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Thread: Need advice on instructors in Fairbanks

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    Member woodman6437's Avatar
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    Default Need advice on instructors in Fairbanks

    I have decided to pursue a private pilot's license and I am currently looking at instructors in Fairbanks. I talked to two today over by the small aircraft area.

    Warbelows: Seems like a pretty proffesional company with numerous insructors. Instructor I talked to was a younger fellow. Aircraft are fairly new and supposedly have all the newest gizmos on the instrument panel. quoted me that it would cost 9-11 grand (including check ride, medical cert, etc...) to get my license

    AirTrain: Small one man operation (Chris). Doesn't seem as organized or proffesional as Warbelow's but Chris seems to have a ton of experience flying (over 11,000 hours) and instructing which is definately something I want in my instructor. Plane is an older C-150 and doesn't have all the gizmos like Warbelows. Instructor likes to tell bad jokes and quoted me 5 to 6 grand if I get a package deal. He claim he is cheaper because he flies an older plane with none of the above mentioned gizmos.

    Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. I plan on getting my license then get experience renting and flying and hopefully get my own plane one day. At the same time I plan on staking out a piece of state land that I can fly to and build a remote cabin on.

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    Member PatrickH's Avatar
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    Default Instructor

    To me it boils down to which instructor fits you best - as long as the aircraft are well maintained. Lots of flight instructors are people just trying to build hours to get their commercial ticket. They don't really want to teach. You are more likely to find one of those in a larger training operation. If you find someone who is doing it because they love to teach, you will get better training.
    The other thing to look at is if the airplane is big enough for you. I am 6'2", so a C150 would be a bit tight. The 172 I trained in was none too big. Having the latest bells and whistles is nice, but you can learn just fine on the basic flight instruments. In fact a good instructor will be able to teach you how to fly without most instruments.
    As far as price, I just finished up, and it cost about $7500 I think. However I am afraid to add up all the receipts!
    Good luck
    Patrick

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    I would NOT train with Flight Train (Chris), or Kirst Aviation, I have little personal experience with either, but talked to both when deciding who to do my training with. I was told by several knowledgeable people in aviation to avoid both of them. I have heard good things about the instructors over in the Tamarak hanger. I decided to do my training with Warbelows and do not regret it. Their aircraft where newer as you stated and more roomier. I also felt as though my instructor was very knowledgeable and professional.
    "When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it."
    Henry Ford

  4. #4

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    Some good points being made here... I would add that how you and the instructor's attitudes mesh is important, its not uncommon to have several instructors ( I had three) over the course of your training. Try and get a feel for the guy before you commit to training, maybe do an introductory flight with them.

    Second, what kind of flying do you want to do? It sounds like in your post that you will travel to your remote cabin, possibly do some hunting, fishing off airport stuff, in the future. Maybe consider learning in a taildragger. I learned in a bare bones Aeronca Champ, basic instruments, 90hp taildragger (one thing to think about is learning in a taildragger, your tailwheel endorsement is included, instead of having to fork out extra $$ for an endorsement later). It certainly didnt have all the latest and greatest instruments, but neither did any of the airplanes I was able to afford to purchase after I got my ticket, so it didnt matter to me.

    Im not sure about some flight schools, but I know of some that tell you to get your medical right before you solo, I disagree with this, get your medical before you start, to make sure you can get one, it'd be a shame to have 15-20hrs and be getting ready to solo to find out you cant pass your medical.

    Other things I would point out would be, to fly at least 3 days/week at the minimum, any less then this, and its hard to progress at a rate that is tangible in your mind, and you will be getting the best bang for your buck. Take a ground school if one is offered, study hard for the written, it will make your checkride easier, and take the online practice tests for the written, once you are passing those, go take your written.

    Keep your chin up, it is said that a student plateaus every 5-6 hours. So you may have the most awesome day of touch and go's, and the next day you cant even get on the ground

    All told it took me 90 days from the time I first stepped into the airplane to passing my checkride, I had 47 hours and I spent $7,700 including checkride, medical, and flight training...only regret is I didnt do it earlier!

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    Member AkPacer's Avatar
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    If your not planning on getting an instrument rating, all those fancy instruments mean nothing. Chances are if your just going to be a private pilot and own your own plane someday, it will only have the basic instruments anyway. Well.....unless your loaded and can afford whatever you want.

    Just my .02 cents, good luck and don't forget to have fun with your training too.

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    Member woodman6437's Avatar
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    Default What's wrong with AirTrain and Kirst?

