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Thread: Looking for some Direction

  1. #1
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    Default Looking for some Direction

    Im brand new to this process of obtaining a PPL and looking for advice. I work on the slope so with my schedule im going Part 61. I live in Eagle Rive and would like to find a CFI who flys out of Birchwood. For ground school ive been reading through Jeppesens Private Pilots text book. I took my first flight this pass Thursday with Land and Sea Aviationand and im eager to start my training. It was suggested to me that i should possibly buying a high hour plane just for the purpose of training then selling the plane, the initial cost would be high but training per hour would be less expensive then after i beat the plane up while training i could sell it. Thoughts on this idea?


    Q1. is it a good idea to start trainining with Land and Sea untill i find a CFI in Birchwood
    Q2. Does anyone know of any contacts in Birchwood that they are willing to share
    Q3 whats your opion on buying a plane soley for the purpose of getting my PPL then selling


    Thanks for your help

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    Q1. Yes.
    Q2. Sorry, I don't.
    Q3. Yes, IMO.

  3. #3

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    Tbloom on this site is a CFI that works out of birchwood, he would be a great choice. I bought a Pacer before I ever took a single flight so getting a plane to learn in is a good plan in my book. Getting one with a buddy to share cost is even better. It can take some time to find the right IA and plane to start training in. Winter is just around the corner and weather/daylight will hold off a lot of flying until Feb. The biggest problem I see with people training is they don't get it done!!! They take off a few months due to weather/money/family and have to redo a lot of the training. Lock in 6 mo of time, plane, CFI and money. Than get it done. Nothing wrong with training with land and sea. The money you spend to get your PPL is only a drop in the bucket once you really get hooked!!!!!!
    DENNY

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    I second Tim Bloom. I did my tailwheel training with him and he is fantastic.

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    Thanks for your help guys. I PMed Tbloom

  6. #6

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    I bought my J-3 to learn in, loved going that way. Great plane to build time, burns less than 5 gal/hr. I would rec getting something you will be comfortable building time in for a while and be aware it can take a bit of time to sell a plane. Buying your own plane gives you incentive to learn, you don't feel like you own it until after you solo.

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    Sockeye85.. No pms in my box... Try again. Denny is right on. I think buying a plane and learning that way is very good. Land and sea is a good operation in the mean time.

  8. #8

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    Now let the flames begin lol

    Q1 - I would start and finish with Land and sea, there are aspects of the PPL that are time sensitive and you cant have your CFI getting called into a wedding or who knows what when you are doing your long solo cross countries or your 3 hrs of check ride prep and the check ride itself. I really am not trying to be a rude a hole but it took me like 7 years to complete my PPL most due to cost issues and things that were my own fault but when you have the time and the money together and the weather is nice your blood pressure is going to soar when you get a call that your CFI got called to his second cousins best friends uncles wedding out of state. With tail wheel its not a big deal, nothing time sensitive there, but its still an irritation when weather is nice and some schedule issue comes up with your CFI. Its already bad enough that most of the FAA examinars are part timers, short timers or both, when I was ready to go for my PPL all of the examinars in Anchorage were on vacation, they all work for themselves so its not like the FAA is managing their vacation time to ensure coverage. It is a very non customer service oriented industry unless you get to the private jet level or air line industry.

    Q2 - Again I hate to be rude but I am going to call a spade a spade, with a few exceptions birchwood appears to basicly be a private airport with a publiclly funded strip, there are only 2 lagitimate buisness on birchwood, john mark air repair and ak bush wheels. The rest are private hangars with almost NO rentals or any significant buisness activity, just old timers sitting on the property trying to get top dollar in a sale (I could be wrong but I walked the airport and most of what I saw was unmarked hangars with nothing going on.

    Q3 - I have heard that things get goofy with insurnace if you try to get a CFI to train you in your own plane, I am not sure that land and sea will do it. If land and sea agrees to it and the insurnace rates are reasonable then I think that is the best bet, also that way you get your PPL and your tail wheel in one shot. I just cant imagine the insurance issues are getting better. Reasonable insurance rates in Alaska are the big wild card. Also remember that if you buy a high time plane that is not going to be your forever (or long time) plane your most likely going to take a bath on it in the sale, not alot of people have money these days for things like planes so the prospective buyers you do get are not likely to be pleasent. I have heard it in the old hangar I was in, "well it looks like a rock hit here and chipped this so how about 10 grand off .... etc etc". Plus take your training time in a rental and enjoy not having to do annuals.

