Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Newbie looking for advice...family and airplanes

  1. #1

    Default Newbie looking for advice...family and airplanes

    Hello,

    I just took another flight lesson, and although I'm only 3 hours in, I can tell that this is something I really enjoy. This site (and others), have been a wonderful resource about learning to fly, so I won't cover old ground here.

    My question is how others have managed flying with their families. I have three kids (8, 6, 3), and it's clear there are no good first airplanes that can handle a family of our size, so if I pursue this, it would require a lot of time away from the family until I've built the hours to perhaps consider a larger (and more costly) aircraft. For the most part, I just want to learn to fly, although exploring and ultimately some off-airport adventures is really my long-term goal.

    It seems that learning in a smaller aircraft would be best, though it would also take time away from the wife and kids. Before I get this 'hook' set any deeper, I want to consider the implications of this and how it would work for us. Perhaps learning to fly in a smaller airplane (i.e. 172), and just bringing 1-2 kids at a time would be a reasonable approach?

    So I'm curious--How do you handle your family obligations with flying, and what advice do you have for someone with a larger family who is interested in flying?

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Los Anchorage
    Posts
    367

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKJOB View Post
    Hello,

    I just took another flight lesson, and although I'm only 3 hours in, I can tell that this is something I really enjoy. This site (and others), have been a wonderful resource about learning to fly, so I won't cover old ground here.

    My question is how others have managed flying with their families. I have three kids (8, 6, 3), and it's clear there are no good first airplanes that can handle a family of our size, so if I pursue this, it would require a lot of time away from the family until I've built the hours to perhaps consider a larger (and more costly) aircraft. For the most part, I just want to learn to fly, although exploring and ultimately some off-airport adventures is really my long-term goal.

    It seems that learning in a smaller aircraft would be best, though it would also take time away from the wife and kids. Before I get this 'hook' set any deeper, I want to consider the implications of this and how it would work for us. Perhaps learning to fly in a smaller airplane (i.e. 172), and just bringing 1-2 kids at a time would be a reasonable approach?

    So I'm curious--How do you handle your family obligations with flying, and what advice do you have for someone with a larger family who is interested in flying?

    Undoubtedly, it will be said, so I'll maybe say it first: there's at least a couple of other threads on this or similar topics: probably good reading if you haven't seen them.

    My thoughts:

    - Assuming you have a spouse/partner plus the kids, that means you're looking at a 5 place / 6 place plane?
    - Although I learned to fly back when pterodactyls were a flight hazard, I'm not sure how much time you'd be away from the family while learning....certainly no more than other hobbies: Once you've got your ticket and a plane, it might be a different story.
    - My old man sort of went to extremes: flew a 170 as a single guy (always remembered it as his most enjoyable flying phase); got married and after kid #1 (of eventually 5), he bought a twin Comanche. His experience with me and my siblings was that it never happened that all kids and wife wanted to go flying together.....
    - I learned to fly pre-marriage, but ended up with the -12, a wife, and two kids. Simple reality was that for just "flying" it was two as passengers and very rare that I had to force one to stay behind as I don't recall many times when the wife and both kids wanted to go "flying". If it was a trip somewhere that involved and required flying, I'd have to figure out the nearest point and do the shuttle thing or beg a favor from BIL #1 (Helio) or BIL #2 (Maule) to haul folks.
    - Slightly different dynamic with 3 grandkids....at least two of them always want to go flying.....toyed with getting a 185 so I could take wife and all three, but I see the teenage years in the future and that Grandpa will be as dumb and irrelevant to the GK's as I was as Dad to the kids back in the day, so putting another $150k+ into a bigger plane is unlikely.

    None of the above is probably an answer to your questions.....just my thoughts.
    Back in AK

  3. #3
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Kachemak Bay Alaska
    Posts
    4,378

    Default

    Father of five here....Now grandfather of two young ones.
    My first planes were Super Cubs and PA12s.
    1. It always worked out that only one kid at a time wanted to go flying.
    2. Wife seldom
    really
    wanted to go flying an only said (says) she did or does to make me happy. ( or if she actually needs to get someplace fast.)
    3. AND AS ANY PARENT KNOWS, Dealing with one kid at a time is much easier and SAFER than having two or three break out into an argument at any given moment.
    4. The wife appreciates you taking at least one kid out of the house for a couple hours.
    5. When kids get older, you are not cool anymore and they really would rather hang out with their friends and talk about how lame you are.
    6. One kid in the cub (PA-12 is the best for kids) is a bonding and teaching experience. They can do some of the flying and feel involved.
    7. Two or three kids spread across the back seat of a big Cessna or Aeronca Sedan just makes them passengers, not participants.

