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How much is too much


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I have allotted myself a relatively short time to get my ratings and plan on hitting the training hard. Thanks to the GIBill money for training isn’t really a factor but getting it all done before the living money runs out is a major factor.

 

What would you guys suggest as far as maximum single session stick time and how much a month.

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When you're first starting out, an hour a day is ample. I wouldn't push it much past that for your Private Pilot rating anyway. Also take into account the ground school time, which will be the biggest hurdle to overcome if you're not already familiar with aviation as a whole in some way.

 

I'd aim for a 2:1 ratio of classroom to flight time. If you have the time available, and can find a school willing to do it, come in every day for four hours a day. Do some ground, study by yourself, do some flying, then practice your written tests.

 

Once you've got your PPL and you can kind of "speak helicopter", two hour flights every day aren't out of the question. But again, right off the bat, there will only be so much you can learn before fatigue sets in. Crawl, walk, run.

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I totally agree with crawl walk run… As far as my aviation background goes, I have about 30 hours fixed and an A&P with about 5 years experience in heavy military aircraft.

 

The reason why I am asking this is because my college is an hour from my house, my flight school is an hour from my house (right my AOPA HQ) and the two are about 40 minutes apart. Its one big triangle around the metro DC area. I don’t want to drive two hours to fly one… but is it worth it to push it to two or three?

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I wouldn't go to three at the start. It is too much workload and you wont really improve any quicker. It could essentially slow you down due to wasting hours through fatigue. It is remarkably tiring at the start due to all the tension, mental workload etc that is going on.

 

I think an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon with a decent break in between would be ok. I did that a lot with my private and it worked out. Two 1.5 hour sessions a day for the commercial would be fine too. You will see what you can handle and how you function when you get into it. I had to drive 3 hours (across Ireland) when I did my private, so I really had to do 2 flight to make it worth it.

 

Best of luck with it!

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I don’t want to drive two hours to fly one… but is it worth it to push it to two or three?

 

Like Translift said... as first you probably won't have the mental stamina to fly productively for two or three hours at a stretch. Everyone is different, but there will come a point, especially during the first phases of your training, where your brain just stops absorbing new information. For some it's an hour, for others it's six hours. I'd give it a shot, but as someone working on their CFI, I can tell you that there is PLENTY you can work on outside of actually burning 100LL and wiggling some sticks.

 

I think with an A&P background, you'll have a pretty good time of it. Best of luck and keep us posted!

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At my old school sessions were 1hr flight, 1hr ground, at a time. We flew on average twice a day with at least one ground in between. The program was pumping out CFIIs in six months.

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For flight lessons, the learning plateau occurs around 1.2 hours. Anything much longer after that is a waste of money. Furthermore, don’t think of it as how many hours in a month. Think of it as, one flight lesson at a time. If you need living expenses, I suggest you get a job….

 

While new folks are usually really eager to bust out the certificates, it’s not usually a good idea to do a "full-court-press". Think of the process as, concentrated pressure applied over a long period of time. It’s not a one-flail-swoop/slam-dunk kind of thing. There will be great days, and extremely frustrating days, so try not to overwhelm yourself. The first key to a successful training program is time and money. It sounds like you have the money so take your time and do it right.

 

Here is what I recommend and has been proven in the past to be pretty reliable:

 

1 flight per day ranging from 1.2 to 1.5 hours. Beyond private, you can up it to no more than 2 hours.

 

For every 1 hour of flight, do 2 hours of studying, with or without your instructor.

 

At minimum fly 5 days a week. This is not a Monday through Friday schedule. Its 5 days a week schedule. If for whatever reason, you cannot fly for a number of days in a row, then you can up the program to 6 days. You must have, at minimum, 1 day off per week for some “me” time.

 

To expedite the ground sessions, do a lot of reading on your own. This way your instructor will not need to spoon feed you the information which can take a while. Time equals money. The more you do on your own, the more money you will save. However, do not try to get too far ahead of the game. Stick to the particular subject area and focus on learning what is needed. After that, you can simply sit down with your instructor and prove you already have a grasp on the subject. If you get stuck, then this is where the instructor comes in and clarifies. One other study technique is to place a sectional in your bathroom. While you’re setting there doing your thing, study every inch of the chart with particular emphasis on the legend.

 

Everything else in life may have a got-to-have-it-now, fast-food, instantaneous gratification quality to it but certainly not helicopter flight training. Becoming a proficient safe pilot takes time so sit back, relax and enjoy it……

Edited by Spike
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  • 3 weeks later...

Think about your busiest fixed wing day. I remember having a day where I did something like 11 touch and goes in about an hour.

 

A normal day learning to fly helicopters is pretty equivalent to that as far as fatigue goes. The busier days... You'll quickly learn that an hour is enough. Sometimes it can even be too much.

 

I've had longer flights later on in my training, some of them over 3 hours under goggles, but even those flights never felt longer than the hour of constant autos, hovering autos, run-ons, max performance takeoffs, SEFs, etc.

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