Flying airplanes -lessons

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
User avatar
Topic Author
4nursebee
Posts: 1678
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:56 am
Location: US

Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by 4nursebee »

I've focused my OCD on flying the last couple weeks. A few days ago took a 30 min flight at a school 5 minutes from home in a Diamond DA40. I did not fit well in the plane, knees hit the control board, could not open window flap, control of pedals awkward. My CFI suggested I find someone that taught in a C 172. I know of someone taller than me that got instruction in a 172. So I have been evaluating other options. Also 5 min away is a school that does crop dusting, rumor is scheduling flights is not the easiest. I've reached out online to some other places, the next closest is someone "negotiating" with an airport 20 min away, cant fly there yet, he would bring the plane to my local airport. Costs not fully discussed but $75/hr dry was mentioned. There might be some other nearby options but they seem to be small operations. An hour away from me is a school that has 7 airplanes and I think several instructors. They seem organized online (http://www.tradewind-aviation.com/) and I think I will go check them out. I've signed up online for my medical, need to get MD appt. I am going into this for the fun, have wild dreams of being rich and getting my own plane, perhaps be CFI in retirement. I love the idea of $100 hamburgers! I am not sure how fast I would take lessons, certainly could do it fast, might space the money out to keep the peace at home. Part of doing this goes against the master plan financially with enjoyment now vs later... I am also willing to walk away from it at some point with no regrets. I have a sense some people never get their private license and many quit flying after about 150 hours. Two people I know have sold their planes and given up flying. One of the things I've considered is reading and learning everything I can before taking lessons so I can minimize the cost, but as I read I am not sure the learning can happen well without the practical application.

For those of you that fly, what advice would you offer?
If you are a larger person, what do you fly?
Please share your flying story.
How much is insurance?
What about airplane storage costs and conditions?

One of the nice places nearby to fly to is the outer banks of NC, I hear that the crosswind landing strip can be a challenge. I will make this a priority to learn well. What else might be a challenge?

Thank you in advance for sharing your time and energy responding.
Pale Blue Dot
Daryl
Posts: 614
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:34 am
Location: Malvern, PA (I like to sleep near my money!)

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Daryl »

I love flying and hope to take a trip this afternoon (weather permitting). I am a Private Pilot (ASEL - Airplane Single Engine Land) and I'm trying to learn how to fly gliders. The school near my house has a Diamond DA40, and that looks like a really fun plane. I'd love to get checked out in that eventually, but right now I'm content with the small Cessnas (Cessna 152 and 172). I completed all my training in the 152 - it is a small plane (2 seats). With a full tank a fuel and an instructor, I am at the max gross weight. The 172 is a fun airplane, especially with the 180 hp engine. The 172 has 4 seats and is the plane that I'll take if I have a couple friends going somewhere with me.

The 172 might be a good fit for you. I'm an average sized man and I have to move the seat forward to reach the rudder pedals.

RE: Insurance / Hangar fees - I would recommend renting until you get your license, and then flying as many different types of planes as possible.

Keep learning and fly safely!
gd
Posts: 1638
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:35 am
Location: MA, USA

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by gd »

Advice? Tell us what it is about your body size that is a problem first. I've never been in a DA40, but have never heard of problems. Pretty big people fit adequately in a Cessna 172. It's pretty universal, along with Piper Warriors. Don't bother with the 152.

Flight instruction is all over the map. You can get cruddy instruction from big schools, and excellent instruction from individuals with a single airplane. Same with full- vs. part-timers, beginners vs. retired airline pilots. In general, making broad sweeping statements involving my personal opinions about the instructional process:

Your chances are better with someone who is using a specific syllabus, preferably aligned with a home-study kit (DVDs or online). This is particularly true if you have trouble disciplining yourself to study, or the instructor isn't much interested in ground time (see below).

Experience is useful, but not critical. If you're their first student expect some fumbling, but burned-out apathy is worse. I've seen beginner instructors who were better than grizzled veterans, both time-builder airline wannabes and 40-year instructors (they can actually be the worst! And the best!).

It's an intense, one-on-one thing. You need to get along with your instructor, and vice versa, on the ground and in the air. They need to explain things and work with you the way you need. If you have specific needs such as fears, scheduling issues, time availability, learning issues (I don't know if the OCD was a joke), you need to be upfront with them & make sure it's going to work.

There's more to it than flying an airplane. A good instructor will spend time on the ground, before and after every flight. A really good instructor will spend a lot of time on the ground with you. A good indicator of a bad instructor is one who is just there to fly.

Be prepared to pay for their time. Don't expect to be valued any more than you value them. That ground time above? It's going to cost you money. One of the reasons some instructors don't do enough ground instruction is that customers won't pay for it, they just move on to the next school that doesn't charge some ground time each lesson. Your training will be as good as you pay for. Costs of operating airplanes are amazingly high, and for the skills they have and risks they take, good instructors' net pay is amazingly bad.

Guaranteed way to make it really expensive? Just show up for the lesson not having prepared or studied. Costs vary with area and circumstances; around me $10-15k/year is not unreasonable.