    Here are our two youngest after an hour apiece at the front seat controls of the Cub. Two hours of flying for me, an hour for each of them and only 8 gallons of car gas burned. Plus pre and post flighting with both of them... Followed by a stop and the local burger place on the way home. So how would that be time away from my family?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    501

    Default

    Wife, 2 kids, and senior parents. 2 pilots in the group. Been through the gambit, cubs, 172's, 180's, 206, and Piper Comanche. We live remote so several of them have been our family car/grocery getter. Got the license BC (before kids) so no real advice there other than to recommend NOT putting you family into a stressful financial situation. That leads to AIDS (airplane induced divorce syndrome). Ain't worth it. If you can survive it financially, then go for it!

    We have gone the experimental 2 seat route. I'm really not a fan, prefer something with 4 seats. But it has become so expensive that this is what we can afford to fly. We now take the ferry to town and fly for fun.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    16

    Default

    35 years AK flying under my own ticket and many more with my dad growing up here. Wife and three grown kids who love to fly (2 are pilots, one a Naval fighter pilot) all including myself were flying with their dad before they could walk. (I.e. J-5, Super Cub, PA-14, 172)

    Owning an airplane is a way of life that needs to be accepted by the whole family, flying is only part of it. Time and money for maintenance, immediate snow removal, anticipating wind storms, staying competent and so much more many on this site can add to.

    IMO you have your priorities a little out of line.

    First and and foremost you need to become the best and safest pilot you can be. If you are going to buy a plane buy one you can afford to fly and maintain. Your first couple hundred hours need to be about you not how many passengers you can drag around. Your family will appreciate your competency as a pilot not how big of a plane you can fly.

    Again my opinion, itís a great way of life, take your time and enjoy it with your family.

    14fan

  6. #6

    Default

    As many have said buy something that you can afford to fly a lot, a 172 isn't sexy or pretty but it is very cheap to fly and will still do good off airport work. Also has a pretty good usfull load. See many buy big fancy airplanes only not to leave enough money to fly often. I owned a Mooney for awhile and it was lots of fun but without a partner there was no way I would have flown as much as I did. Now with the 172 I have I don't need a partner and get to fly anytime I want, and can land off airport. Don't forget you can go up to 35" bush wheels on a 172 as well

  7. #7

    Default

    Ither thing to consider is while you are doing your training, I know a guy that bought a Maule he is going on three years I believe he has a hard time keeping instructors around and finding one that knows Maules isn't easy. Everyone with a CFI can instruct in a 172

  8. #8

    Default

    Thank you all for the wonderful advice and wisdom,

    It seems the common elements in the responses is first the obvious--(focus on learning to fly safely first), and then on involving the family. Also it seems that for others with larger families, a smaller aircraft wasn't a problem, especially if the wife and kids didn't want to go all at the same time. Once of the comments was about the lifestyle, and that the whole family needs to buy in, and I think that's the stage we're at. I have a very supportive wife, but this is a big decision that affects them all, and I need to weigh that. Provided we can all get comfortable with it, I think we'll be looking continue the lessons in the 172.

    Thank you for the great responses, and please feel free to add more to the thread if anything else comes to mind.

  9. #9

    Default

    Just a couple comments. First, no airplane does everything well, so you have to choose what compromise you can work with. We compromised on a PA22 because it is about all we could afford. When I say afford, I mean we could buy and maintain it, and still have money to fly it. It is too small for us, as a family of 4 large frame people, so when we do go somewhere as a group, we either have to send one person commercial or make two trips. That is an issue about once a year. Most of the time flights are with fewer of us anyway, and the airplane works perfect. Second, if you choose to compromise on buying the larger airplane, you might price yourself out of flying enough to be the safe pilot your family deserves. If you can afford it, great, but if not, don't buy a plane that makes you into a 20 hours per year pilot just because it means you can load up the entire family. Flight time is more important than seats for you over the next five years.
    14 Days to Alaska
    Also available on Kindle and Nook

  10. #10
    New member
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Posts
    4

    Default

    If your significant other is copacetic with you buying and owning an aircraft, get an aircraft now. Get one you can afford now rather than wait. You may never get one that can carry everyone in your family. As others have stated, usually you will not have more than one or two wanting to go fly with you. A Cub or 172 would be great. The point is for you to have access to your own airplane now to fly when you want now.
    Wife #2 would only allow me to get an airplane to carry the whole family, 5 kids, so priced me out of getting an airplane. I could have afforded a Cub or Cessna 172 at the time, but that Beaver was well out of my range.
    You can always upgrade as your means improve if you want. But in the meantime, you will be slipping the surly bonds of Earth and enjoying the the sky.
    As an added benefit, if you buy smart, and fly safely, your investment will hold its value and even appreciate better than any other vehicle you will ever own.

  11. #11
    Member akaviator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    261

    Default

    Being an owner of one I may be a little biased, but don't forget the Aeronca Sedan. They pop up for sale on occasion and are a wonderful airplane at a great price point. Plus Burl's Aircraft in Birchwood supports the type and has any part you may need.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •