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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Private Pilot License    June 5th 2013, 11:08 am

Anyone ever thought about a private pilot's license? I've been recently thinking about it. It would be just one of those things for fun.

Sounds like lessons are expensive, airplane rental is expensive, fuel is expensive, and then they don't carry much weight.

In the next year I might take advantage of a "Discovery Flight" where you go up for a half an hour to see if it's something I'd like to pursue.
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ggbaird



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 5th 2013, 11:38 am

Funny you should mention this. My wife will be attending an art show in a couple weeks and this past weekend we stopped by the studio where she'll be showing. The owners had their own small plane and grass runway. The plane was (a step above an ultra-light... I think). Not sure on all the correct terminology, but the guy said it could carry two adults and up to 900 lbs of cargo, and runs on premium pump gas. Looked pretty decent to me. Maybe I can get to know him better and get some private lessons. Very Happy Would be cool.
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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 5th 2013, 1:02 pm

Wow, 900lbs is very impressive!

Here's someone's online analysis of a Cessna 150. It's probably an older and less capable model. They can be had for less than $25k. It's max weight capacity is 1600lbs. That's 2 adults (165lbs and 170lbs), full load of fuel, motor oil, and a paltry 19lbs of cargo space left over. Smile

http://www.cessna150.net/Information/wei_bal.html

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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 5th 2013, 1:12 pm

I found a few part owner deals. It might be the best of all worlds since it's easier to vacation with when you are an owner.

http://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/for/3828680558.html
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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 5th 2013, 2:27 pm

Ya, maybe that 900 lbs was including the two adults. But it was a soft-skinned small plane with humungous tires, for the grass strip I assume. It was a kit that he put together himself. He said he has about $120,000 into it. Sounds like a lot compared to the Cessna you mentioned.
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TheQuig

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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 5th 2013, 8:14 pm

I had lunch today with a contractor doing some work for my company. He told me he did a plane poker run this past weekend. This is the first time I had heard about it. 300 miles, 6 airports. I've heard of motorcycle poker runs, but not planes. Unless it is a must, I stay out of small planes.

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turbobill



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 11:03 am

Diseasel wrote:
Anyone ever thought about a private pilot's license? I've been recently thinking about it. It would be just one of those things for fun.

Sounds like lessons are expensive, airplane rental is expensive, fuel is expensive, and then they don't carry much weight.

In the next year I might take advantage of a "Discovery Flight" where you go up for a half an hour to see if it's something I'd like to pursue.

Everything aviation is expensive, relatively speaking. Minimum training for a private license (under Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations) is 20 hours dual (plane and instructor rates apply) and 20 hours solo (plane rates apply). Add to that the cost of the various needed training materials, extra ground time (instructor rates apply) and the cost of the practical test (examiner fee plus aircraft rental) and it won't be cheap. A recreational pilots license is a minimum 30 hours (15 dual/15 solo) but has some limitations. Rental rates for airplanes vary by area and the size of the airplane. Generally smaller/lighter equals cheaper.

The national average is between 60 and 65 hours at a part 61 flight school. Part 141 schools (accelerated training) generally get it done in the minimum required 40 hours with an accelerated training program that takes 3 to 4 weeks of full time training.

When I decided to take the jump, I realized very quickly that it was either going to be an expensive hobby or I was going to have to make a living at it.
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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 1:24 pm

Remember Dave 5.3 or now 4.6? He followed his dream and now fly's for a living.

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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 2:22 pm

For sure it ain't cheap and I bet it's tough to make a living in the business unless you're an A&P mechanic. Smile

I've been researching it and there's a few basic paths. Traditional flight school, flying clubs, and an interesting plane partnership where the current owners are a flight instructor and FAA flight checkoff.

For $10k the last option provides resources for your private pilot license and you get a 1/3 owner partnership in the plane. There's a $100/mo monthly fee for parking, etc. Plane rental is $30/mo which goes toward any maintenance and overhaul.

