I’ve always been wrapped up in aviation and have dreamed of getting my license so I can spend time in the air. My father was in the Air Force, my mother likes aircraft and my sister spent many years working as cabin crew. Flying is in my family’s blood.
I’ve gone flying with friends, I’ve done some gliding, I’ve worked as ground crew with hot-air balloons, I’ve spent time in simulators and I’ve even had two goes at getting my PPL. Each time I’ve dived into it, something has always come along and distracted me from it. Usual suspects include lack of time, lack of funds, relocating for work and so on.
Given all this, I’m determined to get back in the air but it’s going to take some time as I also need to clear some debt, put my son through school and buy a house. So, if it’s going to take a while to make this happen, I’m thinking of working my way along with a certain historical angle. Rather than just going down to the airport and doing my license, I’m thinking I should follow man’s path from ground to air.
Modern aviation began back in 1783 when the Montgolfier Brothers flew a hot-air balloon in Paris, France. From there, we progressed to gliders and then on to powered flight, at which point all hell broke loose and in a little over 100 years we went from string & paper to Concorde, F22 fighters, the A380 and into space.
To retrace these steps, I’ll start by getting my balloon pilot’s license. From there, I’ll complete my gliding then get into powered aircraft. Each step of the way I’ll be learning different skills and abilities that will help at later stages:
- A balloon pilot is in touch with the wind and atmosphere, making a pilot better at recognising wind effects and being aware of what the winds are doing
- A glider pilot is used to having no engine and only one go at getting back down to the group (no go-arounds here), making a pilot better at landing, doing off-field landings (especially spotting fields) and avoiding over-stretching their glide
- Flying a tail dragger helps make a much better stick-and-rudder pilot
So, based on this I’d be looking at the following licenses:
- Balloon license
- Glider license
- Private pilot license (RA-Aus – it’s cheaper and a bit easier)
- Private pilot license (GA)
- Tail dragger endorsement
- Upset recovery and unusual positions recovery
- Aerobatics ticket
Somewhere in there I’d also like to get a sea plane endorsement plus maybe go rotary as well. All, of course, while remaining current in everything.
Nothing like having dreams and goals, is there. Guess I’d better go off and get a lottery ticket, no?