Don't worry about what airplane you're going to buy. Focus on what you're doing now, and rent.

Time spent in these lessons (ground and flight) is the most useful time you'll ever spend in an airplane. Don't rush it, enjoy the experience, learn as much as you can.
User avatar
oldcomputerguy
Moderator
Posts: 10353
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2015 6:50 am
Location: Tennessee

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by oldcomputerguy »

4nursebee wrote:One of the things I've considered is reading and learning everything I can before taking lessons so I can minimize the cost, but as I read I am not sure the learning can happen well without the practical application.
There is quite a bit of "book" learning to go along with the practical training. You must learn Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) parts 61 and 91, plus quite a bit of stuff from the Airman's Information Manual (AIM), including airport and runway markings, procedures, how to read a sectional chart, and (most importantly) enough about weather and how it affects flying to keep from getting killed. The weather part seems to be the part that gives most people trouble. I too spent quite a bit of time doing the reading and studying before jumping into the cockpit. I think it helped.
For those of you that fly, what advice would you offer?
First, stay far, far away from any PC-based flying simulation game. They are of no value to a beginning pilot, and actually held me back several cockpit hours.

Most training aircraft have a boatload of instruments and avionics in the cockpit. You should ignore most of them. There are three that you should learn and use in your primary training: airspeed, altimeter, and magnetic compass. Others, such as the gyro compass, make your flying tasks easier, but these three are essential, and are all you really need for VFR flight. Oh, and look out the window. Lots. This is what messed me up in my initial training. I was so used to looking at MS Flight Simulator's cockpit instruments (since obviously I couldn't look out the window) that I went for nine or ten training hours paying way too much attention to the gauges and nearly none to the terrain and horizon out the window.

If you have the chance to do your primary training at a controlled airport with commercial traffic (not one the size of Atlanta or Chicago, obviously, but one of the mid-sized controlled fields), do so. The experience of learning to communicate with ATC will be valuable, and it never hurts to have a second pair of (radar) eyes on you as you fly.

And stay away from clouds.
If you are a larger person, what do you fly?
My initial training was in a Cessna 152, a two-place training plane, with two or three hours in a 172. The 152 was fairly cramped for my instructor and myself. (I later transitioned to a four-place Piper Warrior for my test and for most of my instrument training.)

Most aircraft seem to have been built with the assumption that the pilot would average around 160-170 pounds. Since -ahem- I'm a bit larger than that, we had to make some adjustments. In order to keep total gross weight under the limit we had to make sure the fuel tanks were not topped off; if they were, we couldn't fly. Once I got into the Warrior (which had a higher gross-weight limit), we didn't have to worry about it for just the two of us. (I have a picture of me and my instructor standing beside that Warrior hanging on my wall.)
What about airplane storage costs and conditions?
Never got around to that, every plane I've ever flown was owned by the school. Sadly, like so many others, after completing the training and earning my pilot certificate, I gave up flying, back when we bought this house and needed the money for expenses. Now that the house is paid for and I'm facing retirement soon, I'm considering taking it back up at least a bit.
User avatar
jimmyq
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:34 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by jimmyq »

Reading this thread with interest, as I WILL be taking flying lessons at some point in the next year or two. How do I know this? Because I'm currently building a 2-seater experimental kit-plane with a friend (who is a pilot), and before I'll ever be able to fly this creation, I'll have to learn how to fly. Luckily I have plenty of time to figure this out because the build will take another couple years.

I am seeing that there are a lot of different paths to a pilot's license, such as taking lessons at a larger closer airport, but more time and money will be wasted taxiing around, or I can take lessons at a smaller airport, but that is much further away (about an hour drive). And yes, I've also heard that finding a good instructor is most important, but seems like it will be hard to know whether you've found one that you are comfortable with until you fly with them for a few hours.
rustymutt
Posts: 3973
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:03 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by rustymutt »

When I got my flying license in 1980 while working at Beech Aircraft, the cost of the flying club was very low. Beech subsidized it. Beech Bonanza $11 an hour wet. My job was to build the doors into the aircraft, and put on locks, form and fit it to each aircraft frame, and test for air leaks. They transferred me to Avionic, 3 months after I started in the electrical engineering area at Beech. Love working with my hands. Needless to say, I love flying, but the cost outside of Beech kept me from continuing flying. I was so excited about learning to fly. I'd do it again if I could. Have fun sir! I was 6'4", 250 lbs when I learned to fly. I've been looking into the lite sports craft units. I love flying, and you will also. I was like a little bird that got my wings. I flew everywhere back in the 70's and early 80's, or at least I thought. This world is huge. Ask a astronaut. Huge compared to the specks we live in.
Last edited by rustymutt on Sun May 22, 2016 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.
Cheyenne
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:46 am

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Cheyenne »

If you are a larger person, what do you fly?
A C-172 or Piper Warrior fits most tall and/or large people.
Please share your flying story.
When I was 29 yrs old I took an airplane ride for fun and got hooked. I started lessons, earned my ratings and eventually quit my job to become a professional pilot. I did that (corporate and airline) until age 40 at which time I returned to my previous career.
How much is insurance?
When you fly solo as a student and later when you rent airplanes for trips you should buy aircraft renters liability insurance. As I recall it wasn't very expensive. AOPA can help with that.
What about airplane storage costs and conditions?
It varies depending on location. Naturally a tie-down costs less then a hanger.