I've seen the standard flight school prices anywhere from $6k to $13k. Of course they all assume min hours to pass and that's where costs adds up. One promised a flight instructor job if you graduated from their program. Probably could set you back $30k or so.

The flying clubs are a discount relative to flight schools. A refundable equity membership might be $3k and then a $100/month fee. And then an hourly engine tachometer fee ($80-$400/hr) depending on the plane rented. Plus there's no sales tax on transactions for owners. Most let you fly cross country.
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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 5:34 pm

part 141 schools could get by with 35 hours a few years back when I was taking lessons, but that was not realistic for the majority of students. Can get a recreational license for fewer hours but not sure if you can carry passengers.
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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 5:56 pm

My ex brother in law had his license. He bought a kit plane and had to spend a week or two at the factory in Georgia (could be wrong about the state). He went down and built the tail section, then he worked on it in his garage in Colorado until it got to big and he had to buy a hanger at a small airport to finish. It took him at least 2 years, and it kept everyone in the loop by posting the progress on his web site. He is a very smart guy, degree in engineering and a Masters in something else. Last I spoke with him he was on the design team for the telescope that would replace the hubble.

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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 6:48 pm

Sounds pretty cool if it could be done for a discount. Always seems like it cost more to do things yourself. There's a few kit manufacturers that have gone bankrupt due to crashes and lawsuits. Sometimes they slowly vibrate themselves to smithereens in flight.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-22/kit-planes-found-to-crash-kill-more-than-factory-craft.html
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turbobill



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 7:39 pm

Diseasel wrote:
For sure it ain't cheap and I bet it's tough to make a living in the business unless you're an A&P mechanic. Smile

It can be tough starting out. Takes a minimum of 250 hours for a commercial pilots license (part 61) and 202 hours (part 141). During that time, multi engine and instrument ratings are mandatory for a job. Either way, it's a lot of rental time. Most get instructor ratings and then instruct. Some tow banners, haul jumpers, do pipeline patrol, aerial surveying/picture taking or get into crop dusting.

Insurance company minimums are usually 500 hours to fly for any kind of compensation. Most regional airlines now require ATP minimums of 1500 hours to start as a first officer, as do the cargo airlines, and the pay still isn't that great at first. But it's the best path to a job with a major airline, one of the many part 135 charter operators or a corporate flying job. With any business, it helps to network, make lots of friends and keep snooping around.

Eventually, depending on the path taken, you can make decent money.
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turbobill



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 7:45 pm

Truth wrote:
part 141 schools could get by with 35 hours a few years back when I was taking lessons, but that was not realistic for the majority of students. Can get a recreational license for fewer hours but not sure if you can carry passengers.

I think that's still true today. That's the route I took and it was expensive back then too. 202 hours worth. Later I added instructor ratings and that was more money.

Among the limitations of a recreational license is only one passenger, no night flying, no flying into class B, C or D airspace, less than 180 HP and I believe you must stay within 50NM of the departure airport.
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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 9:08 pm

I'll have to check out the recreational license. Is that the same thing as a basic ppl?
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turbobill



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 8th 2013, 10:09 pm

Diseasel wrote:
I'll have to check out the recreational license. Is that the same thing as a basic ppl?

Pretty much.

The basic airmanship training is the same. You don't get the cross country training (5 hours dual, 5 hours solo), training at an airport with an operating control tower, or night training (3 hours), thus some of the limitations I mentioned.
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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 9th 2013, 12:42 am

Thanks Bill.

Wow, airline pilot training can be expensive. ATP Flight School has a 150 day fast-track for $65k. I think that's starting with no flight experience. A 90 day fast track is $50k if you start with a private pilot's license.

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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    June 10th 2013, 10:49 pm

I found a small local FBO (fixed based operator) that will provide plane, instructor, and fuel for $106/hr. That's the cheapest I've seen so far.

Neglecting books, tests, etc, PPL flight school would be around $5300 (assuming 50 hours). The plane is a clean and nicely instrumented cessna 172P. It could be that the website isn't up to date. I need to call to verify pricing is still current.

Fuel can really add up at $5 or $6/gal. At 8 gal/hr that's a $40 to $48/hr fuel bill.





