Joined: Jan 18, 2010 Posts: 41 Location: Duns, Berwickshire
Posted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:01 pm Post subject: Trial Lesson
I've a trial lesson coming up this saturday (which I've been looking forward to for 15 years ever since I started flying model helis) and would like to know please:
What questions should I make sure I ask? I mean in terms of finding out more about the school? Does anyone have any things they wished they asked at that point in time? I've been researching the ppl(h) for a while, but don't know how to spot a good school/instructor...I don't mean that to be offensive to any instructor as they can all fly helis better than me!!!! Are there any "red flags" I should be looking out for?
Just enjoy yourself it will be a great day, you will be too busy grinning for a while after too. If you get on with the instructor and get a good feeling in general then start asking all your questions. I expect you will be given plenty of info about the school/ PPLH etc.
Have fun and I hope the weather is ok
Joined: Apr 27, 2005 Posts: 518 Location: SE England
Posted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:09 pm Post subject:
I would echo Paddywak's advice about both enjoying yourself and trusting your instincts.
Remember, it is flying helicopters and the school that are on trial, not you Enjoy the day, pick up what you can but don't expect to come away brimming with knowledge. The cockpit of a small helicopter can be an overwhelming experience when you first fly - your instructor won't be auditioning you for a place at his/her school but will want you to experience flying a helicopter, enjoy the view and come away with a big smile on your face. And, ultimately, a big hole in your finances (we've all been there... ).
After your flight, ask them to talk you through PPL(H) training and then visit other schools and ask them similar questions. If they treat you as a source of income, vote with your feet and walk out. If they are one of the (sadly few) companies that seem to care about you as a customer, put them on your "possible" list
Seconded, or is that thirded already - On the day, enjoy your self.
Try to get a feel for the place, if you can, try and go back, not necessarily to fly, but just to get a feel of what the place is like, see if they are as friendly when they arn't getting any money out of you, most of them are.
Another thing i've found is it really helps when everyone involved in the organisation are interested in helping you, see how the ops staff and front desk bods interact, i know i've heard alot of stories from thoses guys and they've taught me alot. Sometimes it helps you to understand things coming from another ppl student, opposed to a high hours instructor who can't understand why you don't understand.
As and when you down to the nitty gritty of cost comparisons, most schools are the same, and i would put your comfort around those who work there over the cost you are paying. Most schools charge the same, just be aware of hidden costs such as landing fee's or ground exam charges.
Hope you enjoy your trial lesson, im sure you will
Having had a good long chat to one of the instructors at the school you are taking your lesson at, all I can say is that he exceeded all of my expectations. He was open, honest, very professional but most of all, friendly.
It was always a worry for me about how i'd get on with my instructor but I couldn't fault him and can't wait to get some serious flying time in with him.
Firstly try to get the most from your trip and enjoy it.
The questions for the school about learning can be done at a later date if you decide you want to continue.
Things I'd expect from your familiarisation flight (not an exhaustive list but a starting point):
A good rapport with the instructor.
A brief basic resume on how the aircraft flies - quick walkround indicating location of engine, drive belts, main rotor gearbox and tail rotor shaft. A quick explanation of why there is a main and a tail rotor.
A safety brief - how to open/close your door and belt. where you'd be able to find a first aid kit and fire extinguisher, and what to do in an emergency would IMO be a minimum.
Once in the cockpit a quick run through of the main instruments relating to height and speed and the piece of wool on the windscreen. Followed by a quick how we fly visually (using the horizion) explanation coupled with how each of the controls will affect the aircraft and most importantly any hints/tips, dos and donts and how to 'follow through' and hand over control.
During start general chatter about some of the checks eg Sprag clutch etc etc
Out to fly.You on a control as soon as possible. I used to start with cyclic (demoing inputs and aircraft response with student following through, anf then letting you have a go at maintaining aircraft attitude and then turning). then add lever and finally pedals if capacity remains.
On way back discuss autos and if you'd like to see one. If yes, then auto back down to the airfield. Then a few mins hover practice using the cyclic.
That'll be more than enough to keep you occupied
Best question to have at the end of the flight - Did I get as much from the 'time' as i could of? If the answer is yes then you're off to a good start _________________ W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G.
Joined: Jan 18, 2010 Posts: 41 Location: Duns, Berwickshire
Posted: Tue May 18, 2010 9:38 pm Post subject:
Sorry, been out of contact for a while (my girlfriend got beat up by a horse, and has been in hospital)
I've managed another hour (I'm at 1.9 hours now!!) and have an hour booked for the next few saturdays. Can't wait
I am now officially addicted - I 'flew' for an hour last saturday (with a very very calm instructor), we did straight and level, turns, climbs and descents, and it was worth every penny. Hardest thing I found was 'setting everything up' again after getting buffeted by turbulence, or after a turn etc., but a lovely day and really really enjoyable! Had all the controls for most of it (I really don't know how you instructors cope!) and feel (hope?) I learnt a lot.
I would recommend it A8C, ASAP!!! No regrets at all. Sorry once again for being a bit slow with communicating, I'm blaming the girlfriend...
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