What to do before your first flightHaving always dreamed of becoming a pilot, how do I know its what I really want?
A young and aspiring pilot should visit their local flight school or aero club and meet local pilots and instructors. This will most likely be the first place a future pilot will train once they committee to becoming a pilot. It is encouraged that all future pilots experience at least one flight before committing to studying for their PPL (Private Pilots License).
While most future pilots enjoy flight, some individuals might not get the same thrill as they first expected and realise perhaps becoming a pilot is not for them. Some people can experience motion sickness, also known as airsickness while flying which they would not have experience as a passenger on a commercial sized aircraft. This can be overcome with experience – where you body adjusts to the new sensation, over the counter tablets which reduce motion sickness or simply eating a light meal/snack before flying.
The aviation world both professional and socially is a tight knit community which is made up of aviation and flying enthusiasts. Speak with like minded people who have completed the same journey you are hoping to undertake. Aviation is about control, communication, discipline and experience – most people are more than happy to discuss their journey with a new member of the aviation world. Once you have spoken to members of your local flight school/aero club and experienced your first flight, it is worth considering getting an aviation medical.
An aviation medical is not just a standard medical it is a more detail and specialist medical conducted by a medical professional. If you're applying for an aviation medical certificate for the first time, you will be applying for a secondary medical certificate. It's worth doing some research knowing what to expect from a medical exam, and which medical conditions might prevent you from obtaining an aviation medical certificate.
A second class medical certificate is required only for General Aviation pilots – those that fly as a hobby. As the holder is not involved in commercial activities, the certificate is not as restrictive; still, the holder of the medical certificate must be mentally and physically fit to exercise the privileges of the applicable license safely. The typical young adult who is applying will general be passed with a clean bill of health.
The main stumbling blocks medically for young pilots is eyesight. If you have to wear glasses/contact lenses once your prescription is approved you will pass the examination, the other issue can be discovering you are colour blind. Unfortunately, this will prevent you from obtaining a medical. As a future pilot, visit your local flight school/aero club, book a flight in a light aircraft and see if you still get that thrill you imagined and final before you start any official training, complete an aviation second class medical – this could save you a lot of time and money in the future.