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Thread: $$ Flight time in AK vs the South

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default $$ Flight time in AK vs the South

    I have been wanting to get my pilots license for quite a while but it seems that ~$200/hour is the going rate for a 172 with instructor in AK! It is looking like I will have at least a month off of work here shortly and will be spending it in Pensacola while my wife finishes school. I did some checking around and I can get into an IFR 172 with an instructor for about $145/hour down there. From the looks of it I will actually be able to save a bit over 25% if not more by going through the program down south. Does this seem to be about the standard?

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    Not sure what part of AK you're in, but here is what I found after a quick search in Anchorage area:
    Arctic Flyers (Lake Hood strip): http://www.arcticflyers.biz/rates.html
    $165 per hour - Cessna 172 (dual, i.e. including instructor)
    $155 per hour - Cessna 152 (dual, $115 - solo)

    Land and Sea Aviation (Merrill Field):http://www.landandseaaviationalaska.com/
    $165 per hour - Cessna 172 ($125 solo + $40 instruction)

    IMO, a month is not enough time to get you Private pilot certificate unless you've had previous flying experience, passed your written, and are very determined. Also, there is not any advantages in training in a C172 over say in Cessna 150 or 152. You can rent Cessna 150 for $150 dual or $110 solo here in AK. That's what I'd do if I were you. (I actually did just that in a C150 and it took me about three month). Good luck!

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I am 6'5" tall and 250lbs, the advantage of the 172 is being able to fit in it

    Thanks for the info on the flight training in Anc, I have a month off with no work at all didn't mean to imply that I could complete the entire training in that time but just that I have a month off with no work to concentrate on it and little else beyond hanging out with the kids and wife.

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    If I had a month off, I could easily get a ppl. Especially when you can fly every day without working, etc. I'd fly twice a day with ground in between/before/after. The other benefit is you don't forget 50% of everything you learn because you fly everyday twice a day. Just put your mind to it and be done. You are in a perfect situation. Weather, time, money.

    You were in the military, right? Make it like tech school/mos training. Grit your teeth, focus, take the pain.....DONE.

    I did mine in 6 weeks while working two jobs. In Alaska, in winter. Not that big a deal.

    Good Luck whichever way you choose.

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    Yes, that is a great reason to fly the 172! You can accomplish a lot during a month especially if you don't have to work. I don't know your particular goals in aviation so it is hard to make any individual recommendations. However if you are trying to save money, I recommend sticking with the same aircraft which would help to get really familiar with the instrument layout, same instructor (if you like them), and fly 3-4 times a week. Study in between flights and come to the next flight prepared. I'd also strongly suggest to get the written test out of the way before (or shortly after) you start the flight training. You might want to spend that month preparing for the written test. I know it's not much fun, but it needs to be done. After you pass the test it's good for 24 months.

    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I am 6'5" tall and 250lbs, the advantage of the 172 is being able to fit in it

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    Member akaviator's Avatar
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    I stepped out of the jet recently to fly single engine again. Flew with one instructor with about 300 total time, one with 30,000 total time. Got more out of 10 minutes with the high timer than an hour with the young guy. Not a bad guy, just green. Hope your good deal includes a good instructor.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Lujon,

    I got my ticket in about six weeks and I will share what I learned.

    If you are sure you will be there and complete your training at the same place buy block time. The more you buy the cheaper it usually is. Now before I bought 40 hours some place I would make sure that me that the CFI got along. Many CFIs are just trying to build cheap time and are not good instructors, after a few hours you should know.

    Flying everyday is a great way to learn, the lesson and skills are fresh in your head and you don't have to try to get your control touch back each flight after a long wait in between flights.

    Get some stall, spin training in a Acrobatic plane right off. This will give you the confidence and skills needed to recover from a spin if you ever need it during your solo phase. I almost died learning this lesson, plus spins in a Pitts Special is worth the cost just for the ride. No better way to learn how to avoid and recover from spinning, than doing them and recovering.

    Florida and Arizona are great places to get accelerated training with many great weather days, however they are not Alaska. Make sure to get some dual time when you get back and especially mountain flight training.

    Remember that the training process should never end, The WINGS - Pilot Proficiency Program is a great way to continue your training. There is a huge difference in the amount of training required to get your private pilots license and being a proficient pilot. Even more so here in Alaska where maxed out planes and rough strips are the norm.

    I earned my Private flying out of Honolulu International airport, I found the computer game Flight Simulator to be a great way practice and become familiar with the layouts of airports. Of course always check your publication to make sure they match, but when I used it the airport taxiways and radio freqs were the same and helped me remember them.

    Be safe and have fun

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info Stid! I will have a full month completely off work when I get back but can stay in Alabama/Florida as long as I like honestly. One good thing about this job is that when I am not overseas I can still pretty much work from anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection. Heck with a 10hr battery and an EVDO wireless card I could arguably work while sitting in a stand over a bait barrel (not that I would)

    The loose "plan" would be to get my ticket in a 172 down south then get home and go to work on a tail wheel endorsement. From there I may dive into one of the aero clubs to build time or perhaps shop around for a cheap PA20 or Citabria, something with a common engine and hopefully low cost of ownership (relatively speaking of course). For the first while I would really just use it to just fly around the state to different airports to build time for fun. Be nice to run across the inlet for reds etc but in the long run would like to be able to use it for getting me and my boys out away from the crowds to chase some moose or bou and maybe even sheep though I imagine I will leave the ridge top landings to the pro's and just find a decent strip within a few miles of the sheep hills and walk.

