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Thread: Economics of Starting Bush Flying

  1. #21
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    Nov 2009
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    fairbanks, ak
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    Lessons from someone who was in your shoes. I put my first time in the cockpit of a 172 in AZ. I flew 20 hours in 10 days. Then I came back to Alaska after a month and a half break with no flying. I flew once maybe 2 times a week from may through august. Then due to work I didn't fly for nearly 2 years. I started flying again a month ago and am in it for the duration this time. I have logged something like 70 hours and don't have my license yet due to time away from flying and having to relearn things 70 hours at nearly $200/hr with renting and an instructor adds up to a lot of money. I bought a nice little Cessna 150 with a friend a year ago. I haven't flown it except for 4 hours. Would I do it again? Yes. Would I change anything? Yes. I would just get it done. So I can go enjoy flying. I was told that the best way to learn to fly in is in a plane where you have to learn to fly. Not one that compensates for lack of ability with HP. My 150 split with a friend was very reasonable to get into. And when I get my PPL it will be a great way to explore. It is in no way my dream plane and we bought it as a trainer. Not as a bush plane. Not saying that is the right way to do it but that's what I did/ am doing.

  2. #22
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    Jun 2013
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
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    80

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKMtnRunner View Post
    Thank you for all of the responses so far. I should note my reason for asking about the economics side of getting started, is to size up the potential financial pitfall. I realize no one should learn to fly and buy a plan to save money unless they could make money doing it - which I don't currently have any interest in. It's just one of the cons to weigh into the lifestyle decision. If hiring the transport and learning/owning routes are a wash, I will happily go the later route (and take the given advice to heart regarding the adequate hours to become proficient).

    People have asked more about my situation. If it's helpful, here's some more info. Married without kids but expecting within the next 5 years. We bring in about $80k per year with about $20k in savings and $10k in annual disposable. I also have other family with significant savings that may be interested in investing in a plane in exchange for transport and flight seeing so spending $50-100k on a good plane is possible. So it is relatively important to try to find a 4 seater. Hunting will certainly be a major activity for the plane to support so STOL is important too.

    I do appreciate the caution to get into as easy of flying plane first, like a 2 seat tandem, but is it unreasonable to get right into a more powerful 4 seater? If you knew me, you'd agree I am one of the most humble and safest operators, and I do tend to learn skills relatively quickly. I entertain myself on long drives by trying to get the best fuel economy and I don't see the 'getting there' part as something to make adventurous. This is about flight seeing for a few other people, and at the max, capable of bringing back a moose and hunting party from a gravel bar in a reasonable amount trips. Any recommendations for plane models?

    More importantly, does anyone have tips for preferred flight schools in Anchorage area?

    Thanks for all of your help
    Honestly you don't make enough money to afford to operate and be proficient with a true 4 seat bush capable plane. 10k in disposable won't even come close. It might pay for the fuel. While you might be able to purchase one, you won't be able to fly it enough to be any good at it.
    You'll have to lower your expectations. Or triple your income.

  3. #23
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    Apr 2007
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    Hawaii
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    Try Arctic Flyers for initial to advanced instruction. They are instruction only and have been in business for decades. http://www.arcticflyers.biz/
    Take your initial instruction in a tail dragger to start out with proper and important rudder skills.

  4. #24
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    Apr 2007
    Location
    Hawaii
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    Read Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying

    by Wolfgang Langewiesche

    Checkout this website for reviews of this classic book about flying. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/...ick_and_Rudder

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