My PPL journey thus far

Well, I’m way behind the curve on sharing this journey through my PPL and into further ratings as I look forward to a career change in commercial aviation. With an end goal of FedEx, Southwest, Allegiant and Delta, in that order. Though, let’s me honest, I’ll go probably anywhere when the time comes.

Before starting this journey, I didn’t have much interest or really any at all in flying let alone for a career, pilots when I had previously looked years ago were being paid peanuts when they entered the industry, recently that has changed in a major way.

Those that are familiar with me, know I come from a back ground of Air Traffic Control, which was great for a while, then I fell out of love with it and made a career change into designing instrument approaches/departures and what have you.

This gig is limited and I have zero desire to return to ATC. So I started looking at what to do next. I juggle going back to college for a few things, something in energy, petroleum more than likely, different types of engineering, aerospace probably, turf management, soccer/football/golf course type stuff, and then airport operations management, running the entire gig. I started on my airport management/design degree and a few semesters in found myself browsing all the new opportunities being available to pilots, pay, airlines, jobs, and the freedoms of just what being able to fly gives you. Changed the major that week and entered a university flight program.

I began my PPL and having a few friends in the industry decided that this was the new direction I wanted to head an was excited about it.

So I took my myself up to the flight school and began. I was hooked immediately and knew this was the right choice.

I’ve been taking my lessons slow and have had a few prior obligations that have slowed me down at times, I am now around 34-35 hours. I have completed everything except my night training (10 landings at a towered airport) and have a few solo hours left to complete.

There hasn’t been anything significant throughout my training or any difficulties flying the airplane thus far.

I started in a few super old and sketchy 172’s with steam gauges. While I started with the intentions of being as cheap as possible, I quickly found out, I wanted to fly in better, newer planes and moved schools.

I now fly 2005+ year model planes with the G1000 avionics in them, since I plan to fly that setup after completion. Every once in awhile I will fly a 6 pack plane just in case that’s what’s available come checkride time.

There’s tons of debate on what to train in versus gauges and glass cockpits, honestly, I don’t see any merit in the debate, those old timers think you need to know how to navigate by the stars “because reasons!” (Usually pointing to an electrical failure or iPad/tablet failure as reason) and paper maps never die! Sure, they might make a point, and maybe it’s valid, but surely not to their degree of urgency in it. Times and tech changes, no need to be walking and riding horses for days when ours automobiles can get us there in minutes and hours, ya know?!

But flying these newer planes, also just sets you at ease a little more.

So onto my first solo and short tail cutting, it was pretty uneventful, which is always good. Crosswinds at around 9 knots but nothing crazy. I was ready for the solo, up until my instructor got out of the plane. Then the fear started kicking in and amplified once I took off, because now it is literally all me.

Knocked those patterns out and I skipped on home happy as a pig in…mud. It was a glorious day.

Continued through training and knocked out my cross counties.

Nothing of over bearing difficulty yet flying the plane and I don’t foresee any issues that may arise.

Now ground school is a different story, and I suggest, if you are like me, to not do an online or at home ground school.

It’s not that the information is difficult to learn, it’s that I have a REALLY bad habit of procrastinating and getting bored. Studying to me is like the plague and I avoid it at every opportunity. I could have taken my written test months ago, but considering I avoid the book work, still haven’t taken it, BUT you’ll be happy to know I have scheduled it for Mar 19…2020… lol just kidding, it’s scheduled for 2019. So, in doing so, I am now forcing myself to finish up this ground school and get this test knocked out.

One thing I HATE learning about, well, teaching myself about, weather. Learning about weather and everything that goes into it, interests me ZERO. I can’t bring myself to read this stuff, it is so boring. But, I am finally doing it. There are a few other subjects, but no where near as bad as this weather stuff.

Of course, writing this up has allowed me to procrastinate just a tad more! Lol

So below are some random pictures I have so far from my flights. These are in no certain order, just as I found them on my phone.

My flight school is: Atlas Aviation, located at KTPF

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Here are some more photos, haven’t flown much lately

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Written test is tomorrow… going to study a tad bit more today and then rest the ole brain.

I’ll update with my scores. My next flight is Mar 28, going to be night flying so hopefully I’ll be able to get some good photo of the Tampa area!


Pictures messed up on the initial posting, should be fixed now!

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Since these are inflight pictures this isn’t consider spotting

Wow. Impressive story. The delta part caught my eye. Have you heard of Delta’s propel programe?

I have, but am not interested in it. I am really hoping FedEx expands their purple runway program.

I like everything about FedEx and their operations, their Memphis headquarters/pilot base would be perfect for the family.

Allegiant is somewhere I’d like to end up really on the basis that their pilots are home just about every night of their trips. That is really appealing.

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Congrats on making the move! I’ve been doing this for 30 years now and will tell everyone who wants to do it, come on over. They say “if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.”

That being said, it’s not an easy road and with you having a family it will be rough for a few years while you gain your experience. There will be more downs than ups, but if you persevere you will be rewarded at the the end. I’m not trying to get you down, only tell you the truth about this industry. IT is a great place to be if you get the timing right. All it takes is another economic hiccup and the furloughs begin. I know because I lived through that. But I stuck it out and was rewarded after a long hardship.

Good luck to you and I hope you enjoy every minute of this journey you’re on.


I have to say, your determination to become a pilot, is excellent! You truly are confident and are getting there! I too hope to become a commercial pilot. (After the going through the USAF.) I shall say good luck, and I hope to see you in the skies, in the best office in the world! 😁👍


The wife and I have talked at length about all the difficulties and agree long term this is the best move. I look forward to the challenges.


Added some new pictures of the house and flying and have my written test tomorrow!


Good luck!!


Good luck buddy. I wish you all the success in this challenge to become a fully fledged airline/cargo pilot.

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Passed the written test about an hour ago with an 87%.

Test was way easier than I expected and suspect after looking at my “missed questions” that I may have selected a wrong answer on accident for at least 2.

Anyhow, done with that. Have night flying, long solo cross country to finish up and a lesson or two with my instructor to go over maneuvers again to make sure I’m good on those and I should be scheduling my checkride.


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