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Dave sittin' in a plane I received my Private Pilot Certificate by taking flight lessons from the Michigan Flyers at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport (ARB). This certificate allows me to fly any single engine land based plane anywhere in the US. Currently I fly a Piper Cherokee PA28-140, but have also flown Cessna 152s and Cessna 172s.

Why did I learn to fly?

With skiing as my land sport, diving as my sea sport - the sky was all that was left! Plus it's fun to see a different view of the world, and hey - if I ever want to go anywhere, I can just hop in a plane and go!

Dave Flying
Dave flying to Midland
Sep 27, 1999

How much does it cost?

$3000-$7000 depending on the place of instruction, your instructor, and how long it takes for you to become certified.

My private pilot license took 76.1 hours of flight time and cost:
Club Dues $ 486.50
Instructor Fees $1575.00
Plane Rental $3136.50
Supplies $ 713.29
Misc Fees * $ 544.00
* Includes Club Initiation, Deposits, Medical Exams, Subscriptions, etc

UofM Stadium
The Big House

Landing a plane
Landing in Midland

How long does it take?

As long as it does - there's no limit as to how quickly (or slowly) you learn to fly. I started on June 4, 1998 and received my Private Pilot Certificate on July 23, 1999.

In 2007 I started my instrument training. When completed, this will allow me to fly through the clouds, along with just making me a better pilot in any conditions.

Dave and a plane
At the terminal building in Sandusky, OH
April 8, 1999

I've landed at the following airports:

  • ARB - Ann Arbor, MI (obviously)
  • YIP - Willow Run Airport - Ypsilanti, MI
  • ADG - Lenawee County - Adrian, MI
  • Y47 - New Hudson, MI
  • PTK - Oakland County Int'l Airport - Pontiac, MI
  • 45G - Brighton, MI
  • DET - Detroit City, MI
  • SKY - Sandusky, OH
  • PHN - St. Clair County Int'l Airport - Port Huron, MI
  • DTW - Detroit Metro Airport - this was very cool
  • LAN - Lansing, MI - Also toured the FSS (Flight Service Station)
  • CGX - Chicago, IL (see picture below)
  • VLL (7D2) - Troy, MI
  • OEB - Branch County Airport - Coldwater, MI
  • 3BS - Barstow Airport - Midland, MI
  • TTF - Monroe, MI
  • FNT - Bishop Airport - Flint, MI
  • FPK (07G) - Beach Airport - Charlotte, MI
  • 3TE - Meyers Airport - Tecumseh, MI
  • 7N4 - Honey Acres Airport - Clinton, MI
  • TOL - Toledo Express Airport - Toledo, OH
  • 76G - Marine City, MI
  • GDW - Gladwin, MI
  • RMY - Marshall, MI
  • MOP - Mt. Pleasant, MI
  • MKG - Muskegon, MI
  • MFD - Mansfield, OH
  • HTL - Roscommon County - Houghton Lake, MI
  • PLN - Pellston, MI
  • 83D - Mackinac County - St. Ignace, MI
  • AZO - Kalamazoo, MI

  • Number of flights152
    Hours Flown190.9 (132.8 PIC)
    Landings490 (384 day, 106 night)
    (As of Oct 29, 2008)

    Mackinac Bridge & Mackinac Island in the background

    Radio Chatter

    Ann Arbor Tower Here are some recordings of me talking to the Ann Arbor tower during my 2nd solo flight. It may sound like jibberish at first, but soon every pilot actually anticipates what the controllers will say next making the conversation much easier to hear and understand.

    Ann Arbor area flight map

    How do you find your way around up there?

    You use maps like this. It shows airports, cities, large roads, large obstructions, a bunch of frequencies, and airspace boundaries. This is a map showing Ann Arbor (ARB) and Willow Run (YIP) airports. I also have a map of the entire Detroit area.


    Here are some quotes I've gathered along the way. They aren't from me, but they are all worth repeating.

    Without question, my most rewarding flight has been into Meigs Field (CGX) in downtown Chicago. This is the same airport that everyone starts at in Flight Simulator. The view while landing is spectacular, to say the least. The perfect day was made even better by lunch at Gino's East and dinner at Ed Debevic's. The bad news is that the Mayor of Chicago sent his boys in under the cover of darkness and literally destroyed the airport so he could build a park on the island. The next morning was a big surprise for the people that worked there, the planes that were planning on landing there, and even the FAA. For more information on this aviation tragedy, visit the Friends Of Meigs. Chicago
    Final approach into Chicago, Oct. 11, 2000

    The Irish Hills area of Michigan
    If you are interested in learning to fly, send me email and I'll fill you in on some more of my thoughts and experiences.

    If you'll be flying with me and want some guidelines, take a look at my passenger preflight briefing.