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Private Pilots ?????

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Private Pilots ?????
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:41 am
  • It’s been one of my life long dreams.

    It seems at 56, I may finally be in a situation that will allow me to pursue my license.


    Over the years, at different times, I’ve looked at bits and pieces of the process but didn’t have the means, so I never really retained much.

    So now I’m actually getting a little more serious, and I’m looking for any “good”, “first hand” info.

    No, I’m not looking to Seahawks dot Net for my answers, I’m looking for some outside input, away from the pilot sites, and school propaganda.

    I’m open to any discussion on the topic, I’d really just like to hear what you have to offer.
    Good, bad, do, don’t do.

    Thanks
    :{)
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:55 am
  • Good for you, it's been one of my life goals as well but finances keep me away. Even if I stopped putting money into my RC flying, I would be able to afford the lessons but it is a very expensive hobby and I'm simply not in a high enough financial bracket to justify it unfortunately. I have 8 hours in a 172. I was just about to solo when I was laid off from work (2011) and, well, that was that.

    So my log book sits here at 8 hours. Mocking me.

    I have thought about getting a sports license instead of a full PPL. Mainly because the kind of flying I would want to do would be leisure, VFR anyways. I am not interested in IFR. Cost is about half of what it is to get your PPL. I suppose if I want to bad enough I can make that work. My RC flying (buying new models) would have to take a substantial hit but it's doable.

    If you have the funds and passion, I absolutely recommend getting your PPL. I've never heard of a pilot regretting their decision. If I won the lottery tomorrow I would be at the airport picking up my lessons within hours.

    I would recommend AOPA as one of your starting places. It's a terrific resource and membership has its privileges. You can check them out at:

    https://www.aopa.org/

    Good luck Lon! If you ever want company in the right chair after you get your license you know where to find me. :)
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:32 am
  • Helo or airplane?
    "Practice without improvement is meaningless" - Chuck Knox
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Tue Jul 24, 2018 11:35 am
  • Thanks Todd.

    The reality is, it’s just been a dream since I was a kid.

    My Grandpa and I would go sit at the local airport and watch planes takeoff/land for hours at a time.

    Every year for my birthday they would hire a guy to take me up for 30-60 mins.

    At one point in my EMS career, I wanted to pilot a bush plane and do welfare checks up in Alaska.

    It is expensive, and clearly I don’t have the bank account to live the lifestyle but my daughter recently got married, she has her Masters, and there’s not a lot more that she’s going to need from me in a financial way.

    I have a fairly substantial severance package coming from my last employer that will allow me to pursue the dream.
    It won’t be a cost effective thing by any means but Hell, a dream is a dream, and what good is life if you can’t fulfill 1 or 2 of your dreams.

    I’m still at about a 50/50 point of actually going forward but if I have it my way, this will happen.

    Airplane ownership will be 100% out of the question but that’s not an issue, most private pilots don’t own planes. I do know one guy that owns an interest in a plane, he’s in some sort of group/co-op that ones a plane that they share. IINM it’s a BeachCraft w/2 engines.

    Anyway, I’m still several months from having access to the funds, I’m in the very early stages of “the plan”

    I just want to do it right, in the most cost effective and safe way possible but I do want top notch instruction that will be respected in the industry.
    I’m aware that a license can be obtained that really isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    I want to be able to fly with people I love without worry. That includes you.

    :{)
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:01 pm
  • Much like Aros, I took lessons many years ago. I actually got to solo a couple of times, though I don't remember exactly how many hours I logged.

    Basically, I guess I have to say that I didn't love it enough to continue. It is expensive, though I had a cheap vehicle to do it, being in the Corps at the time and there was a flying club on base that I imagine was cheaper than a typical civilian club.

    Which brings to mind my first solo flight. I remember going up with my instructor, we were doing touch and gos at the air base on the main runway. Easy peasy, if you can imagine. The runways were, of course, large enough to handle fighter jets, so they were very long and very wide compared to a typical small airport like say Auburn Municipal in the valley.

    Anyway, we were up and went around 3 or 4 times when the instructor told me to stop near the center of the runway, where he hopped out and told me to go around by myself a few times. A bit shocked and scared, I left him there and took off. Well on my second go-around or so the tower called me and told me to exit the pattern and fly off to the south and basically do a holding pattern over the base golf course for a while. Seems a flight of jets from one ot the squadrons at the base were coming back in from a training flight, and they didn't want my small plane (Cessna 152 IIRC) in the pattern as they landed. Kind of scarey, but I followed directions and a few minutes later they cleared me to get back in the pattern. So I got back into the circular route I was going to do my touch and go, then landed and picked up my instructor.

