“Top Gun?! God help us!”

Those who know me will know I’ve long had a passion for aviation. Since I was a kid in fact – you know, that point in life where we generally go, “I want to be a pilot,” or, “I want to be a racing driver!” I said both, and I’ve made it part of my life ambitions to achieve them. I wonder how much of my desire to fly stems from my exposure to the classic film Top Gun – it has been and remains my favourite film of all time.

With racing at least, I’ve raced in 270cc petrol go-karts on and off for 10 years and thoroughly enjoyed getting in the driving seat. I knew I would never have the money to chase racing professionally, but I can still tick that box – I’m satisfied.

My two largest life goals now are to buy a house and learn to fly. I nearly achieved buying a house this year; unfortunately that ship sailed when our mortgage lender declined our application 3 weeks before exchange, despite having offered over a month before. That leaves us in a waiting game, which brings me to flying.

Nervously (and excitedly) I booked myself a medical exam after having a recent sight test – the Class 2 medical exam is required for private pilots and while you can start training without it, it made no sense to me to throw money at learning until I knew I would be fit to fly. Needless to say I shed a tear or two as I drove out of the Duxford complex at 9pm on a Friday with my CAA Class 2 medical certificate sat on my passenger seat. The only barrier left stopping me from working towards my dream had just been lifted – it was quite an overwhelming moment; I’ve never felt anything like it in my life.

I’ve now signed up to a flight school and begun my training following my real-world flight exercises along with the study material in the AFE Flying Training book; I’ll be documenting my progress here on my blog both for myself to refer back to as well as share with others the challenging but no doubt rewarding process that will hopefully see me become a licensed private pilot.

My intentions are as follows:

  • Fly a minimum of twice a month
  • Film video using my GoPro and record audio from the intercom and radio – these will be a vital learning aid as it will let me review my flights and learn from my mistakes
  • Look at signing up with CloudAhoy to help debrief my flights and get a large array of metrics to add to my video and audio records
  • Pass my theory ground school exams early, so they don’t hold me back when I get to minimum flying hours before the practical flight test
  • Achieve a night rating (assuming I get a PPL license in the first place) so I can legally fly at night
  • But most importantly, have a lot of fun and enjoy working towards joining an elite club populated by so few.

Looking forward to sharing my journey!

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