Northwest1988
Topic Author
Posts: 195
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:10 pm

Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:18 pm

Hello all,

Aviation has been a lifelong passion of mine. Being a pilot has always been the ultimate goal. I’m 29 almost 30 now with a family. Right out of high school I went to a technical college to get my A+P. The big factor there is I had a scholarship that covered absolutely everything except my final oral and practical so I paid nothing except my time to do it, which is the biggest factor I’m looking at now... cost!

Before I go any farther I’ll say this... I have a great job that I love and I don’t want to leave. I want to keep flying a true hobby. I love being home with my family, so I’m not looking for a commercial license to ultimately have me flying around the country away from home. Ultimately I’d like to have my license so we can enjoy flying for fun. Here are my questions...

First of all, is what I mentioned above realistic?

Second, cost is a big factor. I have explored both the recreational/ sport and private pilot licenses. The recreational license is advertised as a quick and affordable way to get into flying (I’m fully aware of the limitations) but no flight schools close to me offer it. They say I might as well go for the private pilot license. Is this a legitimate case they make or are they just trying to squeeze more money out of students? They are a business after all. I have a friend who has his recreational license and says it works out great for him.

Third, the option of buying a plane before I have my license. This has been suggested to my by a few people citing its more affordable in the long run. How so? I’ve heard mention of people leasing planes to flight schools and have it negotiated into the lease to provide x-number of flying lessons a month. Is that accurate?

Last, is it worth it to get your license and keep flying a hobby instead of a career? I have your average American family income. All the flight schools I’ve talked to tell me the cost is going to be anywhere between 7 and 12 thousand dollars. That’s an expensive hobby! I work part time for a ground handler at our airport and I get flight benefits for me and my family, so we can “fly” whenever we want, but I sill have the desire to fly! Always have!

There are many more questions but hopefully they will be answered as the topic goes on.

Thank you all in advance!
 
FixemFlyem
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:33 pm

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:40 pm

You suffer from what many others also suffer from, and once it's in your blood, it is a tough sickness to live with. Having said that, it really comes down to personal choice and opinion. I did something similar in my late 20s. I was working for an airline as an A & P so I was a little closer to it.
1st. It is a big expense just to do it a time or two a year. And honestly, it's hard to be/stay a competent pilot doing it so little. A recreational pilot (If I recall correctly) only allows you to fly by yourself or with another licensed pilot, so ever taking the family along won't be possible. You'll always have to keep current and your medical updated, so there is that additional expense, just for a time or two a year.
2nd. Owning is the cheaper way in the long run, because you'll always have an asset to sell when you are done with it, so you can recoup some of the initial investment. If you are an A & P, you can also do some of the work and save there. However, a plane is a money pit, and will suck a lot of time away from the family. It can be fun if you have kids that may want to learn and/or fly someday.
3rd. I ended up flying for a living, so I feel I got the ultimate return on my investment, however, if I wasn't flying, I'm not sure to this day that I would've done the exact same thing. None of what you mention is cheap or easy with a family. Maybe a convertible muscle car would be just as good a hobby? You've asked many of the right questions, and I hope this helps, but ultimately it comes down to personal choice and opinion, and that is your (and your family's) decision to make.

Fix
 
BENAir01
Posts: 384
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 7:42 pm

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:42 pm

Being a pilot is hugely expensive. The 7 to 12 thousand dollars is very realistic for getting a liscense. If you do find the money for that, the place to go may be a club. My dad is part of a club, and they have seven airplanes and around 80 members. There are monthly dues and then you pay by the hour when flying, our rates are about $100 per hour for a Piper Archer and they increase from there to the Bonanza which is about $200 an hour. If you do buy your own plane be warned fuel, Maintenance, and the cost of buying the plane in the first place is an insane amount - even a used plane can cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars easily.
However if you can find the money, it is very rewarding and fun, and it can be cool to show off to your friends.
Just as an example, here is the website to the club my dad belongs to:
http://www.wfc-hpn.org/
Why is flying so expensive? And why is flying well so much more?
 
