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Thread: Planning for the future

  1. #1
    Member ksbha4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Planning for the future

    Here's the deal. I am not a pilot but am planning on being one within the next 5 years or so...or at least that's the plan but we all know how that can go. In your opinions, should I go with a "cheap C-150 or T-Craft, or some other relatively lower priced deal" airplane and learn in my own craft, or should I go the flying school route and rent by the hour and just rent planes when I want to go flying? Is it better just to pay more and get that super cub and skip the C-150? What are the expected and unexpected costs for owning oh, say, a Cessna 170 (I've seen a few deals on craigslist). What I would like to be able to do is take a buddy or two out flying on nice days, but would also like to be able to haul gear for hunting and fishing which of course rules out the C-150 and tiny 2 place planes. Sorry for all the novice questions but I'm just trying to get a good picture as to what would be the most cost effective way to start flying and what the yearly costs are for maintaing a good usable (fishing and hunting) airplane. Thanks for your input.
    Ask not what your government can do for you. Ask how your government can go away and get out of your life

  2. #2


    I was in the same place you are a few years ago. I picked up a pacer before I took a single lesion. I now have over 200 hours and can fly anytime I want. It is not cheap to own a plane but if you are busy and don't want sit around waiting for the next guy to get done flying it is the way to go. If you are going to fly in Alaska bush I can think of very few people that have not bent there plane at least once!!! Metal planes cost a lot to fix so I would stay with fabric.
    First thing to do is find a good mechanic to inspect/work on your plane. I took six months draging planes to mine before he approved of the deal. Next is to find a hanger because winter flying is great but preping a plane in the snow sucks. There are a lot of good aircraft to train in for under 30 grand. Nothing beats a cub for Alaska bush flying but sit in the back of one for a few hours and you will see it is a great one man plane. Pacers are good deals, can haul 800 lbs, fly for 4 hours, and front seats are side by side. BUT, they are a handfull to land and need 700-1000 ft runway if fully loaded. There are lot of good taildragers to pick from for trainers. If you start in a taildrager it will take a little longer but it is worth it.
    Plane. 30 grand. 3-5 grand a year for matinence and upgrades
    Hanger. 30-50 grand in palmer I think.
    Traning. 50-60 bucks per hour if you own the plane.
    Start going to the airport and hanging out at the shops, most won't run you off, and you will learn a lot. Take everything you hear with a grain or whole shaker of salt. Go to Willow and stop in at Eddy Trimmers shop he is the pacer guy. Don't be in a hurry to buy or jump on a deal until you find the right mechanic.

    The most important thing about flying is THE RIGHT MECHANIC!!!!


  3. #3
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Kachemak Bay Alaska


    Back when I started the first couple times I was renting and then had to move or my instructors moved. Eventually I bought my own beat up old PA-12 made from parts and pieces. That forced me to finish my license and I had lots of flying adventures before I was through.

    One of my local students is now doing the same thing. He bought an old first model C-172. (1957 or 58) He took out the back seat and put on slightly larger tires. I taught him how to fly in that plane and also in my Cub on floats.

    That old C-172 runs smooth as can be and it does pretty well as a two seater with a big cargo area after the rear seat was pulled out. We can get off the ground in 500 ft with two of us and 3/4 tanks.
    Plus he can put the spurrs to her and get a 110 mph cruise even with his flat take-off prop. It is about a $29,000 plane.

    For a first plane there is nothing wrong with a T-craft, Pacer, J3, PA-11, Champ or 7ECA.

    Even C-150s and C152s have their place. If they have enough instruments it sure helps on learning that end of things for the private license and hopefully your instrument rating later on. A lot of the old rag wing gals lack the instruments you will bneed to use during your check-ride.

    Remember, the cheap junky plane that you actually get to fly, will always be more fun than the expensive one you spend all your life dreaming about.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member


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