How I Became A Pilot


Yeah…American used to power back off the gates at DFW too…it was always cool. I think they stopped doing it about 7 or 8 years ago…


Becoming a pilot in small country is not so big issue I think. But the size issue become more obvious once you become pilot. Or it is maybe just my excuse…

I started my ‘pilot career’ as glider pilot in 1997 as the Aeroclub background was valued at the local Military Pilot Academy entrance exams. Unfortunately I didnt pass the medicals. EEG issue.

So I sticked to the Aeroclub and gradually continued to single engines. This was my ride during the training

I was fortunate enough and in 2014 I was hired, like few others, with local branch of Russian company to become a helicopter pilot. The company had planed to expand to SW Europe so they sponsored our training with promise of the future work! Offer like this can arise once in a lifetime!

The expansion never happened so our dream job. The company offered us to leave with no obligations. DEAL! as my training at that time was complete.

So I am PPL (A) and CPL (H) licensed… and unemployed pilot ( working as IT :smile: ) .

But… I live in small country of Slovakia. Too married, with two kids. And all the above happened between 1997 and 2017… looong 20 YEARS (I just realized)!
I know… these are all just my excuses as in aviation world there are no borders and pilot can fly from almost anywhere.

I just didnt make the decision yet to move somewhere with more flying opportunities… probably I am waiting again for some lucky circumstances or for some good guys from inside :wink:


It is amazing how many things had to go right for me to find myself flying a business jet based in Texas, and how long, winding and improbable the road proved to be. Yet here I find myself. More by luck than judgement it is fair to say.


What I really want to point out is that many statements made in the other posts in this thread are completely true and relevant for anyone who is thinking about becoming pilot.

So if you are really thinking about it, just go for it. Start!
If you have money, you will save time. If you dont have enough money at the beginning, you will have to be prepared to spent more time.

But start, even like a glider pilot in the beginning. Maybe you will fell in love with the silent gliders world and you will accept the challenge to soar hundreds of miles without engine.

Or you will become private pilot and your passion will be towing these glider sportsman into the thermals.

Or you will finish your commercial license and will start to do some bush or other small commercial flying.

Maybe you will make it to the Flight Instructor and you will realise that teaching young pilots how to fly precisely fits you perfectly.

As already mentioned… but train and learn hard, play well and meet many new people. And it will pay off for you somewhere in the process be sure, and you will get to places never expected.

In the end, you will be looking back, as few of the guys here and all the years spent in aviation world will seems to you and others probably just as sheer luck and little judgement.
But all the judgement and decisions, all the sacrifices, all the time was there, spent in the beginnings.

First of all you need to make the first decision… and luck will help you make it lucky decision :wink:


Strange…I don’t find my simulated MD-80 all that noisy (with the volume turned down) and my simulated MD-80 cockpit is just as roomy–exactly the same size for that matter–as all my other simulated aircraft cockpits. :sunglasses:


Another reason to get an Oculus Rift! The size for the cockpits is very apparent in VR. :sunglasses:


That’s one thing I noticed on my first flight in flightschool… I thought I’d have an advantage because of my flightsim experience. After all, I knew how to read the instruments.

“Ok, this ain’t no 17” screen!"



In 1983 this Midshipman 2/c got his one and only stick time—10 minutes at the controls of an SH-3 Seaking.

That cockpit was bigger than my first living room. :sunglasses:


I’m not sure that I would fit in a C152 anymore. Well at least not with an instructor my size. We would be over gross regardless :slight_smile:


Then the bigger one for you :slight_smile:


Started flying in conjunction with ground school. I had ride 3 this morning. I’m feeling good, but am much harder on myself than my instructor. He said I’m a bit impatient. No offense taken, as I acknowledged that within myself. We started landings last evening and since our primary runway is closed (we depart/arrive on a taxiway) we have to fly north about 15 minutes to another small field, and I’ve only gotten 3. I flare too early, and porpoise down. Bad on me. I’ve got to learn to keep the sight picture all the way.

Quick question. Rick recommended an app for my phone, Foreflight. But I’m Android, so its not available. Any other suggestions?



Jeff, patience is everything :wink: it will works out with the experience cumulating.

