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Thread: Instructor Options

  1. #1
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Default Instructor Options

    Hello,

    I've been doing my research and the wife and I are ready to get our private pilots cert. We live in anchorage so not looking outside of Anchorage to Birchwood. We don't own an aircraft. Would begin flying in October after hunting season. Currently looking at Arctic Flyers and the JBER Aero Club. Ultimately looking to fly a taildragger however understand that I will fly conventional gear initially. Feel free to pm.
    NRA life Member JVJ

  2. #2

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    There are a few more hoops to jump through when flying off the base but that is a very nice Aero Club. Arctic Flyers has a great reputation and would be a less hassle type of operation. Go talk to both and do a test flight. I did my ground school on base. It was a two weekend course and price was not bad. You could do some mix and match. October is a hard time to start flying because of the short days and bad weather that time of year so don't get discouraged if all the days seem dark and ugly. The good thing is there will be a lot less people trying to get to the planes. It is a good time to start with the bookwork. When Feb hits and the days start to get longer it is pure joy to fly. Hang in there and welcome.
    DENNY

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    Arctic Flyers has been a flight school for decades and Rick Reuss, one of the owners, and a flight instructor with 24,000+ hours would be my first choice for private license training. Work on the written now. You'll get a lot more out of your flight training with the written exam under your belt.

  4. #4
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Looking at the two different options both have pros and cons. Here's my thoughts for the wife and I.

    Arctic Flyers
    Not on base
    No monthly club meetings
    Ground school is more expensive (over 2x) however they hold it on days the wife can attend
    only 2 hour periods thus more sessions
    1x 172's and 1x 152's

    Aero Club
    I can attend ground school and wife will go direct through instructor and study. Cost should level out between my savings and her extra.
    Next ground school is Oct-Nov and are 3 hour periods.
    it is a minimum 10 minutes closer to our home and work (this in addition to minimal daylight hours allowing me to potentially fly more)
    Aircraft kept in hangar is a benefit since ill get license in winter
    school is part 141.
    4x 172's

    I go back and forth but have some time. Looking to do an intro flight this week though.

    thanks
    NRA life Member JVJ

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    Thoughts (I took my schooling in '83, so things are a bit different):

    - When I learned, my feeling was that taking the ground school concurrent with flight training helped relate each to the other;
    - I got my private in May / June....TW endorsement (some years later) in Oct. / Nov. The previous posters are absolutely correct...it will be a bit more of a challenge to schedule good weather/training days
    - There are many competent instructors / schools...while I know nothing about the JBER club, with Arctic Flyers, there will be no gaps, none, in your basic training;
    - FWIW, way back in the day, I learned at Merrill and I had to fly into ANC two times....learning at ANC or Lake Hood and having to work around that airspace and procedure can only help;
    - ACME Cub Training on Lake Hood is was a very good place to get a biennial......might be worth checking out as well for your primary instruction.
    - One advantage to learning in the late Fall (Oct / Nov) is that you will see worse weather days and probably windier conditions....more of a challenge, but makes one more familiar with less than perfect conditions.
    - Outside of your stated limits, but FWIW, Artics Air Academy in Palmer seemed quite competent when I got a biennial there a couple of years ago.
    Back in AK

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    Buy the King DVD's for the written and go take flying lessons. Save the ground school $$$ for flying.

  7. #7

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    Consider buying a plane to train in. If both you and your wife fly 100 hours in a year that is 20,000 in rental!!!! Buy some poor paint job beater and fly it. Than once you figure out what you want sell it to the next learner. I bought my first plane before I ever took a lesson.
    DENNY

  8. #8

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    Bought my plane before the first lesson too and don't regret it! The big pluses being no scheduling hassles and you learn the plane you will be flying inside and out. Be aware some "trainers" like a J-3 don't have all the instruments needed to complete your checkride. I did Sport Pilot to start so it didn't matter. Radio work and airspace are good to learn, but imagine you will work with a tower if flying from the Aero Club.

