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Thread: Learning to fly, is this a recipe for disaster?

  1. #11
    steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Working in Florida
    1. My instructor wanted me to fly twice a week as a minimum.
    2. Get out of debt before buying an airplane.
    3. Be aware of the looming ADSB-Out deadline, as you are in the metro Atlanta area. It'$ better to have the equipment installed by the previou$ owner.

  2. #12
    robert l's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Heath Springs, S.C.
    I got my PPL in 1974 usually flying one hr. on week ends. Of course, there were days the weather didn't cooperate and it took me 13 months from start to finish. There are places that you can get a Sport Pilot rating in two to three weeks if you have the time and money. A plus would be to pass the written test first unless your instructor wants to coordinate the flight training with the book work. Just a thought.

  3. #13
    Taking up private flying while you are in debt is a bad plan. Borrowing money to by an airplane is insane. After you are out of debt and have an emergency fund, then you can look at your budget and see whether you can afford recreational flying. My advice to any student pilot is get your medical certificate first. You don't want expensive training and then flunk your medical. The second thing might be ground school and take the written test. This can be done concurrently with simulator time and dual instruction, but get it out of the way so you don't have it hanging over your head.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Clarklake, MI
    Quote Originally Posted by thisadviceisworthles View Post
    if you have anything to add to this,
    With 20/20 hindsight, if I did it all over again, I would buy a plane and learn to fly in the plane I bought. It would be a homely little Cessna 150. Training in multiple types is going to cost more. Buying a plane that does not have the necessary equipment for a 'checkride' as required by the PP ACS is going to add cost to your training. Buying a fixer-upper is going to add cost to your training.

    A pretty good Cessna 150 can be purchased for ~$18-$20k. The goal is to find one that doesn't need any work or upgrades. One that is ready to go as a trainer. You should be able to find several potential CFI's to train with you in your own plane. Interview them all and pick one (that will be harder than picking a plane).

    Schedule 3-4 lessons per week. It will take about 10-12 weeks to meet all the aeronautical experience requirements and be proficient to pass the test. It will take $5-6k out of pocket to operate the plane over that time, pay the instructor plus pay for supplies and exam fees.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Oct 2011

    1) I think it's better to rent until you get your PPL, for two reasons. First, if money is tight, you don't have to worry about unexpected repair bills, and you can stop spending on it whenever you need to. Second, you probably will know a lot more then than now about what type of plane you want to buy.

    2) Good question for an insurance agent.

    3) I understand some planes and pilots prefer unpaved runways.

    4) It would help to know what you plan to do with your plane, such as where you plan to travel, with whom, and why you'll be flying every week. And, what's available to rent in your area?

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    I agree with those that have recommending renting until getting the PPL. Even if that is more expsensive - which I doubt - it gives you an easy out if other expenses pop up. Where are you in the ATL area? There is a good EAA chapter in Carrollton (CTJJ and also some economical Rental airplanes. Lee

  7. #17
    DaleB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    First, the timing. If you're in debt now, get OUT of debt before you start training. Worrying about the money will only hamstring your training and screw up your non-flying life. Don't dig a hole deeper than you can get out of.

    Second, I'd recommend not buying an airplane until you have your license and get some time behind you. Why? Because you have no idea, right now, how much or what kind of flying you're going to want to do after you get the training and a little experience. You don't know your mission yet, so you have a 50/50 chance of picking the wrong airplane. Also, it might be difficult to find a CFI and DPE to get your training and practical exam in an Experimental. Once you're on your own you have a lot more flexibility around what you fly. Buying and flying a sound, well built E/AB or E-LSA in good condition can be a much better and more affordable proposition than a 40 to 70+ year old airplane that needs an A&P every time something breaks.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  8. #18

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Fort Vermilion Alberta
    Man, you have got to be an MBA. Most of us just save a bit buy an airplane and go flying. Not rational. But fun.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Shiloh, IL
    1) Finish paying non-mortgage debt. Sounds like you are doing that.
    2) Go for it. Your plan makes it obvious that you have what it takes to make it through assuming the passion stays with you.
    3) It will likely cost more than your plan => Add one more step to make sure you enjoy the process. You are paying for flying and being an aircraft owner, not a certificate! The certificate just lets you kick that expensive instructor out (most of the time, recurrent training is good!).

    The unexpected will happen. Moves, job changes, meeting members of the opposite sex, etc. If you wait until you have every last thing settled, you will never start.

  10. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by thisadviceisworthles View Post
    I've wanted to be a pilot since I was 7, but as a kid it was always one of those things that everyone told me was not realistic (maybe that's why I've wanted it so bad).

