Pilot's License

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Signal-11, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #1
    Recently, I decided that I should get a pilot's license.

    Does anybody here have any experience on blimps? Specifically, what it takes to get a license and how hard is it to get time on one. I've googled it and while there's some details about the process, there's not much in the way of how difficult or time consuming each step is.
     
  2. TEG macrumors 604

    TEG

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    #2
    You first have to get your Private Pilot license, about 1-2 years. Then I would suspect Blimp School, would be another couple of years.

    TEG
     
  3. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a

    jknight8907

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    #3
    Uh, no, to the above guy.

    You can get your private pilot's license in a few months. In order to fly a blimp, you would need a lighter-than-air endorsement. This is where it gets complicated. No one actually owns blimps just for the heck of it. So, you're not going to get your lighter-than-air endorsement (or be able to use it), unless you're employed by someone like Goodyear.

    That means you'll need your commercial pilot's license, and an instrument rating. The instrument rating can be knocked out in a month or so, the commercial in a few weeks. (all this is assuming you're flying several times a week and know how to study on your own). Then, you'll need enough hours to get hired at Goodyear. That means being a CFI (flight instructor) for a while to build hours, or getting another entry-level job such as banner towing, pipeline patrol, traffic watch, glider towing, etc etc.

    Come see us over at Jetcareers.com for some more info, there's lots of guys over there that can help you out a lot.
     
  4. Boneoh macrumors 6502

    Boneoh

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    #4
    I understand that it is difficult to get time, due to the relative short number of blimps. My father in law was lucky to get a couple hours of flight time, but he was in the avionics business. He traded time on his aircraft.
     
  5. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #5
    Uh, no to this guy above as well


    In order to fly a blimp you would need a pilot certificate in the lighter than air category with the airship class (as a comparison, other pilot certificates have a category of airplane and a class of single engine land). I doubt you would be able to do initial certification in an airship.


    I'm guessing that if you could find somebody to teach you how to fly a blimp they would want you to be certified in another category first. If you have a certificate for airplane single engine land, for example, you wouldn't have to take another knowledge test to add lighter than air airship to your certificate.

    I have never heard of any publicly available flight training in a blimp. Companies such as goodyear hire people who already have a commercial certificate in another category and then they complete the necessary steps to add lighter than air airship to their certificate. There are very few people in the world qualified to give instruction in airships and they tend to be very restrictive in who they train.
     
  6. Signal-11 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #6
    Is that jetcareers.com a good forum to sign up on for this kind of information?

    I understand about the commercial blimps but are their any other aircraft in that lighter than air category other than airships? Is there no other way to do initial certification in that category?

    Do you think if an airship could be found to do this, an instructor could be hired privately to do the certification, not as a part of his company duties? If so, then the only real problem is the availability of an airship.
     
  7. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

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    #7
    I doubt it, but it couldn't hurt. Most of the people there are looking for careers as airline pilots. Maybe there's a blimp person there - I dunno?

    adk's advice seems pretty spot on to me. I think it's a situation where you get yourself associated with the blimp in other ways - almost like an apprenticeship - and they'll get you trained when it's time. In the meantime, I'd recommend getting started with your Private ASEL.
     
  8. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a

    jknight8907

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    #8
    The deal with blimps is they're all commercial jobs. Joe Pilot doesn't have a blimp sitting out in his hanger for weekend flights. You'll HAVE to be an experienced commercial pilot with the proper ratings to fly one.

    As for Jetcareers, it's a free forum just like this. Might as well ask.
     
  9. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

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    #9
    Also, this company runs pretty much all of the airships in the United States. I don't know if they'd be willing to point you in the right direction or not, but it couldn't hurt to ask

    Flying an airship privately may also be prohibitively expensive, since you need a ground crew of 10 people to moor the things.
     
  10. Signal-11 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #10
    Already have. :)

    Listen man, I'm not stupid. I understand that there's barriers for entry. I have no real interest in being a commercial pilot so I understand that's a real serious barrier. But I also understand that there are very few things in this life that are impossible. I don't know if this is beyond the limits of my determination and resources, but I'm gonna find out.

    So far, I've found that there are privately held held airships. So it's a matter of find one that needs the money. Still might be above my means, I don't know. Also, there are several manufacturers around the world. If the US is cost restrictive, I'll explore other options.
     
  11. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    #11
    John and Martha fly blimps - and don't work for Goodyear.

    OP - King Schools is awesome. They're really helpful and they can help you out:

    http://www.kingschools.com

    Give them a call and talk to someone!
     
  12. Signal-11 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

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    #12
    Right on, man! Thanks.
     
  13. firebirdswm macrumors newbie

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    #13
    jknight's right. JetCareers is a fantastic online aviation community. You're nearly guaranteed to find someone on there who can answer any questions you've got. My name's the same on there as it is here. What's your JC name, jknight?
     
  14. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    #14
    Not just fly them, at least one of them (and probably both of them) is also a Lighter Than Air CFI. They still don't own their own blimp. They are backup pilots for the Fuji blimp. Do they have one of their instructional DVDs for Lighter Than Air/Airship test prep?

    To the OP: in theory it takes exactly the same things to get a license for flying an airship as it does for flying an airplane or a helicopter (in the US): pass the FAA written exam, pass the FAA oral exam/flight test. It is such a rare rating that I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a computerized test (CATS, etc.) for the rating nor many Designated Examiners for it (would the FAA even have in-house examiners?) Is there something specific about blimps that you really like, or is it that you want to try something different than what other pilots do? Because there are other less-travelled piloting activities that aren't quite as less-travelled as blimps: like seaplanes, helicopters (the road I took after PP-ASEL), or even hot air ballooning.
     
  15. mysterytramp macrumors 65816

    mysterytramp

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    #15
    For a question like this, I suggest consulting Cecil Adams. He'll never steer you wrong!

    mt

    P.S. The other answers are probably just fine (I can vouch for King Schools, too), but Cecil is the best.
     
  16. jknight8907 macrumors 6502a

    jknight8907

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    #16
    Easy there buddy, nobody's calling you stupid. Just letting you know the facts.

    Same as it is here. :)

    They fly for FujiFilm. Still a commercial job.
     
  17. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    #18
    Signal-11, I know you don't have your private yet, but occasionally blimp opportunities do come up. You could get some time with Airship Ventures once you have your private pilot certificate. It still doesn't lead to an actual rating, but you could talk with them and see if you could work something out to get your license and then fly tours for them. If you wanted to go this route, I would suggest already having a commercial license before visiting them. That would let them know you are serious about working even after getting the rating.
     

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