Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Here we go...

Well, here we go. I've got my own blog now. Will anybody care? I hope so, but who really knows...

The title of this blog is "License to Learn." It's about flying. Specifically, it's about learning experiences while flying. There's a DPE in the San Francisco Bay Area who likes to say "Here's your license to learn" when he hands over the Temporary Airman Certificate to new pilots. (At least that's the story -- he wasn't my examiner so I can't say for sure.) It sounds corny, but I just found out yesterday that it's true (more on that in future posts). So I've started this blog to pass along learning experiences that I've had while flying. They say that pilots have to learn from other people's mistakes because we don't have the time to make them all ourselves, so I'm hoping that others can learn from my experiences.

So will anybody care? As much as I like to think that I have something important to say, only time will tell if anybody wants to listen.


  1. I'm actually interested. I'm 17 years of age and am interested in getting my pilot's license. Actually, my dad's making arrangements for my flying lessons as a birthday present.
    I'm sure that when the time for me to fly rolls around, your experiences will be very helpful for me.
    Do you have any advice for anyone who's about to start or is just starting?

  2. Hi Heather,

    My advice, which is worth every penny paid for it, is:

    1) Have fun.

    2) Join AOPA and subscribe to AOPA Student Pilot Magazine. AOPA has a 6-month free subscription for student pilots. There's a lot of good information on the AOPA Web site for student pilots. They also have a mentoring program that sounds pretty cool.

    3) Fly as often as you can, but at least twice a week. On the days you can't fly in a real airplane, do some "armchair flying" -- spend some time in a chair going through the procedures that your instructor taught you in your last lesson. If you can find a picture of the instrument panel for the type of airplane you're flying, print it out and keep it in front of you so you can imagine switching the switches and pressing the buttons you need to perform a particular procedure. This works well for learning stuff like the engine-start, run-up, engine-out, and other emergency procedures. It's free, and it really helps you remember that stuff so when you're in the plane, you just do it by habit.

    4) If you enjoy flying, have fun and stick with it. There will be some frustrating times when you don't think you'll ever be able to do it right (learning to land was particularly difficult for me). But if you enjoy flying, then just take the hard times in stride and you'll make it through.

    5) Have fun.

    Let me know how the introductory lesson goes. If you want to contact me directly, my e-mail address is bmason at bmason dot com.