10 Myths About Learning to Fly
Here are 10 myths that I hear frequently from folks that are interested in flying, but don’t think they can pursue it.
- I can’t afford it. I despise the word “can’t.” There is simply no such thing. If you really want it, you can find the way. It really comes down to choices. With a limited budget you must simply CHOOSE what things you spend your money on. Everyone reading this has a limited budget.
- I have bad eyesight. It slays me how many people I talk to think you must have perfect uncorrected vision. It is true that it needs to be correctable to 20/40. I have terrible vision without glasses and I fly for a living just using old-fashioned contact lens. Lots of folks now get laser surgery, which seems to work great.
- I’m too old. Hogwash! You are only as old as you think you are – a quote that is written on the internal structure of my airplane by my wife. I have taught plenty of people after retirement age. How will you really know unless you try? It will be pretty apparent early in the process if you have bitten off more than you can chew.
- I’m too young. Ok there are regulations that limit you from getting certain types of licenses, but you can take instruction at any age. I started at 14, too young to solo a powered plane by a full two years. Remember gliders allow you to be 14 to solo and 16 for the license so that’s a great option to get started early.
- I’m not physically fit enough or I have health challenges. You don’t need to be a top athlete, or even an athlete at all. The medical requirements for a Private Pilot are very reasonable. Even if you don’t meet those requirements, you may be eligible for a waiver. Sport Pilot doesn’t even require a medical exam.
- There are no places to learn in my area. Aviation businesses are notoriously bad at marketing themselves, therefore they aren’t always easy to find. My local airport lost their trainer when I first started so I had to drive almost an hour to another airport. Even if you have to drive, it’s worth it.
- I’m afraid to fly, but I love airplanes. I actually had a couple of students in this category. They loved aviation, but were terrified. It is healthy to face your fears. Typically, this is the fear of the unknown, which is quickly displaced once understanding sets in. It usually takes longer to learn, but what else do you have to do?
- I’m afraid if heights. I’m in this category. On top of my roof, I’m a mess, put me in an airplane, no issues. I’m really surprised this didn’t derail my career before it ever got off the ground. When I was a kid, I couldn’t even ride the tall rides at amusement parks because it petrified me.
- I don’t have time. Similar to lack of funds, this really comes down to choices. Make some life changes if you want it bad enough. Cut out anything extraneous. Get creative. If you put if off because you don’t have time you’ll likely never start or when you do, you’ll kick yourself for waiting so long.
- I’m too unskilled. While it is true that flying requires some level of cognitive ability and motor skills it isn’t as hard as most people think. Generally you’ll know pretty soon if this isn’t your cup of tea. And again there is no way to know without trying. I have taught people who couldn’t even drive a vehicle with a manual transmission.
There is no failure except in no longer trying – Elbert Hubbard
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