3
$\begingroup$

I think my question/situation is a little bit of rare so I start this question and want to hear from you experience pilots.

I'm a 30+ migrant from China working as a software engineer for 10 years. Now I use my weekends taking flight training for Private Pilot Licence in Sydney. Currently I don't see any big problem with my training and probably in next couple of weeks I will have my first Solo. What concerns me is my past experience. I can say I'm rather a good programmer and writing code for computer(iPhone) is really different from driving or flying. My flight instructor tend to say (and I agree) I always fly with the exact numbers rather than make necessary adjustment according to situation outside. So I guess with the past 10 years indoor in-front-of-keyboard office life/experience. The more you get your life/experience aligned with computer/coding, the harder you could get out of it.

What's worse is I don't have any driving experience until two months ago I started to practice for my Australian driver's licence. Now I have my licence issued for one month and I still only drove four or five times with rented car. Though I love public transportation and I'm not that declined to own a car, now I start to thinking about the benefit of driving experience for my flight training. At least driving skills are accumulated with "hours" (which is the same as flying) and it will get me out of computer world.

Do you have any suggestion or advice on this? Thanks for reading and replying. Cheers~

P.S. if possible, my target is CPL one day.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site, it's good to hear of people taking up flying. Your question is not completely clear. Are you concerned you lack decision making capabilities, or are you thinking that somehow driving experience translates to flying experience? $\endgroup$ – GdD Jun 3 '15 at 8:25
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @GdD. I just think(guess) driving a car and an airplane are similar. My previous experience limited my understanding of developing this kind of skill. For a not so accurate example: in my previous working environment everything is "known", the requirement the language spec the algorithm. But with driving/flying, one has to observe somewhat "unknown" or "unpredictable" situation like passengers on road or "flying too low on base". it's just not "a given input will must result a definite output". I think i've lost somewhere there. $\endgroup$ – kcome Jun 3 '15 at 8:39
7
$\begingroup$

I don't think driver training is beneficial to flight training, the physical acts of driving and flying are too dissimilar. Driving is a handy skill to have for sure, it's usually much easier to get to the airfield for one thing, it's not going to translate to flying though.

As for flying the numbers you are falling back on what you are good at: attention to technical detail. Attention to technical detail is a very good thing in flying - having a plan and rehearsing for emergencies can save you neck. What your instructor may be telling you is that you need to focus your attention to other details. You may be spending too much time looking at your instruments and not enough looking outside. I did this at first because I had spent a lot of time playing flight simulators and I'm also in IT and spend a lot of time looking at displays in front of my face. The cure is simple: force yourself to get in the good habits of looking outside the aircraft and developing situational awareness. You can only get that through flying practice.

It sounds like you are concerned that you don't have a sort of instinctual "feel" for flying. Everyone has a different set of aptitudes, some people are better at certain aspects of flying than others. If there's an area you are weak in then focus your training and practice on developing it into a strength.

$\endgroup$
3
$\begingroup$

From my subjective experience, training pilots without driving experience is not a big deal, as long as it not an indicator of being uninterested in things technical. (Remember, tons of people start flying gliders in their teens, before ever having driven a car).

What you are describing is the typical path of the flight student, and from the fact that you are concerned with making good progress: a motivated flight student.

Without training and experience, you can not expect yourself to intuitively know what to do when you are "too low on base". In fact, you can not even expect yourself to even know that you are "too low on base". The only way to compensate for this, in the beginning of your training is by doing things "by the numbers" (ie, knowing what height you should be over the blue house etc) (sort of like following an algorithm).

That being said, the most common (once again my subjective perspective) hurdle seen in new pilots with plenty of flight simulator experience is underestimating the importance of outside visual references (in practical terms: they don't trust their own ability to judge their attitude looking at the outside horizon.

For an educating experiment: Ask your flight instructor to oscillate the aircraft in pitch +/- 1 degrees while you look only at the artificial horizon, then have the instructor repeat it, while you look outside, at the natural horizon, and make your own conclusions as to which is "the better" instrument. :)

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

My experience is the other way around: Learning to fly improved my driving skills. This mainly in the field of trip planning and discipline of execution. Remember, with a car you can always pull to the right (in Australia to the left) and stop. With an airplane you do not have this luxury, so you learn to think ahead.

If you are comfortable with public transport, forget to get a car. Driving is expensive. But try to get behind the wheel every now and then to build up experience.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Driving experience helps in flying only by "curing" your reflexes. Nothing else. You can have no driving experience and still be a good pilot, but there is a thing called "Pilot Aptitude". Some people are good at it, some people are not. This does not come from how experienced a driver you are, but comes intrinsically from the fact "How good you are". Many air-forces across the world have this test, and it is often claimed that one cannot gain this aptitude just by flying more. You need to have this aptitude, and after that you can improve your flying skills by having more experience and practice.

Indian Air Force conduccts PABT

$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.