Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

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Martin Blank
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Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Martin Blank » Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:52 am

Well, not quite twice as high. A monarch butterfly was once spotted by a glider pilot at 11,000 feet, and private pilots in visual flight rules (VFR) conditions have to stay below 18,000 feet. But I'd be well above the non-migratory altitudes of butterflies, so in that case, it would be the truth.

Today, I started ground school in preparation for starting flight lessons (hopefully at the end of November). I'll be there every Saturday until November 8, at the end of which I take a practice test and, if I can get a score of at least 80, will get a recommendation to sit for the actual FAA examination, for which I need at least a 70 to pass. At that point, I begin flight time with an instructor, where I have to put in a minimum of 40 hours of flight time (20 with an instructor, 20 solo), along with various other requirements, before I can get signed off for a checkride with an FAA examiner (the average number of hours is actually 60-70).

I've got 200+ pages of material to read for next week's class (a big chunk of that is for today's, plus pre-reading for next week's), and some video labs to install and answer, for which my instructor sees the results. It calms down a little next week, and while it still leaves me nervous, I'm much happier for having decided to do this than to let the opportunity slip by again.

I'm looking at my bills, trying to figure out which I can trim back, because at $143 to $148 per hour for the plane and another $48 per hour for the instructor, it ain't cheap, even on my salary. (My SANS Mentor honoraria are going to come in really handy for this.) But I've wanted to do this since I was in high school, and I think I can pull this off in the next six months if I can keep my mind on it and not get too bogged down at work.

I wonder if I should mention my new Amazon wishlist... :)
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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Mae Dean » Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:46 am

Congratulations, Jarrod! Now YOU get to annoy the fuel boy at your local Airport. :D Remember once you're done, though - planes ain't nearly as expensive to buy as they seem, and it's a damn sight cheaper than the per-hour costs you'd pay to rent. (I just did a quick search and found a bunch of Cessna 150's for $18,000 to $30,000 or so. Not that I'm saying you should get a 150... just saying it's not prohibitively expensive to buy. And tie-down spaces are fairly inexpensive, too.)

Seriously though - that's awesome-sauce.

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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Nukinblackmage » Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:18 am

But you don't need piloting skills to plow a 767 into a skyscraper...
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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by ampersand » Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:51 pm

Okay, I didn't know you had to have a license to fly a glider or operate a hot air balloon, the non-blimp variety.

Oh, I'd start taking frequent looks at the National Weather Service's Aviation Weather Center, which just so happens to be located in Kansas City, in an location near the MCI airport complex that you wouldn't know existed until you actually got to the location. One of the coolest little java applications they have there is a flight path tool that makes a customized forecast based on your flight path and gives you a vertical forecast of the weather you might encounter (wind speeds, vfr/mvfr/ifr conditions, and so on). Like most things done by the NWS, it's not the most polished of java applications (despite most meteorologist having the computer knowledge to be professional computer programmers).

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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Seir » Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:55 pm

Damn, and I thought that this was going to be a thread about Reading Rainbow.
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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Deacon » Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:45 pm

Nice, Jarrod :) You going to be keeping us up on your progress?

This is something I've considered before as well, but it's more a passive thought than an active one, and not a proper dream. I grew up with my dad as a pilot, and it can be fun and scary both. Mostly boring, though. Good luck :)
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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by sneaky ninja » Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:12 pm

Seir wrote:Damn, and I thought that this was going to be a thread about Reading Rainbow.
Take a look, it's in a book!

Flying is awesome. Good luck, dude!

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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by ampersand » Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:22 pm

I can go anyplace...

Whenever you get your pilot's license, how much would you charge to take people to the Outer Shores? In many cases, many of us are closer to rural and regional airports (there's like nearly twenty in my area, for instance).

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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Lizzegirle » Sun Oct 05, 2008 9:48 pm

ampersand wrote:I can go anyplace...

Whenever you get your pilot's license, how much would you charge to take people to the Outer Shores? In many cases, many of us are closer to rural and regional airports (there's like nearly twenty in my area, for instance).
You dolt. It's "I can go anywhere". :D

"Butterfly in the sky
I can go twice as high
Take a look
It's in a book
A Reading Rainbow

I can go anywhere
Friends to know
And ways to grow
A Reading Rainbow

I can be anything
Take a look
It's in a book
A Reading Rainbow
A Reading Rainbow
"
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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Arc Orion » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:10 pm

Cheers, Martin.

Also, thanks for reminding me just how awesome LeVar Burton is.
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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Martin Blank » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:18 pm

Greg Dean wrote:Congratulations, Jarrod! Now YOU get to annoy the fuel boy at your local Airport.
Hey, the fuel boy is 75 cents a gallon more expensive! That's $5-$10 more per hour (higher earlier on, as I won't be flying at peak efficiency). That's lunch for the instructor at Palm Springs when doing cross-countries.
Remember once you're done, though - planes ain't nearly as expensive to buy as they seem
Well, no, Cessnas aren't. But then there's what I can afford, and what I want. :D

Seriously, owning one outright is still a bit pricey. Joining a (smallish) club and going in for joint ownership is more likely at the start.
Lucksi wrote:Ahh, good old american hypocrisy.
Uh, yeah. I'm an American. We have the bomb. Duh. :)
Lucksi wrote:You think playing Microsoft Flight Simulator would be enough training? If so, then I dare you to prove it.
Actually, the flight instructors have no problems with student pilots using Microsoft Flight Simulator or X-Plane. Some of the skills learned in there do apply to real flying, particularly navigational skills, or learning to use the avionics. On top of that, MSFS comes with lessons by Rob Machado, a well-known, well-respected flight instructor who for years has written textbooks on learning to fly. It's also a lot safer to experience spins in a simulator than to experience them in real life.

