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Thread: Training

  1. #1
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default Training

    I would like to learn to fly, Im in the Fairbanks North Pole area. First off I'm 6'6" tall and broad in the shoulders, will that be a problem? 2nd, does anyone have recommendations for flight trianing in this area

  2. #2
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    Default Training

    I have similar challenges at 6'4"-250lbs (all muscle of course). I squeezed into a friend's Taylorcraft but couldn't work the pedals as my knees were hitting the instr panel. I found that a 172 was workable but with a higher operating cost (to rent or buy). Reading thru the aviation forums here or searching for "tall pilot" will pull up some past discussions.

    Or, when you visit a flight school to check them out, ask to try one on. I stopped at a couple in Anch and found that the C152 wasn't too bad. We didn't fly it but I did get in (squeeze in) and close the door. Plenty of leg room but the shoulders were cramped. They recommended their smallest instructor though...

    I always get that "bull-in-a-china-shop" feeling getting into a small GA plane but other pilots on this forum may have some advice...

    Our larger frames are great for hauling hind quarters and un-stucking snowmachines but not so great for flying machines...

    -Matt
    Kotzebue

  3. #3
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    I'm 6'6" also. I started out learning to fly in a C-150 (Nielsen Aviation in Anchorage). That worked, but just barely, mostly because I had small flight instructors. I switched to a Citabria and fit in that a lot better. The Citabria was a 76 model with adjustable seats. I don't fit in the older Citabra's and Champs with the fixed seat quite so well. My instructing in a C-150 was limited to soloing one large guy. It worked but there was the feeling that we needed to take turns breathing to keep the doors from popping open. It also took coordination to keep knees out of the way of the yoke. If we'd been in a gusty crosswind that took a lot of rudder and aileron movement we might have been in trouble.

    If you've thought about buying a plane to learn in, as I'm sure you know, there aren't many inexpensive airplanes that tall guys fit in. I own an Aeronca Sedan which fits me well and they are still relatively reasonable to buy when you can find one.

    As far as training options in the Fairbanks area, you might talk to Vicki over at Tamarack air, and try sitting in a C-150. I'm not sure if they have a C-172 or not. Warbelows has a C-172 and Clay Cranor is starting a flying club, I believe they plan to use a C-172 as well. There is another flight school that just started advertising in the Fairbanks paper, but I know nothing about them. Hope this helps. Feel free to write me back if you have any more questions....Louis

  4. #4
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default flight school

    Thanks for the info, I had wanted to train out at Eielson but the aero club is now defunt. My big concern was my size, 6-6 and broad shoulders and all the extra weight that carries. Can a c-150 handle someone my size plus the instructor? I have kicked around the idea of buying a plane but wouldnt know what to look for as far as a being forgiving for a new pilot, suggestions? Then there is the wife, she is not to keen on me spending a bunch of money of something as she puts it "your not sure you will like, what if you buy a plane and then dont like flying?"

    If I was to buy a plane for learning purposes, (wouldnt need anything more than a two seater because I wont take anyone up until I have plenty of time logged) what should I look for?

    Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Member Sierra Hotel's Avatar
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    I'm not quite as stout as you (6'4, 250), but it's a challenge. I started out in the Piper Tomahawk, went to a C-152, and finished in the Piper Warrior. The Tomahawk and 152 were marginal - we couldn' put a full fuel load when I had the instructor on board. Adding to the challenge in the Cessna's (all high wings actually) is with the wing overhead, you REALLY have to duck your head down and around the wing when you're making a turn to final approach for example, because so much of your view is cut off by the wing. I did like the low wing a/c for that reason - when you're turning to final your view actually improves . . . coupled with greater ground effect from low wings I liked the Piper Warriors (the Tomahawk was a joke).

    Here in AK however, I'd go with a 172 - I'm considering buying one so my son can get his license and ratings. The high wings are excellent for viewing during flight, and you don't damage the wings on rough runways. Some of the posters pointed out some obvious reasons - more C-172's produced than any other airframe - lowest insurance costs - lowest maintenance costs - great parts availability, etc.

    Good luck,

    SH

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