All you single-engine licensed pilots out there . . .

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Zell, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. Zell

    Zell IrregularMember

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    I am seriously considering getting my pilots license. It would be a life-long dream come true.

    I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do but would like to get your thoughts about the training, exams, expenses, how long it takes to accomplish, expenses after the license is obtained, things you may do differently, etc. as well as any ideas and suggestions you may have about getting the license and afterward.

    Thank you!
     
  2. GlockPride

    GlockPride Glock 23

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    Have lots and lots of money?
     

  3. Zell

    Zell IrregularMember

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    No, but it is still fairly affordable and worth it to me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  4. Geko45

    Geko45 Smartass Pilot CLM

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    I spent about $8K to finish my pilot's certificate just last year. Took me 10 months from start to finish and just over 50 hours total before my checkride. One thing that seems obvious in retrospect is that being able to fly frequently helps you gain proficiency faster (on a flight hours basis) and can help keep costs down overall. Of course, you've gotta have the cash up front to get it done. There are programs out there that will get you your private in a matter of weeks if you can devote 8 hours day to it. If you have to go once or twice a week like I did, plan on it taking the better part of a year.

    On going, the cost is whatever you want it to be. Ownership is possible, even on a middle class income like mine, but if you aren't gonna fly regurlarly then renting is probably the way to go. I choose ownership because I wanted the flexiblility of being able to fly wherever I want, whenever I want. A late 50s / early 60s Pacer, Tripacer or Colt like mine can be had for the price of a decent used car (or an affordable new car). Just make sure you know what you're buying.

    Getting back to training cost, to say it differently, my PP certificate cost me a motrocycle and three rifles, but it was the best trade I've ever made! Get out there and fly! You'll love it!

    :supergrin:
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  5. Dalton Wayne

    Dalton Wayne Epic mustache Millennium Member

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    I really enjoyed learning to fly but with a young family I never went past solo ran out of money and knew I could never afford to fly enough to become proficient and safe so I stopped.:crying: Would love to go up again some day and take the controls
    Regards
    DW
     
  6. major

    major Rejected member

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    Don't worry about what it will cost. Yes, it's expensive but just do it a little at a time, when you have some money. You will eventually get there.

    Don't worry about how many hours it will take. When I started flying, my instructor asked, "Do you just want a license or do you want to learn how to fly?" There is a big difference and I told him I wanted to learn to fly. He said, "Good. Then don't ask me all the time about when you'll get your license." No, he didn't take advantage of me but he wanted me to be more interested in LEARNING than in how many more hours it was going to take.

    I got my private pilot license and my instrument rating and flew for years before finally giving it up and moving on to other things. Lots of fun, though.......well worth it.
     
  7. woosh

    woosh

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    I started taking lessons a year ago but had to stop after a couple months but I plan on starting again when the weather warms up. Flying is lots of fun, lots of people look up to you for having the guts to fly a airplane even though its not hard at all. Get yourself a DVD course for your ground school so you can study at your own pace.

    http://sportys.com/pilotshop

    http://www.kingschools.com
     
  8. Pylot7

    Pylot7

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    I got my license in 91.

    Here are a few tips.

    First of all find all the Part 141 schools in your area. This is an FAA approved school that provides a very structured learning experience. The upshot is that you can get your license in the least time with the least waste.

    Second get your money lined up and fly every weekend. I did this and got my license in 6 months flying about 2 hours every weekend. The more frequently you fly the less you forget. Don't try to rush it and get your license in 2 or 3 months. It can be done but there is a lot to learn and taking 6 months is about right.

    The money is relatively simple. You can multiply the hourly cost of the plane you want to fly by about 60. I think you have to have 40 instructor hours, verify that. Multiply the hours times instructor cost. They are always independent contractors to the school. Add about 50 to 75 bucks a month for stuff. You will need some paper maps and some subscription access. Get a good set of headsets to start with. Dave Clarks are first class, there are no bargains. I still have the first set of Dave Clarks I bought. I have a second set of noise reduction Dave Clarks, they are spectacular. Neither set has ever failed me in thousands of hours of flying.

    Don't hesitate to switch instructors. If you don't like yours, drop em and get another one. Interview a few of them. Find one you like. You will be surprised at how many instructors come and go through your Part 141 school in the six months you train there.

    Stay with one airplane type all the way through. If you start hi wing, stay with it. If you start low wing stay with it. I would advise you to learn in a regular metal spam can. Many of the schools now use fiberglass planes but you are not going to routinely rent one of those. I learned in low wing Pipers and started flying Mooney's right at the end of my schooling. Getting a high performance rating is worth its weight if you want to fly much cross country. Otherwise it just costs more to fly.

    Once you get your license keep your flying focused between maintaining competence and learning something new. If you really like it getting your IFR ticket is a worthy pursuit. I always flew to commercial standards, it makes you a more precise pilot. One warning, never go fly aerobatics. I did once, could not wipe the smile off my face for three days and have been smitten ever since.

    I completed my license and the next weekend started flying fairly decent cross country trips on business for the company I worked for. Denver to Dallas, to Phoenix, to Austin, to Iowa. I moved to Iowa and used to fly down the Mississippi to Memphis, over to Cleavland, Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati. I used to own a Piper Cub with which I won outstanding Classic at Oshkosh. I flew it from North Carolina to Oshkosh and from there to Denver when I moved. I now own an aerobatic mount.
     