    The flip side is that I may get started and find out I hate it then never even finish...

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Thanks for the info Stid! I will have a full month completely off work when I get back but can stay in Alabama/Florida as long as I like honestly. One good thing about this job is that when I am not overseas I can still pretty much work from anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection. Heck with a 10hr battery and an EVDO wireless card I could arguably work while sitting in a stand over a bait barrel (not that I would)

    The loose "plan" would be to get my ticket in a 172 down south then get home and go to work on a tail wheel endorsement. From there I may dive into one of the aero clubs to build time or perhaps shop around for a cheap PA20 or Citabria, something with a common engine and hopefully low cost of ownership (relatively speaking of course). For the first while I would really just use it to just fly around the state to different airports to build time for fun. Be nice to run across the inlet for reds etc but in the long run would like to be able to use it for getting me and my boys out away from the crowds to chase some moose or bou and maybe even sheep though I imagine I will leave the ridge top landings to the pro's and just find a decent strip within a few miles of the sheep hills and walk.

    The flip side is that I may get started and find out I hate it then never even finish...
    Nope - - - - - you won't hate it,I promise you!

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    Ditto a lot of what was said: You WON'T hate it; Don't change airframes once you start flying. Stick with the 172. It's actually dangerous to change airframes because you get used to where the controls are in the 172; Make sure your CFI has the availability and commitment you need before starting; If your CFI instructs in a way that's difficult to learn, don't be afraid to change instructors; Get the FAA test OUT OF THE WAY!!!; and when you come back, AK flying is different from lower 48.

    Having said all that!! Have fun! I know this is something you've always wanted. I've been at my lessons now right at ten months and am only half way done. BLAH! But that's because I'm in school and I'm working full time..and there have been alot of weather cancellation days this winter.
    All the luck to ya'
    Pam
    PS where in Alabama and Florida are you going? I'm originally from Mobile,AL (by way of Sanford,FL wanting to go to Embry Riddle when I was a teen).

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftaba1 View Post
    Not sure what part of AK you're in, but here is what I found after a quick search in Anchorage area:
    Arctic Flyers (Lake Hood strip): http://www.arcticflyers.biz/rates.html
    $165 per hour - Cessna 172 (dual, i.e. including instructor)
    $155 per hour - Cessna 152 (dual, $115 - solo)

    Land and Sea Aviation (Merrill Field):http://www.landandseaaviationalaska.com/
    $165 per hour - Cessna 172 ($125 solo + $40 instruction)

    IMO, a month is not enough time to get you Private pilot certificate unless you've had previous flying experience, passed your written, and are very determined. Also, there is not any advantages in training in a C172 over say in Cessna 150 or 152. You can rent Cessna 150 for $150 dual or $110 solo here in AK. That's what I'd do if I were you. (I actually did just that in a C150 and it took me about three month). Good luck!
    Any idea of a place to find similar prices in the Valley? I don't mind driving but I live in Palmer and by the time I drive in and out I would have another $45 in gas plus wear and tear on my vehicle. The only place I have found near home is Arctic Air Academy which is 195 dual in a 172 according to the website, and over 200 for their Citabria. Either way I go it looks like nearly $200/hour to fly!

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    Arctic Air is what I've also heard in terms of flight schools in the valley. There are a number of independent instructors at Birchwood airport with more reasonable prices. Pat O'Hare comes to mind right away, but there are others as well. There should be some independent instructors in Wasilla or Palmer. I'd suggest posting an ad on craigslist or alaskalist looking for an instructor with aircaft.

    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Any idea of a place to find similar prices in the Valley? I don't mind driving but I live in Palmer and by the time I drive in and out I would have another $45 in gas plus wear and tear on my vehicle. The only place I have found near home is Arctic Air Academy which is 195 dual in a 172 according to the website, and over 200 for their Citabria. Either way I go it looks like nearly $200/hour to fly!

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDREAMER View Post
    Ditto a lot of what was said: You WON'T hate it; Don't change airframes once you start flying. Stick with the 172. It's actually dangerous to change airframes because you get used to where the controls are in the 172; Make sure your CFI has the availability and commitment you need before starting; If your CFI instructs in a way that's difficult to learn, don't be afraid to change instructors; Get the FAA test OUT OF THE WAY!!!; and when you come back, AK flying is different from lower 48.

    Having said all that!! Have fun! I know this is something you've always wanted. I've been at my lessons now right at ten months and am only half way done. BLAH! But that's because I'm in school and I'm working full time..and there have been alot of weather cancellation days this winter.
    All the luck to ya'
    Pam
    PS where in Alabama and Florida are you going? I'm originally from Mobile,AL (by way of Sanford,FL wanting to go to Embry Riddle when I was a teen).
    Not sure about the dangerous part of switching airframes. While working on PPL I started in the PA-12 then switched to the 152,172, then the 180, then did some time in the 210. I had a few hours in the scout also. In the mix was some float time in the 12. I enjoyed the variety and the challenge of learning the new planes and the increased performance.

    When I got my private the 152 was 43 hr wet and the 172 was 62 hr. The 12 was 68 hr on wheels and around 100 on floats. Just cause I was having a blast and buring holes in the sky I had well over the 40 hrs before my check ride.

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