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Thread: Estimated time and cost of pilot's license

  1. #1
    Member Searunner's Avatar
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    Default Estimated time and cost of pilot's license

    I am moving back to Ak in a couple months and I am going to be looking at getting my pilots license ASAP... I am just curious approximately how long it has taken some of you and what an estimated cost is these days?

    Also, would it be better to buy a plane and fly it with instruction or rent one?

  2. #2

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    Unfortunately I haven't flown since my first born arrived about 8 years ago. But back when I got my private pilot license in 2000, I spent a month down in Arizona and got my lessons and license down there. Then I came back home up here and got my taildragger endorsement in Anchorage. It was well worth it. For roughly $3,000 dollars, I got 45 hrs of instruction on a cessna, and my license in about 1 month. From what I understand you can't do that up here. The weather is too bad. It would take you about 6 months up here to get all your hours and the hourly rate of flying is more expensive, so you would be looking at paying probably 3 times as much money to get your license up here. The name of the outfit I got my license from in Arizona was called Sheble's Aviation out of Bullhead City, Arizona.

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    I will add my two cents with a caveat...When I did my private pilot training it was the heart of winter, snowing and blowing, and C150 rates were 17 bucks an hour WET, with instructor, $25...Needless to say it was a LONG time ago...Now that 2 of my boys want to learn to fly, the research I have done recently shows its cheaper in the long run to buy an airplane, give them some pride in ownership and let them help take care of the equipment...I will do some of the instructing, and they will basically have unlimited opportunity to continue their education AFTER getting the official OK from the FAA...because you know that after you get your license you are going to want to continue to learn and build experience no matter if you get a sport or private pilot license or an ATP...Plane ownership is not cheap but the rewards are great when you look out at a beautiful day and just want to go fly...It gets in your blood...
    There are also lots of other options such as flying clubs, partnerships and So cost is all relative, depending on how much you are going to fly AFTER you get your license...

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    Searunner; Good advice so far. For JMHO I would say that if you are set on doing it up here (AK) buying your own plane would be best if you can afford it. I know of a few people who have used Sheble's and that would be a good way to go too, with a caveat. If you plan on getting your ticket at Sheble's it will be mostly just paper. With that paper you will be able to get back here and get some REAL flying education about Alaska and mountain flying and bad weather flying. I have recomended to plenty of people to get their license down south and learn to fly when they get back home.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    If you are military (active or reserve) or CAP you should look into the Elmendorf Flying club. They are not lightning fast, but their planes are in top notch condition and they never let anything unsafe slide-by...

    Many years ago I started doing the renter student thng two or three times.. In College, while on active duty, and later when I was working in different places around the state.
    I finally finished it by buying my own plane, which sorta forced me to finish. Plus the money was spent so certain other people (wives, girlfriends etc.) could not figure out how to divert the cash elsewhere.

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    Member mit's Avatar
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    I know 1 guy that got his license last year at Warbelows's. He did it in pretty quick time. I will ask him what it cost him.

    http://www.warbelows.com/flightschool/flightschool.html

    Also Federal employees are eligible to join the Mil flying club.
    Tim

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    Did mine about 4 years ago. 41.5 hours in just under 2 months in the summer. Cost me about $6.5k. Would cost more now with gas more expensive. But if you have the time, you can do it quickly. I flew about 5-6 times a week. Studied at home. Prepped every night for the next day's flight. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it. As a teacher, I also had the summer off, so that helped.

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    AK dave is a pretty good estimate of what it will take you. Most rental planes around ANC are either 152 or 172 and run from about $85-120/hr to rent, then most flight instructors run about $50 hr. I would buy a pacer, taylor craft, c-150, c-152, or even a 172. and go from there. The 172 will cost a little more, but you will use it alot longer after you get your lisc.

  9. #9

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    I did my private in 2008. Started November 16th and got my ticket on Feb 8th. As you can see it was the dead of winter with the shortest days making it even more difficult to fit in. That said, I did it in 3 months with weather, short light, and holiday season (CFI vacation).