  9. k9medic

    k9medic

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    I started flying when I was 16, soloed, and totaled up about 25 hours before I quit (girls were the problem back then). I took 7 years off and finally scraped up enough money to finish my lessons. I actually sold several rifles to finance my training. In the end it was well worth it. I did as much self study as possible, and a jokingly admit that Bill Gates and Microsoft Flight sim taught me a lot as well.

    I now fly professionally as an EMS helicopter pilot, having picked up all my ratings through Airline Transport Pilot. This includes my CFI & CFII in airplanes (multi engine too) and helicopters.

    Check out AOPA's flight training magazine online or www.beapilot.com for some great information

    You will never miss the money you spend, but you will always miss not being in the air.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  10. glockaviator

    glockaviator

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    Average is around $10k and 6 months. But it varies a lot. Could do it for as little as 5k. Could do it in four weeks. Most people sign up for two lessons a week (and get one). Anyway, it takes a while. But then, you have to ask yourself. What am I going to do after I get my license? Stop flying? Regardless, it costs about $150 per hour with plane and instructor. Ouch! Least expensive is get yourself into a non-profit flying club or the military has some clubs with low rates if you qualify. Can cut that down to $100 if you are lucky. Good luck! It's a dream of a lifetime!
     
  11. redbaron007

    redbaron007 Some Dude Lifetime Member

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    Just do it!!! Pylot7, k9medic & Glockaviator speak words of wisdom.

    I lost my PP due to medical issues 7 years ago. You will love it! The key is regular flying! It's addictive!
     
  12. Zell

    Zell IrregularMember

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    This is awesome information, thank you. Any others?
     
  13. Futuristic

    Futuristic

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    Most of the important info has already been said, but I'll add a couple of things:

    1. Don't rush out and buy 'stuff', you'll invariably find something else the next day that you like better or works better for you. Try to borrow or test all sorts of things before buying to see what you like. Even simple stuff like an E6B or Kneeboard can add up quickly when you buy two or three of them to get the one that really works for you. Headsets in particular are a very personal choice due to fit and comfort issues. Be sure to get a couple hours with any model of headset to be sure it is OK before purchasing for yourself.

    2. Let your family know you will be spending some quality Study Time at home where you will need some peace and quiet. It's not quite going to College, but there is definitely a lot of material to master, requiring a fair bit of study.

    3. Check out your local Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol. Some are crusty, some are lively, most will have something aviation-related for you to do, whether as a Pilot, Observer, Scanner, or otherwise. Nothing will enthuse you to finish up your rating like having a goal, such as helping out with Aerial Search & Rescue. Also, once you have your Rating, you can do proficiency flying in CAP aircraft at a modest discount to normal rental rates.

    http://gocivilairpatrol.com

    Good Luck!

    Futuristic
     
  14. heliguy

    heliguy

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    I got my helicopter rating first (2001) then fixed wing transisiton (2004). The Helicopter was $20k and a year. The fixed wing was a few weeks and $5k. The helicopter was well worth the price,it's a lot more fun, safer in a lot of ways too. Before you choose fixed wing, go up in a helicopter Intro 30 minute ride with an instructor ($150), you may find you like it better. Also it's a pretty exclusive club. There are only 5,000 private helicopter pilots in the US...

    Here's my Heli school: http://www.skyhelicopters.com/
    Here's my fixed wing school: http://www.usaviationgroup.net/index.html

    In the Robinson R22: http://i979.photobucket.com/albums/ae280/heliguy/Misc/Heliguy2_compressed.jpg

    In the Piper Warrior: [http://i979.photobucket.com/albums/ae280/heliguy/Misc/Piperintheair_compressed.jpg
    Good Luck!
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  15. G19Tony

    G19Tony Sneet CLM

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    Here is the advice I've given others.

    Get your written exam out of the way before you even go to the airport. Buy the materials and self study, take a ground school course at your local CC or flight training provider. The flying is more fun and if you start that first, you will slack the books. Ask me how I know. :embarassed:

    Get all the money together and fly everyday if you can. After work for an hour, 2-3 hours on the weekends. Continuity of training is all important. Try to stay with the same instructor too. I got my PPL piecemeal and it took 14 months, flying a couple times a month. But I was 16 back then and paying my own way. It was a challenge.

    You can do it. It's fun, you'll get perspectives that the average person doesn't get. I won't go all Richard Bach on you and say it's life changing, but it kind of is.

    I fly for a career. I'm flying a Gulfstream 450 and a Boeing Business Jet (737), think Southwest, but with 14 seats, for a casino. I also have a 1969 Cherokee 140 that I fly when I have time.

    It's a worthy endeavor. Good luck. :wavey:
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  16. Zell

    Zell IrregularMember

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    Thanks for all the great information!
     
  17. mhill

    mhill

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    Decide why you want your Private License.

    Do you want it to travel? Check the costs, Commercial is cheaper.
    Do you want it to say you've done it? Kind of a waste of money.
    After you get your license how often and why will you continue to fly?
    Do you want it to make a career of flying?

    I got my license back about 10 years ago. Right about the time I was finishing up my license I realized that it was going to be really expensive to continue this hobby. Just gas is expensive to fly. I also realized that I had to fly at least every other week to be safe at it. Once you get your license that is really just the start of getting real experience. At the time I decided I couldn't afford it enough to make it safe.

    I guess my point is that it's not worth wasting the money if you are not going to keep at it.