Private Pilot's License

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by glblwarmng, Feb 5, 2011.

  1. glblwarmng

    glblwarmng Member

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    I have been looking in to getting my private pilot's license before heading out to the academy in June for I-day. I was wondering if anyone could tell me if there are any specific advantages of having the license before going into the academy. My long term goal right now is to become a pilot. If I decide to get the license, it would require a significant time commitment as well as cost approximately $7,000. Any insight would be helpful.
     
  2. wth51

    wth51 Member

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    Look into a Sport Pilots License. It will cost you less than half the price of a PVT license. It will take less time and you could upgrade to a PVT license later if you want. I think it would accomplish the thing you are looking for, some stick time. Best of luck and God Bless. :thumb:
     
  3. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Just so you know, having a private pilots license doesn't give you any advantages to getting into the academy or getting a pilot's slot upon graduating. Get a pilot's license because you want to. You won't find out if you get a pilot's slot until the end of your 3rd year. And except for a couple, most getting a pilot slot don't have a private license.

    Now; will it give you any advantage once you've graduated and gone onto UPT? Possibly. But only in the respect that you know which way up and down is already. There's a lot of academics between day 1 of the academy and graduating from UPT and moving onto the plane you might be flying. But as far as getting there; pretty much anyone who goes to the academy, is physically and medically qualified, can get a UPT slot if they want it. best of luck.
     
  4. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Advantageous? Not so much (esp for the price). Fun? Most definitely. :)
     
  5. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    Advantage: to get on the flying team, u need a license
     
  6. F22F35

    F22F35 Member

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    i have been working toward getting my PVT license just so i have some background... also it is so much fun!
     
  7. luckymacy

    luckymacy Member

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    Well, I thought better of posting this since you already have an appointment but it's an excellent question. I'll give two opinions, one for you and one for future kids wondering what to do to help stand out on their applications based on my son's experience.

    For you, I'd 100% recommend getting stick time before you go. If you send me a PM we can work offline and I might be able to arrange for some seriously fun stick time in a plane similar to mine at probably no more cost than to buy the pilot lunch at an airport diner (see my blog, I guess, to learn what a Van's RV is - and no, it's not a camper!). In my opinion you don't have enough time left to get a private pilot's license while going to High School and working out. But some intro flight lessons would be beneficial and VERY MOTIVATING.

    For those reading just starting your application process here's what we learned this year with my son.

    Having a private pilot's license will help you a LOT indirectly towards getting into any SA or a ROTC scholarship per my son's experience. Since it's very apparent USAFA and AFROTC slots are harder than ever to get and the trend is probably worse, every bit helps, right? In fact on one or two of the ROTC/SA applications it's actually a question they specifically ask about. Son worked full time this past summer to get his license, he had to basically quit tennis and sacrifice his ranking which all but killed a real shot at most college tennis. Don't be fooled about the time committment and start sooner rather than later if you decide to get a license. A sport license http://www.sportpilot.org/ would be fine and cheaper than a PPL but finding a place that does this is harder in my experience to find than a traditional PPL route. There are a lot of variables to getting a license in a timely manner and it takes longer than you think it should. Now he is working part time on his IFR ticket and every interview he had it was a huge plus. Pretty much every interview started with them telling him how cool that was and asking a lot of questions about it. He received the top type scholarships to both the AF and Navy (he didn't apply for the Army) and he had his pick as the principal nom to either the USAFA or USNA from our Rep. No other kids for our Rep had that on their resume and it helped him really stand out for a variety of reasons and we're pretty sure this was one of the clinchers. My sister and her husband are AF officers stationed at Nellis AFB and are 'connected' so when he goes there for spring break this year he's going to get some fighter sim time and he'll actually have a clue so it pays dividends later on. And no doubt if you've never flown in a small plane or glider you're going to love it or else confirm maybe a different path is meant for you than a cockpit and that's not a bad thing necessarily either.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Here's the thing,

    Many will tell you, and rightfully so, that getting a PPL on your own dime can cause issues...mainly habits that the AF now has to break when it comes to the AF.

    You already have an apptmt, and for the 1st few months, maybe yr+ this will be the last thing on your mind. Even if you did do it, you are going to be rusty later on.

    If you have the fiscal ability do it, if you don't, don't.

    Getting a pilot slot at the AFA is going to come down mainly on your gpa and medically qual'd.

    Getting a pilot slot for AFROTC will take into account PPL because that goes into your score as a C300 (C1C at the AFA).

    Our friends who were initial cadre for the F-117, F-15E, Thunderbirds, TPS, WIC or NASA; Academy or ROTC never flew a plane before entering college. I need to use my hands and feet to count how many of them.

    It was not a make or break when it came to UPT regarding getting into the AFA and getting a UPT slot at the ripe old age of 17/18. What they did at the academy as a cadet was the big player.
     
  9. Mongo

    Mongo Banned

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    A kid who was flying multi-engine commercially washed out of my son's class.
     
