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IFR ticket vs. professional training (MD, PhD...)



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 27th 04, 01:08 AM
G. Sylvester
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Default IFR ticket vs. professional training (MD, PhD...)


I got into a discussion with an non-pilot MD comparing
a professional degree versus flying.

My background, BS and MS from the top 2 bioengineering programs
in the US. (note, I put *much* more weight to experience over letters
after a name including my own). Flying-wise, I have a PPL and
about 33 hours into my IFR ticket. I should be able to complete
it in under 45 so I'm probably ahead of the curve but a I gotta put
much of this on my book and mental preparation before each
flight and ahead of time that others didn't commit to. I plan
on doing this for the challenge, excitement and unique lifestyle
of being a pilot. I might, in fact, probably will become a CFI(I)
but not full time. We'll see. If someone pays me $10 (or better
yet $500,000) to fly their challenger or Citation to wherever I want
to go, I'll consider. ;-) I've been in professional challenging
situations and none have come close to IFR in IMC.

Overall, my flying experience is just like everyone elses. It is
challenging but by the time you get your ticket and after that
still challenging as it is a never ending battle with learning to stay
ahead of the plane.
The IFR ticket is definitely a step above that as the consequences
is a LOT greater. It is a licence to kill and there is a NEVER ending
true battle with learning everything to save the asses to which the
plane is strapped to. IFR is and will always be for me, the
non-professional, challenging. Certainly after my training, my head
hurts from the concentration level required. All of this is absolutely
impossible to explain to a non-pilot...even a non-IFR pilot it is difficult.

Back to the original question. This person I had the discussion with
is under the impression of flying is probably more like driving and anybody
can do it. This person is the typical MD, their way is the only way and
they
are the only ones who do it right and no one else can comprehend (I work
for a medical device company and have dealt with hundreds of
neurosurgeons, oncologists and medical physicists around the world).

So the big question, compared to a your profession, how does flying
VFR and IFR compare with regards to training, proficiency, continued
training, mental challenge and anything else that comes to mind? No
need to convince me but more to convince the non-pilot. In particular
I'd like to hear from the professions that require advanced degrees.

Gerald Sylvester




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  #2  
Old December 27th 04, 01:33 AM
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Pilot training is vocational training. It may be a proffession, but it
is learning the trade. I have an engineering degree and nothing in
flying was as technically rigorous. Not even close. As for difficulty,
yes, it's hard, especially the IFR ticket, but I play a musical
instrument (the guitar), and I'll tell you, its harder to play a
musical instrument than fly (there are actually some similarities). One
difference, if I miss a beat on my guitar, no one dies. Flying is very
serious, if you screw up badly, there are legal reprecussions and you
may crash, injure and kill people. So in terms of responsibility, it IS
a LOT of responsibility. Also, a pro pilot is always training and
being evaluated, so you have to thrive on that.

  #3  
Old December 27th 04, 02:37 AM
Matt Whiting
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G. Sylvester wrote:


I got into a discussion with an non-pilot MD comparing
a professional degree versus flying.

My background, BS and MS from the top 2 bioengineering programs
in the US. (note, I put *much* more weight to experience over letters
after a name including my own). Flying-wise, I have a PPL and
about 33 hours into my IFR ticket. I should be able to complete
it in under 45 so I'm probably ahead of the curve but a I gotta put
much of this on my book and mental preparation before each
flight and ahead of time that others didn't commit to. I plan
on doing this for the challenge, excitement and unique lifestyle
of being a pilot. I might, in fact, probably will become a CFI(I)
but not full time. We'll see. If someone pays me $10 (or better
yet $500,000) to fly their challenger or Citation to wherever I want
to go, I'll consider. ;-) I've been in professional challenging
situations and none have come close to IFR in IMC.


I guess it depends on what metric you are looking at. Mental challenge?
Stress? I have a CS and EE degree (both undergraduate) and some
graduate-level study, but no degree and am a licensed professional
engineer. I found the instrument rating mentally challenging, but much
less so than the EE degree. Instrument flying requires a fair bit of
memorization and multitasking ability, but the procedures are pretty
well thought out and pretty consistent and straight forward for the most
part. The initial training is challenging, but it is very concrete,
unlike much of the EE curriculum which is very abstract (field theory
for example).

From a stress level, I find most flying much less stressful than a
typical day in the office. Then again, many engineers find dealing with
people to be much more stressful than dealing with objects such as
airplanes, weather, etc. :-)


Overall, my flying experience is just like everyone elses. It is
challenging but by the time you get your ticket and after that
still challenging as it is a never ending battle with learning to stay
ahead of the plane.


I found that after I had about 10 hours of solo IFR in IMC time, that
staying ahead of my 182 wasn't hard at all and I found myself getting
bored on any instrument flight more than 60 minutes in length. I'd
check the weather, check every ATIS along my route and other things just
to keep from falling asleep. I'd usually have at least a couple of
approaches pretty well memorized before arriving at my destination.


The IFR ticket is definitely a step above that as the consequences
is a LOT greater. It is a licence to kill and there is a NEVER ending
true battle with learning everything to save the asses to which the
plane is strapped to. IFR is and will always be for me, the
non-professional, challenging. Certainly after my training, my head
hurts from the concentration level required. All of this is absolutely
impossible to explain to a non-pilot...even a non-IFR pilot it is
difficult.


Yes, IFR in IMC solo is challenging, but once you get truly proficient
it is hardly a nail biter unless you get into heavy icing (did that just
once) or too close to a thunderstorm (haven't really done that yet) or
have an emergency such as engine failure (again, haven't done that yet).


Back to the original question. This person I had the discussion with
is under the impression of flying is probably more like driving and anybody
can do it. This person is the typical MD, their way is the only way and
they
are the only ones who do it right and no one else can comprehend (I work
for a medical device company and have dealt with hundreds of
neurosurgeons, oncologists and medical physicists around the world).


Flying is far more challenging than driving, but it isn't as challenging
as solving problems using Maxwell's equations. :-) I'm not a doctor so
I can't compare it to medical practice, but I don't think much of that
is challenging either. I can see an emergency room doctor considering
flying to be somewhat trivial, but most doctors aren't ER doctors.


So the big question, compared to a your profession, how does flying
VFR and IFR compare with regards to training, proficiency, continued
training, mental challenge and anything else that comes to mind? No
need to convince me but more to convince the non-pilot. In particular
I'd like to hear from the professions that require advanced degrees.


VFR is a piece of cake compared to my day job. Most IFR is also. My
only experience where I'd say that flying was more stressful than my day
job was flying back from a recruiting trip to Perdue in December. I
came back to PA just a few miles south of Lake Erie and got into some
nasty icing. That was the only time in my 26 year flying career where
the "successful outcome of my flight" (to paraphase the PTS) was
seriously in doubt! That was pretty stressful for the first few minutes
and then it actually got very peaceful once I figured I wasn't going to
survive the flight. It was really a wierd experience and one that I've
thankfully had only once.

I doubt anything short of flying lessons will convice an MD that flying
is harder than driving.


Matt

  #4  
Old December 27th 04, 03:09 AM
zatatime
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On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 01:08:20 GMT, "G. Sylvester"
wrote:

So the big question, compared to a your profession, how does flying
VFR and IFR compare with regards to training, proficiency, continued
training, mental challenge and anything else that comes to mind? No
need to convince me but more to convince the non-pilot.



Ask him if flying was so easy, why have so many doctors killed
themselves in airplanes? They even earned an endearing nickname for
one. (The Bonanza is known as "The Doctor Killer").

z
  #5  
Old December 27th 04, 03:57 AM
Jim Burns
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Ok, no advanced degree here, I'm just a farmer.

For me flying is very similar to farming because of how much both depend on
and are effected by the weather. Planning is essential, lack of planning is
disastrous, thinking on your feet is imperative, and "the next three things"
are always in the front of your mind while things four through twenty-four
are close behind.

Risk evaluation plays a huge part in both farming and flying. Both farmers
and pilots must know their limitations of risk. Over step your limitations,
your abilities, or your proficiency and you will pay for it. Farmers and
pilots know that operating equipment improperly, in adverse conditions, or
when your head or your body isn't up for the challenge can get you killed.

Farmers and pilots know when it's best NOT to do something and when doing
something NOW is the only path to a successful outcome. Farmers and pilots
know not to loose focus until the wheels stop turning and the engines stop
turning. Farmers and pilots know they are often their own worst enemy, they
have to put their job ahead of their family and must block other pressures
from their mind.

Farmers and pilots know to listen to those who have "been there and done
that", they learn from others or suffer their fate. They know themselves
and will freely admit their own shortcomings and mistakes. They will seek
answers and knowledge from those that they trust. They know that good
judgment will produce better results than emotion, brute force, or
showmanship. They know that there have been many that have gone before them
and that they themselves are not the best nor will ever be the best in their
field yet it is that for which they strive. They are humble and willing to
learn from others yet proud of who they are and what they have accomplished.
They are willing to pass on what they know to others if not only to prevent
them from repeating mistakes that they once made, but hopefully to save a
life. They know to leave their ego tucked away in the back of their minds,
only to come out while alone and away from those who are impressionable.
They know they should act as if somebody is watching them, even if there
isn't, because the people that look up to you and depend on you are always
watching.

