Posted by: Orlando Web Services | August 15, 2010

Mid-Life Motivation and Structure – Help!

It’s without question, once I earned my pilots license I let out a big EXHALE.

I was finally able to relax. I was over the hump. After 4 years of saving, studying, flying, spending, saving, studying, flying, spending the 800 lb. gorilla was off my back.

The gorilla was the fear and doubt many feel as student pilots.

Can I do this?

Oh, God…how CAN I do this?

Am I REALLY cut out for this?

Should I cut and run?

The gorilla slammed me down all the time. SO YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

What helped me out finally was getting the motivation and structure that I needed to succeed.

I had a total of four different flight instructors during my time as a student pilot. Each one had their own way of doing things and some of them fit me better than others. My last instructor, Gordy…was able to help me the most because he helped bring all of the pieces together.

What are the pieces?


Face it. If you don’t fly you won’t be a pilot. Yes, planes cost money and so do instructors. You can handle this in several ways – find a flying club that is ACTIVE and that has instructors (cheapest), and either save up the money ($1000 to start), or dedicate a credit card just for flying. This credit card is your flying money bank and the lower the balance, the more you can fly.

Books & Software

You can BUY books and software now before you even talk to an instructor or perform any flight training…in fact I recommend it if you are just kicking the tires or saving up  to fly. You do NOT need to be a pilot or a student to buy aviation material and if you have studied and completed these materials, your future CFI will be very impressed with your dedication! (they see so little of it these days)

Gleim was my source of knowledge and testing software…it worked for me. The private pilot knowledge test (which you must get signed off on to take) consists of 60 multiple-choice questions selected from the 711 airplane-related questions in the FAA’s test bank. Each question and complete explanation is reproduced in the Gleim Private Pilot FAA Written Exam book and FAA Test Prep Software.  

I choose these two items because I could study on my own time and test my knowledge when I felt ready. If I had questions on a particular topic I could always see my instructor. Caution: This saves a ton of money and is good for you!

I am also becoming a BIG fan of ASA products, and apps that test my knowledge:

DO NOT BUY BOOKS ON AMAZON (too many out of date editions)

NOTE: Online resources are great when CFI resources are not available, poor or expensive….or all three.


Practical Application of Knowledge

A good CFI will incorporate the Practical Test Standards: Private Pilot Airplane (Single-Engine Land) – also known as the PTS, in their training goals.

After all the flying and book work you will want to get to your check ride…the final (well not that kind of final)  ride with an FAA examiner (or a designated examiner) who will determine if you fly safe enough and are indeed knowledgeable enough to be a pilot.

I say ENOUGH because this is not about perfection; otherwise there would be NO PILOTS….got it?

Warning: Don’t wait until two months before your check ride to open the PTS!

Go online and order it NOW and then read through it and understand what will be expected of you. I wish I had done this several years before my check ride. Below is a link to the product, cheapest aviation booklet you will ever buy.

Practical Test Standards: Private Pilot Airplane (Single-Engine Land)
The Practical Test Standards are a guide for students, instructors, and FAA-designated examiners to know what is expected of pilots in a check ride. Price: $5.95

Another item is the Oral Exam Guide: Private. Contains the questions most frequently asked by FAA examiners during the airplane check ride, and the appropriate responses.

ASA Oral Examine Guide – Private

Summary of Materials

These four publications will help cover all of your non-flying needs.

  • Gleim Private Pilot FAA Written Exam Book
  • Gleim FAA Test Prep Software (Private)
  • ASA PTS – Practical Test Standards: Private Pilot Airplane (Single-Engine Land)
  • ASA Oral Examine Guide


What does it All Mean?

I am writing all of this because once you are successful and become a pilot; I expect a free ride…not really…well perhaps. LOL

I’m telling you this to keep YOU motivated and structured. Because once you become a pilot, you will want to do more. I find myself facing the same challenges all over again as I pursue my Commercial Pilot rating. I have the same materials as those mentioned above except for Commercial Pilots because I need structure.

Being 45 years old means that it’s not likely I will fly a commercial aircraft (Airbus or Boeing) for a career. However, I do want to make money and fly at the same time. That is the motivator for me in formalizing my plan and hitting the books. This goal of commercial pilot motivated me to earn my High Performance and Complex Endorsements, and to say “yes” to the Adirondack cross country flight.

Let me clarify “making money” here because I say that and I know what I mean when I say that, but you probably don’t. I simply mean affording to fly more because money is less of a factor…not getting rich. I wish to be rich in knowledge and I wish to share it. I don’t know if I will be a CFI some day or a co-pilot…who knows?

All I know is that I want to do more flying and not have to think of the M-word.


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