    He was a bit disconcerted when he saw me fly away from him, of course, but he figured it out when he saw the flight of A4 land. We got a bit of a chuckle out of it after I described what happened. Good times.

    But, as I said, I didn't love it enough to spend the money and effort on it instead of what was going on in my life at the time, which in retrospect wasn't really all that much.

    It can be fun, and I've flown a few times with friends, including an interesting one where we almost got in serious trouble one time. Enjoy.
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:06 pm
  • I have no experience with airplanes other than having looked through a lot of wealthy people's finances and seen first-hand just how much money it costs to own and maintain an airplane...it's really expensive as you pointed out. I'm sure there are different levels in which you can invest in the hobby, but I normally see annual expenses between $25k and $100k a year.
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:11 pm
  • Agreed on the dream aspect. Never give up on a dream, and I haven't given up myself.

    Shop around for a good CFI. They are out there and there are resources you can check for that. It is important that if you go up with a CFI and don't like them or their method or it just feels "off" to you don't even hesitate to keep looking. Never settle. You should have a great rapport with your CFI. He or she should be friendly, approachable, with fantastic teaching knowledge and skill. Just like in any industry, there are good ones and bad ones out there.

    They should have excellent communication skills and explain concepts clearly and always, always appreciate a student pilot asking tons of questions, and give the answers in a concise, easy-to-comprehend manner. If not? High tail it on to the next one.

    There is no room for ambiguity in aviation.

    By the time you are ready for your oral and check ride, you and your CFI should feel supremely confident in your knowledge and ability to be a successful Pilot In Command.

    I am pulling for ya brother! This could be the kick in the ass I need to look into a sports license.
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:13 pm
  • fenderbender123 wrote:I have no experience with airplanes other than having looked through a lot of wealthy people's finances and seen first-hand just how much money it costs to own and maintain an airplane...it's really expensive as you pointed out. I'm sure there are different levels in which you can invest in the hobby, but I normally see annual expenses between $25k and $100k a year.



    Well it at least gives you some return if you fly places a lot in them I would guess, not like owning a Yacht or a large Cruiser where yes you can take a cruise in them but you need a lot of money to spend that much time not working to get the payback. Why I guess they say owning a Boat is the worst investment you can make, Looks like owning a plane may be in that running as well.
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:16 pm
  • sutz wrote:...Well on my second go-around or so the tower called me and told me to exit the pattern and fly off to the south and basically do a holding pattern over the base golf course for a while. Seems a flight of jets from one ot the squadrons at the base were coming back in from a training flight, and they didn't want my small plane (Cessna 152 IIRC) in the pattern as they landed. Kind of scarey, but I followed directions and a few minutes later they cleared me to get back in the pattern. So I got back into the circular route I was going to do my touch and go, then landed and picked up my instructor.

    He was a bit disconcerted when he saw me fly away from him, of course, but he figured it out when he saw the flight of A4 land. We got a bit of a chuckle out of it after I described what happened. Good times.


    Great story Steve! I would have been petrified if I had to abandon the pattern on my first solo! Sounds like you did a nice job of keeping your composure. Bravo Zulu! :2thumbs:
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Thu Jul 26, 2018 2:49 am
  • Lon/PMedic, I really hope you are able to realise your dream of getting your pilot’s licence. Same with you, Todd/Aros, if you decide to also. I’m not sure of the difference between a PPL and a Sports licence, but I’ll look it up. Might be different rules here in Australia of course.

    I can’t remember how much I’ve written here before, sorry, but my father (ex Royal Navy pilot) founded a Flying Club soon after we first came here from England in 1963 (I was only 3 then) and was the Instructor there until we moved to the city in 1978. He instructed on weekends – we had a fruit orchard about 15 miles from the airfield. I think he taught about 100 people from complete beginners to gaining their private licences, and there were no significant mishaps. They had a Cessna 172, which was much later replaced by a Piper Cherokee.

    While I would have loved to have learned to fly, I am colour-blind, so I was unable to even try. Anyway, I certainly could not have afforded to hire a plane much, if I had learned, let alone own even a share in one!

    My father did like your Instructor did, Steve/Sutz. When he decided someone was ready to solo (and I watched many of these, of course sworn to secrecy!) he’d hand them the keys to the plane after a training flight, and just keep on walking to the hut/”terminal”. Every person behaved virtually identically! They’d look at the keys, up at the sky, at the plane, back up at the sky, and then start walking back to the plane, and my dad never once looked back at them.

