Questions about getting into flying


New Member

I'm very interested in learning how to fly (Goal is a PPL). I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up and was constantly told I had to go through the military to do it. So I gave up on that. Now, I am in the IT field, and don't expect to make a career change. However, I look at flying as more of a hobby (and one fantastic life achievement). Perhaps down the road I can look at a CPL, but that's not my goal right now.

I am in Orange County, CA. I haven't reached out to any schools or instructors yet. I have a few questions for the community.

Part 61 vs Part 141 - For someone wanting a PPL for flying as a hobby, not as a career, does it matter?

How many hours do I need to dedicate a week to train? My schedule isn't quite as flexible now, but it will open up to start 2014.

Do I start in the air? Is it better to start with ground school?

Is it really worth it? What I mean is, if I plan on doing this as a hobby and not as a career, it is a pretty expensive hobby. Is it really worth the dough?

I do like some of the suggestions from this thread for Orange County:

Would you guys still recommend LBFC or AFI in Fullerton?

Thanks all! I'm excited to get involved this wonderful community.

I would say that whatever the cost to rent and fly just about any FBO rental plane and to fly it for even an hour anywhere USA is worth every dime they charge, it is that much fun! I cannot encourage enough to seek out and go after this goal if that is what you want. You will never regret it and most student pilots find out pretty quickly if they are going to like it or not. There are some great flying clubs in SOCAL. There is nothing quite like flying. You will be getting many responses from a lot of great JC'rs. No matter what age you start, you can do it if stay motivated. I wish you the very best, do your homework and interview and select a good instructor.
Hi Eric, and welcome.

Part 61 vs. part 141 is like Pepsi vs. Coke, but in my opinion, part 61 probably lends itself better to hobby-oriented flying. You can go at your own pace and your instructor has more freedom to tailor your syllabus to your needs and desires.

Three or four sessions a week would be ideal if you want to learn at the most efficient rate. Two is good; one is minimum. Otherwise, you will forget things between sessions.

There are many ways to reduce expenses in this hobby, although it is relatively expensive no matter what. You can look into gliders, even for learning, and kit planes or light sport aircraft. SoCal unfortunately is one of the more expensive locales for flying as it is for everything else.

For me, it is very much worth it. Some of the greatest feelings (PG-rated) are your first take-off, your first solo, and your first time taking a friend for a spin after getting your certificate.

Good luck!
From my perspective (based on where I'm at in flight training-which is very new) I would suggest that if you do start flight training try and keep at it on a consistent basis.

Meaning that I fly almost everyday and get a few day's off for the weekend. It's surprising how poorly I did just after having two day's off.

I can't really imagine flying once a month of once every couple of weeks. Keep that in mind if you do go in. At this point, around about 11 hours, things clicked. Up until today I was completely overwhelmed and confused when flying. Today thing's were great. I do think being a Private Pilot would absolutely be worth it if you keep up your skill.

I also think it will be an expensive hobby but some hobbies are expensive and some are cheap. Pick which one you really like.

Go up a few times and see if you actually like it. It's a whole other ballgame from playing flight simulator, which I've found out.

I started with ground and then took the FAA PPL written but this is a flight academy so they do things their way.

I suggest, just my own opinion, to get with a local flight school with someone who has taught for years. I've never been comfortable with the person who is a newly minted flight instructor wanting to move on to the next level as quickly as possible. Get an old guy who's been in aviation for a while AND who has a lot of patience.

I'm very new to the aviation world and I am enjoying it.

PM me if you have any questions.

Good luck to you.
Thanks everyone for your words or encouragement. I'm excited to go out and explore what I've always wanted to do. I am in a regular full time job, but would hope to dedicate weekends and perhaps nights (maybe taking a day off or two along the way). I do want to make it a regular thing especially to start out.

jafra98 - I'm considering starting out with that. First off, I want to get off the simulators and get in the air. See what works. I can imagine the goals may change over time.

Airmann - Do you have any recommendations on good flying clubs out here?

I fly and teach in SoCal. Get up in the air and find out if you really like flying especially since it is an expensive hobby. Take a intro discovery flight, if you have a friend that flies see if he'll take you up

It is not so much which club or school is good. It is which instructor do you click with the best. We all have to teach to the same standards.

Good luck. Welcome to JC.

Mark64 has it exactly correct! I would first take one or even two of the intro and/or discovery flights, you will be able to take the controls and get a pretty good idea of what it will be like. Once you have decided that getting your PPL is what you want, then it is important to select the right school and more importantly the right instructor. You can research on this site and find many stories of student pilots who ended up with an instructor that they were totally out of sync with or an instructor there only to pad his or her logbook in order to move onto an Airline job. There are though many fine dedicated instructors out there, ( young and old alike ). It is a real joy when you run into an instructor that you know has the hours and the experience to be flying some heavy metal somewhere else and making real good money and yet there they are dedicated to their PROFFESSION, that as a general aviation Flight Instructor. I strongly urge you to use the resources here at JC and the many experienced pilots who have gone through what you are about to. I only wish that I had known of JC prior to my starting my initial flight training. I certainly would not have ended up with the first CFI that I had. This young man was only at the flight school in order to have enough hours to get hired on at a Regional and if a student might have actually learned anything along the way , that was just happenstance to the goal of getting on with the Airline. So, please do your homework, ask of those more experienced on this JC site, do not be afraid to ask questions or question your CFI. There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors. The very best to you.