    Thanks for the replies everyone. Riverboater, can you tell me specifically why those aviators reccomended not using AirTrain or Kirst? I was actually leaning towards AirTrain mostly based on the expereince of the instructor and (I'll be honest) he was significantly cheaper than Warebelows.

    The type of flying that I want to do is not set in stone. I would like to own my own plane someday but that is fairly far in the future. I mainly want to get my private liscence because I have always wanted to do it and I think it will be fun. What I do with it after that is kind of in the air (no pun intended). I would like to get some property on a lake or river so my next step would be to get a float rating then maybe someday a tailwheel and instrument rating. No, I am not loaded. I've got a steady cash flow as of now (military) but that will end this summer and I will have to find another way to finance all of my expensive hobbies.

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    Member AkPacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodman6437 View Post
    Thanks for the replies everyone. Riverboater, can you tell me specifically why those aviators reccomended not using AirTrain or Kirst? I was actually leaning towards AirTrain mostly based on the expereince of the instructor and (I'll be honest) he was significantly cheaper than Warebelows.

    The type of flying that I want to do is not set in stone. I would like to own my own plane someday but that is fairly far in the future. I mainly want to get my private liscence because I have always wanted to do it and I think it will be fun. What I do with it after that is kind of in the air (no pun intended). I would like to get some property on a lake or river so my next step would be to get a float rating then maybe someday a tailwheel and instrument rating. No, I am not loaded. I've got a steady cash flow as of now (military) but that will end this summer and I will have to find another way to finance all of my expensive hobbies.

    Where there's a will, there's a way!

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    dito what akpacer said! whoever you decide to fly with, have fun!!! if its some dorky dude down south or some cheap guy up here, learn as much as you can as fast as you can and save some $$$ that way....
    I will say this, whoever has the best maintence program..... may be your best bet. less down time = more time flying. plus, you dont want to have a problem on a dark night doing a cross country, not up here.

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    Member woodman6437's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thanks everyone!

    I appreciate everyone who responded. Based on what I have heard I think I am going to go with Warebelow's based on the more modern aircraft (may go for an Instrument rating someday), solid maintenance plan, and having a proffesional operation. The only downside is that it will be a little more pricey, but I am not married yet and my fiance has no idea what is in the bank account right now so I plan on spending it before she gets access to the checkbook. Looking forward to being in the air with all of you soon!

    Thanks,
    Nick

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    Advice from an instructor. If you wanna fly into your own cabin someday. Buy an airplane. Make friends with an instructor. You will save thousands. If i were to do all the training I went through over. I would have prolly bought a cub. Learned in it built all the time in it and than sold it when i was through. Or kept it whatever you wanted. Cheapest way and most practical if for you goal. if you have some extra cash you can get a tail dragger for fairly cheap fly the wings off the thing than sell it. yea there is maintance involved but its your plane you know the maintaince history and your not pissing money to a company that doesnt really care how long it takes you to get done. Take my word for it. Youre gonna spend 20 gs for you private and instrument most likely with a flight school. take that money and put it towards payments on a plane. Ive spent over 50 gs to get where i am now and now im trying to build time teaching to get myself to where you are up north. Good luck

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    I totally agree with Prim. I fly recreationally - got my instrument becasue "they" said it would make me a better pilot, and have spent easily $30G's. Now that I know what kind of flying I like to do I'd have bought an aircraft and paid the instructor.

    Don't get me wrong the instrument rating did make me a better pilot, and the tools the rating gives you are good to have in your bag, but you rarely get to fly in actual IFR in AK due to ice. The money I spent on the rating I could have spent on a reasonably priced aircraft.

  12. #12
    Member woodman6437's Avatar
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    Not sure how to go about making friends with an instructor. Maybe hang out by the airport, buy them drinks, get their phone number and call them 3 days later? What are instructor pilots looking for in a friend? As far as buying a plane, the idea keeps growing on me. Where would someone who is completely new to aviation go looking for a cheap begginer plane? For now I am going to stay with renting the plane for my private but If I go any further with flying I think I will strongly consider buying.

    First flight is tomorrow by the way. Can't wait!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by woodman6437 View Post
    Not sure how to go about making friends with an instructor. Maybe hang out by the airport, buy them drinks, get their phone number and call them 3 days later? What are instructor pilots looking for in a friend? As far as buying a plane, the idea keeps growing on me. Where would someone who is completely new to aviation go looking for a cheap begginer plane? For now I am going to stay with renting the plane for my private but If I go any further with flying I think I will strongly consider buying.