You're getting into a very expensive hobby, but well worth it in my opinion. If you want to earn you license as soon as possible enroll in a formal flight school (Part 141 school). If you want to take your time and learn over the course of several months or longer, and you meet a free-lance flight instructor that you like, you can do it that way too (Part 61). Personally I prefer the latter method. You can also fly with different instructors at different flight schools (perhaps not the best idea).

Be careful. When you hear people say "flying is safer than driving" don't believe it. That statement might be true about traveling on the airlines based upon a statistical analysis. Flying light planes is more like riding motorcycles. It can be done relatively safely if one is very careful. You can manage the risk, but it's not safer then driving.

Also, if you are in a position to do it it might be wise for you to buy an airplane to learn on. Airplanes hold their value. You might be able to sell it for what you paid thereby saving all the money spent renting. In 1984 I bought a 1967 Cessna-150 for $6,000.00. Today that same airplane is worth about $15,000.00.
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11917
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Not intending to hijack this thread (haha, airplane joke), but DS is interested in flying, possibly to the point of getting his license down the road. He's a full-time student, so time slots to fly are few and far between (eg, flying at school means taking an Uber back and forth). Every time he calls, they try to sell him a package of n hours, ground school, etc.

He's read a few ground school books and is just looking for flying lessons as he finds it relaxing yet exhilarating. A license would be something he goes after a few years from now. While at home, he signed up for an hour flight, but they insist that he spend time with the school's manager; it reminds me of time-share marketing.

He is not in a place for establishing an ongoing relationship with one flight instructor. Any suggestions how he can fly without the sales pitches?
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
User avatar
papiper
Posts: 142
Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 10:36 am

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by papiper »

I started flying in 1988 in a Cessna 152 for training. It was very tight with instructor (I'm 5'11"), but ok on solos. Moved up to a Cessna 172 when I got my private, then a Piper Comanche when I added kids.

The cost is similar to a country club membership annually if you already own a plane. Now buying the plane expense can be anywhere from $20,000 to bazillions.

Rent until you sure - buy if you want to do it forever. Best compromise is owning a plane. Most pilots that quit rent - If you own your own plane, you have keys in your pocket to go have an adventure. If you rent, you are always worried about the next hour cost. If you looked at it intellectually, renting is better. Emotionally it's all in for owning. Flying is all about emotion.

Welcome to the club! You'll find it's inclusive to everyone and a world of awe and beauty.
rustymutt
Posts: 3973
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:03 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by rustymutt »

TomatoTomahto wrote:Not intending to hijack this thread (haha, airplane joke), but DS is interested in flying, possibly to the point of getting his license down the road. He's a full-time student, so time slots to fly are few and far between (eg, flying at school means taking an Uber back and forth). Every time he calls, they try to sell him a package of n hours, ground school, etc.

He's read a few ground school books and is just looking for flying lessons as he finds it relaxing yet exhilarating. A license would be something he goes after a few years from now. While at home, he signed up for an hour flight, but they insist that he spend time with the school's manager; it reminds me of time-share marketing.

He is not in a place for establishing an ongoing relationship with one flight instructor. Any suggestions how he can fly without the sales pitches?

He needs to get employed by one of the aircraft companies. Then he can get his license for next to nothing, as I did. I was blessed to be in Wichita, Kansas during the peak years of Cessna, Beech craft, Boeing, and Lear, now Bombardier. From early on I worked at all of those places except Lear jet. While in school at WSU, Beech craft hired me into the sheet-metal department. I have always loved working on things with my hands. The flying clubs are awesome benefits. I flew a C172 backwards, without stalling. Love that Kansas wind, and currents.
Even educators need education. And some can be hard headed to the point of needing time out.
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11917
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by TomatoTomahto »

rustymutt wrote:[snip...]He needs to get employed by one of the aircraft companies. Then he can get his license for next to nothing, as I did.
He can pay for his own flying hours, and tbh, has no interest in working for an aircraft company (nothing against them, but he's a college sophomore, rising junior). He just wants the ability to pay for an hour here, an hour there (literally, he is in NJ now, will be in IL for the summer, and goes to school in CT) without the sales pitches.

OP, if you're feeling hijacked, please let me know and I'll go away. Thanks.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
User avatar
Topic Author
4nursebee
Posts: 1678
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:56 am
Location: US

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by 4nursebee »

no offense, keep it going.
I'm reading flying forums about leasebacks right now
Pale Blue Dot
jharkin
Posts: 2706
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by jharkin »

Ive always wanted to get my license but still have not got around to it. As mentioned its expensive, really EXPENSIVE. Keep in mind that even after you get hte license you have to budget for a minimum of something like 20 hours a year just to keep your license current. I have a friend who got his license a couple years ago and is no finding it a challenge to fit in time to just make the required minimum hours with other life commitments. With only a basic VFR license he cant do long distance trips when the weather is iffy so it seems to limit how much and where he can fly.

