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I have always wanted to learn to fly, and recently I have been looking into gaining a Helicopter Private Pilots License. However, I have recently been diagnosed with dyscalculia. Dyscalculia is (also called math disability or numlexia) is a specific learning disability involving innate difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic. This means that sometimes I will say numbers which are not there or miss numbers. I take this would seriously hamper my ability in gaining a license, however my question, what would you advise I do?
I have emailed the CAA but not received any reply as of yet.
My take on this (and this is not as a medical professional but as a former teacher) is that providing you can do the things asked of any private pilot, I.E pass your exams and pass your flight test then having dyscalculia itself shouldn't be a disquaifying diagnosis in the same way that having chronic heart disease would.
You may find learning to fly challenging, but as I'm sure you are aware people with learning diasbilities often have an amazing capacity to compensate for their learnign disability.
Having said that I have a Physics/Math degree and struggle sometimes. It's not easy for any of us! You won't know til you try.
This isn't really a medical reply but I suggest you go along to a flying school and talk to a senior helicopter instructor.
The problem is not only getting approval from the CAA. You must be confident you can calculate fuel requirements, can read back and set numbers on controls and radios plus assess compass headings. I regret you may well pass the exam to get a license without any of this being properly assessed. You might only find out the hard way when you are solo.
It is in impossible to write down numbers or calculations so you must be assessed on what is unusual before you start paying
As an instructor, I looked into this matter for someone who wanted to learn to fly (fixed wing) at our club. The CAA told me that in itself, it was not a problem and provided the ground exams were passed along with the skills test, it would issue the appropriate licence.
If you can pass the exams without anyone helping you nobody cares.
The disablilty stuff can be a bit funny and wide open to opinion, but the medic that deals with it at the CAA is a pretty nice practical bloke.
Some will say no no not possible then someone else will say crack on and fly.
As homonculus says only you will be able to know if your struggling or not.
But don't give up even if you find the rotary stuff is a bit to much.
I wouldn't have thought you would have a problem with microlights.
To be honest rotary is a bit of a black art to most fixed wing pilots and vastly more expensive. For the same price as one hour in a R22 you can get 4-5 hours in a microlight. Depends what you want the license to do. Nothing stopping you having a yearly flirt with a eggbeater even if you do get a microlight ticket. Persoanlly I intend to have lessons and maybe go solo but to be honest I will never get the license because I would never keep in current and I would be always on the backside of dangerous not flying them enough.
i suppose its like dyslexia, the level of difficulty one has.. if the issue was that you were not able to read the numbers and make mistakes, example read 2 as a 5, and 9 as a 6 and so on, then my opinion as we all have, the person is not safe, if it were that the person could not do calculation very accurately, then the calculator become ones friends, we all used one at one point in the cockpit.
Bu things such as altimeter, speed, and altitude would be unsafe, and the caa i would have thought would question the physiology of the pilot.
I would advise this is just my view, and no disrespect intended but that's how i would view this issue..
Sadly I was not asked to set the radio, squark or altimeter on my check ride. Even doing a commercial LPC I have not been asked that I can recall.
What I do recall is the horror of being bombarded by ATC combined with novice map reading and inexperienced airmanship in the first 50 hours after qualifying.
Sadly the PPL syllabus merely teaches you how to fly the aircraft, not conduct a flight. That is why someone about to spend a lot of money needs to be individually assessed by an instructor as I have little doubt he will satisfy the CAA and get a ticket but then possibly realise he has wasted his money
Sorry if this sounds harsh but happy to advise if you wish
I would second the advice to talk it through with a helicopter FI.
Flying helicopters is extremely visual - I know flying fixed wing should be too, but in a helicopter staring at the horizon really is essential, backed up with glances to check that some lights and needles are showing 'safe'.
The consequence is you could be half-way through a PPL course before anybody seriously expected you to deal with any numbers, (as opposed to needle positions on a dial), and by then it's a bit late to find out.
But there is lots of pre-planning in helicopters anyway, because your hands have to be on the controls so much of the time, so you might not be that much worse off than everybody else.
I hope it works out for you.
t's 6 or 2 3's...
I guess that's 6 of one and a half-12 of the other?
<<This means that sometimes I will say numbers which are not there or miss numbers. >>
Considering that so much in aviation is to do with numbers, as an air traffic controller I would be somewhat concerned to know that a pilot I was dealing with might have difficulty in this respect. In a busy situation with heading and frequency changes it could be dangerous. I know the originator is interested in flying helicopters but I have dealt with such aircraft in emergencies and if the pilots had experienced "difficulty with numbers" the outcomes might have been different.
Not sure how bad your number /mathematical problem is? A lot is being given pressure settings and frequency changes which are all numbers. You need to be able to remember those and read them back correctly. Whether writing them down and getting into a habit of doing so would help? If you cannot even write numbers down correctly you do have a problem. I have always been terrible with names and often cannot remember the names of people I know reasonably well but numbers stick like glue. Again whether there are number exercises you can do to improve this part of your memory maybe see someone who specializes in the condition? It really depends how far you want to go? If its basic VFR for a tootle around the local area it should not be too much of a problem if its to go into commercial flying it would be. My instincts are to find someone who knows and understands the condition who can give you exercises to improve things for you even coping strategies where you replace numbers with visual objects which you can remember. I am only guessing but I am sure there must be some mind training methods for your condition.
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You need to be able to remember those and read them back correctly.
I had to read back airways clearances for years. I relied totally on hearing the words in my mind's ear. There was NO visual image of the clearance. The thing is, for half a lifetime I wasn't really aware there was much wrong, I just got on with it.
I would be worried about the numerical side however, one would have to put something on paper - or the mental equivalent of a scratchpad - after the verbal part was over. Only periods of simulation would be of help in assessing this. Even MS Flt Sim can be of help in this area. A good and patient friend would also be useful.
If you can't screw in the numbers, on for example an altimeter, then you are going to have to see if this can be improved. The above mentioned thing about hard wiring is very true, but tricks can be learned to overcome a specific blindness.
Whatever method is used, it would have to be reliable. You would have to know whatever was put in the altimeter setting was the pressure you'd been given. Again, only practice and testing will reveal this, and this should all be out of the way before you start paying for the real aircraft.