Re-Learning to fly

I just turned 72. Last time I flew was 1970. I think I want to get current again. The instructor I talked to thinks it will take about 10 hrs. I have about 300 total hours in single engine planes of various size. Anyone been in my position? Does 10 hours sound reasonable or on the high side?

Want a couple of cents worth of advice from a non-pilot?

Learning to fly again, like anything else that hasn’t been done in nearly 40 years, would depend on how much you remember from the last time you did fly.

Ten hours may be all you need. Then again, maybe you’ll need less because once you start doing it again it all comes back to you. This would be like never forgetting how to ride a bicycle.

Yes, to the folks that will complain about my background, I admit I am not a pilot. But flying, like many other things, is a learned skill and there are some skills that people never forget how to do, even if it’s been 40 years.

My take is that it will depend how good your eyesight, reflexes, and PATIENCE are. At 72 you should be just fine in all these catagories. My Father is 76 and I think he is just as sharp now as he was at 50.

Good luck and choose your CFI wisely. Make certain you are compatible before launching in to this. (I speak from a bad experience).

My hats off to you!!

I returned to it after about 22 years. I hadn’t actually gotten my license when I quit way back when, so it was pretty much like starting from scratch for me. I retained a lot of stuff and forgot a lot of stuff too. Lots of rule changes over the last 40 years, and airspace has gotten a lot less simple in the last 20.

As far as flying the plane and getting the hang of landing again, 10 hours or so sounds about right. But I think you’d do well to do a private pilot ground school course as well. There are some things you will have forgotten that your instructor will assume you know.

10 hours seems reasonable to me especially if you have to get up to speed with airspace and radio work as well as any other FAA legalese that may have changed in almost 40 years. Vision and reflexes I am sure will not be like you had at 40 so it may take a little longer to get the feel of what you had before.

But I am quite a bit younger so I cannot say I am in your position. Of course part of your process will be to get your medical current if you are looking at PPL. If you think anything may creep up where PPL is not feasible such as medications (if you take any), you should consider sports category where you can self certify your medical. If you are an AOPA member, I would highly recommend checking with their medical department only if you think something may come up.

:smiley: :smiley:

Was airspace classification the same 40 years ago?

If not, I’d almost bet the instructor wouldn’t even think about that. Not that he may have forgotten, but never was taught.

No, airspace classification wasnt the same then as it is now. A Lot has changed. I seen the difference between 1985 and 1994. I cant imagine the early 70s. And I agree with a few posts from above. After a few hours things come back to you as far as piloting skills. But you most definitely should get back into the ground school part of things. Theres nothing wrong with brushing the dust off the “old wings”. And picking up tidbits along the way to keep you sharp. I hope I make it to 72 and can still fly. :wink:

I remember when Class B was called a TCA, and Class C (not to be confused with “Mode C”) was called an ARSA. Talking to controllers in an ARSA was optional back in the day.

Yeah, little things like that can get yer ass shot-off these days! :smiling_imp:

Hell, I hope to make it to 72 and walk without the assistance of a cane much less fly an airplane. Based on his handle, wouldn’t surprise me if he had a Harley :laughing:

Hell, I hope to make it to 72 and walk without the assistance of a cane much less fly an airplane.

:laughing: No SH*&!!!

Yeah, little things like that can get yer ass shot-off these days!

:open_mouth: a major NO SH*&!! Statement :laughing:

How good of a pilot were you back in 1970, were you just barely average, or were you pretty hot? That will have a factor on how fast skills come back to you.

My guess is that you probably didn’t have a lot of experience talking on the radio, so you will spend some time in the plane just getting comfortable with that. The other is, you need to get up to speed on the new airspace designations and the new regs since the '70s, and to remember to call FSS for weather and what’s really important too, the TFR’s.
If your really serious, taking a ground school may be valuable
So many factors are involved that it’s hard to find a number of hours it might take.

Also don’t waste your money, or your time on a plane with the new high tech avionics, find one with the old steam gauges.
Try to find an instructor that shows a little patience working with you, he may need it, and it may help you in the end.

Good luck!

SOMEWHERE on AOPA’s web site there is page for returning pilots and what’s changed since you last flew.

Frankly, other than name changes very little FAR’s have changed.

PCA now Class A
TCA and Stage III now Class B and C
Control Zones and ATA now Class D
Code 3100 has changed to 7500
Everyone has transponders and altitude encoders, not just the big jets.
ELT’s are required.
Sundowners are still slow.
The biggest change in aviation has been GPS. If you used to ADF and VOR, any YoYo can fly GPS. … r9911.html … rview.html <<< Read this one

If you can’t see the articles you need to join AOPA.

Correction, TCA’s or Class B airspace didn’t exist in 1970.
Not everyone has transponders, nor are they required in all planes, even in the Mode C veil.

I didn’t say that. Class B was much later. What do you know about Stage Services?

Okay, excluding crop dusters 98% of powered aircraft in the US have transponders. Even gliders often have transponders. I never said anything about mode C veils.

We don’t squawk VFR 1400 anymore either.