Friday, April 27, 2012

What does it take to get your private pilot's license? Delta County Flight School in Escanaba, Michigan

It's a multi-step process that includes medical and knowledge tests

by Yona Gavino

ESCANABA -- Flying is the ultimate adventure for many people.  The thrill of leaving the world behind and being up in the clouds is an experience like no other.

Terry Glimn is the flight school operator at Delta County Flight School.  He's taught around 40 students to fly.

But what does it take to get your private pilot's license?  You'll need 40 total minimum hours of flight time.

Student pilot, Warren Isaacson, was at 30 hours when I met him a month ago.

“When I originally started, it was strictly going to be a hobby,” says Isaacson. “I just wanted to fly around the U.P. and land in farmers' fields."

The FAA requires you to be at least 16 years old to solo an airplane and be 17 or older in order to get your pilot's license.

“It’s not like flying in an airliner. These planes are light and move with the air you're flying in," Isaacson says.

I met them for a briefing at Delta County Flight School in Escanaba.  Glimn explained what it takes to reach the sky and get your license to fly.

You first need aviation medical.  Then you need to pass a knowledge test.  Next phase is learning how to fly the airplane. Lastly, you take an examination with a designated examiner to get your license issued.  Glimn says it's very rewarding to be an instructor.

“I get the pleasure of them succeeding as pilots. That’s the main reward that I get," explains Glimn.

He overseas the entire operation and is even qualified to maintain his own aircraft.  Glimn shared another aspect that makes a successful flight.   

Safety is very important, especially when this plane gets so much time in the sky. For every 100 hours, the plane needs to be inspected by an aviation technician.

As for Isaacson, he's planning on extending his hobby.  He says he'd like to fly, not just for fun, but for travel as well.

It looked like way too much fun for me to resist.  When the instructor offered me a lesson, I had to say yes. That, and, of course, ask if I could film it for a story for TV6.

So what did he think?

“I'm just looking forward to having you get in the airplane next Monday and we'll see how you do," Glimn says.

I’d flown many times before, but never as the pilot.

I survived the lesson, but to find out how bumpy or smooth the plane ride was, tune in Friday for Part Two of my special on Learning to Fly.


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