    I will answer another question you have not likely thought of and that is annual inspections and maintenance. There are mechanics who are GREAT (I finally found one) and who are also slammed all summer and there are mechanics who think every pilot is howard hews and want 10k down and they will give you whats left (I dont think so lol). In order to get the good ones time you have to catch them during their slow time which is the middle of winter and they wont do a full blown annual out on the ramp with you in Dec (I dont blame them lol) so your back to the hangar issue again, sure you can find a guy that might rent space just to do the annual as long as he is not out hunting or doing what ever. Again its just some dude who was lucky enough to be around when places like birchwood had raw lease land and he does not really need your buisness.

    If you are a major appoligist and are willing to kiss some major a@@ and dont mind being on the phone all the time trying to get things done when other people feel like it then not having a hangar might work out. Or if you just dont give a crap and just work on it yourself, ramp check rarely include mx docs, I know alot of people that do this because the great mechanics are not numerous and hangar rental space is tight, some of the more major hangar owner know it and you are treated accordingly (high demend low supply). John Mark on birchwood is GREAT, he is also slammed all summer so you will have to get in edge wise. I dont know how all these guys out on tie downs do it unless they are their own IA's and can just annual it in the summer or their brother in law owns a hangar or some other such arrangement. I think alot of them just do the work and dont do annuals and just fly because otherwise you get so bogged down in phone calls and driving around that your not even flying anymore. There is alot of that in aviation, if you dont know a guy who knows a guy or your relative is not into it then its an uphill battle unless you just have like 200k to plop down and buy an over priced t hangar and a nice plane and pay top dollar for mx in anchorage.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye85 View Post
    Im brand new to this process of obtaining a PPL and looking for advice. I work on the slope so with my schedule im going Part 61. I live in Eagle Rive and would like to find a CFI who flys out of Birchwood. For ground school ive been reading through Jeppesens Private Pilots text book. I took my first flight this pass Thursday with Land and Sea Aviationand and im eager to start my training. It was suggested to me that i should possibly buying a high hour plane just for the purpose of training then selling the plane, the initial cost would be high but training per hour would be less expensive then after i beat the plane up while training i could sell it. Thoughts on this idea?


    Q1. is it a good idea to start trainining with Land and Sea untill i find a CFI in Birchwood
    Q2. Does anyone know of any contacts in Birchwood that they are willing to share
    Q3 whats your opion on buying a plane soley for the purpose of getting my PPL then selling


    Thanks for your help

  9. #9
    Member polardds's Avatar
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    Don't over think it. There is no perfect way or wrong way. Get your PPL as quickly as you can when you start. Don't drag it out and have to relearn a bunch of stuff. Once you start it finish it.

  10. #10

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    Especially with this weather we have been having

    Quote Originally Posted by polardds View Post
    Don't over think it. There is no perfect way or wrong way. Get your PPL as quickly as you can when you start. Don't drag it out and have to relearn a bunch of stuff. Once you start it finish it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rppearso View Post
    Now let the flames begin lol

    Q1 - I would start and finish with Land and sea, there are aspects of the PPL that are time sensitive and you cant have your CFI getting called into a wedding or who knows what when you are doing your long solo cross countries or your 3 hrs of check ride prep and the check ride itself. I really am not trying to be a rude a hole but it took me like 7 years to complete my PPL most due to cost issues and things that were my own fault but when you have the time and the money together and the weather is nice your blood pressure is going to soar when you get a call that your CFI got called to his second cousins best friends uncles wedding out of state. With tail wheel its not a big deal, nothing time sensitive there, but its still an irritation when weather is nice and some schedule issue comes up with your CFI. Its already bad enough that most of the FAA examinars are part timers, short timers or both, when I was ready to go for my PPL all of the examinars in Anchorage were on vacation, they all work for themselves so its not like the FAA is managing their vacation time to ensure coverage. It is a very non customer service oriented industry unless you get to the private jet level or air line industry.
    This time home I got to put in my first 2.5hrs towards my PPL @ almost $600 through Land and Sea, I'm thinking there might be a better way to go about this. I'm sorry it took you 7 years to complete your training and I do understand that there is time sensitive aspects of getting your PPL and that's one of biggest advantages of working on the slope is I got 2 weeks a month to do whatever If I have to schedule my time around my CFIs schedule that's not a big problem for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by rppearso View Post