I got my flying fix by getting into large scale R/C models instead and even that is not cheap.... maybe when I retire Ill get my license.
User avatar
Topic Author
4nursebee
Posts: 1678
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 7:56 am
Location: US

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by 4nursebee »

Pale Blue Dot
Atlshaun
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:18 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Atlshaun »

jharkin wrote:Ive always wanted to get my license but still have not got around to it. As mentioned its expensive, really EXPENSIVE. Keep in mind that even after you get hte license you have to budget for a minimum of something like 20 hours a year just to keep your license current. I have a friend who got his license a couple years ago and is no finding it a challenge to fit in time to just make the required minimum hours with other life commitments. With only a basic VFR license he cant do long distance trips when the weather is iffy so it seems to limit how much and where he can fly.

I got my flying fix by getting into large scale R/C models instead and even that is not cheap.... maybe when I retire Ill get my license.
From where are you getting the 20 hour per year currency requirement?
t3chiman
Posts: 87
Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:34 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by t3chiman »

jharkin wrote:... its expensive, really EXPENSIVE. ...
You can park a well-equipped 172 at your local airstrip for around $50k (Initial price plus upgrades to avionics, etc.). Then figure $10k per year to own the thing (tiedown, insurance, inspection ...), and another $7-8k per year to fly it (2 hours per week, fuel, oil, repairs...). And of course, your instructor's fees. It really is an expensive hobby. Most regular folks join a club, or buy a 1/3 or 1/4 share of a nice single-engine airplane.

After I got my private pilot license, and passed the instrument written, I did the harsh mathematics. It just did not make sense to continue, particularly when my employer would subsidize a masters degree in computer science, and not an instrument rating. My opinion: a strictly VFR pilot is just a hobby flier, a danger to himself and any passenger if weather gets iffy. It can be tons of fun, though.

Think of it as riding a very expensive, and very fast, motorcycle. If that makes sense, get the training and do it. It did not makes sense to me, and I am not active anymore. But my cousin regularly rents an aerobatic airplane, and goes up for 45 minutes or so of loops, rolls, and spins. Says it decompresses him.

HTH
Daryl
Posts: 614
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:34 am
Location: Malvern, PA (I like to sleep near my money!)

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Daryl »

4nursebee wrote:no offense, keep it going.
I'm reading flying forums about leasebacks right now
Leasebacks make a ton of money.... For the flight school and the aircraft mechanic (A&P). If they were a great deal for the aircraft owner, wouldn't the flight school want to buy their own fleet? I think of a leaseback similar to Enterprise Rent-A-Car, except almost all of the renters are less competent at operating the vehicle (and I've seen some poor drivers!). I wouldn't buy a car and then let Enterprise rent it out. Likewise, I wouldn't put an airplane on leaseback either.
tedclu
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:13 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by tedclu »

I would first go out to your local airport and talk to the pilot see their experience, each area in the country is different.

Google and see if there are any flying clubs in your area. You can join(buy in) for thousands. The only thing you need is to pay monthly charge and hourly. Most of these clubs also charge Wet(with fuel) vs dry, and most charges based on tach hr(should be less $)vs hobbs at the flying school. (I am in a club with 172s, 182s and a SR 22.)

As for the lessons go, you should have something on the schedule at least 3 times a week. Usually 1 or 2 gets cancel due to weather. You don't want to re Learn thing s every couple of week, that's just waste of money. And find a place for ground school.

If you are a little larger, I would avoid the two seaters. C172 (Skyhawks) and pa28 (warrior) are the most common trainers, they should fit most people.

Insurance for an single pilot is expensive and the hanger rent is based on demand. One local airport goes for 200/month, another one starts at 500.

Good luck, it is fun!
User avatar
Mel Lindauer
Moderator
Posts: 31503
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:49 pm
Location: Daytona Beach Shores, Florida
Contact:

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Mel Lindauer »

Something that hasn't been mentioned is using the GI Bill to get all your advanced ratings.

While I had to pay for my private, the GI Bill paid 90% of my commercial, instrument, multi-engine, flight instructor airplanes, flight instructor instruments, seaplane rating and flight instructor multi-engine. Still had money left to work on a Lear type rating (ran out of money before getting the rating, but still had a good time strapping that rocket on).

Someone also mentioned flying clubs. I instructed at a flying club that has operations at PHL, PNE and Caldwell NJ. That's a great way to get your advanced ratings if you don't have the GI Bill.

Finally, FWIW, IMO the instrument rating is the most important of all of them, because learning to keep the plane right side up when you can't see can save your life and that of your passengers.

Good luck in whatever you decide.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
User avatar
IFRider
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:40 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by IFRider »

I am not a pilot, but I did have a romantic attraction to aviation as a teenager. I would hang out
at the local FBO trying to figure out a way to get a ride (not unlike a hitchhiker) in any type if aircraft.

