, I want to see how the test are and how I do before I fly full time. Once you start flying full time, it is basically time building. You fly with a CFI for a few hours and then it is approximately 60 hours of time building, solo cross country.

They do not recommend that you work, but you can, I guess. As far as flying, you will be doing the time building phase, so it is up to you (5, 10, 15 hours). Ground school is Monday - Friday, either 0800-1200 or 1300-1700. I am not sure about the military reserves or anything along those lines. I am sure you could do it though. Aren't the reserves only like one or two weekends a month. Just do not miss ground school and set up your flying schedule around it.

So far, so good here at FSI for me.
1. Currently I fly 5-6 times a week. Sometimes more, I try not to do less.
2. In gs. I flew about 3 times a week. That's pretty average, except for pre-private and instrument students.
3. Don't know about it, sorry.
4. I've got two friends that work as fuelers, and one in marketing. There is no discount on school unless you work full-time, which is hard to get.
5. Don't know.

Hey, welcome, in advance, to Vero Beach.
Some more questions, this time they are easier to answer:

1. Is there an opportunity to do long overnight cross countries (to PHL, for example) while building time?

2. Can you take pax, or is it restricted by insurance requirements? Taking the wife, for example.

3. How many a/c are GPS equipped? I heard the new Semi-Holes have Garmin 430's....true?


Chunk <---overplans, wants to know every detail in advance
1. No, not overnight.
2. Part 141 requires solo flights to be just that, solo. Dual flights allow you to bring along a passenger so long as you "say" that they pay some of your bills.
3. All seminoles have gps. Old=trimble 2000, New= dual garmin 430's.

ps. Just a few tips:

Don't write them a check for $35k on your first day. Pay minimum (app. $2,000) at a time so you, not they, get the interest income.
(Make sure you plan to have enough $ in when groundschool payments will be deducted (in your initial agreement))

A 1.5 dual flight takes around 4 hours of your day. Plan accordingly during ground school. Though the tests are certainly not difficult, there's no reason you should have less than 90's on any of them. The test score itself doesn't matter, but ANY lack of understanding or knowledge will come back and screw you on your checkrides. RETAIN IT ALL!!!

Over prepare for EVERY MINUTE you spend with your instructor, and especially in the a/c. Try to prevent your instructor EVER having to explain anything to you'll while the clocks are running. If you can hammer all the checklists, procedures, and concepts out, you're going to save a ton.

If you have a computer:

1. Buy a good instrument flight simulator and spend lots of time perfecting your scan so your hood time in the a/c is best utilized.
2. If you are not 100% confident in your ability to be on the radio in an immensly busy (ie. often continuous comm) airspace, either buy Comm 1 Radio sim for your computer, or purchase a receiver and listen a lot when you get here.

Gemini as much as possible. I found that my first gemini flights (where you ride along) helped me to grasp how VRB works. If you don't go up quite a few times, it's very likely that your first few flights will just be learning the area, etc. Waste! Also, you don't need to limit gemini flights to buddies, ask anyone. No one cares.

Lastly. Unless you're completely immune to motion sickness, buy that motion sickness eliminator (the watch thing you can find in sporty's catalog for $69.99) and try to complete your ZLIN training in two flights instead of three like the rest of us. You'd save more than $70 in run-up time. Make sure you let me know if the thing works.
The pace really depends on what choices you make.

I finished the Audit last week. The same day I went to the flight line and figured out who my CFI was going to be (you dont have to wait until one comes and finds you). I am about to end the first week of Commercial Ground and I have been and will continue to fly almost everyday.

Like it was stated above. Before you fly you must knock out some paper work and three evaluation flights (one is xc to class B). Then you start with Step 2 (Lots of solo XC right of the bat).

The pace can be plenty quick if you want it to be. Plenty of people seem to not fly during Commercial ground. The classroom material is pretty easy, but flying at the same time does keep you pretty busy.

Welcome to FSI. I did three six month tours in Okinawa with the Marines in the early '90's (Camp Hansen). Anyway, about your questions, everything here at FSI is pretty much self-paced. There are some that come here, fly all day & night & are out of here quickly. Some are making a career out of being a student here. It all depends on your motivation (& things such as marital status/kids etc). I'm married with a little girl, so I don't fly on weekends, but I am still able to move through quite rapidly. I have passed up some of my instructor's students who have been here longer than I have.

