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Thread: How long did it take you to define your "mission"?

  1. #1

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    How long did it take you to define your "mission"?

    I am in the process of finishing my PPL, with around 80 hours. After I finish my PPL, I plan to go for my instrument and commercial.

    I'm 31, and only recently have I come to realize that 12 year old me was smarter than 21 year old me, and I finally have enough money to think about things other than which bill I can skip this month if things come up short.

    In addition to learning to fly, 12 year old me also wanted to build his own airplane, but step one of building a plane is choosing what plane to build, and that requires defining your mission. That is my problem, even after flying 80 hours I still can't believe that when I leave work today I will a be able to defeat gravity on command. So when I ask myself what will I do with the ability to fly, I still think of its a near impossible hypothetical that I want to answer with "everything", rather than something specific. I would like to start building a plane because I know that it will take years and I am looking forward to the experience, but I also know that if I choose the wrong plane and 3 years from now I realize that what I am building will not fit my mission, then it increases the likelihood that I will not finish the plane and selling an unfinished kit will mean that I am losing even more money than selling a finished homebuilt.

    For that reason, I am keeping myself in the research phase rather than pushing to the build phase. But my question is, how long did it take you to define your mission, and if you look back at your logbook, at what number of hours did it start to become clear that your flights were had consistent commonalities?
    Looking to buy my first airplane, message me if you have a nice trainer or experimental for sale.

  2. #2
    robert l's Avatar
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    When I realized there was such a thing as, building your own airplane, I was in my late 20's and I discovered the Pietenpol Air Camper. I had the color scheme picked out and everything. Then I saw the KR-1 in Popular Mechanics and I wanted to build that, then I saw the VP-I, VP-II and wanted to build that. I ended up with plans for all of them, and a few others. Then, I got the VCR tape of the Zenith CH-601 and dreamed of flying it to my out of town jobs and renting a car for a month or so. THEN, after watching the Zenith videos, I realized the CH-701 was more like the kind of flying I liked to do, so, I bought those plans. Well, 9 years later, if I had bought the kit, I would have been flying my own airplane about 5 years ago, instead, I'm selling what I've built and looking to buy something already flying. My mission, is just to go out on nice days and fly, just fly ! There are fly ins I can easily fly to, whether I'm flying at 70 mph or 120 mph and I would not be afraid to take a couple of days to make a long cross country flight in a low and slow airplane. In less than 60 days I'll be 73, if I had started sooner and didn't work out of town for months at a time, I might have been able to complete what I started. But, as we all find out, life gets in the way. What kind of guy are you, as you can see, I bounced from low and slow to fast, then not so fast to low and slow again. I'm not an RV kind of guy so now I have a better understanding of what I will look for in an airplane. I hope you can figure out "what kind of guy" you are before time catches up with you. Good luck with your search, and I'm sorry I blabbed so much.
    Bob

  3. #3
    DaleB's Avatar
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    At 250-plus hours in, I've stopped trying to "define my mission" and have realized that I would need at least two airplanes to really feel like I had the "right one" on any given day. Yes, some of my flying -- like yesterday -- is a couple hours each way for visiting family or whatever. For that I want high and as fast as I can, which for me right now is 120 knots.

    Other days I just want to toodle around and look at the scenery, or take one of the kids out for a ride. Low and slow, and lots of fun. For that, I'm looking more at a 2-seat, open-cockpit biplane. For others, it might mean a Cub, Champ, Kitfox, Rans, or whatever else trips your trigger.

    So right now I'm flying an RV-12, because it CAN do both jobs. I can load up a grandkid and swoop down the river at a few hundred feet for fun, or I can climb up to 8500 and let the autopilot handle the details for an hour or two. It's really a dual-purpose plane, but better at one than the other. I'm also building -- slowly -- an all wood, open cockpit bipe that might be done some day. Totally unsuitable for cross country trips, but a lot of fun for the local stuff.

    Flying clubs are great for figuring out what you do and don't want. I was a member of a club that owned a 172, a 182, and an Arrow. After a year I knew I had no desire to own and try to feed and care for a 40-plus year old certified airplane... I saw the maintenance issues (and bills) that people put up with to fly those. No thanks. That's when I made the decision to go Experimental.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  4. #4
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    My mission evolved over a number of years. Initially, it was for a fast cross-country airplane with aerobatic capability. My first airplane was a Cessna 150, and two years of ownership pointed that it was more airplane than I actually needed.

    Ron "The rest is history" Wanttaja

  5. #5
    Dana's Avatar
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    I knew I wanted an open cockpit biplane (mission: fun) before I even started flying lessons. My first plane was a Taylorcraft (because that's what was available and affordable), followed by the typical "young family" hiatus from flying. Back into flying via a series of ultralights, now on my third biplane.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by thisadviceisworthles View Post
    But my question is, how long did it take you to define your mission?
    about 5 min. Right after I bought a plane that defined my mission.

  7. #7
    DBurr's Avatar
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    I thought every pilot needed a hanger full of airplanes to truly fulfill their mission? :-) Money defines how close you get to that goal.

  8. #8

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    With a few hundred hours, mostly in Citabrias (doing aerobatics), Champs and Cubs, I decided to buy. I seriously looked at a C-170, a C-190, a C-140, a PA-12, a Citabria, and a Varga. Mission? Own an airplane, have fun flying, take friends for a ride, perhaps do some cross country. Any would have made me happy. I didn’t buy any of them.

    I bought an experimental Pitts S-1S, and flew serious aerobatics for many years. Getting insurance for it, with my limited total time, and no time in type, was a challenge.

    Don’t look at your first purchase as your final purchase; it is entirely possible to enjoy one type of flying and airplane for a while, then sell it, buy another type, and enjoy it too.


    BJC

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana View Post
    I knew I wanted an open cockpit biplane (mission: fun) before I even started flying lessons. My first plane was a Taylorcraft (because that's what was available and affordable), followed by the typical "young family" hiatus from flying. Back into flying via a series of ultralights, now on my third biplane.
    Me, too, except I opted for a light single seat open cockpit biplane.

    Though I've recently started landing at airfields rather than my home base, I think it's over-rated. More fun to just do a big circle, look at the pretty lake and river, see some cows, and then land.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  10. #10
    L16 Pilot's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
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    I have about 1200 hours. Started flying when I was 40 (that's 40 years ago...do the math). I owned a Cherokee 140 for 25 years (sold), 7AC Champ (sold), L16 Aeronca and a 11CC Chief and restored the last three from basket cases. What's I'd really like to do is build a Vans RV 12 but financially out of the picture to spend $80 on another toy and I have to admit most my flying is pretty local although I miss making cross countries as when I had the Cherokee. Right now most of my flights are less than an hour.
    If God had intended man to fly He would have given us more money!

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