    Q3 - I have heard that things get goofy with insurnace if you try to get a CFI to train you in your own plane, I am not sure that land and sea will do it. If land and sea agrees to it and the insurnace rates are reasonable then I think that is the best bet, also that way you get your PPL and your tail wheel in one shot. I just cant imagine the insurance issues are getting better. Reasonable insurance rates in Alaska are the big wild card.
    I've called both Avemco and Falcon for insurance rates. For a Student Pilot with 0hrs I'm looking at around 1800/yr for a C150 and 2300/yr for a Cherokee140 with a value of $22,000 each, these were just two planes I saw on craigslist and I used them for a reference. I called the lady in Fairbanks that handles tie downs at Birchwood and I'm looking at 30/mo


    Quote Originally Posted by rppearso View Post

    I will answer another question you have not likely thought of and that is annual inspections and maintenance. There are mechanics who are GREAT (I finally found one) and who are also slammed all summer and there are mechanics who think every pilot is howard hews and want 10k down and they will give you whats left (I dont think so lol). In order to get the good ones time you have to catch them during their slow time which is the middle of winter and they wont do a full blown annual out on the ramp with you in Dec (I dont blame them lol) so your back to the hangar issue again, sure you can find a guy that might rent space just to do the annual as long as he is not out hunting or doing what ever. Again its just some dude who was lucky enough to be around when places like birchwood had raw lease land and he does not really need your business.


    Oh yes I have thought a lot about Annuals and maintenance and will be taking this into consideration when buying. I'm not trying to sound like a know it all in any way but I have been a Heavy Equipment Mechanic for the last nine years. I fully understand this does not qualify me as a certified A&P Mechanic in any way but should be able to do small repairs in house and on bigger repairs I need to find out what I can do and just have an A&P sign off on.




    Quote Originally Posted by BQuad View Post
    Buying your own plane gives you incentive to learn, you don't feel like you own it until after you solo.
    My way of thinking exactly. This is my biggest push for wanting to buy

  12. #12

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    The problem with a 2 and 2 is you have 2 weeks on. I have a friend that is a 2 and 2 guy and when the weather sucks it sucks, sometimes it sucks for a week straight. If your CFI has to go out of state for a week for some thing then you are only one week left and back to the slope for 2 weeks so you just lost a month right there.

    You can do much of your own work as long as the IA signs off the annual but do you really want parts and pieces all over the ramp when you are working on it outside, what if you are tired of working on it and its not buttoned back up again? Also when it comes time to do the annual (which you are most likely going to have to do in the winter, you still have to uncowl the entire plane and its about a day to two day event, you can chase hangar owners around and try to find a place to do the annual but it sucks worse than you think, again they don't need your business. Also if problems are found in the annual you have to fix them, you can do it yourself and the IA will leave and come back later but again all your stuff is on the ramp in the snow or in some guys hangar who is charging you 100$ a day and wants you out ASAP so he can get the next guy in to do his annual, etc etc.

    If there were giant swaths of t hangars for rent at reasonable rates and tons of professional store front IA services for reasonable rates then it would be a totally different story. If I lived in Montana or Wyoming I could just go to the factory where my plane was made for a $1200 annual no owner assist, while I waited like a car dealership, up here you have to know a guy who knows a guy.

    I used to think like you did until I was on the phone for 2 days calling the 20th person to try to get the most basic things done and not get fleeced doing so. That got old really quick. But there are a lot of people on the ramp tie downs so they figure it out some how, I suspect a lot of them don't even bother with formal annuals unless they are trying to sell the plane because its such a hassle to get anyones time in the summer and a hassle to get hangar space in winter. I suppose you could do it like mid July but who wants to be down during the best flying weather in Alaska. Why even have a plane if you are going to be down for most of July (as you loose half the month being at work).

    If I were you I would go to Arizona and get into a program with a syllabus and knock it out in one 2 week off period, down there they have flight schools that facilitate you PPL and you don't have CFI's doing random stuff that mess up your training. Plus you never have bad weather in AZ, or its exponentially better. Unless you know a CFI that is a family member or life long friend it just does not seem like they are hurting for business up here or for money so they just kind of do things at their leisure.