    I did all my private in a C150 and did it in 40.4 hours, the cost was between 6500-7000 dollars. Plane rental, instruction, written test, check ride, and medical is included in that total. This was with an outfit out at MRI, Aerotech.

    The numbers, hours and money involved seem relatively low compared to buying a plane (purchase, tie down, insurance, annual). However, looking at the market and the possibility of using the plane for private, commercial and time building makes sense long term.

    A lot of little factors when deciding, good luck.

    Jason

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    Member Searunner's Avatar
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    Man this site kicks ass! Thanks for all the info and quick responses!

    Anyone have any suggestions for instruction in Anchorage?

    I think I would reallly like to buy a plane but I am juist not sure what I would buy....So I think that leaves me with renting for now. Plus I think between all the costs noted by knei0012 I am not sure if it would be cost beneficial.

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    It depends if you are going after your license just to have the card in your wallet, or if you really plan on flying.

    A couple of my local students followed my example and bought their own planes to do their private...
    All in all, they had way more hours under their belt by the time they took their check-ride. And those were the hours they logged, not all the illegal hours that they thought nobody knew about...

    So in the long run , buying may not really be the fastest way to go, although it is much more informative and fun. Plus you can land in places that some clubs will not allow.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
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    Smile Words of Wisdom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Float Pilot View Post
    Plus the money was spent so certain other people (wives, girlfriends etc.) could not figure out how to divert the cash elsewhere.
    No truer words have ever been spoken. Ha! Go FP..

    Yeah I'm like IndCzar. Got mine up here in winter of '83. Lots cheaper then.

    Airplane ownership is near bouts a life style and takes a lot of time to do it right. Maintenance just being part of it. If you can figure out just how much time you can devote to flying you aught to be able to run some numbers and see what the $ options are. Having a dependable long term stream of $ coming in is a must for plane ownership. There's a gal that posts here getting her license rat now at the Elmendorf Club. I'll see if she can post her costs etc.

    Good Luck.

    rick

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    Member Searunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RocketRick View Post
    No truer words have ever been spoken. Ha! Go FP..

    Yeah I'm like IndCzar. Got mine up here in winter of '83. Lots cheaper then.

    Airplane ownership is near bouts a life style and takes a lot of time to do it right. Maintenance just being part of it. If you can figure out just how much time you can devote to flying you aught to be able to run some numbers and see what the $ options are. Having a dependable long term stream of $ coming in is a must for plane ownership. There's a gal that posts here getting her license rat now at the Elmendorf Club. I'll see if she can post her costs etc.

    Good Luck.

    rick
    What do you think costs are like for a year of plane ownership? Considering I do not have a place to store a plane, I don't have any experience working on the maintanence of a plane (however, I am handy with a motor), I would need a partial loan to purchase a plane, etc....
    Or what would an expected cost of joining a club be?

    Keep the posts coming I am really enjoying all the useful info!!! Thanks!

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    If you go to AOPA http://www.aopa.org/apps/iforms/opcosts/FramePage.cfm and fill out their cost estimator for a 182/185 type craft you'd get something like;

    Total Fixed Costs: $ 58.93 per flight hour Total Variable Costs: + $ 66.16 per flight hour Total Cost per Flight Hour: $ 125.09 per hour
    Using your estimate of 75 flight hours per year Total Annual Operating Costs: $9381.75 per year Your annual aircraft loan payment is $ 0.00. This amount is not included in the above cost per hour or annual calculations. Depending on the aircraft type, age, and history much of this cost may be recovered at time of sale.
    These calculations do not include reserve costs for engine and propeller overhaul.
    These are only a factor if you expect to keep the aircraft to TBO (Time Between Overhaul).
    However, a 150/152 wld be much less per hr of flight. Moreover there are ways to keep costs down. I'd estimate you'd prob spend at least $2500-$3500 per year just to keep it up w/o any flying or insurance or repairs. That's just to keep it at minimum condition.