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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 13th 2013, 6:18 pm

The above website reference wasn't up to date. Actual costs were $150/hr for plane, fuel, and instructor.


Following up, I took an intro flight, got to take controls for a take-off and flight. There was good and bad.

The Good:
- Beautiful scenery
- Some freedom
- Fun flying maneuvers
- No TSA
- No baggage fees
- Much faster than driving

The Bad:

- Unpleasant environment (Everything imaginable- small area, bumpy, noisy, hot, vibrations, etc)
- The pilot is busy (button pushing, always adjusting controls, monitoring gauges, listening/calling on radio, watching for planes...)
- Many checklists needed to prep for start-up, taxi, take-off, etc (it ain't like jumping in the family truckster)
- Expensive (best I could find was $103/hr (wet) for a cessna 172 and $30/hr instruction).
- Instructor says only 10% of those that start get a private pilot license (lots of frustration and money needed).
- I doubt my family would endure the discomfort for a cross country flight (ex: Phx to Chi).
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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 13th 2013, 11:07 pm

If you expect savings and comfort over driving you're not being realistic. Light planes are noisy, crowded, sometimes very turbulent and expensive. Then add in very little room(weight) for luggage and no bathroom stops. On the other hand, for those who love flying nothing else compares to the experience of piloting a small plane and get that can't wait feeling. If you don't love it, spend that money on something else.
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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 14th 2013, 11:42 am

It was an eye opener. I think I fell into the online marketing BS. Difficult to get real world statistics. I was very surprised to hear 10% success rate and one CFI told me 95% that take an intro flight get the PPL. I'd love to find a website showing stats.

Another interesting tidbit was student pilots learning how cumbersome visual flight rules are even after completing their 20 hour soloing requirement. I didn't get that.

And then how low-tech and tiring the effort can be for private pilots. I'm sure much is there if you have the money to own or rent a modern plane. I'd guess some of the effort gets put into muscle/memory parts of the body after much time in the seat.

Sounds like the private pilot industry took a hiatus in the late 70's. I've read there were fewer planes made and fewer active pilots. In 2009 there were more CFIs (flight instructors) than student pilots. In 2009 the FAA issued the least number of student licenses since 1964. Gotta be hard on pilot schools and CFIs.

I'm still toying with the idea of taking flight lessons but the urgency has subsided.
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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 14th 2013, 2:11 pm

Another option?... or not?

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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 14th 2013, 7:46 pm

Ha! Now that pilot is busy!
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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 14th 2013, 7:57 pm

Didn't Dave 4.7 get his pilots license in Canada and end up making a living with it?

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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 14th 2013, 8:41 pm

I'm legally blind in my left eye, so I never thought it possible. Imagine my surprise when I was told I could get a private license. (Wife lumped the idea in with having a motorcycle. Sad  )

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ggbaird



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 14th 2013, 9:57 pm

TheQuig wrote:
Didn't Dave 4.7 get his pilots license in Canada and end up  making a living with it?

Yes he did. In northern Manitoba, Canada.

Haven't heard from him in a long time though.
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Diseasel



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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 14th 2013, 11:17 pm

Commercial flying is a tough sell these days. Can be costly getting the training and hours, minimal salary (fast food clerk-like money), much time away from family. It's a difficult combination for a family/marriage.

My instructor went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, flew commercial for a few years, and lost his wife. He's doing better now teaching aviation at the local university and doing some flight instruction on the side.


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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 15th 2013, 7:14 pm

I would guess that a lot the commercial pilots come from the military sector.

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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 15th 2013, 11:25 pm

That makes sense.

They keep saying there's going to be a pilot shortage. Maybe that keeps a surplus of potential pilots out there as well as the flight schools somewhat profitable. I think they meant to say there will be a shortage of highly paid pilots.
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PostSubject: Re: Private Pilot License    July 17th 2013, 11:31 pm

What worries me is that the companies turn every plane into some sort of drone and they have 15 year old kids "fly" them on their X-boxes or something.

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