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Author Topic: Starter airplane  (Read 932 times)

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Offline John Mc

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Re: Starter airplane
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2018, 08:50:24 AM »
Someone mentioned looking at EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association). I'll second that:  If you are building or restoring an aircraft, especially for the first time, you don't want to do it without the resources this organization can provide. While they still have Building/restoring and aircraft as one focus, they have expanded well beyond that.

Another great organization to check out with a whole lot of resources on learning to fly and buying an aircraft is AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association). Much less emphasis on building and restoring, and more on flying, learning to fly, and ownership issues. Here is their section on aircraft and ownership. Here's a great section on learning to fly. Also check out the "Student" section.

As far as buying, there are a several ways to go: I rented, since I was not sure what my long-term plans were. No need to pick the perfect aircraft for your long-term plans, maintenance, storage, annual inspections are not your responsibility (though as pilot in command, you are always responsible for checking that these things have been done and the aircraft is ready to fly). The maintenance thing can be more of a hassle for a new pilot on a budget than you might think: if you are renting, and the plane goes down for maintenance, you might be grounded, unless there is another available to rent. If you own, not only do you have to pay for the maintenance, you are grounded until you come up with the funds and the work is completed - or your get to pay for those repairs AND pay for renting another aircraft.

Buy an aircraft. There are a couple ways to go about this: buy the aircraft you think you want long-term, or buy an aircraft to train in, then sell it when you are done, and get what you really want. When I was working on my Flight Instructor's certificate (CFI), a couple of student pilots in the flight school pitched in to buy a Piper 140. It was old, small, and slow, but it got the job done for their training. They were fortunate that they found one in decent shape and negotiated a good price on it. 6 months after they got their Private Pilot certificate, they sold the plane (for just about the same price they bought it) and bought something bigger.

Take in a partner on a plane. Most aircraft are grossly under-utilized. They spend most of their time sitting idle. Having someone (that you trust and get along with) to split the costs can make a lot of sense. It does not have to be your best friend, in fact, it doesn't have to be a "friend" at all (many a friendship has been put to the test over disagreements on how the plane should be maintained, paid for, flown and/or scheduled). It should be someone you respect and whose judgement you trust. AOPA has a lot of good info about aircraft partnerships.

Join a flying club (as someone has already mentioned). A great way to share costs, and depending on the club, you may have access to more than one aircraft. It's also a great way to get exposure to a group of people who know something about flying and owning an aircraft. I would guess that this is probably the least expensive way to learn to fly. AOPA has a whole program trying to promote flying clubs and can provide sample articles/operating agreements for a club, if you are trying to form your own. However, the easiest is to find an existing club at an airport that is convenient to you.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline John Mc

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Re: Starter airplane
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2018, 09:00:39 AM »
Forgot to mention: as a student pilot, you can get a free 6 month membership to AOPA and a subscription to their "Flight Training" magazine. The magazine is well written, and very useful for student pilots, and has some articles applicable to pilots working on more other  certificates and ratings. The membership also gives you access to a lot of AOPA's other resources, which are not available to non-members. Your flight instructor can sign you up for it, or you may be able to find a sign-up on their website. When I was instructing regularly, I would always sign up all of my students for this.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline John Mc

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Re: Starter airplane
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2018, 09:14:42 AM »
A rule of thumb that was common when I was shopping for a plane: If you are flying less than 100 hours per year, it's cheaper to rent. If you are above 100 hours per year, it's cheaper to own. I ran across that rule of thumb a lot in the late 1990's, when we were shopping for a plane. I'm not sure if it still holds true

100 hours may not sound like a lot, but unless you are actively training for your initial certificate or for an advance one, or if you fly in connection for work, most people don't hit this number. (My busiest year was 300 hours: I was working on my commercial and instrument rating, and was a 5+ hour flight away from my wife at the time). I had a number of years where my wife (also a pilot) and I combined flew about 150 hours. In recent years, we have not even come close to the 100 hour mark.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline pineywoods

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Re: Starter airplane
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2018, 10:12:26 AM »
X2,X3 on John Mc's post. I highly recommend joining EAA. WWW.eaa.org. I have been a member for close to 45 years. Eaa started out as a self help group for home-builders and has grown over the years, now the largest aviation organization on the planet, and now includes interest groups for everything from hang gliders to corp jets. A real introduction to the world of home-built/antique planes. Every year, the last week of july is the annual EAA convention and fly-in at oshkosh, wi. Every pilot should attend at least once. Over 10,000 airplanes along with owners/restorers/builders. Lasts a week. 3 hour airshow every day...
1995 Wood Mizer LT 40, Liquid cooled kawasaki,homebuilt hydraulics. Homebuilt solar dry kiln.  Woodmaster 718 planner, Kubota M4700 with homemade forks and winch, stihl  028, 029, Ms390
100k bd ft club

Offline John Mc

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Re: Starter airplane
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2018, 11:27:56 AM »
If you are a bigger person and want to take along a friend and a bunch of gear, you might want to look at a Cessna 172. It's a tricycle gear airplane (like the 150/152) - the single wheel is in the front, rather than the rear as in a tailwheel airplane. This makes for easier ground handling. There are lots of debates about learning in a tailwheel vs a tricycle gear, developing good habits, etc. My feeling is: with the right instructor, you can develop good habits in any aircraft. If you are on a budget, insurance for a new pilot in a tricycle gear aircraft is cheaper. You can also be less picky about who flies your plane and who you choose to partner with: probably any tailwheel pilot can also fly a tricycle gear plane, but most tricycle gear pilots need further training and experience to safely handle a tailwheel aircraft.

I talk Cessnas, because I know them better. But for every Cessna product he might consider, there is likely a piper equivalent.

On avionics: you NEVER get your money back on avionics upgrades when selling an aircraft. If you put in brand new radios, GPS, etc and try to sell the aircraft a month later, you will likely only get about half the value of the avionics upgrades you just did. For this reason, if you are on a budget, you should be looking for at least one good, modern digital radio in the avionics stack. If it doesn't have that, talk to an avionics installer: peple are always upgrading their radios and GPS units. You may be able to find a great deal on a radio that was just pulled out of someone else's aircraft.

As for GPS units: you don't HAVE to have one (and I and many instructors share concern about people getting too dependent on them). However, they are incredibly convenient. If you are not working on an instrument rating, and your target aircraft does not already have one, I'd go with a portable unit mounted on a bracket in the plane. It's MUCH cheaper than a panel mount unit. It is worth getting an aviation-specific portable. They cost more than one you'd use for hiking or in your car, but the aviation database they contain is well worth it.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline starmac

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Re: Starter airplane
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2018, 02:50:36 PM »
lot of knowledge being shared.
I have a couple of questions I have not seen addressed.
Will he have trouble renting, or jointing a club that has a plane or two because of his age.
What about insurance, I assume it is like auto insurance and age will come into play.
If his insurance works out to be expensive and he partners up with someone or even a few on a plane, how would that work?
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Starter airplane
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2018, 03:57:46 PM »
Experience is typically a much bigger factor on aircraft insurance rates than age, but I've not looked into this in any depth, since I was in my 30's when I started taking lessons.

Some clubs do not allow student pilots - in part because of insurance concerns. Most that I have run into DO allow student pilots: flight training is one of the reasons they exist.

As far as partnering up, how to split up the insurance is just one of the many things for the partners to decide. It's not a partnership, but my wife and I rent our plane out to someone who has a bit less experience than either of us and also does not have an Instrument Rating. Both of these factors tend to drive up insurance costs. He pays for the cost of adding the rental endorsement to our policy, and the extra involved with having a less experienced and lower-rated pilot.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

 


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