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FredrikHAD
Posts: 272
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:44 pm

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:55 pm

How about flying gliders just for the piloting part? That’s way cheaper. You also get to know people that have motor plane license and might get to join some of them on their flights (perhaps even bring your family) if you pay for the actual aircraft cost. Many of those need hours and are happy to have the costs covered this way. I have a few (unofficial) hours of piloting Cessnas and a Saab Safir despite no license ;) Usually the licensed pilot takes off and lands, but I get to fly around.

/Fredrik
 
N766UA
Posts: 7957
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 1999 3:50 am

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 2:40 pm

I think the 12,000$ estimate is a bit ridiculous. There are still schools out there that rent 150’s for, say, 80/hr... plus instructor... times 40 hours. You should be able to get a PPL for 5-7 grand, not 7-12.

My advice is shop around. Some schools upcharge a lot! You don’t need an all glass 2015 172 or Cirrus. Go find somewhere with a good 1970’s 150 or 172 and you’ll be a better pilot for it anyway. If you have travel benefits, consider casting your net even farther to find a good deal.
 
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Aesma
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Joined: Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:14 am

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:35 pm

I'm looking at this in my country (France) and here there are schools, but many people don't go through a school, instead they go through a club. That way you mostly pay for flight hours, instruction is done for a small fee by club members who are CFIs.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
VSMUT
Posts: 1684
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:14 am

N766UA wrote:
I think the 12,000$ estimate is a bit ridiculous. There are still schools out there that rent 150’s for, say, 80/hr... plus instructor... times 40 hours. You should be able to get a PPL for 5-7 grand, not 7-12.

My advice is shop around. Some schools upcharge a lot! You don’t need an all glass 2015 172 or Cirrus. Go find somewhere with a good 1970’s 150 or 172 and you’ll be a better pilot for it anyway. If you have travel benefits, consider casting your net even farther to find a good deal.


I think some schools in the US upcharge for PPLs because they also attract a lot of Europeans. A PPL will easily cost you 17.000 USD in Europe, so 12.000 would still be considered a bargain for that crowd.

And completely agree on the advice on the aircraft. A 1970s 172 is just as good as a 2015 one, and you will learn how to fly with basic instruments and maps. Your future rental plane might not have the latest Garmin cockpit, so learning these skills from day one is useful.
 
Woodreau
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:23 pm

I’m assuming you are in the US.

If you do have a job that you love and don’t want to leave then don’t.

You mention you want to fly and take the family along. How many family members, how big(weight)?

One of the more ironic things about being a pilot. My wife and I loved flying general aviation to get away for the weekends and go places instead of driving. Once flying changed from hobby to career, we haven’t been able to afford flying general aviation to go anywhere, and rely on (guess what) buying commercial airline tickets like every joe in the us.

For flight training, you can learn to fly with a standard 6pack steam gauge aircraft. i.e. old,school 172 works fine. You can always learn glass cockpit later.

But I think if you purchase an aircraft with the intent on leasing it back to a flight school, the flight school is going to want something with modern avionics(glass cockpit/G1000) and the aircraft is going to put up with a lot of beginner pilot mistakes, hard landings, side loading etc. so that’s probably a bad deal for the owner, having a relatively new plane and having it worked hard and put away wet.

If the goal is to take family along aviation trips, the recreational pilot certificate is not what you want and you need to pursue a private with instrument rating at the minimum. And you’ll find that a lot of time you’ll be limited by weather even with an instrument rating because your aircraft isn’t equipped to deal with icing.

You’ll find that the 4place 172 training aircraft really isn’t suited to taking any more than two people. So you’re looking at a higher performance aircraft that you definitely don’t want to lease back to a flight school.

You can start small, purchase a used 172 for training and then aftern your training is done, move up to a larger more capable aircraft.

Gliders are not cheaper to obtain your initial pilot certificate. They are just expensive as an airplane private certificate because most of your costs are not airplane rental costs, but hookup and tow fees - because you can’t do touch and goes in a glider like you can in an airplane to practice landings, You get one tow, one landing, and working for your solo in a glider, you get just as much practice with landings in a glider as in an airplane but you have to take a hookup and tow for each landing.