    If I had to do it again I would have got my PPL in AZ, bought/built a hangar THEN bought a plane. Then I would have all my tools and everything in a hangar the only hard part would be finding a good IA but I would not have to haggle with hangar owners or CFI's or any of that. As soon as you leave land and sea I can almost guarantee you are going to get jerked around ALOT before you can finally put together a rolodex.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sockeye85 View Post
    This time home I got to put in my first 2.5hrs towards my PPL @ almost $600 through Land and Sea, I'm thinking there might be a better way to go about this. I'm sorry it took you 7 years to complete your training and I do understand that there is time sensitive aspects of getting your PPL and that's one of biggest advantages of working on the slope is I got 2 weeks a month to do whatever If I have to schedule my time around my CFIs schedule that's not a big problem for me.



    I've called both Avemco and Falcon for insurance rates. For a Student Pilot with 0hrs I'm looking at around 1800/yr for a C150 and 2300/yr for a Cherokee140 with a value of $22,000 each, these were just two planes I saw on craigslist and I used them for a reference. I called the lady in Fairbanks that handles tie downs at Birchwood and I'm looking at 30/mo




    Oh yes I have thought a lot about Annuals and maintenance and will be taking this into consideration when buying. I'm not trying to sound like a know it all in any way but I have been a Heavy Equipment Mechanic for the last nine years. I fully understand this does not qualify me as a certified A&P Mechanic in any way but should be able to do small repairs in house and on bigger repairs I need to find out what I can do and just have an A&P sign off on.






    My way of thinking exactly. This is my biggest push for wanting to buy

  13. #13
    Member High Country's Avatar
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    Sockeye,

    My first advice to you is not to listen to certain people who views on Alaska Aviation are jaded for whatever reason.

    I was in the same situation as you many years ago. I bought a cub to learn in and scheduled to fly twice a day during my two weeks off. It was summer and we were able to fly almost all the days. I studied in my room the two weeks while on the slope for the written and practical and took the check ride after I got home. I think the check ride was about 35 days after my initial lesson. I did this before I had kids and a wife, but if you have the time and money it can work.

    I have helped many other guys get into aviation and all of them bought their own planes to learn. It worked out well for them, even if they didn't stick with it long term.

  14. #14

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    You should explain to him how he is suppose to get his mx done in a timely manner without loosing significant portions of summer to do it. I am honestly curious how all you tie down guys do it. Also how you deal with the anxiety of major snow dumps or wind storms, unless the value of the planes are such that you just don't worry about it? But mx issues while being on a tie down would be a serious concern if it were me.

    Quote Originally Posted by High Country View Post
    Sockeye,

    My first advice to you is not to listen to certain people who views on Alaska Aviation are jaded for whatever reason.

    I was in the same situation as you many years ago. I bought a cub to learn in and scheduled to fly twice a day during my two weeks off. It was summer and we were able to fly almost all the days. I studied in my room the two weeks while on the slope for the written and practical and took the check ride after I got home. I think the check ride was about 35 days after my initial lesson. I did this before I had kids and a wife, but if you have the time and money it can work.

    I have helped many other guys get into aviation and all of them bought their own planes to learn. It worked out well for them, even if they didn't stick with it long term.

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    I'm not following the reasoning behind higher maintenance for aircraft that are tied down. I have two aircraft that have spent the last ten years that I've owned them tied down outside. During the winter it takes a bit more planning and time to fly them by the time you pre heat the engine and remove the wing and tail covers, but other than that I have not seen anything in the way of increased maintenance and fly one or the other continuously thru the spring, summer and fall with no down time. I have the annuals done but other than that there really aren't any maintenance issues.
    I've been a CFI for 30 years and don't see how a 2 on 2 off schedule would be a problem. It's been my experience that the limiting factor in obtaining a PPL, other than cost, is a student's willingness to do the book work necessary. 2 weeks on the slope would be prime opportunity for this.
    Last edited by AK Mauler; 08-26-2015 at 16:41. Reason: add comment

  16. #16

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    I have my annual and upgrades done Nov-Dec time frame when it is dark and cold. It is the best time for my IA also. Spring, Summer is a busy time for most shops. They are trying to keep all there clients flying and recovering whatever we bend. It is not a good time to do an Annual. Birchwood has several IA's with large shops open all winter long. Great metal and fabric guys there also. I just put my plane on the list and they take it out of my hanger and into the big hanger when the plane before me is done. If I am free I am welcome to help/hinder. If not the job gets done right. Tie down guys get the same treatment. A good IA is worth there weight in gold and should be paid well. The cost of keeping a big hanger warm, lighted and stocked with tools and parts is not cheap!!
    DENNY

  17. #17

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    How much does doing your annual in this way cost you, it sounds like the OP does not have 5 grand every year for a nice hassle free annual? I agree if cost is no object all this stuff can go super smooth and easy. I know guys at work that write checks for 5-7k for annuals that go smooth but they are not exactly smiling about it lol.