    Instead of us answering ALL your questions, go buy a book on ownership or check one out at the library. Also, go to the AOPA site

    http://www.aopa.org/members/pic/ownership/

    and read read read...!!!

    Rick

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    Hey Searunner,
    Rick told me about your post. I'm getting my PPL at the Elmendorf Air Force Base Aeroclub. They have a fleet of 172s and FP is right, they keep them maintained like CRAZY!!! Not only do they follow FAA rules, they follow Air Force rules. Last summer, a fella' completed his PPL within three months..of course that's flying four and five days a week along with the homework. I've been at it since last May, but I'm also in school and working full-time, so I only get to fly one to two days a week. They have a grueling hiring process so all their instructors are top notch and they have several. I've used three of them to meet my schedule. Here is their web page where you can find out all the info you want, including prices. http://www.elmendorfaeroclub.com/
    I've checked out other flight schools here at Merrill Field, in Anchorage, and the pricing may be different by a few bucks, but is basically about the same. A quick rundown: Plane rental dual-$164/hour, solo - $125/hr; Instructor- $39/hr; Ground school - $710; They estimate a cost of $8,480 for a PPL, which includes ground school and FAA testing fees. Send a PM if you have any other questions.
    Good luck, Pam

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    Member Searunner's Avatar
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    RocketRick,
    Thanks for the info and research...can't tell you how much I appreciate it!

    AKDREAMER
    In a previous thread it sounded like a person needed to be ex-military or a variety of other federal services to qualify... I am not sure what CAP member is though? Otherwise I am sure I would utilize there training. But, thanks for the recent pricing info! Sure sounds like flying is a real expensive way of life!

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    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    CAP = Civil Air Patrol
    Founded December 1941, USAF volunteer auxiliary.

    National Web site
    www.gocivilairpatrol.com/

    Alaska Wing Web Site

    www.akwg.cap.gov/
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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    Its actually sheer chance that i found this page but i am a former Civil Air Patrol (CAP) cadet and former student pilot with the CAP. if there are any questions i can answer i would be more than happy to.

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    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    If I'm being redundant forgive me, I think the average is $10,000.00 and 61 hours nation wide. I only do limited teaching and mostly family friends, so I can be a bit more demanding. I won't fly with a student until they are well into the grn school, and no solo until the written is done. I tell them if you don't know the materal on the ground you won't learn it in the air. Also I never have more than two students at one time. They average about a year to finish.
    I finished my PPL in two weeks. I had vac. from work and had finished the grn school before I started and had the written done. I showed up everyday at 7 AM and stayed until 5 PM or so and flew my butt off. The cost was min. then-$11.00 p/hr wet for the TR2 and $10 for the instructor. Then it was 20 dual and 20 solo, as it still is.
    My thoughts on buying or renting/club are buy. In the lower 48 rent, but up here you know if you are going to fly. Get something that is main stream, ie. C-172 or C-150. Nothing fancy but nothing ratty. Just a nice clean middle of the road airplane. Even if you have to buy one from down below, just hire an instructor to give you dual bringing it home, there are lots of guys that would love to do the trip. Again have the grn school done! You don't need to solo before you do the X/C dual.
    My personal fav. would be a C-172- life after training! Make it an adventure, airplanes will take you where ever you dream of going.

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    I have to vote for ownership. Although it sometimes feels expensive, remember that ther plane will probably appreciate in value while you own it, and your tax man will very likely tell you that this capital expenditure can be depreciated out in six years. That might mean a tax investment credit of almost $17,000 per year. Doesn't take long to start building up a pocketfull of paper money.

    You really need to spend about thirty minutes with a good CPA or accountant. You can become an outdoor writer just by trying to write one story for Outdoor Life or someone (it doesn't even have to publish), and, as your accountant may tell you, a whole litany of expenses can be written off as your "professional" costs. And I think your "new business" may be expected to lose money for the first three years or so . . . . .

    If for no other reason that the bucks you'll make when you sell the airplane, I still think buying is the best answer.

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