I dont know what exactly you expecting from such app but I have quite good experience (not particularly long experience - 4 flights until now) with SkyDemon



Sounds pretty normal to me. The tendency is for students to flare a bit early as they are learning - that whole “ground avoidance” thing. The key to good landings is to ease in the back pressure and usually you should try not to go forward with the yoke unless you’ve ballooned significantly. As your speed decreases, that “too much back elevator” will turn into “just enough” and then you resume your application of back pressure. As you’ve probably witnessed, it is very much a feel thing. One common error among students is to focus too close to the airplane (like out the front corner of the windscreen) at the approaching pavement instead of looking out a bit further. Landings will get better over time as you get used to the amount of pull and the rate of pull required. And you’ll find that each type of aircraft will require a different feel owing to their different weights, control forces, and other characteristics like that.

Good luck. I like ForeFlight a lot…but don’t have any alternatives for Android.


Sounds like you are doing great for lesson 3.


Good for you on the flight lessons. Don’t stress too much on the landings, for pretty much every student I’ve seen, it just takes practice and patience (with a small dose of frustration at times) and things will start to click. I am also a full-hearted foreflight user. In my opinion no other offering truly gives as many useful features in a mostly user friendly form. However, the Android apps that I am aware of are Garmin Pilot and FltplanGo. I’ve used FltplanGo on my Android phone a little bit. It’s got some quirks I don’t like but it works, and it’s free.


Thanks for the kind words of encouragement and app feedback. Looking forward to my next go.



@ST0RM, trying to obtain “greasers” straight off the bat, maybe?

Maybe not, but just the same…

I used to ask myself why almost all my students were always so concerned, sometimes to the point of obsession, about landings, and practically not at all about take offs, for example. In fact, most of the flight maneuvers seemed a slightly tense chore to them that it was my job to make more pleasant and elegant, without sweaty hands and white knuckles upon the yoke. But the the chance at a “great” landing was always the reward waiting for them. As someone genuinely interested in my old job, I found this feature curious from a perspective of the psychology of learning as well as the psychology of flying itself. Considering that almost universally, initial pilots often feel they are “finally going home” when they first start flying, it makes sense to me that the sacred and venerated moment to be made more graceful, more perfect, might be (but not limited to) the take off and climb out…

“I held the center line perfectly, rotated at the correct rate, to precisely the right angle to nail VX exactly, without overshooting it, just as I was leaving ground effect, and adjusted my track wonderfully to stay on the extended center line all the way out up to flap retraction height, which incidentally I also did without bobbing up and down, and finished precisely on VY.”

I never heard that once.

The reason for this anomaly, I summarized, is that we are acutely aware in our subconscious of the fact that we are creatures of the surface of the planet, and not of the air. Landing is a relief from a lot of natural stress that we may not be consciously aware of, so we tend to overemphasize its “technique” and “quality” to mask, even from ourselves, a certain degree of very natural apprehension. Overemphasis of one phase can easily be as big a barrier to proper, holistic learning as can neglect of other important areas. There are a lot of things to manage and understand. Yourself, foremost.

Relax, learn everything correctly, where and when it is applicable. You’ll be OK.


Thank to all of you for the replies and encouragement. I’ll look over some of those apps.

I’m having to take a break through November as our runway has been closed since beginning of October, therefore I’m not getting any takeoffs or landings at home plate. So having to fly to another field about 15 minutes away is eating up time and $$ with very minimal gain in training. That and some scheduling issues arent matching up. So TBD.


@Cygon_Parrot I’ve joked more than once with another pilot after a particularly nice takeoff with a smooth, linear pitch rate to climb-out that “you just greased her off!”

Having said that, while I do like your theory on the psychology around the obsession for landings, I have never seen anyone hurt on takeoff. Just this year alone I have personally witnessed three friends, all in different machines and on different occasions, sustain injuries from landing accidents—one seriously enough to be medivac’d out.


We’ve had the same thought, then! :grin:

Fair points, but I was avoiding that particular subject here, on purpose (I wasn’t actually referring to it, at any point). That subject will certainly be part of the training enthusiastic student pilots will have to go through, sooner or later, who are getting some additional inspiration from this thread.

Suffice, I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not going any further with it. Not here, at any rate.