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Old 10-23-2021, 11:34 AM   #1
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Let's hear your Private Pilot experiences!

I know there has to be a lot of pilots on here, some still flying, some retired. I would love to hear some of your war stories!
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Old 10-23-2021, 11:57 AM   #2
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I am 57 and started flying in 2012 and like everything I do had to go all in. I was learning in a Cessna 172 but really wanted to learn in my own plane. I wanted a Bonanza A36 6 seater which also is a high performance ,retractable gear plane. Fast forward I tested in my own plane and passed but it is much more complex so learning at my age was much more challenging.

We had a river house that was a 3 hour drive and the wife was complaining about the drive every other weekend so I said "I will fix this" 55 min flight and a beer at 60 min. It was all great training her in the back with my instructors girlfriend drinking cocktails and doing their nails. After I got my license she moved up front and the world changed (look at the gauges, listen to the radio, she realized it was a job) She maybe flew 3 times up front and decided she didnt want to fly anymore so I sold the plane-lol
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Old 10-23-2021, 01:30 PM   #3
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I'm not a pilot , but have had several interesting experiences on small planes .

First was an offer from an engineer on my job who asked if after work I would like to fly up to Orcas Islands in the San Juan Islands . I said sure , it was a beautiful day , so why not . We took off from Paine Field , Boeing's base in Everett , Wa. . So far , so good . On the way he decided to take a side trip to the Arlington airport to practice touch and goes , this should have raised a red flag . While landing we bounced up and down several times on the runway before flying off . The pilot turned to me and said that counted as 4 touch and goes .
After we were back at altitude , he calmly looked over at me and asked how I liked being his first passenger ! Come to find out he had just passed his solo license test !

Second , on a flight to Barkley Sound , Vancouver Island in a Beaver float plane for a fishing trip , while over the Strait of Juan DeFuca the engine suddenly stopped . Dead quiet except for the whistling sound like a bomb dropping . Looked over at the pilot , who was tapping the fuel gauge .
He calmly flipped a switch , reached down and pumped a handle mounted to the floor and then hit the starter . It fired back up and we continued our flight . When we landed , while waiting to clear Customs into Canada , I asked the pilot if it was SOP to run the tank dry before switching tanks .
He smiled and said he was doing the same thing I was doing , looking out the window , on a beautiful day , siteseeing !

Third time was flying out of Bella Bella ,BC in a Grumman Goose float plane . This was the first time I broke a sacred promise to myself . To never fly in a plane that was older than me , with a pilot younger than me . The pilot looked like he wasn't old enough to shave and wore bottle glass lenses in his eye glasses. As we flew toward the coast , he was going over the flight manifest , seemingly ignoring the ridge directly in our flight path . I could easily see that we were below the top of the ridge . I was getting ready to get his attention , when he looked up , grabbed the wheel and pulled up . As we cleared the ridge I could see the pine cones on the trees !

The fourth time was flying out of Vancouver , BC headed to Bella Bella in a twin turboprop . Left in a heavy fog , flying up the Strait of Georgia at 9000 ft. . The issue was we were flying between 11 to 12,000 ft. mountain peaks in heavy fog . Flew all the way to Bella Bella in a complete white out . It was then I noticed the handheld GPS taped to the cockpits B Pillar . The pilots nodded to each other and starting circling and dropping 500 ft at a time until we got below the cloud cover at 1500 ft ceiling. Even with my prior adventures , that was probably the most nervous I have ever been in a plane.
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Old 10-23-2021, 01:49 PM   #4
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Also not a pilot

As teenagers we would hop the neighbors fence and cut across his ranchland as a shortcut to High School OR in summer time go to his cattle pond and skinny dip

Mr Pratt (we called him Ole Man Pratt) would buzz us in his small single engine plane and take pot shots at us with shotgun loaded with rock-salt
**He was either a really good pilot or lucky pilot as we made him do some barn storming antics

Fun Fun Fun......
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Old 10-23-2021, 03:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Also not a pilot

As teenagers we would hop the neighbors fence and cut across his ranchland as a shortcut to High School OR in summer time go to his cattle pond and skinny dip

Mr Pratt (we called him Ole Man Pratt) would buzz us in his small single engine plane and take pot shots at us with shotgun loaded with rock-salt
**He was either a really good pilot or lucky pilot as we made him do some barn storming antics

Fun Fun Fun......
If it was a yellow taildragger I'm betting it was a J3 Cub!
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Old 10-23-2021, 03:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Gail View Post
I'm not a pilot , but have had several interesting experiences on small planes .

