Flying


Flying has always fashinated me, but I kept on looking at it as something unreacheable. Recently, my life path has taken a new direction, and I met Matthias, who showed me instead that with dedication and passion one can litterally touch the sky.

In Oct, ‘21 I started my journey to become a private pilot.

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Sunset on the D-IIKM Beechcraft King Air C90A over Alsace, France


Medical certification

Before enrolling in a flight school, one needs to take a Medical Class 2 examination. There are only a handful of possibilities in canton Zurich, and I ended up choosing the Airport Medical Center. They offer the service for a reasonable price (around 350 CHF). The examination covers the eye- and ear- tests (necessary for IFR ratings), urine test, ECG, blood pressure, and a blood sample. At the end of the tests, a balance and coordination examination, and a psycological test are carried out by a certified physician.


Training material

Here is the list of official FAA books to learn the theory of flying. They are tailored for FAA certification, but the theoretical content is the same for EASA PPL.

I ended up downloading all of them and ordering paperback copies, as well. The overall costs for the paperback versions is about EUR 100.00 (Amazon)


Online trainings

The Udemy course below covers the content of the “Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge” (Ground school) in a serie of online lectures.

  1. Part 1 - Introduction to flight training, Aircraft Structure, Systems and Flight Instruments
  2. Part 2 - Basic Aerodynamics, Aerodynamic Forces, Weight & Balance, and Performance & Limitations.
  3. Part 3 - Regulation, Inspections & Documents, Aeromedical Factors, Aeronautical Decision Making
  4. Part 4 - Weather Theory, Weather Services, Airport Operations, Radio Communications.
  5. Part 5 - Airspace, Charts, Navigation, Flight Computer & Cross-country planning.
  6. Part 6 - Course review, Practice Exams, and Written Endorsement

Another interesting course that instead mixes theory with simulated practice is the following:

  1. Learn to Fly - Private Pilot Maneuvers

For a more comprehensive course, the following iOS application should suffice. Jason is a great certified flight instructor who will not get bored to remind you about standards and best practices: The finer points


Schools

I have been evaluating the possibility of applying for a flight schools in the surroundings of Zurich, and the following ones are potential candidates:

  1. CH: Flugschule Basel at the International Airport Basel-Mulhouse
  2. CH: Flugschule Grenchen
  3. CH: Swiss Flight Accademy

I did my first test flights here:

  1. DE: Ardex Flight Training Center
  2. IT: Aeroclub Brescia at the International Airport of Montichiari (BS)

Simulators

X-Plane 11 This simulator goes beyond being a videogame for enthusiastics. It can easily be used to train in a realistic environment various flight conditions. The best experience is on Microsoft Windows.
IVAO IVAO is an online platform for flight simulation enthusiasts to enjoy their hobby in a simulated real-world environment, in company of other people, flying or providing Air Traffic Control services.
VatSim ATSIM is the Virtual Air Traffic Simulation network, connecting people from around the world flying online or acting as virtual Air Traffic Controllers

Tools

Tracking Adsbexchange Track any plane with an ADS-B on-board
Weather service Autorouter It finds the shortest routes in European airspace and it provides valuable information about the forecasted weather (GFS) on the proposed route.
Flight applications Foreflight Flight planning, charts, weather, airport information, document management, flight logging, synthetic vision, and more for both VFR and IFR.
Flight applications Skydemon VFR flight-planning and navigation software