I finally realized that I could never afford to learn on my own and that I could never get the military
to teach me, so I gave up on the idea of becoming a pilot. I still had the romantic notions about flying though...

I was able to cure that by watching flight deck videos. I started with the Concorde video from itvv, but now, there
are many on youtube. This guy is awesome:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG4IsPelLNPJZrL7sqZmBPQ

He's a former F16 pilot that uploads videos of flying a business jet with 4 cameras. I would recommend
watching these videos and I think you'll quickly realize that flying is definitely not a distraction for your OCD.
In fact, I would argue that flying would exacerbate it. It's actually worse than a long car ride. In a car, you still
have to pay attention somewhat to insure the thing goes straight down the road. In flying, the pilot spends some quality time
taking off and landing, but the rest of the time is spent sitting in a cramped seat, in a noisy cramped space while the flight
director does the best part. If it weren't for the periodic communication requirements, there would be absolutely nothing to do
but watch laptop screens for 99% of the time.

I found the best outlet for my OCD is motorcycle riding. In my opinion, it's the last true test of skill that technology
hasn't ruined. You have to pay attention at all times, you have to anticipate the actions of others, and the final analysis of
your competence is survival. It doesn't get any better than that, and I haven't found a substitute in over 32 years of regular
riding.
Selu Gadu
Posts: 90
Joined: Sun May 01, 2016 11:36 am

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Selu Gadu »

No one seems to have mentioned the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). I used to volunteer at the Emergency Aircraft Repair facility at their annual fly-in convention in Oshkosh, WI. This is probably the most comprehensive exposure to flying activity in the world and I would recommend attending the convention to anyone interested in aviation.

Started flying when I was 13, used to ride a bicycle about 8 miles to Fannin Field, pre-flight a C 150 and go flying then get on the bicycle and back 8 miles to home. If I recall the C 150 was $25/hr for dual but that was around 1963 and I was mowing grass and doing whatever odd jobs a kid could do back then. If I recall, it took me about two years to get around 6 hours and solo. Never got beyond the student pilot license; college, marriage, divorce, etc. Flying is still fascinating and I am still a member of EAA, once the bug bites a person is never the same. :)
De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est. Quantum Mechanics can't be all that tough, after all it isn't rocket science!
tedclu
Posts: 180
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:13 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by tedclu »

Selu Gadu wrote:No one seems to have mentioned the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). I used to volunteer at the Emergency Aircraft Repair facility at their annual fly-in convention in Oshkosh, WI. This is probably the most comprehensive exposure to flying activity in the world and I would recommend attending the convention to anyone interested in aviation.

Started flying when I was 13, used to ride a bicycle about 8 miles to Fannin Field, pre-flight a C 150 and go flying then get on the bicycle and back 8 miles to home. If I recall the C 150 was $25/hr for dual but that was around 1963 and I was mowing grass and doing whatever odd jobs a kid could do back then. If I recall, it took me about two years to get around 6 hours and solo. Never got beyond the student pilot license; college, marriage, divorce, etc. Flying is still fascinating and I am still a member of EAA, once the bug bites a person is never the same. :)
I agree

If you don't live close to Oshkosh there is also sun and fun in Florida. Plus tons of smaller fly ins around the country. Check with AOPA.
neilpilot
Posts: 3667
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by neilpilot »

I started in 1971 but quit for 20 years; moved to NYC area and budget wouldn't cover flying. Learned in various flavors of Cessna, but since 1989 have flown a Mooney about 2400 hours. Without repeating what's always been said: I've never rented. Started out in 2-3 airplane clubs, then moved up to sole owner and 1/2 partnerships. You can save $$ if you don't rent, and it may be worth the risk from the start, even if you decide to quit and sell out.

If you don't continue your training aggressively you will require significantly more hours in relearning. Once you get your license and have acquired a bit of PIC experience, begin your instrument training ASAP to stay safe and get the utility from your aircraft. Nothing worse than cancelling a weekend trip since you aren't sure the return weather will be solid VFR, except maybe pushing ahead into IMC without the required training and experience.

A half partnership can cut you expenses buy 30-40%, but more importantly your can benefit from your partner's experience.

When you are ready to travel, consider a Mooney over a higher performance Cessna or Piper if you want economy and will rarely need to fill more than 2 seats. Mooney pilots sit with their legs extended, similar to some sports cars, and I know larger and taller pilots who were surprised that they had more leg room than I n the C182.
Helodriver
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:26 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Helodriver »

I agree with almost all the responses posted here so far.

I do not have any experience in a Diamond so I cannot speak to a direct comparison. But the 172 has been the training standard for many years. Many a tall person has sardined themselves into the smaller 152 to get the job done. But why do that if you don't have to. Learning can be hard enough why make it more difficult by being uncomfortable.

