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Thread: Seeking advise

  1. #1
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    Default Seeking advise

    Hello Everyone, I live in the bush along the Yukon River. (Not in a community) I have a small lodge business out here and my wife commutes to the slope for work. I had to abandon earning my PP license about ten years ago due to financial priorities. We've decided that the time has come to get back on the horse and finish my PP with the goal of ultimately getting a taildragger endorsement and float rating. To get to the point, assuming you're going to be purchasing a plane anyway, is it more cost affective to purchase an aircraft and do your instruction in it, or pay to use the schools aircraft and purchase your own later. From what I've seen searching around, there is at least $100 an hour difference between the costs of per hour instruction with just an instructor and per hour with an instructor and aircraft. Looking at an average of around 50 to 60 hours to get the PP license that's a pretty good chunk of change that could go towards the purchase of an aircraft. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
    Thanks.
    Last edited by ykrvak; 02-02-2012 at 07:57. Reason: spelling

  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    I started to work of my pilot's license a couple times over the years, but jobs, money or the wrong girlfriends, spouses, and or mistresses always put up a road-block about 1/3 of the way through the process. So I had over 120 hours bootleg and real hours but no legal license...
    Finally one day I just bought a plane and went from there.

    At least with you own plane, you dictate when it is available, when the annual is due and when you fly solo. Then after your license has been obtained, it is the family plane or money in the bank waiting to help you buy the next plane.

    Remember that an old C-172 that you actually fly is always better than the super tricked out bush plane that you only dream about,,,
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  3. #3
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    FP, Thanks for the response. So, I guess I'm not completely insane(yeah yeah I know) , or really missing something by looking at it this way. We recently lost one of our very reliable air services so there is a chance this might be used to help with my wife's commuting as well. The air service that is going to pick up the slack does not have a good reputation for getting into the local airstrip and has often just bypassed it. Even with the agent and passengers waiting. It's a 150 to 200 mile round trip to access another airstrip with commercial service other than the one village nearby. That's pretty impractical with a boat or snowmachine if we have to do it very often.

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    Well I will put my two cents worth into answering your question. Rent an airplane. Your costs will be less. Insurance is going to be pretty high for you, since you want to do floats and tail dragger and you live out in the bush. Unless you are going to self insure. I would suggest you take say Feb and Mar off and go to florida or Az and get it done. In the long run you will be saving a good bit of cash. On the other hand buying an airplane has its merits and hiring a flight instructor to train you in your own plane. I have done it both ways with students. in the end there were never that much if any cost savings for the student with his own airplane. What he or she got out of it, was the joy of well this is mine and nobody else flies it. You say there is 100 dollar different, not quite, you still have to buy fuel, put money aside for repairs and engine prop and radio reserves. It would be more like 25 or 30 bucks an hour at best. Not counting the mortgage on the airplane unless you buy it out right, then you would have to fig the lost income from the investment. Go get your certificates ratings and endorsements first. Then shop for an airplane.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ykrvak View Post
    FP, Thanks for the response. So, I guess I'm not completely insane(yeah yeah I know) , or really missing something by looking at it this way. We recently lost one of our very reliable air services so there is a chance this might be used to help with my wife's commuting as well. The air service that is going to pick up the slack does not have a good reputation for getting into the local airstrip and has often just bypassed it. Even with the agent and passengers waiting. It's a 150 to 200 mile round trip to access another airstrip with commercial service other than the one village nearby. That's pretty impractical with a boat or snowmachine if we have to do it very often.
    I would tend to recommend buying an airplane for your lessons if you were planning to get one anyway. It may be cheaper to get a license outside at a school, but there is also something to be said for getting "your feet wet" flying around this area.

    Having your own airplane could also give you more options for receiving instruction near where you live. I have no idea where you're located, but just say, for the purpose of discussion, that you're in Ruby and there's an instructor in Galena, once you get signed off for solo cross country your instructor can sign you off for repeated trips between Ruby and Galena so you can commute for dual instruction. Please don't fly when the weather is too bad for the air carriers!

    I think I heard about an Aeronca Chief for sale in Fairbanks with floats and skis. I could check on that if you'd like....Louis
    Louis Knapp

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    I would tend to recommend buying an airplane for your lessons if you were planning to get one anyway. It may be cheaper to get a license outside at a school, but there is also something to be said for getting "your feet wet" flying around this area.

    Having your own airplane could also give you more options for receiving instruction near where you live. I have no idea where you're located, but just say, for the purpose of discussion, that you're in Ruby and there's an instructor in Galena, once you get signed off for solo cross country your instructor can sign you off for repeated trips between Ruby and Galena so you can commute for dual instruction. Please don't fly when the weather is too bad for the air carriers!