So flying is an expensive hobby. Just think of it like having a boating hobby. Except the airplane is the big black hole that sucks up your money instead of a bat. And heaven help you or you have really deep pockets if you have a boating and a airplane bug.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 733
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:53 pm

It’s a young man’s game. Starting out, if you can’t put everything you own in the trunk and move, you have little business in Aviation. The simple fact it’s all seniority-based based is telling. The high-priced contracts means thousands believe they, by dint of selling themselves cheap, can win the golden ring of wide-body captaincy earning 350K, working 12 days a month. Well, some, even many in these times do, but many put in long days away from home and don’t.

GF
 
gtae07
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:41 pm

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:29 am

It's entirely realistic. Though, I did my license in high school so Mom & Dad were covering most of my living expenses...

My recommendation is to save up enough money to the point that you can afford to pay for it all at once. That way you can fly often and lose less in between lessons. I was paying for mine working part-time at a grocery store so I got one lesson a week, max. Sometimes it was two or three weeks between lessons, once even six. I also got interrupted by 9/11. It slowed me down a little and I spent more time brushing off rust than I would have flying two or three times a week.

If you like your job, stay there. Dad (airline pilot, US major) once told me "get a good job, build an airplane, and fly for yourself. You don't want to do this for a living". I decided to take his advice, went into engineering, and am building an RV-7. If you're handy with tools and have good self-discipline, building an airplane may be for you. It might cost more up front but you save on maintenance costs and get better performance and equipment.
 
Northwest1988
Topic Author
Posts: 195
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 6:10 pm

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:37 pm

Thank you all for the replies. Very informative. It’s overwhelming at first glance but it’s still something I want to do one of these days. I look back a lot and think maybe I should have gone after the pilot license vs. the A+P initially, but I’ve had a blast working on planes and turbine engines.
 
Woodreau
Posts: 1582
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:22 pm

I apologize in advance for this wall of text.

I think your a+p experience will give you a different perspective that someone who learns to fly first doesn’t have. Although I am an airline pilot now, I am really glad that I did aviation as a “hobby” first and wished I could have done something other than airline pilot to pay the bills and put food on the table.

I will say that if you’re looking at flying as strictly as a hobby, I would recommend finding a glider club and giving that a try.

as I said earlier, learning to fly gliders to obtain the private glider certificate is just as expensive as obtaining a private pilot certificate to fly a single engine land airplane.

But gliders tend to be a community sport / event and going out to the glider field for the weekend and hang out with other people of like interests. It’s a different kind of flying than just getting in an airplane pointing the nose in the direction you want to go and just adding gas. In a glider you want to go there (pointing at that point of the horizon) but to get there may take a lot of thought and you have to work to get there and sometimes it’s just not possible.

cross country flying with gliders is a whole different level of fun. Yes you might be in a single seat glider, but you might set off cross country working as a group in pairs of gliders or as a group working your way cross country, then when you finally get to where you want to go and have lots of altitude to sacrifice, it’s a race to see who gets back home first (usually the guy that has the $500k exotic fiberglass glider that’s lighter than sunlight)

At our glider field we had a lot of kids who had flying aspirations but no money, so the kids worked the flight line (helping move gliders to an from the launch line, walk the wing for aerotows, etc), offered to wash a lot of airplanes, basically helped a lot, and instructors would take the kids up for lessons when they had down time for no charge. The community took care of them and many ended up getting pilot certificates.

after you get your glider certificate, you just end up adding a rating here, another one there. And savor all the experiences along the way. And then probably after several years you finally have enough flight time and checked all the boxes to get a commercial certificate, so why not just get a commercial, you just didnt cram it all in 2 weeks like all the wannabe zero to hero types.

As a hobby it’s not a race to get an ATP certificate to find employment, I see lots of FOs who got their ATP but never got to enjoy the point of just flying with no purpose in mind.

