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Thread: Best plane to start out in

  1. #1
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    Default Best plane to start out in

    I am looking to start logging hours toward my license and was wonder if people had recommendations for which planes to look at for buying and learning in. My main use of the plane would be flying out here in Cordova for skiing. So I am looking for something that is good at tight situations, but also performs at altitude. All suggestions are appreciated and I am looking on the economical end so that I have more money to put into improvements and fuel to get hours.

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    Welcome to the forum and the binning of a lifetime of fun. I have all my off airport experience in only one bird but there are many to choose from. Im sure people with a broader span of aircraft flying under there belt will chime in soon... Good luck and happy hunting

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    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    I would help narrow it down a bit if you could post the number of people you want to carry, what kind if snow,i.e. Exploring or on lake and strips. Then the big thing how much do you want to spend. This is one of the best parts of buying a plane, enjoy.

  4. #4

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    D:

    Sounds like you have desires that pull you in opposite directions.

    A: start logging towards hours, economical- Cessna 120, 140 , 150, 152 , 170 172.
    b:good in tight situations = something slow that turns tightly at low speed - Supercub.
    C: performs well at altitude- turbo Cessna 182, of something with a huge overpowered engine that drinks lot of gas. These well performing aircraft also fly faster and get there sometimes ahead of where a student pilot has mentally prepared.

    Crawl, walk then run.

    Deciding to turn around in a box canyon when weather is ahead is a lot easier at 80 knots than at 140.

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    There is no one size fits all. I do a fair amount of skiing with a PA18 and a PA12. Not what comes to mind when thinking of time building though. If money is not a problem, the PA18 is the best performer.

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    So what about a Cessna 140 with a 0-200 on skis? Would that get him up into the mountains to do some skiing? Or a Taylor craft with a 85hp or bigger? By tight situations I'm thinking he just means getting on and off the ground short. How do the taylorcraft and Cessna do on ground roll?

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    59 c172, tons of room, light, cheap to fly and learn. Also have skis for her. I'm thinking of selling


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    I've never flown a Citabria, but I know a number of folks who have had great off-airport experiences in them. Might be worth looking into?

  9. #9

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    Most any plane will do for basic training. A tailwheel aircraft would be nice, but nose wheel aircraft will allso work. Just find anything with wings and a prop and start flying. As far a big mountain ski plane, where are you going to keep the plane? How long do you have a ski strip/ snow on runway? If you don't have a ski strip, or loose it early in the spring than you need to run something other than straight skis. Penetration skis at 6,000 ft is a lot of work for a low power aircraft. Hydraulic wheel skis add a lot of weight.
    If you can afford now than any 150 hp or more aircraft would be nice to have. Do you know Jason your local auto mechanic? he is currently converting a pacer and can give you some tips on being a new pilot/plane owner. Come over to Valdez for the STOL competition.
    DENNY

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by akbonecollector View Post
    So what about a Cessna 140 with a 0-200 on skis? Would that get him up into the mountains to do some skiing? Or a Taylor craft with a 85hp or bigger? By tight situations I'm thinking he just means getting on and off the ground short. How do the taylorcraft and Cessna do on ground roll?
    Watch the 2014 Valdez STOL video on you-tube That Taylor Craft ran pretty close to the cubs. I think he is only running around 100 HP. If you can run straight skis all the time I think they would do great. I know a guy that flew into the Denali area all the time with a champ low HP on straight skis to climb. But that kid was flying since he was 16 and is a great stick. For a low time pilot ski flying, power can save you butt when you don't have a big bag of skill to rely on.
    DENNY

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    Yeah Denny I have seen that video before. Very impressive I just didn't know how light and how many ponies that tcraft was running..

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    Clan Macintosh?

    Your size and weight are also a consideration. For smaller sized folks I have seen some 150 or 160 horse Cessna 150 conversions that kick butt. Particularly the tailwheel converted versions. They are fast, get off quick, can take nasty weather and o pretty high. I owned a couple, but I am too big ( 6'1" and 220 ) to feel real comfortable in them if i have another person on board.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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    A Chief for sale on Alaska List in Fairbanks. May be worth a look. Outwardly it sounds like a good deal.