    I think I heard about an Aeronca Chief for sale in Fairbanks with floats and skis. I could check on that if you'd like....Louis
    I'm having trouble responding to the thread. Looks like it's going to let me this time. Thanks for all your input guys. I'm definantly going to try and do my instruction in Alaska. Yeah, spaced out the fuel and insurance costs. Really shouldn't have missed that, thanks for pointing it out.

    I'll look into the option of the instructors in Galena. I know they have two down there working at the G.I.L.A. school.

    Louis, PM on the way.
    Last edited by ykrvak; 02-02-2012 at 20:21. Reason: add more

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    Legally you do not need insurance. If you buy through a bank or credit union they will insist that you carry it.,,, although they are very bad about checking of you keep paying for insurance. The cost goes down the more hours you have,,,or at least the more hours the insurance company thinks you have.
    Since I use my plane for float and tail-wheel instruction I carry insurance. It would be my luck to be hit by a C-206 full of New York lawyers...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    every time I try and write a response or send a pm it tells me I'm not logged in and then losses my message. Am I the only one having this issue? Occasionally one makes it through.

  9. #9
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    My computer / internet connection has been doing the same thing lately. Demonic possession is the most likely answer.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  10. #10
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    One thing to think about is just what type of plane you are going to want or need (and can afford) once you are up and flying...

    For instance my friend down the road had to purchase a rather large plane due to the size of his wife.
    Some folks have dreams that they will be hauling their family around, only to discover that their wife and kids hate flying and never go with them anyway....
    My wife always tries to tell me a need a larger plane... but when I had a larger plane, she became air-sick just from driving past the runway... (she used to do high-dive stuff in Europe and damaged her inner ear. ) So why bother....

    So you need to have a real heart to heart with yourself and figure just what you can afford and what you can really use.

    I can show you a $95,000 plane that sits in a local hangar because the new owner thought he wanted to be an instant bush pilot in his mid 60s. He is the nicest guy in the world, but nobody will instruct him because if he keeps trying to fly, he will kill himself and whomever is in the plane with him...
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  11. #11

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    I did 20 hours towards my PPL with a flight school here in Anchorage, then my flight instructor moved away. Shortly after that, the school closed down so I looked on Craigslist and found a couple of instructors. I like the first one I met, so he finished me on my ticket. A week after my checkride, I got my tailwheel endorsement. It was a super windy-crosswindy week, so I finished it in no time. All this was renting two of his planes. Right after that, I bought my own Cessna 170 with like 60 hours under my belt.

    If I had it to do over again, I would have bought the plane first.

    I am no expert bush pilot. I have 200 hours total right now. I have to say though that learning in your own plane is a totally different deal. Every plane is so different in my (limited) experience, and that makes a huge difference. The school I was at had 4 planes I was flying. Every time I changed planes, it screwed me up. Some high hour guys out there are going to dissagree with me, but it made me take forever to solo. When I went with the guy off Craiglist, though, I was flying one plane every time. It made all the difference during the training. Now my wife is 15 hours into a license from UAA and she is going through the same deal. One week she is ready to solo but then they change planes and it is just different enough to throw her off. We pulled her from the program and she is going to just learn in our plane.

    It's not that expensive, either. Mine is a 1949 Cessna 170A I have a loan on my plane. It cost about $38k, and I put $6k down. My payments are $300 a month, and my insurance comes out to about $200 a month. It's not free, but it is way worth not having to wait for the guy before me to get back with the plane and not know where it was an hour ago. (When I was renting, the school once had a plane missing for a few hours. It turns out the guy was scud running across Cook Inlet down by Kenai and was following the coast northbound rather than fly direct because he didn't want to wait for the weather to get better. He was down on the beach clamming.) I burn 6 gph of avgas, and I although I have a STC I do not run mogas. My annual is $1,000 a year and the only other regular expense I have is that I pay someone else to change my oil because I don't trust myself. That comes to about $200 every 20 hours. I change my oil often because I am paranoid and I am sure that will subside with time.

    Buy the plane. It might be more expensive at the beginning, but in the long run it will make a difference. Plus, any concerns you have with your particular plane will be overcome by your instructor.