Crop dusting school sounds interesting. The professional side of me says stay away. In order to get the job done in the ag business you have to be fast. Sometimes procedures can be abbreviated. Sometimes corners can be cut. Thats not the way to start out. You need to see how it is supposed to be done right the first time. Also with OCD seeing a mix tank will give you a heart attack. However on the other hand that would be some of the best seat of the pants flying you will ever see.

I don't know what you mean by "negotiating" unless they are they are trying to gain access to a private field. If that works out that would be convenient.

Small schools can be just as good as larger ones. As said before its a issue of the individual CFI.

One advantage of a large school is if maintenance issues arise often there can be another aircraft available for your lesson. small schools frequently do not have a fleet to accommodate last minute maintenance. Planning training around weather can be hard enough arriving at the field to find out the aircraft you are scheduled in is no longer available can be really frustrating.

Nearby is better driving an hour each way for a lesson would be a serious commitment of time.

Once started make a commitment to complete the rating in a timely fashion slow training can be expensive and can cause you to become discouraged and stop short.

I grew up near a grass strip. I started with a Super Cub and a Taylor Craft, Marked rows. drove fuel truck. Army, Now mostly forestry S-61 and S-64 firefighting and construction.

Take one step at a time. Get your medical. Find a instructor and a aircraft that fits.
Good luck.
TheExMexican
Posts: 41
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:46 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by TheExMexican »

I'm one of the cheapest SOBs I know, and I have been flying for the last 10 years or so. I'd like to address the cost issue and the 'what's the best flight instructor'.

First, if you are learning to fly for 'fun' (i.e., not as a career), you need to find yourself an old retired guy who is a flight instructor for fun. These guys don't teach because they need the fifteen bucks an hour, but because they love to fly. Your typical flight school (at least in my area) has a bunch of young guys building time to get their minimum hours in order to interview with an airline. The fastest way to 'build time' is to become an instructor. Some of them are great, but a great many of them will get their coveted job offer sometime in the middle of YOUR training, and will disappear overnight. For most of them, their heart is just not in teaching. The old guy will always be there and will be much more accommodating to your schedule....and of course, the old guy is, well, old, and will be able to explain the why of things much better than someone who was a student himself a few years (or months!) ago.

Now, regarding the cost, as other already said, yes, it is an expensive hobby, but this varies GREATLY depending on where you live. California? New England? Forgeddaboutit! Most other places are very doable for a Boglehead. You just have decide whether this is a priority in your life or not. You will also find that the more relationships you make around aviation, the less expensive it will be.

Here is my example:

I started flying Cessna 152's for about 100 bucks an hour wet (including gas) and with an 'old guy' instructor. I work full time, so it took about 60 hours and 9 months to get my private license. After that, I continued to rent 152's and Piper Tomahawks (the 172 was too expensive for me!). After about three years of this, I met a guy who was a freelance flight instructor and had two airplanes, one of which was a 172 and did not fly very often. He offered to let me fly it for $75 an hour plus gas, and I absolutely jumped at the chance -- no fighting over scheduling, ability to take long trips without worrying about paying a minimum hourly fee per day, etc. Fast forward a few years, and another friend of a friend tells me he is selling his 1969 Mooney. A little rough cosmetically but in great shape otherwise....for $38k. My wife says "You know, my car turns 10 years old this year, and we said we'd buy a new one after 10 years. It's a Honda, so why don't we keep it another 10 years and buy the airplane instead?"

So there you have it, we are the proud owners of a 47-year old airplane (plus a 16-year old CRV and a 13-year old Accord). We pay less than $1,200 per year in insurance, plus another $2-4k per year in maintenance (the mechanic who does maintenance is an acquaintance, and he lets me do some of the 'grunt' work....like removing 100 screws to remove inspection panels during the annual inspection, etc., so that saves quite a bit of labor cost).

Any time I hear someone bought a new truck, SUV, BMW, Tesla, boat, etc., I just think "Holy smokes, that's a whole airplane's worth of money right there!". The point is as long as your have a relatively good job, you can do anything...but you can't do EVERYTHING. In our case, both my wife and I had your typical 'individual contributor' job at a big company. We just arranged our lives around airplanes. Moved to an airplane-friendly place (with a runway two blocks from my house!), turned down jobs that would have taken us to places where you DO need to be a millionaire to fly, even if the pay was better, etc. Jobs have taken a turn for the better over the last couple of years, but we still live and budget the same way we always did.

Sorry for the long post, but to summarize, if this is something you want to do, spend the time researching your area. Go sit at the airport with the old guys and ask them questions. Lots of questions. If you're friendly and don't seem like a murdering lunatic :), most pilots will even be happy to give you a ride. If you can swing it, go to the EAA Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the end of July. The cheapest way to get there is to fly into Chicago and drive up. Bring your tent and camp. If you are attracted to airplanes even slightly, you will love it.

So, get your ducks in a row and do it!

TheExMex
neilpilot
Posts: 3667
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by neilpilot »

TheExMexican wrote:I'm one of the cheapest SOBs I know, and I have been flying for the last 10 years or so. I'd like to address the cost issue and the 'what's the best flight instructor'.
TheExMex
Now that I think of it, a vintage Mooney is a very bogglehead kind of airplane. Definitely allows you to travel relatively fast on a budget, compared to alternative private aircraft. My 2400 hours are in 1964/5 M20E & C.