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    Member Hunt'N'Photos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cub View Post
    D:

    Sounds like you have desires that pull you in opposite directions.

    A: start logging towards hours, economical- Cessna 120, 140 , 150, 152 , 170 172.
    b:good in tight situations = something slow that turns tightly at low speed - Supercub.
    C: performs well at altitude- turbo Cessna 182, of something with a huge overpowered engine that drinks lot of gas. These well performing aircraft also fly faster and get there sometimes ahead of where a student pilot has mentally prepared.

    Crawl, walk then run.

    Deciding to turn around in a box canyon when weather is ahead is a lot easier at 80 knots than at 140.
    A great plane to learn in that fits most of your requirements would be a 150hp Citabria 7gcbc. That is the route I took to learn in before I could afford a cub, and now looking back I wouldn't change a thing.
    US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

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  15. #15
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    Lots of great advice here. An airplane that is in good condition may cost more initially however
    the long term cost can be much less than a lower priced aircraft in need of repair. Aircraft and engines
    have an operational history that the informed buyer will be aware of. As a beginner you may not know
    these things. You are at a disadvantage. Finding a good aircraft mechanic to conduct a pre purchase
    inspection is recommended. Finding a old instructor and getting some flight time prior to picking an aircraft
    will do two things to help you. The first thing is you will have a contact to run a proposed purchase by. The
    second is that by having a few hours in the air you are in a better position to decide what pleases you.

    An aircraft that is popular will resell easily. That will be important someday. The best advice I know about buying
    airplanes came from an old aircraft dealer. He said regardless of the apparent condition of a machine keep in the
    back of your mind the fact that the machine could blow a engine on the way home so budget for an overhaul and you
    won't be caught unaware.

    Good luck to you.

  16. #16

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    A PA-11 would fit your needs well. Probably cost the same as a Citabria, has lower fuel burn.
    resale value up here in my opinion would be much better with an 11.

  17. #17
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    Bearsnack is correct that the most fun plane to fly is a good 90 or 100 horse PA-11 that has been kept light.

    One downside is that a light PA-11 does not have enough instrumentation to properly train or properly test a new pilot. That was a problem I had after I sold my C-150-160hp and only had the PA-11 for instruction. I could not do under the hood instruction or night training since it was a lightweight non-electric aircraft.

    The panel was lightweight, but fairly basic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Bearsnack is correct that the most fun plane to fly is a good 90 or 100 horse PA-11 that has been kept light.

    One downside is that a light PA-11 does not have enough instrumentation to properly train or properly test a new pilot. That was a problem I had after I sold my C-150-160hp and only had the PA-11 for instruction. I could not do under the hood instruction or night training since it was a lightweight non-electric aircraft.

    The panel was lightweight, but fairly basic.
    This is worth repeating. You really need a good foundation in instrument flying, even for "vfr".

  19. #19
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    FWIW, I learned on a (couple of different) underpowered and worn out C-150's / 152's.

    - It is only a slight exaggeration to say that learning with these meant that the Sheraton hotel in Anchorage needed to be factored into every takeoff to the West....and also cleared on every landing.
    - These provided the platform for the necessary hood/radio/night/VOR training as well as primary flight training;
    - An advantage to these planes over the -12, -18, and to a lesser degree the Citabria's and the 172's is that it teaches you to fly the aircraft and not depend on the great aerodynamics of the piper wing or the big engine.
    - I suspect that nothing beats experience when flying skis, so an argument could be made to start with the aircraft that you'll want to keep for the duration....but if you've learned on a low performance aircraft, then you can use the high-performance aspects of you're next aircraft to expand your capabilities rather than being dependent on that "high performance" from the get-go.
    Back in AK

  20. #20
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    The best plane the start out in is the one you can not only afford to buy, but afford to fly. My first plane was a Pacer, I did a hell of a lot of fun stuff in that thing on skis and bushwheels. Didn't have so much invested in it that I was afraid to go out and learn. A Pacer will make you fly with your feet too, something many many pilots never really learn.

    OE

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