    Like I said, I think alot of the guys on tie downs are not doing the annuals period and are just doing condition inspections and fixing critical things on their own. Smooth hassle free annuals are going to create hassle when you look at your bank account to do other things in life.

    These are the things the OP needs to know because I didnt and it was a major head ach dealing with it, i was not willing to write 5 thousand dollar checks every year so I had to find flexable IA's (I bought all my own tools which was costly on the front end but not nearly as costly as some of these bills people I know get and its a one time expense not year after year after year other than a day for the IA's time to do what the FAA requires).

    You guys are doing this guy a dis-service if you gloss over the worst pit falls. Also most people getting into flying were not around when birchwood was built and there was raw lease land so it is a select few that have hangars there.

    A guy buying a 23k plane and excited about aviation is going to be PISSED when he gets his first bill for an annual done in the way you suggest. I know you guys have this thought process of just write them a blank check because there good guys and hangar heat and all that but I have other bills to pay and retirement to save for, I dont know about you guys.

    It sounds like the OP wants to do that as well so how do you suppose he do that from a tie down?

    Quote Originally Posted by boneguy View Post
    I have my annual and upgrades done Nov-Dec time frame when it is dark and cold. It is the best time for my IA also. Spring, Summer is a busy time for most shops. They are trying to keep all there clients flying and recovering whatever we bend. It is not a good time to do an Annual. Birchwood has several IA's with large shops open all winter long. Great metal and fabric guys there also. I just put my plane on the list and they take it out of my hanger and into the big hanger when the plane before me is done. If I am free I am welcome to help/hinder. If not the job gets done right. Tie down guys get the same treatment. A good IA is worth there weight in gold and should be paid well. The cost of keeping a big hanger warm, lighted and stocked with tools and parts is not cheap!!
    DENNY

  18. #18

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    Also panic driving out to get snow off your wings before it does structural damage is not my idea of a good time or walking the airport in winter to pick up your wing covers after a wind storm. Or just have your paint and finish deteriorate from the sun and rain. OR having things prematurly rust that gets tacked on to that annual bill.

    Quote Originally Posted by boneguy View Post
    I have my annual and upgrades done Nov-Dec time frame when it is dark and cold. It is the best time for my IA also. Spring, Summer is a busy time for most shops. They are trying to keep all there clients flying and recovering whatever we bend. It is not a good time to do an Annual. Birchwood has several IA's with large shops open all winter long. Great metal and fabric guys there also. I just put my plane on the list and they take it out of my hanger and into the big hanger when the plane before me is done. If I am free I am welcome to help/hinder. If not the job gets done right. Tie down guys get the same treatment. A good IA is worth there weight in gold and should be paid well. The cost of keeping a big hanger warm, lighted and stocked with tools and parts is not cheap!!
    DENNY

  19. #19

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    Annual is 800 bucks for my cub. Includes fixing small issues, usually take a day in the shop. If we find a major issue to fix or I want to do some upgrades than the price is set by the extra hours. If you check around there are guys that will come to your plane tie-down/hanger and do it for that price.
    I think the big pitfall is to buy a plane before you have an IA to do a pre-buy and advise you on what if any repairs upgrades should be done and the price involved. There are a lot of rough looking aircraft that would make great trainers and a lot of pretty planes that need a lot of work to be airworthy. I good IA can help you sort it all out. They are out there you just have to look around and be flexible
    DENNY

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rppearso View Post
    How much does doing your annual in this way cost you, it sounds like the OP does not have 5 grand every year for a nice hassle free annual? I agree if cost is no object all this stuff can go super smooth and easy. I know guys at work that write checks for 5-7k for annuals that go smooth but they are not exactly smiling about it lol.
    I have the same IA as Denny, and my last annual cost me less than 1.5k. You're blowing things waaaay out of proportion, sir.

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