They also know that they must continue to learn and that if they fall behind
it is often impossible to catch up. They must be alert to the newest
technology because without it they loose a competitive edge, sometimes the
ONLY edge they have to make a profit or allow them to reach their
destination safely. Every decision must be thought out with immediate
goals, long range goals, and consequences taken into consideration.

Farmers and pilots, especially airplane owners, also know that the effort is
well worth the cost and that the fun is in the journey, not at the
destination.

Jim

F.A.R.M.E.R.
CP/IR/CFI(I)/AGI/IGI
SEL/MEL
none of which really matter
and no advanced degrees


  #6  
Old December 27th 04, 03:15 PM
Bob Moore
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Default

"G. Sylvester" wrote
My background, BS and MS from the top 2 bioengineering programs
in the US. (note, I put *much* more weight to experience over letters
after a name including my own). Flying-wise, I have a PPL and
about 33 hours into my IFR ticket.


Well Gerald.....
Here in the USofA, those of us with just a high school diploma
know that you don't have a "PPL" and there is no such thing as
an "IFR ticket".
You may very well posess a "Private Pilot Certificate" and might
just be studying for an "Instrument Rating".
Unlike Europe and other parts of the world, the US government does
not "license" pilots, but instead issues them a "certificate" of
competence. In FAA speak, IFR means Instrument Flight Rules and
a ticket will just get you into the movie theater or a ball game.

Bob Moore
  #7  
Old December 27th 04, 03:23 PM
john smith
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Gee Bob, you must be "new" to aviation in the USofA.
We used to call it a Private Pilot License here until the political
correctness and such nonsense took over the government in the late 70's.
We also used to call it an Instrument Ticket if we had an IFR rating.

"G. Sylvester" wrote
My background, BS and MS from the top 2 bioengineering programs
in the US. (note, I put *much* more weight to experience over letters
after a name including my own). Flying-wise, I have a PPL and
about 33 hours into my IFR ticket.


Bob Moore wrote:
Well Gerald.....
Here in the USofA, those of us with just a high school diploma
know that you don't have a "PPL" and there is no such thing as
an "IFR ticket".
You may very well posess a "Private Pilot Certificate" and might
just be studying for an "Instrument Rating".
Unlike Europe and other parts of the world, the US government does
not "license" pilots, but instead issues them a "certificate" of
competence. In FAA speak, IFR means Instrument Flight Rules and
a ticket will just get you into the movie theater or a ball game.


  #8  
Old December 27th 04, 04:33 PM
C Kingsbury
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Default


"G. Sylvester" wrote in message
m...

I got into a discussion with an non-pilot MD comparing
a professional degree versus flying.


I would probably comparing a pilot's license to something like getting an
EMT certification. A doctor I know once told me that the way he looked at
medicine was that no single thing in it was all that difficult, but in order
to be a physician you needed to know thousands upon thousands of specific
things and how they all fit together. An EMT may not have a HS diploma but
knows a handful of things to try to keep you alive for the 30 minutes it
takes to get you to the hospital. The MD equivalent for aviation might be an
ATP/A&P who once worked as an air traffic controller and has an aerospace
engineering degree.

I do however think there are some similarities, in that both medicine and
aviation are the practice of both art and science. Both fields pay a lot of
respect to experience, and while they give people the "MD" as soon as they
finish med school, they still make you spend another four (or more) years as
a resident before turning you loose. Another similarity is that both are
"high consequence" activities that are potentially very intolerant of small
errors. On the other hand, when a doctor screws up, he usually doesn't get
killed along with the patient.

I've had the pleasure of knowing a couple very distinguished physicians, and
they are among the most humble and self-effacing people I know, far more so
than a lot of corporate VPs, lawyers, and real estate agents who have no
remote right to their arrogance.

-cwk.




  #9  
Old December 27th 04, 05:42 PM
Bob Moore
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john smith wrote
Gee Bob, you must be "new" to aviation in the USofA.


New since 1958 :-) :-) and an FAA certificated instrument
instructor since 1970 and I've never taught IFR ratings or
tickets. I have ,however, taught many students training for
their instrument rating.

Bob
  #10  
Old December 27th 04, 06:44 PM
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On Mon, 27 Dec 2004 17:42:44 GMT, Bob Moore
wrote:

john smith wrote
Gee Bob, you must be "new" to aviation in the USofA.


New since 1958 :-) :-) and an FAA certificated instrument
instructor since 1970 and I've never taught IFR ratings or
tickets. I have ,however, taught many students training for
their instrument rating.

Bob



Well, technically, you are not an "instrument instructor", but rather
a "flight instructor" with an "instrument" rating.
 




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