    This was a tiny airfield with a dirt strip, and no navigation aids at all, so all soloists had the sky to themselves pretty much, except for the adjacent gliding club, and very infrequent visiting planes. I always wondered what it was like for them, and I would have been petrified too, if I’d had to cope with following tower instructions to keep away from jets! Actually, I think I would have been petrified in any circumstances, but all the pupils I saw performed their first solo with no obvious hiccups.

    Most people remained VFR, but some did IFR, and a few went on to fly commercially. One guy became an extremely successful fish spotter, guiding the boats in the tuna fleets.
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:11 am
  • Cool memories Aussie! I wish I had grown up in aviation, I most definitely would have had my PPL long ago. I also envy the notion of flying in and out of a near abandoned uncontrolled airport, free of the hassles of radio communication (especially around busy airspace like where I live). Just good ol' stick and rudder flying without the peripheral worries one has to be mindful of in busy airspace. ATC/communications would have been probably my biggest obstacle for me. I had such a hard time understanding them when I was training.

    Here's a photo of Mt. Rainier I took and the other (my CFI took) of me flying over Sea Tac airport (Class B airpsace) one time. It was so cool seeing heavies passing beneath me!
    Attachments
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:16 am
  • Todd/Aros, gorgeous photos - thanks for posting! I'm constantly stunned at how folks here manage to send such hi-res photos of such small file size. I've simply got to learn much more about how y'all do this.

    The airfield the Riverland Flying Group operates from is near a small country town called Renmark, about 250km/150 miles NE of Adelaide. It is on the Net:

    rsa.riverland.net.au/

    ...although I see they no longer offer flying instruction. I was stunned to see the venerable Cessna 172 they used to have, registration VH-DOI, is maybe still going strong (or at least, still on the register).

    I guess I probably didn't appreciate growing up with a plane fully, because of course it was always there. My father told me to make sure I never gave the impression the plane was his. I believe the club members all chipped in about $14,000 for the purchase, and it must have been near-new, because it was a 1965 build.

    Of course I did not go in the plane with students who didn't have at least a PPL, but I spent many hours in the back while my father checked out already-licenced people for their IFR ratings, etc, with the windshield and windows all covered in cardboard! This was only if the testee was happy for a passenger to be there.

    One of dad's many flying pupils was a man called Tom Angove, who was a very wealthy winemaker, and owner of a winery/distillery called St. Agnes. He is credited with inventing the wine cask in 1965:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_wine

    Tom (DEFINITELY Mr Angove to me, of course) eventually got a commercial licence and bought a brand-new twin, a Beechcraft Baron, and had his own hangar built. Poor old DOI always sat out in the elements, complete with tie-down cables, wheel chocks and sandbags in the nacelle!

    The pupil who eventually became a very wealthy fish spotter also drove the Tiger Moth open-cockpit biplane which was the gliding club's tug for a while. I got into HUGE trouble when I asked him for a ride one day, when dad was off on a training flight. I left a note saying I'd "gone in the Moth with Mr Warren" and when we landed, my father ran up yelling... of course he was livid I'd gone off in a plane with someone, without his permission, and that the guy hadn't made sure I had permission first!

    I "paid" for that one! Dad demanded why I had asked for the ride, and I said it was because Mr Warren was cool. He would stand the Moth on one wing and plummet earthward after the towed glider was safely out of the way. The Cessna of course was utterly NON-aerobatic capable!

    Before I knew it, I was back in the Moth, with my father flying it, but this time hanging from my harness as God knows how many rolls, loops, etc were performed. I was exquisitely balanced at 50/50 exhilarated/terrified! An open cockpit experience is truly memorable.
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Sun Jul 29, 2018 3:57 am
  • Many years ago, I dated a girl from Montana, her father was a school teacher.
    He also worked for Montana Fish&Game.

    He was a pilot as well, and one of his duties with fish & game was to scatter elk herds prior to the opening of hunting season. He also flew biologist around making counts and checking health of the herds.

    I remember he was in the process of building his own plane. IIRC it was a Dragonfly.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viking_Dragonfly

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    One of the guys I wish I had stayed in contact with.
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Re: Private Pilots ?????
Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:30 am
  • Great stories Lon!! Wow, doing acrobatics in a Moth?? Doesn't get much better than that you ol' Barnstormer! :P
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