Local flight schools Annapolis?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by batorthopa, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. batorthopa

    batorthopa Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    6
    Plebe son wants to get private pilots license next summer. Are there any flight schools around Annapolis that give a break on the cost for flight/instructor time?
     
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,337
    Likes Received:
    1,802
    Google Ft. Meade Flying Activity, FMFA, located at Tipton Airport adjacent to Ft. Meade. Military/Govt only recreational flying group, with instructors available. Ft. Meade is about 20 minutes from Annapolis off MD 32.
    http://fmfa.aero/

    More of a hike is the Navy Flying Club at NAS Patuxent River, MD. Instructors available. A hub of naval aviators current, former and retired. They have a FB page. 64 miles.

    I would speculate a USNA mid could get best prices at these two places, and the possibility of a military-trained aviator happy to take on a mid.

    A quick check revealed there is no longer a flying club at Joint Base Andrews.

    Lee Airport, Edgewater, MD, just south of Annapolis, is a small civilian airport. Freeway Airport on US 50 is another.

    If he is a 3/C next summer, the challenge will be getting there, since he won't rate driving privileges yet, unless he is in leave status. Presumably, he will also be doing the usual mix of training and leave blocks, so timing may factor in.

    I thought there was a USNA Flying Club ECA?
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
  3. Spud

    Spud BGO

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    460
    I hate to be a voice of gloom and doom but I attempted to get a PPL my first class year (Freeway Airport) and I was later a manager of a Navy Flying Club (with a flying school) for 6 years and my advice is save your money for later. One of the big fallacies of getting a private pilots license is that you just drive around the sky for 40 hrs and you are good to go from then on. You know, the old "once you learn how to ride a bike you never forget" approach. The reality is that it first will cost between 4-10 thousand dollars depending on skill (not all students are Chuck Yeager contrary to what they may think) and time to achieve the milestones of the syllabus. If the student is flying at a Navy flying club, his/her instructor is not always available at the few times a Mid is, and there are a lot more commitments at a military flying club such as attending safety meetings, currency tests and currency flights that are not found at a civilian airport----all which eat up precious time available. Every flight has to be OK'ed by a senior flight instructor who may or may not be easily accessible. Combine all that with the very limited time available a Mid has plus the challenge of transportation and the Mid flys very seldom which translates into more flying required as you need to fly often to keep your skills up. Even as a Firstie, I was playing catch-up on rusty skills because I needed study time to stay on top of academics. Just because you have time doesn't mean you can use it for fun stuff. Once a person gets the PPL, as far as military flying clubs go, they are still a threat to society and are required to continue their currency check rides and exams which is good for safety but it still is extra time commitments. Staying current is a BIG thing in both pleasure and operational flying in the Navy. The Navy has found out through painful experience that one of the biggest contributors to accidents (outside of bonehead decisions) is a lack of current flying time in an aircraft. This time required to stay current is a major project and will even affect them after graduation and going to their first job. The new Ensign will be in some sort of school and the study monster comes with him from Bancroft Hall. Next comes a prompt deployment at the new command. I never found enough time and money until I was a LT on shore duty.

    The other thing is if your son wants to take flying lessons, it sounds like he is headed to Navy Air. I'd say save the money for Pensacola and let the Navy buy the gas.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
    Rocket17 and Capt MJ like this.
  4. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,051
    Likes Received:
    264
    ^^ I agree. Mids already have more then enough things to occupy their time without the added complication of flight school as noted above. A better option is to wait until after commissioning and if that is his chosen field, the Navy will provide the flight training.
     
  5. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Messages:
    740
    Likes Received:
    119
    Save your money!

    Have him look into the powered flight summer training option if it still exists (it began after I left so my knowledge is pretty limited). That'll give him an idea of whether flying is for him or not, it will allow him to bypass IFS if he chooses the Navy/USMC Air route, and it costs the best amount of money (free).

    As Spud mentioned, getting a PPL is a huge time and money sink. Quick google research reveals the cost of renting a C152 (sort of the reliant robin of the skies) at $150/hour for dual instruction at Freeway. A C172 runs closer to $200. None of this includes ground school or other miscellaneous costs (headset, books, whatever). Normal MIDN limitations (time, money, academics, mando fun, football games, etc) will severely restrict his availability to fly and likely lead to him having a much longer (and therefore more expensive) than normal path to the PPL.
    A PPL also is far from a guarantee of success in military aviation. Military aviation and general aviation are vastly different and putzing around the sky in a Cessna, while fun, has little bearing on how he'll perform in a helicopter or a jet. Encourage him to pursue the USNA-affiliated options for demonstrating interest in flight instead and use the cool $7000+ you two just saved to take a sweet trip somewhere.
     
  6. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,337
    Likes Received:
    1,802
    Some of the things I wanted to say, above, but I kept to a literal answer on first go.
    Based on my observation of mids over the years, if the desire is to go Navy/Marine air, it's better to focus energy on being high enough in the class to be competitive for aviation service selection, and make the most of summer training blocks and other opportunities to see military aviation up close. One sponsor son, torn between air and subs, came back from summer aviation cruise with a huge grin on his face - Navy air it was. The Navy will teach you everything you need to know to fly. If there is an opportunity to get a taste of the cockpit and get a feel for whether physically and mentally you are a good fit, fine, but no need to sink dollars and time in a full PPL if the belief is it will significantly enhance aviation selection.

    My husband and brother-in-law were both IPs during their careers, and we currently have 3 sponsor sons and 1 sponsor daughter who are IPs - both jets and helos. I quickly polled them. PPL can be a hindrance if they were not taught well and developed bad habits and over-confidence. They preferred complete newbies who didn't try to impress.