    Now I'm 30, and I'm still not a pilot, and that fact is pissing me off.

    The fact is, at my income and with my student loans money is tight, and the potential costs of flying lessons concerns me, but I have been reading about ideas to cut costs and I think I have a plan, but I am worried that I am underestimating risk and overlooking better options.

    I just accepted a job that comes with a significant raise and once I sell my house I intend to budget $750/month for flying. After flight training, I want to buy an airplane to fly at least once, ideally more, every week. For reference this is near the Metro Atlanta,GA area.

    This is my rough plan:

    1) Start Flight training, train with my instructor on rented equipment until I begin to solo.

    2) Start Solo time, rent an aircraft to maintain training pace, and look for a plane for purchase

    3) With a small down payment, finance a plane in the $15k-20K range

    4) Work with instructor to learn my plane

    5) Finish solo training in my plane, knowing that if it takes an extra 10, 20 or 30 hours to prep my for my check ride, I have more control over costs.

    6) Pass Check Ride

    7) Fly my plane until I complete or purchase the E-AB or E-SLA of my dreams.

    8) Sell the plane to recover some training costs.

    My math suggests that if I can depreciation, maintenance, insurance, parking, fuel and repairs come out to less than $9000 by the time I'm issued my PPL I will come out ahead.

    Now for my concerns:

    1) Am I underestimating the cost of owning a plane? Doing the math, one major failure does not seem like it would completely derail my budget. For example, (an offhand suggestion from pilot I don't know suggests) a top overhaul for multiple cylinders showing low compression on an annual could cost $10K, but I should recover at least half of that in resale, which would still leave $4K to cover other costs. But I am still worried that I am being too optimistic.

    2) When researching planes and asking opinions the planes that are suggested include: Cessna 152s, Ercoupes, Talyorcrafts and Luscombe 8s.
    a) When taking into account fuel burn, my research suggest the Luscombe 8 or Ercoupe would be cheapest
    b) When taking into account what I want, the Luscombe 8 looks like the plane 7 year old me imagined himself flying.
    I understand I will need a tail wheel endorsement (I want one even if my plane is tricycle), but am I underestimating the risks and insurance costs of flying a tailwheel with so little flight time?

    3) The nearest airstrip to my new job (and presumably my new home) is a grass strip. Ideally I would like to be as close as possible to my plane, and I would be inclined to think that a grass strip would offer a cheaper tiedown (I have not called to price them), but would the grass strip's location and potential cost savings offset the risk of a low hours pilot flying to and from the strip regularly.

    4) In spite of this massive word vomit, years of dreaming about this, and it being the primary thing I have thought about since I accepted the new job (even though I probably should be thinking about moving), I know I am missing something. The question is, am I missing something big enough to derail this plan?

    If you read all of that, you deserve my thanks, if you have anything to add to this, please be an awesome human and tell me, even if it is just to tell me I'm an idiot.

    TL,DR: I think too much, will it bankrupt me?
    I have just been down this road.

    I would suggest renting from a decent sized school after you pay down your debt. That way you learn to fly different airplanes with different instructors.

    Let the school worry about the airplane, my school has 3 planes I learned in. It took me 3 instructors to get my PPL because they would get enough hours and move on to the airlines. I learned new stuff every time with new instructors. Took me about 15 months and 65-70 hours to get my PPL. You will do it in less cause your younger. I flew twice a week most weeks.

    I finished my PPL with a guy who is 69 and just loves aviation and is not going anywhere soon. He is also my instrument trainer. He is the chief flight instructor now at my school now too after graduating to the position. I found him through the school. He is a treasure, I am so lucky to train with him.

    Now I am flying a friends 172N but still renting planes working on my instrument rating. My friends plane does not have a GPS and we use them at school to instrument train. So I rent, it is not that much more expensive than owning I am hear to say. Sometimes renting is cheaper than owning.

    The school always has a plane ready for me to fly and a instructor to fly with me. I stayed with the same instructor most times, but once in a while I will fly with one of the other instructors for stage checks. I learn something every time with a new instructor.

    Then let's talk about avionics. Your not going to have a GPS or modern panels to learn from like the schools have in your own 20000 dollar plane.

    I learned in 6 pack planes with a garmin 530 GPS/Nav/Com. I only learned the Com on the 530 until well after my 2nd solo X country. Then our school got a G1000 172 and I learned to fly it. That would not happen if I was flying my own 20K air plane.

    Get your you license first and then fly/rent for a while and learn what you want or need is my opinion.
    Last edited by challenger1; 07-04-2018 at 05:52 PM.

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