First was an offer from an engineer on my job who asked if after work I would like to fly up to Orcas Islands in the San Juan Islands . I said sure , it was a beautiful day , so why not . We took off from Paine Field , Boeing's base in Everett , Wa. . So far , so good . On the way he decided to take a side trip to the Arlington airport to practice touch and goes , this should have raised a red flag . While landing we bounced up and down several times on the runway before flying off . The pilot turned to me and said that counted as 4 touch and goes .
After we were back at altitude , he calmly looked over at me and asked how I liked being his first passenger ! Come to find out he had just passed his solo license test !

Second , on a flight to Barkley Sound , Vancouver Island in a Beaver float plane for a fishing trip , while over the Strait of Juan DeFuca the engine suddenly stopped . Dead quiet except for the whistling sound like a bomb dropping . Looked over at the pilot , who was tapping the fuel gauge .
He calmly flipped a switch , reached down and pumped a handle mounted to the floor and then hit the starter . It fired back up and we continued our flight . When we landed , while waiting to clear Customs into Canada , I asked the pilot if it was SOP to run the tank dry before switching tanks .
He smiled and said he was doing the same thing I was doing , looking out the window , on a beautiful day , siteseeing !

Third time was flying out of Bella Bella ,BC in a Grumman Goose float plane . This was the first time I broke a sacred promise to myself . To never fly in a plane that was older than me , with a pilot younger than me . The pilot looked like he wasn't old enough to shave and wore bottle glass lenses in his eye glasses. As we flew toward the coast , he was going over the flight manifest , seemingly ignoring the ridge directly in our flight path . I could easily see that we were below the top of the ridge . I was getting ready to get his attention , when he looked up , grabbed the wheel and pulled up . As we cleared the ridge I could see the pine cones on the trees !

The fourth time was flying out of Vancouver , BC headed to Bella Bella in a twin turboprop . Left in a heavy fog , flying up the Strait of Georgia at 9000 ft. . The issue was we were flying between 11 to 12,000 ft. mountain peaks in heavy fog . Flew all the way to Bella Bella in a complete white out . It was then I noticed the handheld GPS taped to the cockpits B Pillar . The pilots nodded to each other and starting circling and dropping 500 ft at a time until we got below the cloud cover at 1500 ft ceiling. Even with my prior adventures , that was probably the most nervous I have ever been in a plane.
That's enough to discourage anyone from becoming a pilot!

P.S.- Or maybe an encouragement so you don't have to ride with folks like that!
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Old 10-23-2021, 03:21 PM   #7
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I've been a pilot for 54 years, owned a bunch of airplanes: Piper Tri-Pacer, Mooney, Comanche, Twin Comanches (3) Aztec, Aerostar 601P, Lake Amphibian (2). Plus flew many other planes borrowed or rented. 5400 hours with just under 2000 in Lakes, and most of the rest in twins. Flew to 49 states, the Carribean, Mexico, 10 provinces in Canada plus Yukon territory, and France (Miquelon & St. Pierre, look it up). Best traveling machine was the Aerostar - amazing. Most fun is the Lake Amphibian, which I have owned for 27 years.

My problem is that ever since I started RVing, I fly less. Traveling by RV takes longer, but spares you the hassles of dragging baggage between hotel rooms & rental cars. Our motto in the RV is "wherever we go, we're home".

I wouldn't trade the RVing OR the flying that I've done for anything. Both have been spectacular.

If you think RVing is expensive, forget about flying. Flying makes RVing look cheap.
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Old 10-23-2021, 03:48 PM   #8
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I grew up in a small town of about 1500, if you count the dogs and cats. The airport was a dairy farmer's pasture, about 1200', with high trees at the north end. Fortunately, most of my flying was in the spring and summer, so the wind was usually out of the south. Most of the time we had to use a car to run the cows off the runway before takeoff, and had to buzz the field to scare them off before landing!

The guy that taught me to fly wasn't a certified instructor, so when he decided I was ready I had to go to a larger city about 60 miles away for several more hours of instruction before I could get my license.

