Wild Nordics

Adventures, Passions, and Surviving Finland

Got the PPL, now what?

By on 17/10/2020

The day I got the my PPL (Private Pilot’s license) felt like a big achievement. Getting the license was a lot harder than I had expected, especially passing the theory exams.

Being able to fly with family and friends was awesome. It opened up possibilities for new adventures. At first we did some great trips around Finland but after a while I noticed myself flying a lot less than I thought I would.

Key factors for not flying so much were the cost, other priorities, and probably the biggest one, the onset of fear – I was not flying over the winter months and come spring after a 5 month break my confidence to fly was shot – the first flight of the year would feel like my first solo.

My cycle of flying 10 – 15 hours a year meant my skills were stuck in an endless loop. I was continuously chasing the level I obtained for my PPL and not getting past it.

Breaking the Cycle

At the beginning of 2020 I decided to break this cycle. I was determined to fly 50 hours for the year and see if I could take my flying up a level. This meant flying 10 hours a month.

I tackled the cost obstacle by finding friends to fly with to share the cost. I made it a priority to fly and made sure dates got into my calendar to fly.

I did see a big improvement in my flying, most notably from the repetition. I kept notes on the things I wanted to work on and over time I saw myself making really good progress. Key areas of focus were the routines, staying ahead of the aircraft and nailing decent landings.

Still needing a lot of work is my altitude and heading control and using the rudder for coordinate flight. These now hovering around PPL level but far off CPL level.

Setting a goal

I felt I needed a goal to take my flying to the next level. I decided that would me moving towards becoming a Flight Instructor. I have always enjoyed teaching people and what better way to do it than teaching them to fly.

Flying for the airlines has never been an interest for me. I like small aircraft for the same reasons I like motorcycles and flying an airliner would feel more like learning to drive a bus.

I also feel my limitations in being able to manage such a complicated machine, especially in an emergency situation under extreme stress. So my decision has been to keep flying as a hobby, and have the instructor route as a way to have the hobby pay for itself.

I really enjoy the learning and mastery and I believe that should be what motivates me.

I will spend the end of 2020 revising my PPL textbooks with the idea to start studying towards my Instrument rating and CPL in 2021 after I pass my Swedish test to get my Finnish citizenship. The goal for 2020 is to get to 200 hours with the flying. I am currently on 180 hours.