    Now, if it's something he's always wanted to do and figures out how to carve out the time and dollars, then it will be a learning experience.
     
  7. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,081
    Likes Received:
    2,434
    Powered flight is a training block he can take in a few years. Recommend he take that and he will get all the training he needs.
     
    Rocket17 likes this.
  8. Rocket17

    Rocket17 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    29
    There is supposed to be a Part 141 flight school at Lee Field. Search it up on Airnav.com. I've got a contact at Lee and have asked for a reply. But...

    I do not see how, given time constraints, Youngster Cruise, summer leave, etc., he'll have time for the dedicated effort it'll take. It's a lot of bucks for what? If your DS wants to go Navy Air, like I did, best qualify (Physical/class standing/service selection), and go do it! I had a lot of flight time as a kid flying with my Dad. Mom wouldn't let me solo. So I graduated USNA, completed flight training and flew A-7's off carriers including a combat tour in SEA. Sorry Mom and All ... I've already posted that story here.

    I found that the experience I had helped during primary flight training ( I wasn't scared of the air :) ), but beyond that ... all new. It did reinforce the fact that I wanted to go Navy Air.

    Hey, if the kid wants to fly just do it. Even if it's just an intro flight lesson or two. If he was anywhere near me we'd fly together... right after this winter storm passes!

    I'll let you know what my Lee Field contact says.

    ps My Mom and Dad used to fly into Lee to visit me during my 4-yr stay. They also kept a sailboat in Back Creek. Lots of fun for me as an upperclassman!
     
  9. batorthopa

    batorthopa Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thanks to all for comments and suggestions. My plebe seems to be getting some conflicting info to what you all are telling me. He says they tell him that having a PPL is a large piece of the "pie" they look at when deciding flight school assignment but you all are telling me different. He has joined the Aviation club. He took an intro flight last summer and loved it. If it isn't that big of a deal, I agree, he should save the money and the time and enjoy the block he has off instead of killing himself trying to get PPL. GO NAVY,BEAT ARMY!
     
  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,337
    Likes Received:
    1,802
    Depends on the "they."
    Of the 5-6 sponsor mids/year we have had since 1996, typically 2-3 go Navy or Marine air out of each year. Only two have had their PPL, in over 25 years. Just a data point. They were all high enough in the class, showed interest, enjoyed summer aviation cruise, did well on test batteries. Out of the class of 2015, 2 went Marine, 1 Navy air. No PPL. 1 aero major, 1 history major, 1 physics major.
    Given the amount of money required, it would be an unfair discriminator for some.
     
    batorthopa likes this.
  11. time2

    time2 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Messages:
    1,051
    Likes Received:
    264
    I have also never previously heard that having a pilot's license is any kind of advantage for service selection at USNA. Would also be curious who 'they' are saying such things.
     
  12. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    Messages:
    864
    Likes Received:
    176
    My son, now in helicopter training, graduated in 2014 and did not have any type of PPL or hours in anything but a sail plane while at USAFA for a semester. My daughter, a firstie, was able to take powered flight this summer as a training block at no cost. She will find out soon if she is selected to go Naval Aviation for service selection, but from what she's heard, everything looks positive. No need to have a PPL. It would be a benefit if your plebe gets Powered Flight, but, again, not required.
     
  13. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,081
    Likes Received:
    2,434
    Doing well at powered flight would have a larger impact on service selection than a PPL. But that is just my 2 cents.
     
  14. Rocket17

    Rocket17 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Messages:
    40
    Likes Received:
    29
    No reply from my Lee contact, Sorry!

    But... I had a very rewarding day today with a First Class Mid home for Thanksgiving OPINFO. Two high schools, lots of kids with lots of interest. The Mid had service selection last week and got Navy Air. What he wanted.

    I asked him about "Powered Flight". Seems it's the ticket. He got instruction through his first solo flight and a big boost for service selection.

    Absolutely no need to pay for outside instruction, IMHO.
     
  15. batorthopa

    batorthopa Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    6
    Thanks. Saw him over Thanksgiving and asked who was telling him that he needed PPL. He said some firsties. Maybe he misunderstood. Maybe powered flight is what they meant. Do you have anymore info about that?
     
  16. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,081
    Likes Received:
    2,434
    http://www.usna.edu/FlyNavy/soaring.php

    Talked with a buddy of mine who is an instructor and pilot at USNA... definitely Powered Flight is the way to go. There is other info on Google about Powered Flight... articles from Summer Training, etc. It is essentially ground school and learning flying 101, but within the Navy way of doing things. They said the training is fairly intensive, but it will definitely help them out at flight school. Heck essentially the Navy is paying for all those classes he would be taking for a PPL, but within the Navy system.
     
  17. batorthopa

    batorthopa Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2014
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    6
    After speaking with his company aviation officer he has decided not to pursue PPL. He is going to focus on getting as high in class rank as possible to increase his chances. The aviation officer did suggest getting a flight simulator for PC with controls. Anybody got one to sell? Out of stock everywhere I look.:(
     
  18. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,081
    Likes Received:
    2,434
    It's Xmas time... Give it a few weeks.
     
  19. Spud

    Spud BGO

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    460
    I ran a Navy Flying Club with schooling from PPL, IFR, Commercial and Multi-engine ratings. We found that basic students with unsupervised time on flight simulators taught themselves a lot of bad habits. Simulators are great later on with instructors and feedback but for a basic student, time and instruction in a real aircraft with the famous seat-of-the-pants feelings were much more valuable.
     

Share This Page