  9. #9
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    I am playing this slightly more conservative due to the cost involved with getting in the game. I have doubts on the "savings" of buying and selling a plane along with maintenance, that ultimately I don't want to fly. Yes the wife and I will spend 10k or more in rental fees just to get our license however if we don't want to commit on a plane for whatever reason we don't have to. Additionally if I bought a plane i would buy the plane I want and not a "trainer". This also allows us to confirm we want an aircraft and that we do want a cub. Turns out buying a plane changes all the other purchases we may want to make for a while/ever. I'm ignorant but I don't know how easy it will be to just buy and sell planes along with the time involved. Ultimately we want to end up in a cub and spending 70k or 80k without an hour under either of our belts is intimidating. I can imagine what having your own plane does for you in terms of scheduling and the amount of instructors it opens up but just am not ready to jump. I do appreciate all the advice and look forward to joining the club. Keep it coming.

  10. #10

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    My first plane (a pacer) cost me 24,000 Good little plane I put money into it but flew 400 hours on it and sold it to Don Lee for more than I paid for it. Buying and selling a plane is as easy as buying a car. Downside is if you buy the wrong one than repairs do cost a bit more than a car. Once you start flying all the other toys tend to rust!! No right or wrong just something to think about.
    DENNY

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    Citabrias are great aircraft, sought after, less expensive to buy than Cubs or Cruisers, and a 7ECA burns about 6gph. Buy one for $25K-$30K, insure it for +/-$2K, and fly it. Cost per hour? Fuel $30, instructor $50? Maybe pad that a bit just in case? Add an annual when done for a couple of thousand. Now figure out what rent and instructor is going to cost from start to license in hand for both of you. Now go sell the Citabria for pretty much what you bought it for. My rough math says that puts you a lot closer to your Cub than if you rent.
    Just a thought. I'm sure somebody can put better numbers up than I did.
    ARR

  12. #12
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    Im tracking the cost of renting and also the cost of owning. It definitely pays to buy a plane to get our licenses in (especially with 2 people) if we are commited to flying. Fortunately we have been flying twice in the last couple days and did an intro flight in a 172 and a cub. Turns out we are commited to buying a cub. Now we are playing the waiting game and doing our research (cubs, tie down, Mechanic and Instructor). pretty exciting and the cub was a pretty good time. thanks all

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    Sorry if this duplicates...computer glitch:

    - "cub" covers a lot of territory: from barely flying bone stock to rebuilt with every gizmo to rebuilt in a way that makes sense...lots of price variability therein;
    - Most pilots (with acknowledged exceptions on this board and other S'cub boards) can't fly as well as their plane; I'd guess the average is 75%....I put myself at 60% of the -12;
    - Almost without regard to condition, one will pay a bit of a premium for a PA-18, even if one's mission(s) don't call for an -18;
    - Strongly suggest that you don't buy at the high end: buy an older or beat up Cub if you're set on a cub....when time comes you can sell and upgrade or rebuild (a path fraught with challenges!).
    - Fly your first plane long enough so that you are absolutely sure of what you'll want to be flying for 20 years.....and recognize that missions change; as perfect as the -12 is in many ways, it can't fit 3 grand-kids. FWIW, I'm told that a light early model 180 can get into and out of pretty short strips in the hands of a competent pilot and haul more people gear when access allows....one can buy a good 180 (or 185) for the cost of a -12 rebuild, don't ask me how I know.
    Back in AK

  14. #14

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    Yep buy a beater. The chance of needing a new paint job or engine rebuild is pretty high with two new pilots.
    DENNY

  15. #15
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    When you do the math, the numbers run cheaper when buying an aircraft with low-mid hours than buying a plane that will need a rebuild in the next 500. How many hours are you planning on your 0-320 before overhaul? Additionally, with most a/c not being hangared up here there is concern on a cub that has not been recovered or frame been inspected for XX years. Im sure im no different than anyone else in looking for the right deal. Im definitely not looking for a carbon cub but will not be purchasing something that needs major work in the next two years. two new pilots that need hours flying, not wrenching. The 180 is more plane than I need right (can afford) now but would be awesome. The wife and I are used to packing light as we hunt the mountains and have a 1652, 50 horse jet and were not carrying a ton in either of those situations.

    Though I havn't been quoted on insurance yet im guessing they say the same thing as you Denny. Risk = $$$

    Either way this is a fun process and look forward to finding something.

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