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    Wow, being in the exact same boat as 907, (almost anyway), I could not agree more! With the same number of hours with plane payments and insurance and being a very happy owner of a 180 hp c170, if I could do it again I would have bought the plane before I finished my ppl. Now, of course everyones skill set is not going to be the same. This is were its going to have to be your decision. Are you picking up on the flying thing ok? Landings all looking good? Comfortable in the plane solo? Then go buy one! If your not doing so well landing yet, are nervous on your solos, or just not comfortable, I wouldnt waste the money yet. Might cost yourself way more in a ground loop or x-wind landing while practicing in your own plane.
    I would definatly listen to float pilot on getting what you can afford to fly. Not a 1ook supercub that your scared to scratch the paint on or get into with some mud on your boots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    My computer / internet connection has been doing the same thing lately. Demonic possession is the most likely answer.
    Internet gremlins or something like that. Thanks for the thoughts guys. I'm very fortunate to have a great resource who lives in the village we utilize for PO and airport. I spent a couple hours down there with he and his son in law. We came to the conclusion that the ideal choice for me and my situation would be a 170 with the 180 hp. The 170 with a 145 while much more economical and good on skis, will be a bit under powered on floats. I'm going to have to look into the difference between these two options as far as operating costs. The 180hp option is also going to require CS prop instruction as well. Unfortunately, it's really not practical for me to keep an aircraft at a airport/airstrip. It's just too far away to make it's use practical and there aren't any good options around my place for a novice pilot on wheels during the summer months. So, if I want to have it available during the summer, floats are really the only practical option. This spring when I make it to town, I'm going to try and finish up my PPL. Otherwise, It will be another year before I can finish it up. March and early April are really the only time of the year when it's practical for me to do any of this. Obviously, I'll have to make time to get a float rating later, but that won't be as large a chunk of time as the PPL and tail wheel will require.

    Thanks again for the input. If I don't respond to future posts it's because the Internet gremlins are making it really difficult.

  14. #14
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    A good tail-wheel instructor can get you off and running in a couple of days. Depending on your aptitude. I have had more than a few folks do it in 5 or 6 hours. But then again I have had a couple people who could never get the concept after 15 hours.
    A good float rating takes two or three days. I like to give people at least 10 hours of float flight type plus ground. Some folks take 12 hours. That is why I charge a flat rate so I do not feel pressured into signing off a pilot for a float check-ride before they are really ready.
    Now there are float-rating mills down south in the lesser 48. Places where you will get your float-rating in one afternoon as long as your check does not bounce.
    The obituaries usually list their graduates names.

    I have seen a few 180 hP C-170Bs with a fixed prop. Which by the way are not cheap....

    Since you will be on floats all summer at your place another option is a 180 hp C-172 or a 180 horse Aeronca Sedan.

    One young guy who just moved from here had an old C-172A that he used to obtain his PPL. Then he had it set up with tricycle gear skis. Yes three skis...... He goes all over the darn place in the winter. The three big skis keep him up in top of the snow better than my two big skis and one little tail bowl.

    What type of landing surfaces do you have available and how long are they...???
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    I once hunted wolves with a kid (back when we were in our early 20's) in a ski equipped 172. We went all over the place in that thing and if you had plenty of lake or river it was no problem at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Legally you do not need insurance. If you buy through a bank or credit union they will insist that you carry it.,,, although they are very bad about checking of you keep paying for insurance. The cost goes down the more hours you have,,,or at least the more hours the insurance company thinks you have.
    Since I use my plane for float and tail-wheel instruction I carry insurance. It would be my luck to be hit by a C-206 full of New York lawyers...
    Boy . . . ! Talk about your worst case scenario . . . . . a C206 full of New York lawyers? What could be worse !!!!!

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    Free advice is usually worth what you pay for it.
    Having offered the disclaimer – buy your own airplane! There are lots of good starter airplanes out there (sedans/170’s/chiefs/champs/T-crafts …..) You should be able to get a very capable airplane for 30K-40K. Firgure out what kind of flying you will need to day (how many people to fly at once, how much cargo, how much gas, floats or not?) then buy the airplane that will best suit your needs and get your PPL. Remember your PPL is simply your learner’s permit. There is a lot more to learn about flying than you get with the PPL.
    If you have your own airplane you will fly. There are tons of people who have had their PPL for 10+ years and still have less than 200 hrs.
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

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    There are tons of people who have had their PPL for 10+ years and still have less than 200 hrs.
    There is a local student pilot who owns his own Super Cub. He has owned it, wrecked it, rebuilt it and flown it for years. I go flying with him every 90 days and then sign him off for 90 more days of solo. He has nearly 700 log-book-legal solo hours and the Lord only knows how many that he never logs. For some reason he always cancels his final check-ride, but since he basically gets a BFR every 90 days he is still flying solo. With a lot more hours than some of the non-owner pilots.
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    Default my advice is.....

    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    There is a local student pilot who owns his own Super Cub. He has owned it, wrecked it, rebuilt it and flown it for years. I go flying with him every 90 days and then sign him off for 90 more days of solo. He has nearly 700 log-book-legal solo hours and the Lord only knows how many that he never logs. For some reason he always cancels his final check-ride, but since he basically gets a BFR every 90 days he is still flying solo. With a lot more hours than some of the non-owner pilots.

    If it flies, floats or -----, rent it-don't buy it !!!!!!

  20. #20

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    Don't forget about the Maule.

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