Private Pilot License (Aircraft)
How it started
I think I was just a teenager when I realized it would be wonderful to be able to fly in my own aircraft. So Flying is something I had at the back of my mind for a very long time. When in 2010, we started RivieraWaves we jokingly set the threshold for success at buying a jet.
Ten years later, January 2020, a partner company visited my office. the company owner was a pilot taking his turbo-prop aircraft around Europe for business and leisure purpose. This event reignited the flame and I started to look at becoming a pilot myself. Then came the COVID-19 and the first lock down. I contemplated with despair at all the free time away from the race track and start to evaluate what it would take to get a private pilot license. I quickly realized it’s a lot of work. The second realization is the success rate amongst student if pretty low. Considering the training price, there was no way I would let that be another half finished project in my curriculum (already too many of them lying in my study ). This is why I started to source the theoretical training material as well as a flight simulator. Before starting the practical training I wanted to make I would get the time and motiviation to go through the theory.
Discovering the Aeroclub
Five books later (2500 pages) and few hours logged on the simulator I took the first step. I booked a test lesson with Eindhovense Aero Club Motorvliegen. The date was set for October 18th 2020. I flew in PH-BSF and I got to do a lot more than I thought I would. Jeroen made it look so easy, I was hooked and I thought I was a natural pilot (couldn’t have been more mistaken). Two days later I was a club member.
I have done my theoretical training with Orbit ground school as it would allow home learning as well as taking the exams in English. I registered on 22nd October 2020. I started to study and go through the progress test. The syllabus is split into 9 topics. For each topics you 9 topics you need to pass all the progress tests with at 75% success rate. Once you are done with the progress test for a module is complete you can register for the brush-up session which are supposed to be done in Arnhem every during a 3-4 hours session in the evening. Finally you can take the final exam.
At the beginning of December 2020, after a month of study, I had made decent progress and I queried Orbit about the brush-up session. They told me with COVID-19 restrictions the brush-up would be on Zoom the first week of January. I registered for that. I did the brush-up sessions from January 4th till 8th half in France half in the Netherlands due to difficult family circumstances. And I followed that with the final exams on February 8th. At my first attempt I had failed on the flight performance planning, which I had to retake twice (shameful really). As a result, I finished my theory on April 12th.
It gave me a great feeling to finish my exams. From this point on you feel like not much can get in your way before you become a pilot.
As EACM is located at Eindhoven airport(EHEH), it resides in a controlled zone. As a result it is mandatory for students to obtain their Radiotelephony license. Fortunately they have an in house course. The difficulty for me is this course is run in Dutch.
It consists in 6 lessons of 3 hours each and is conducted the Wednesdays evening for 19h00 to 22h00. It started mid-February for me and finished with final examination on April 12th, the same day as my final theoretical exam.
At the time of this writing I’m approximately midway through my practical training. I’ve done 3 solo flights already and looking forward to more.
When I get hold of my PPL license, the plan is to start instrument rating and night rating.