While in theory you can get your license in a Mooney, and I know a few who have, I don't recommend it.
User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 3729
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Doom&Gloom »

TheExMexican wrote:First, if you are learning to fly for 'fun' (i.e., not as a career), you need to find yourself an old retired guy who is a flight instructor for fun. These guys don't teach because they need the fifteen bucks an hour, but because they love to fly. Your typical flight school (at least in my area) has a bunch of young guys building time to get their minimum hours in order to interview with an airline. The fastest way to 'build time' is to become an instructor. Some of them are great, but a great many of them will get their coveted job offer sometime in the middle of YOUR training, and will disappear overnight. For most of them, their heart is just not in teaching. The old guy will always be there and will be much more accommodating to your schedule....and of course, the old guy is, well, old, and will be able to explain the why of things much better than someone who was a student himself a few years (or months!) ago.

...

Sorry for the long post, but to summarize, if this is something you want to do, spend the time researching your area. Go sit at the airport with the old guys and ask them questions. Lots of questions. If you're friendly and don't seem like a murdering lunatic :), most pilots will even be happy to give you a ride.
This was such a good post that I hated to trim it to quote, but I did it to emphasize what I felt were the most important points to OP.

Hang around and learn from others. Get as much free "right-seat time" as you can. You will be surprised how much you learn and how much more fun that makes the entire experience.

I got my SEL license in college in 1967. My roommate had his license and got me interested. I learned in a C-150 and then a C-172. It became even more fun when he bought a Champ and later a Stearman. I absolutely loved flying, but didn't have the free time or extra funds to remain "current" so I let it go.

I had a handful of different instructors but always felt my roommate was really my instructor as I learned more from him than I did from all of them combined. My roommate was far more obsessive and conscientious than any instructor I ran across. But I did learn something different from all of them. My first two instructors worked together as crop-dusters and were teaching to supplement their incomes. They were adequate pilots but not great teachers. The instructor (different town) who checked me out for night-flying was a retired guy who had flown in WW II. I only had a few hours of instruction with him, but he was by far the best instructor I had. The fellow who gave me my check-ride for my license was also an older guy in a nearby town and gave me the impression that he was a terrific instructor as well.

But I have never declined an opportunity to sit in the right-seat with friends who owned planes, and, with one of them, went to learn to fly a glider to the point of being able to solo. I never flew one after that, but soloing in one was a personal goal I had for some reason.

Good luck and enjoy!
jharkin
Posts: 2706
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by jharkin »

Atlshaun wrote:
From where are you getting the 20 hour per year currency requirement?
My friend who has a license mentioned there where some minimum number of hours a year he had to fly to stay current. I dont remember the exact number I said I thought it was something like 20??? I may have misheard/misunderstood him. One of the pilots on the board could confirm.
neilpilot
Posts: 3667
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by neilpilot »

jharkin wrote:
Atlshaun wrote:
From where are you getting the 20 hour per year currency requirement?
My friend who has a license mentioned there where some minimum number of hours a year he had to fly to stay current. I dont remember the exact number I said I thought it was something like 20??? I may have misheard/misunderstood him. One of the pilots on the board could confirm.
There are no minimum hours, at least from the FAA for private pilots. Need to do 3 landings and takeoffs anytime in the past 3 months to carry passengers, and similar night flying currency. If your out of currently you can still fly, just not carry passengers. Instrument currency is different, but again does not require any minimum hours.
Cheyenne
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:46 am

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Cheyenne »

Also, to act as pilot-in-command a pilot is required to have completed a "Flight Review" (basically a lesson) within the proceeding 24 calendar months.
sco
Posts: 971
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:28 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by sco »

I am a SEL/MEL and Instrument Instructor. I'd be happy to answer any questions that you have.

Above all, until you have a LOT of experience with planes. Don't even consider purchasing one, you have no idea what the costs are.

Renting is cheaper (I am sure at this point you may not believe this), get some experience before you make the personal and large financial commitment to purchasing..

A good rule of thumb with planes is as follows, "If you spend $50k on the plane, expect to spend another $50k fixing things the first 3 years , from there it generally gets better."

You purchase for convenience, not for cost reasons. For example some things simply aren't available for rent, or for extended 2-4 week trips.
sco
Posts: 971
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:28 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by sco »

BogleHeads probably isn't the best place for your questions either, I suggest a flying forum like PIlotsOfAmerica

All your questions have been asked and answered there, are there are local pilots on there that can point you to all the local options.
User avatar
Lucky Lemon
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Lucky Lemon »

Welcome to “hanger flying.” Everyone has an opinion – some are more valuable than others (mine is worth what you paid for it :beer ). As I recall you posted about learning to fly earlier.

Instructors – find one that you get along with. Don't worry about if they are a brand new CFI with 300 hours or a retired airline captain. You will be spending a lot of time with this person in very close quarters.