We were flying an old side-by-side model, maybe a Tri-Pacer? Many times we would start takeoff and have to abort halfway down the field because the engine was cutting out so bad we couldn't get off the ground!

In 1968 we moved to Columbus. I rented Cessna 150's when I could scrape together the extra money. I made friends with a trucker who bought an old Tri-Champ and wanted me to help him learn to fly it. I spent many hours with him and we had a lot of fun hopping around the area. He let me fly it any time I wanted while he was off driving the 18-wheeler all over the country. Sadly, he died before getting his private license.

A friend and I bought a 1956 Cessna 172 in the early '70s. At first I was out at the airport almost every day. Then in 1973 I started my business, and was so busy that I began flying less and less. Finally, we decided to sell it, planning to just rent planes to stay current. Well, I found myself flying less and less, and finally just quit. I had about 450 hours and my Commercial license when I quit. I recently did a search for our old 172, and found it out in Texas, still going strong!
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Old 10-23-2021, 03:50 PM   #9
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Started flying lessons 40-years ago - go right up to the edge of soloing and my instructor was fired. I hated the replacement and quit without soloing. Too old to start over now at nearly 72.
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Old 10-23-2021, 05:14 PM   #10
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I went to work for a company that had a Cessna 182. The owner of the company was the pilot. We flew to projects 2 to 3 hours away. I decided I needed to learn how to fly in case something happened to him while in the air. Trained in a 152 then 172.

After getting my private pilots license he sold the 182 and bought a Bonanza A36. That was really a step up.

Completed my instrument ground school but never got my instrument rating. Logged several hours behind a simulator towards the rating.
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Old 10-23-2021, 06:10 PM   #11
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My dad was manager and chief flying instructor at a club in Southern Ontario. Circa mid 60`s.... One Sunday another pilot and I rented a Piper Colt for some cross country flying. We got lost! Low on fuel and no idea where we were, we landed on a rural paved road next to an ESSO gas station! Filled it up with ESSO Extra. Got a road map to find out where we were and to navigate home .Its now dark!!! Took off from the road and didn`t call the police. Using our road map, navigated around Toronto and headed "home", 100 miles to the east. Called in on the radio for landing instructions......my unhappy dad answered our call..."OK you Yahoos, get in here"..... We had been caught!! He grounded both us for 30days. I went on to fly for the RCAF for 21 yrs and then the airlines for another 12. Retired in 2001 with 15,000hrs.
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:21 PM   #12
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Took my first flight out of Falcon Field in 1967 (I was 8) in a Cessna 172 and I got to sit in the front seat and "Fly"...... I was hooked and knew I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up

Fast forward 10 years and when I was trying to get into ROTC to fly airplanes it was determined that I was Red/Green colorblind.... aint' no way I was gonna fly in the military or the airlines.....so bummed.

Fast forward 5 years and a friend said "Hey you can still get a pilot's license" and I started flying, soloed in 8 hours, got my license with 37 hours (Part 141) and went on the get SEL, MEL both with instrument privileges and racked up around 2000 hours owning 5 airplanes over the years until about 6 years ago when we moved to the place we always needed the plane to save a 6 hour drive!!

We've owned:
  • Cessna Cardinal RG
  • Beechcraft Bonanza A36
  • Piper Saratoga SP
  • Beechcraft Baron B55
  • Cessna 303 Crusader

Personal flying has really changed in the 40 years since I started flying, what was once a fun hobby and good 'ol boys time at the airport has become a very expensive endeavor with a few large companies buying up most of the FBO's and catering to corporate types.... just not that much fin anymore.

These days we fly "Low and slow" in our RV and we're really enjoying much of the same ground that we just flew over in the past and loving every minute of it
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Old 10-23-2021, 07:43 PM   #13
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Learned in a Piper PA18A tail dragger. Still in high school. Spent every cent I could scrounge and was doing well. All set to go solo when I got landed with a new instructor. Started yelling because it had been 6 weeks since my last flight. Went out practicing crosswind landings in a fairly strong wind. SOB was still yelling. I thought I was doing ok. Walked into the managers office and said I quit. With idiots like him I don't need this. Never went back.
My son had his commercial licence and we spent many hours together. However when he applied for work there was no jobs. Sad.
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Old 10-24-2021, 09:54 PM   #14
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Bill Gail, you're lucky you survived your fourth story.
Not everybody survives illegal IFR approaches.
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