However, the FAA doesn't consider these flight hours, so I can't put them in the log book. :?
ampersand wrote:Okay, I didn't know you had to have a license to fly a glider or operate a hot air balloon, the non-blimp variety.
Chances are, if you can be a nuisance, you need a license to do it.
One of the coolest little java applications they have there is a flight path tool that makes a customized forecast based on your flight path and gives you a vertical forecast of the weather you might encounter (wind speeds, vfr/mvfr/ifr conditions, and so on).
That might be awesome if I can figure out where it is. Do you have a more specific link?
Deacon wrote:Nice, Jarrod :) You going to be keeping us up on your progress?
Absolutely. Some of you guys are gonna hate all manner of flight by the time I'm done, especially since we all thought this was hilarious and started talking about who among our friends was to be first. :D
ampersand wrote:Whenever you get your pilot's license, how much would you charge to take people to the Outer Shores?
That would be about zero dollars.

Seriously, short of having a commercial certificate, it's illegal for me to pay less than a pro rata share of actual costs (it's in the federal air regulations). Would I get caught if it's between friends? Probably not. Is it worth losing my license over? No way. I may eventually go far enough to allow people to cover my costs, but I have my instrument rating to get even before commercial rating.

One of the ground instructors told a story of a pilot with about a hundred hours total who was getting ready to fly some friends up to Big Bear (a local mountain resort) to take advantage of some free hours courtesy of his friends. To make a long story short, after a guy from the FAA asked to see his license and medical (with which he complied), he thought better of it and canceled the flight. As he was leaving, he saw the same guy from the FAA at the end of the runway with a camera. The pilot may well have saved his license by doing that.

But if you want to split the costs evenly, sure, I'd fly you out there. :)
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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by adciv » Sun Oct 05, 2008 11:36 pm

Want to be the next Chuck Yeager?
Martin Blank wrote:One of the ground instructors told a story of a pilot with about a hundred hours total who was getting ready to fly some friends up to Big Bear (a local mountain resort) to take advantage of some free hours courtesy of his friends. To make a long story short, after a guy from the FAA asked to see his license and medical (with which he complied), he thought better of it and canceled the flight. As he was leaving, he saw the same guy from the FAA at the end of the runway with a camera. The pilot may well have saved his license by doing that.
Coul you explain this a bit more?
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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by ampersand » Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:03 am

It's the "Java Tools" link on the far left column, which is this tool.

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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Martin Blank » Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:14 am

OK, I see it now... I will have to play with it. It looks very much like it was designed by software engineers, for software engineers. I see the promise, but you're right -- it does need some polish.

adciv:

The FAA guy was apparently suspicious. His friends were dressed for going to Big Bear, whereas his clothing was more casual. In addition, someone overheard something about him taking them up and them paying for more than their fair share of the cost, resulting in little or no flying cost for him. That constitutes compensation for the flight. As he had barely enough hours to make private pilot, let alone commercial (which requires a minimum of 190 hours of flight time under some circumstances, or 250 hours in others), there was no way that he was legally allowed to do that. Had he flown after the FAA guy had verified that he held only a private pilot license, the FAA would have had photographic evidence that he was in effect flying for hire, and would probably have grounded him upon arrival at Big Bear. He'd have at least gotten a very stern and official lecture, and might have had his license suspended or even revoked right there -- which would have severely sucked for him, having no transportation back down and probably having to pay for the cost of someone to come get the plane, not to mention all the costs of getting his license in the first place.
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Re: Butterfly in the sky... I will fly twice as high...

Post by Deacon » Mon Oct 06, 2008 4:49 am

Martin Blank wrote:we all thought this was hilarious and started talking about who among our friends was to be first. :D
Oh sweet savior that was beautiful. I'm amazed that never happened. When I was 5 years old I vaguely remember going up in my dad's 172 over Austin and me and my sister demanding, "Daddy, make us float!" We loved controlled dives :D
One of the ground instructors told a story of a pilot with about a hundred hours total who was getting ready to fly some friends up to Big Bear (a local mountain resort) to take advantage of some free hours courtesy of his friends. To make a long story short, after a guy from the FAA asked to see his license and medical (with which he complied), he thought better of it and canceled the flight. As he was leaving, he saw the same guy from the FAA at the end of the runway with a camera. The pilot may well have saved his license by doing that.
Ah, the government and its faceless, starch-collared agents. They can always be counted on to enforce endless rules and regulations without exercising any thought or judgment.
The follies which a man regrets the most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity. - Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men, 1922

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