  10. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Getting enough hours to know if you like flying is VERY benefitial.
    I have a friend who washed out of flight screening because she became violently ill while flying. Unfortunately, she now has to switch AFSCs and has a decent chance of getting a "needs of the Air Force" job (aka, whatever they tell you, whether you asked for it or not).

    Some people with a lot of hours will experience a "negative transfer" of habits. The AF wants you to fly like it teaches. Some people have different habits built up, and have trouble breaking them. I don't think it causes most people too many problems, but it can be for some.
     
  11. endoftheline

    endoftheline Member

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    i say get it. CAN there be disadvantages? sure....but those are the exception not the rule. the advantages greatly outweigh the costs anyways. anyone who says knowing how to fly doesn't matter for UPT just doesn't know what they are talking about. talk to someone who washed out of UPT, and they will always tell you: FLY AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!

    besides, learning how to fly (in any capacity) is truly a unique accomplishment, and it gives you the feeling that you are not bound to this earth.
     
  12. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    lol I will say, just because I finished my grad level cost-benefit/cost-effectiveness class that I would 95% say the benefits do not outweigh the costs! Had to add that lol.

    Fly as much as you can....on the AF dime. I got so much more out of the USAFA flying programs (jump and powered flight) that are much more important than a PPL alone. I have my PPL and enjoy CA flying (flew up to Santa Barbara, then back in the dark today. :) ) Stick time is important so you know what you're getting into and if it really is the goal. PPL, if financially viable, is a fun thing to have.

    Caveat, like someone said, PPL is a pre-req for the flying team. Next caveat, flying team is incredibly selective. Third caveat, having been there and done that, I would have told my past self, after watching that team and its antics, to never even consider trying to get on it, in hindsight.
     
  13. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    This I seriously doubt. Causation does not equal correlation. Not directly nor indirectly.
    To the best of my knowledge there is NO Academy who adds points to an application because of a PPL.
    While it's probably an interesting conversation starter; I would be hard pressed to think that your son's PPL put him over the edge into appointment status- either indirectly or directly.
    Candidates should not be insisting to Mommy and Daddy that they 'need' to get their PPL in order to have an edge on an appointment. Just sayin'.
     
  14. RyWalk

    RyWalk Candidate-2015

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    There are cheap ways to get some stick time. I did an "introductory flight" at an airport near where I live, as a birthday gift from my parents. It was just an hour in the air, the pilot took the plane up then let me try out rolling, pitching, yawing, then he landed it. I wasn't doing stunts, but the pilot would point to a place on the ground and tell me to try flying over it. It wasn't more than a couple hundred bucks for my brother and I to do that, and it definitely gave me a nice idea of how flying feels out of a simulator.

    Just something to look for :smile:
     
  15. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    ^^^
    I'd agree with the above. Take an exploratory flight or two just to make sure that flying in a "small" plane is something you enjoy / can handle. If it is then perhaps enroll in a ground school class that prepares you for the written portion of your PPL. That prep may help you mentally to understand different flight concepts and won't develop any bad habits. Particularly useful (I think) for AFROTC cadets preparing for the AFOQT.
     
  16. AVT

    AVT USAFA 2015

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    Are the flying programs alone at USAFA available and sufficient enough for cadets to see if UPT is for them?
     
  17. SteveHolt243

    SteveHolt243 Member

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    PPL isn't a bad thing to have if you want to go tool around in a Cessna, but frankly, it buys you about five minutes of comfort in flight training (Caveat: there may be some massive difference between UPT and Navy primary I'm missing here, but I seriously doubt it).

    At least in the Navy, the vast majority of your grades are coming from things you're either not going to do to get a PPL (instrument training) or not going to do the military way (emergency training, CRM, etc.) So it buys you the five minutes at the beginning of Fam 1 everyone else spends getting their head out of their ***, but not much more.

    Now, if you somehow had the money and time to get an instrument rating on top of the PPL, that might be useful. The other studs with previous experience that actually made a difference all had instrument ratings, and usually quite a bit of hours in addition.



    If you got the time and money sitting around, go for it, not because it'll help you get into an Academy or make you a better pilot later, but because it's fun. If it's a daunting financial commitment, don't do it just to improve your package.
     
  18. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    USAFA does consider it, it is on the application. Point-wise- I wouldn't hedge an appointment on it!

    Yes.
     
  19. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Son got about 1.5 hours of actual stick time in gliders for the Soaring program between 4 degree and 3 degree year. That was probably below average because he had bad weather.

    He got another 14 hours in Powered Flight in the T-52A this year.

    His answer would be yes. He had no flying time at all before the Academy and now loves flying.

    Stealth_81
     
  20. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    I'm actually going to say no. The flying programs at the Academy are good for seeing if flying is right for you. They do not replicate the stress of IFS/UPT though.
    The academy programs are a lot more "low threat."
     

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