Rich's Quest For Flight

My father was a pilot. He died doing what he loved to do. It has been a goal of my life to become a pilot. Now I have chance to do so. Follow me as I pursue my dream.

Monday, April 03, 2006

#3. It's Saturday, April 1.

Now that I've resolved to go forward with lessons, I stop in at the Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) for Watertown Municipal Airport (KRYV), Wisconsin Aviation, Inc. Adam happened to be there, and he introduces me to Rana, the administrative assistant (who happens to live two houses down from me on my street), and we begin the process of opening an account and filling out of paperwork. Adam shows me how to log into their scheduling system, which means I can schedule my lessons without having to call the FBO. One of my worries is that, with my travel schedule, I'll be taking most of my lessons on the weekends. This concerns me two ways: one, going from Sunday to the next Saturday can cause rustiness that takes additional flying time to shake, and two, if I flew Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, that causes problems because with the lessons condensed so close, negative learning becomes a concern. I will have assignments to do between lessons, and having a dense schedule may cause me to not prepare well enough for the next lesson. And that could lead to more makeup time.

Quick tangent. I've been a soccer referee since 1994. Without getting into a long winded discussion on priorities and passions and all that, I've decided to cut back substantially on my referee committments this spring. There's more to it than that, but let's consider that box checked. Back to the story.

So managing the schedule will be key. Now the money starts to flow. I need stuff. A pilot starter kit. This one is by Jeppesen, and it is a collection of textbooks, maneuver manuals, practice tests, and instruments needed to complete training, both flight and ground.

The FBO had a pretty good deal on it, $222. I put $1000 on account, and that entitled me to a 5% discount, so the price for the kit was $172.

Next, Adam recommended I obtain my own aviation headset. A headset serves two purposes: first, you need to talk to the guy in the other seat and whoever you need to talk to over the radio, and second, noise reduction. These little single engine planes are pretty loud. Headsets are available for a wide range of prices, and typically you get what you paid for. After doing some research on features, and trying to guess just how much I'd be able to fly in the future, I settled on the AVCOMM AC900 PNR headset. I ordered from a store on eBay for $165.

Finally, my schedule prevents me from attending a traditional ground school to prepare for the FAA written exam, so I thought it prudent to buy a test prep program online. Adam recommended the package from ASA, so I ordered one for $110. This package is DVD based, so if I can wangle a DVD drive out of my tech support for my laptop, I'll be able to study at night while I'm on the road.

So that about catches everything up. My first lesson is on Wednesday, and Adam assigned me to read the first chapter of the Pilot Handbook. I read the first two chapters, just for good measure.


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