    First flight is tomorrow by the way. Can't wait!
    Congratulation on starting the adventure! It will be the best money you have ever spent! I loved every minute of my flight training (ok, spins in the tomahawk were a little frightening at first)! If you are serious about buying a plane, I would look out of state. There are a number of reasons for doing this: price, selection, and condition. If you can find a plane from a dry state such as Arizona, the chances of severe structural corrosion will be a lot less. Check out: http://www.controller.com/ . There are lots of good machines for sale there.

    Good luck with the training. As others have said, fly often! It will save you in the long run and make your experience much more fullfilling. I took a four year break in the middle and I had to backtrack a lot. Study hard, pass the written, then study extra hard for the oral/practical. The tests are fairly easy if you know your stuff.

  14. #14
    Member mit's Avatar
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    There is a movement at Eielson to get the Aero Club going again. There is a meeting open to the public, tonight Nov. 2, at 7:00PM nose dock 2 on Eielson AFB. If you are a Federal employee, Active Duty, Guard or Reserve I think you are eligible to join. This is just a first meeting to see how much interest there is.
    Tim

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    Member woodman6437's Avatar
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    Default Aero Club?

    mit,

    I might be interested in that, but I can't make it tonight. I live in North Pole and I am currently Active Duty Army. What exactly do they do?

    First flight was a blast by the way and easier than I thought it would be. Got two more lessons scheduled for next week.

    -Nick

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    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default Flight Training

    There is no longer a AERO Club in the Fairbanks area, closed shop a few years ago, hear it might get started again?. I passed my check ride almost a year ago, I used Warbleow's, they have two well maintained 172's. I fly both all the time. They are the only ones to rent from in the local area so might as well get trained in them. I know they have a couple new CFI's, I have not flown with either of them but both seem like good guys. I highly recommend Steven Green, when you call, Id ask for him. I really enjoyed his teaching style and cant say enough good things about him. I still use him for additional training such as flying in and around the mountains and of course refresher. If your on the smaller size as far as the body goes, Francie at Tamarack is very good, she uses a C-150, too small for my 6ft-4 frame.

    If you have any questions feel free to drop me a line and we can talk about it

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    Member mit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodman6437 View Post
    mit,

    I might be interested in that, but I can't make it tonight. I live in North Pole and I am currently Active Duty Army. What exactly do they do?

    First flight was a blast by the way and easier than I thought it would be. Got two more lessons scheduled for next week.

    -Nick
    There was a good turnout at the meeting. If your interested they are taking names. PM me and I will try to get you some paper work. It is not a done deal but it seemed to be a good first step.
    Tim

  18. #18
    Member woodman6437's Avatar
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    Mit,

    PM sent.

    akhunter02,

    I went with Warbelow's and did my first flight on Monday. My instructor is Brian Finch, but one of the guys I work with is going there and I believe he has Steve Green.

  19. #19
    New member akhunter02's Avatar
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    Default have fun

    Try to fly a least twice a week, three times would be better, thats harder to do now that winter has arrived, short days makes that tough. Buy the 10hr block time, saves you $10.00 an hour.

  20. #20
    Member mit's Avatar
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    I found the email that was sent out for the Aero Club meeting. I have some sign up papers and you can contact Matt.

    Interior Pilots,
    Last year the Eielson and Ft. Wainwright communities were dealt a painful blow when the Eielson Aero Club was shut down on false pretenses. Many have felt the loss. Please join me in a critical effort to bring back the Eielson Aero Club for 2010. Having investigated this issue for more than a year, I see the ability to overcome every challenge, but only with the united front of many voices. With your help, the Aero Club Comeback Committee (ACCC) will work quickly and diligently to ensure ground schools start this winter and Aero Club students and pilots take to the skies of Alaska once again in April.
    Several hurdles remain and help is needed developing action plans for aircraft acquisition, maintenance, instruction, management, advertising and the approval process. Our Eielson Airmen and Ft. Wainwright Soldiers need your help reviving this valuable activity. Interested men and women are needed from both bases! Please forward this email to those who care about General Aviation.
    Please attend a very important meeting Monday, 2 November @ 7 pm at Hangar 2 on the Eielson flightline (former Aero Club, 3rd Floor).
    Can I count on your help?

    Raven
    Lt Col Matt "Raven" Rytting
    DSN 317-377-2781
    Comm 907-377-2781
    Tim

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