What airport – as close as possible to home or work. Try to fly once or twice a week. Whether it is controlled or uncontrolled is less important. You will learn procedures for both environments during your training.

Instrument rating – not the “most” important rating. Far more valuable to be able to recognize your and the aircraft's limitations and respect them. A non-current instrument pilot could be lulled into pushing the weather more than a VFR only pilot. If you are VFR only (pilot OR aircraft) and you have firm time commitments, you drive or take a commercial flight. It is part of good aeronautical decision making.

Leasebacks – you likely won’t make money, however, if you can stand someone else flying your pride and joy it can help defray the cost of ownership.

LL
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green
User avatar
Lucky Lemon
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:44 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by Lucky Lemon »

TomatoTomahto wrote:Not intending to hijack this thread (haha, airplane joke), but DS is interested in flying, possibly to the point of getting his license down the road. He's a full-time student, so time slots to fly are few and far between (eg, flying at school means taking an Uber back and forth). Every time he calls, they try to sell him a package of n hours, ground school, etc.

He's read a few ground school books and is just looking for flying lessons as he finds it relaxing yet exhilarating. A license would be something he goes after a few years from now. While at home, he signed up for an hour flight, but they insist that he spend time with the school's manager; it reminds me of time-share marketing.

He is not in a place for establishing an ongoing relationship with one flight instructor. Any suggestions how he can fly without the sales pitches?

Tell the flight school that he is not interested in pursuing a license at this point and that he would like to go flying for an hour and get some stick time. Does he have a log book? Might as well look for a flight school that does some tail dragger, seaplane, multiengine, glider, etc. instruction.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. - Red Green
sco
Posts: 971
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:28 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by sco »

Everywhere I have seen is very familiar with people that just want to go for an hour, happens all the time. Just be upfront about it, they may through you to an instructor that isn't looking to snag every person that walks in the door.
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11917
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by TomatoTomahto »

sco wrote:Everywhere I have seen is very familiar with people that just want to go for an hour, happens all the time. Just be upfront about it, they may through you to an instructor that isn't looking to snag every person that walks in the door.
@sco and @Lucky Lemon, after more than a week of uncooperative phone conversations (eg, "we don't do that, can I interest you in a scenic flight?"), he got a return call from someone who understood and booked 3 hours for tomorrow morning. He's really pumped, because it doesn't seem that there will be reasonable options in Chicago, where he will be for 11 weeks. Google has the flight academies more than 1:20 from where he's staying.

My son is pretty sure that the communications failure was with the guy who screens calls; the actual pilot was happy to have a multi-hour paying customer.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
sco
Posts: 971
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2015 2:28 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by sco »

TomatoTomahto wrote:
sco wrote: My son is pretty sure that the communications failure was with the guy who screens calls; the actual pilot was happy to have a multi-hour paying customer.
That is probably the case.

I'm an instructor and I frequently ask for an intro flight (when traveling) to get to an instructor, then I explain that I want to fly in this unfamiliar city, use their airplane and for him to ride along and just keep an eye on things. I don't want to pay for a multi hour checkout, I don't want the ability to rent their plane on my own (because I don't know when I'll even be back). I just want to go fly for an hour.

I've done this several places, and there is always an instructor looking for a stress free hour of flying..
User avatar
TomatoTomahto
Posts: 11917
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:48 pm

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by TomatoTomahto »

sco wrote:
TomatoTomahto wrote:
sco wrote: My son is pretty sure that the communications failure was with the guy who screens calls; the actual pilot was happy to have a multi-hour paying customer.
That is probably the case.

I'm an instructor and I frequently ask for an intro flight (when traveling) to get to an instructor, then I explain that I want to fly in this unfamiliar city, use their airplane and for him to ride along and just keep an eye on things. I don't want to pay for a multi hour checkout, I don't want the ability to rent their plane on my own (because I don't know when I'll even be back). I just want to go fly for an hour.

I've done this several places, and there is always an instructor looking for a stress free hour of flying..
Funny you should mention that. He was thinking of calling and asking for that, but wondered if they'd be angry that he had been deceptive. I will let him know to do what it takes to get past the screener to the pilot.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
User avatar
JupiterJones
Posts: 2974
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:25 pm
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Flying airplanes -lessons

Post by JupiterJones »

I'm 6'3" and did most of my training in a C172. Trained a few hours in a C152, which is doable if the instructor isn't too broad-shouldered. :-)

My main advice is to study the "ground school" stuff on your own as much as possible. Don't pay an instructor to sit in a room and teach you things you can read in a book. I used the Sporty's DVDs and the Rod Machado book a lot. I'm sure things have changed a bunch since then (you can do the Sporty's course online now).

You have to fly a lot of hours to justify buying your own plane vs. renting. "If it floats, flies, or...", well, you know the saying.

Join the AOPA.

Read "Stick and Rudder" to help you understand flying. Then read "Flight of Passage" just 'cuz it's a good read. 8-)
Stay on target...
Post Reply