As far as drilling in the Reserves, go for it. Your instructor just won't schedule you on your drill weekends & you can get a leave of absence for your two week drill. One of my instructor's other students did that (I'm no longer in the service).

ERAU does offer college classes here at FSI, but unfortunately I don't have all of the particulars on that. I keep meaning to check in about it, as I am not too far from my BS, but just haven't done it yet. I'm finishing stage 2 right now, but I'm doing as much prep for the instrument training as I can to be as prepared as I can. Redoing a lesson dual in a Seminole can be quite expensive, so I want to avoid that.

In the mean time, if you have some time to do some reading, I highly recommend "Stick & Rudder" by Wolfgang Langeweische (sp? it's not in front of me right now) & "The Instrument Flying Handbook" which is like the Airplane Flying Handbook, but for IFR. The Inst. Handbook is required reading, while "S&R" is not, but "Stick & Rudder" will definitely make you a better overall pilot. In my estimation, it should be required reading for all pilots. Good luck to you, thank you for your service to our Country, and I look forward to seeing you here in Vero Beach.
Thanks for the friendly reply! I've been reading 'Flight Discipline', by...I forget and don't feel like getting up! Kurtz, I think. I just ordered 'The Turbine Pilot's Hanbook' on several folks recommendation, including Doug's.

Are you using the GI Bill? How's that? Hassle?

Hansen....*shudder* I was up there this week. That place is SOOOOOO Marine. I notice that Marines stare a lot at folks they don't recognize wearing flight suits.

Thanks for the friendly reply! I've been reading 'Flight Discipline', by...I forget and don't feel like getting up! Kurtz, I think. I just ordered 'The Turbine Pilot's Hanbook' on several folks recommendation, including Doug's.

Are you using the GI Bill? How's that? Hassle?

Hansen....*shudder* I was up there this week. That place is SOOOOOO Marine. I notice that Marines stare a lot at folks they don't recognize wearing flight suits.

Hey Veronaut,

can you do me a huge favor and find out who the author of "The Instrument Flying Handbook" is. It sounds like it would be very helpful, but I can't find it at B&N. Thanks in advance.

Yeah, I here you about Hansen. I actually had a pretty good time there. My first couple of tours I mainly partied out in Kinville (& the Airman's Club down at Kadena when we weren't on restrictions), but then I discovered scuba diving & I was hooked. "The Rock" has the best diving that I have ever seen! Anyway, I remembered something about ERAU after I posted. If you want a degree from them you need to take at least 30 credits from them, that's the scoop I received from the info they sent me. I'll have to check out that Turbine Handbook, & add it to my ever growing backlog of reading material.

The Instrument Flying Handbook is a FAA publication, just like the Airplane Flying Handbook. The best place to find it would be at a FBO pilot shop, or if you don't have one around check out one of the on-line pilot supplies sites. If all else fails, contact the FAA. But I would be very surprised if you can't find it at your local FBO. It isn't light, entertaining reading, remember this is the FAA, but it is the baseline knowledge for IFR training. Stick & Rudder is not light & entertaining either, but it is extremely informative concerning the "art" of flying. It was highly recommended to me by my instructor, & I found it to be a real help in my deeper understanding of what we are really doing up there. However, I do recommend that you fly concurrently while reading "S&R", so as to get maximum benefit from the info. I would not recommend it to anyone who has very little or no flight time. It is not that it is complex, the beauty of it is in it's simplicity, but that if you don't have at least a grasp of flying the concepts will be confusing. However, if you have say 20 hours or more, you will get a lot out of it!

About the GI Bill, no more hassle than any other government program! You are eligible as soon as you start Step 2, meaning Uncle Sam is not picking up the check for your private audit. However, do see the VA coordinator (I'll give you her name if you need it) as soon as you get here so that you can get everything set up. It does take a while to get that first VA check (I'm still waiting), but what the heck, it's money you earned! Once you are in step 2, everything is fair game for VA reimbursement, flying, ground school, & I think even purchases in the schools pilot shop. Let me know if I can be anymore help.


you answered my question, thanks. FYI - I'll be testing for my IFR practical at the end of March.
I appreciate the info.