First Steps: Choices (Early 2009)

Once I’d made the decision to finally take up the flight training I’d always wanted to do, the next step was how do I go about doing it? First step, Google is your friend.

What did we do before the internet? I remember having to go to the library to spend hours looking up the most basic information, and now everything is at your fingertips. Hasn’t the world changed. The internet is possibly the single most socially impacting revolution to impact mankind since the development of writing. Maybe.

Anyway. I live in downtown Toronto, and I don’t have a car, so that limits me on where I can learn to fly. It has to be within walking distance, or easily accessible by public transit. As luck would have it I actually have an airport within walking distance.

Toronto City Centre Airport, CYTZ, located here, at the heart of Toronto’s bustling waterfront. A nice little airport, easily accessible for myself, with two flying schools and a lot of activity.

The airport is home base for Porter Airlines, who fly from Toronto City Centre to various locations in Canada and the United States. It is a bustling private aviation airport as well as a base for Ornge the Ontario air ambulance. As a result they have busy airspace, Air Traffic Control and various sized aircraft coming and going throughout the hours of operation. While many people learn to fly out of local community aerodromes, with little to no ATC, and no commercial operations, my circumstances dictated I’d have to learn straight into a busy high volume environment. Still, I thought, it would serve me well. Though I’m still trying to convince myself of that one šŸ™‚

So airport has been chosen for me. Next up, school. As mentioned earlier there are two schools on the island, so I had to choose between them. This wasn’t so easy a decision. Both were reputable companies with their own pros and cons. I spend many a day searching the internet for people’s opinions on both companies, and checking up on the aircraft they had. I had decided to learn in a Cessna 172. Larger than the 150 or 152 many learn in, but the most popular aircraft in the world. I figured I may as well learn in the plane I’m most likely going to be able to hire and fly elsewhere at other airports as we travel around.

Looking up the prices of both schools there where in the same rough ballpark. Plane costs, instructor costs, ground school etc. However the commentary in online forums and the like pushed me slightly towards the one I choose, Canadian Flyers. Honestly there wasn’t much between them, but I made my choice and to this point I haven’t regretted it.

So having finally made my choice, I plucked up the courage and headed down there. April 24th 2009. I went to the office, spoke with the staff down there, and put my money down for the Ground School class and the Ground School Kit.

Private Pilot Ground School Course: $380

Ground School Course Kit (books etc): $245

Plus taxes. Total cost $661.75

And that was it, my first payment towards my future hobby/money haemorrhaging endeavour. I also booked my Fam (Familiarisation) Flight at the same time. Tuesday 28th April would be my first time in such a small aircraft. My first time behind the controls. My first flight in a long course.

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