There are airplane flying clubs out there that offer the same community feeling but you have to look to find them. I was a member of a flying club in Southern California, California seems to have lots of flying clubs, and the flying club offered a lot of airplane to choose from that you could rent and fly (everything from the 150 to multiengine airplanes to high performance airplanes like bonanzas barons, cirrus), but I haven’t found a community like the first glider community I was a part of where I learned to fly.

If you do chose to purchase a plane that can actually take your family somewhere, you might want to consider a flying club or find other like minded pilots to start up a flying club. At least other people who are flying your plane are other pilots and not student pilots sideloading your landing gear.

flying is definitely not an inexpensive hobby.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 915
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:13 pm

The reality, Cpt. Scott's POV:
\https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJk9Skxyi84
The road to mainline, right seat, pax jet: college degree plus 7 years in regionals SIC (drop in pay from CFI or CFII) then PIC, then FO at a base no one with seniority wants.
Bottom line: definitely possible, but starting out with a college degree and a trust fund >$300K is a plus.
If no college degree... UND or https://www.cwu.edu/aviation/
 
Dalmd88
Posts: 2703
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 3:19 am

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:48 pm

I know few A&P guys that have their pilot rating. If you are doing it for fun, it's not to late. The only obstacles are money and time. Yes, it's an expensive hobby, but so are race cars and owning a boat. I know guys that do those things also. I also know guys that have built airplanes. That could be a route for you once you get the rating. You have the skills and you can get a pretty cool plane for less money. The flying club route might make sense also. By being an A&P you bring a valuable skill set to the the club. It could be a trade. Also look into local Civil Air Patrol. If they have a locally based plane you might be able to get reasonable instruction that way by trading some of your skill.
 
LH707330
Posts: 1878
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:27 pm

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:10 pm

My advice would be to get a wad of cash and three weeks in the summer with good weather, and do it all in one go. That way, it all sticks. I've tried to space mine out on weekends, and it's meant more hours, time, and money.
 
wingscrubber
Posts: 820
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2001 1:38 am

Re: Almost 30 and want to start flying. Questions.

Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:24 pm

I took about $6000 and 18 months to do my FAA PPL at 26, and that was with a very supportive and economical flying club through my work. You cannot beat the Cessna employees flying club, save for joining the air force. All you need is time, money and persistence. But mostly money. and then a bit more money.

Keeping up my flying since I passed my PPL though, I've probably thrown another couple of grand at it, lost my wings, got them back, lost them again... it's immensely frustrating to try to do anything recreationally, just keeping the licence is like a second job, unless you're wealthy and can afford your own plane or extortionate club rentals, each flight is literally the cost of a new laptop computer - due to inflation, the $100 hamburger is now a $300 hamburger.

Now I've moved back to the UK, trying to go flying is like peeling my eyeballs with razor blades in terms of cost and difficulty with the regulations / airspace rules, seriously considering giving it up for good to build remote controlled models or something instead. But that would be admitting defeat. Got to keep going! One more try...!

If you're in the US, you have one of the most accessible general aviation infrastructures in the world, and pretty lenient rules... especially the light sport option (old mans pilot licence), so if you have the time and the money, go for it.

My advice with PPL training though is as follows;
-Find an instructor you like. You're going to be spending a lot of time with him/her, if you don't get along, things are not going to go well. Top tip: Lady instructors normally smell nicer and give you better climb performance, plus you'll be more likely to try harder to impress a lady than a dude.

-You're going to be memorizing a complex set of rituals and routines, which are best remembered if you practice them intensively without long breaks inbetween. Don't have lessons 1-2 weeks apart, you'll never finish, a lesson every other day, or at least commit your weekends, this is needed to reinforce the aviation kabuki you'll be doing or you'll forget inbetween. You'll also need the money to keep up a more intensive-pace of training.

-Buy a good ground school learning pack and devote some home office time to studying. I used king schools.

-Check in with the wife, make sure you have her total support. This is possibly the most important piece of advice, because she will divorce you if she sees thousands not being spent on her without her blessing - speaking from experience.

Good luck
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