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I want to fly full scale!

Old 06-10-2004, 12:00 AM
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Jeepindog
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Default I want to fly full scale!

I really want to fly full scale planes. I live in Denver, CO, and there are a few airports here that have flight schools. What should I be looking for? I would love to learn in a Piper Cub. When I was 5 yrs old it was my first airplane ride, and I (of course) got to ride in the front seat, which made me feel like I was flying solo. I have never been able to get over that feeling. How much will it cost me to learn?

Lachlan
Old 06-10-2004, 09:40 AM
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beavertail
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Go for it!. I would recommend trying out a couple of different instructors to fly with. Theres a very special feeling you get when your starting out. Or maybe it was just me. They are probably not going to teach in a Cub, But you can definately find one to fly in, Theres a bunch down here where I live.
Dont waste any more time and go talk to an instructor!

Joey
Old 06-10-2004, 09:57 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Lot of good schools down there. Do you want to go for just a private or go into it for a career? If the latter, pick a professional school and go for it. If you just want a private, go take an intro ride with a couple different schools and pick the one you like best. Most schools will train in a 150 or a 152 or something similar. Not a lot of cubs around to learn in. Cost gets too high and ins is a bear on a taildragger for students.

Go for it. Its a blast.
Old 06-10-2004, 10:15 AM
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Jeepindog
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

I'm already 34- isn't it a little late to get into it for a career? Oh, man- if I could fly for a living I think I wouldn't need Heaven when I die!!! I'm going to contact a couple of schools today.

Lachlan
Old 06-10-2004, 06:06 PM
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beavertail
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Well, its not cheap, but its a bargain for getting to leave the ground. Where Im at it is about 45 to 60 dollars an hour. And no, your not too old to fly for a living. There are other things to do other than ferry people around, you can fly cargo too. From what I hear from friends, its more fun to do that. Theres plenty of room in the air for you too.
Old 06-10-2004, 08:36 PM
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Live Wire
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Go for it there are a lot of air ports along the front range Go for one of the smaller to star with and stay out of heavy trafic to start. Go to like Loveland or Collins to start. We have some great people here but a 2 Hr drive one way.
Old 06-10-2004, 09:18 PM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

There is nothing else like it!! Im 2/3rds through instrument.. it takes alot of money, and dedication. But man, flying accross the state or to the islands solo is so much fun!
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Old 06-11-2004, 10:13 PM
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Jeepindog
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

One of the schools here will get me 10 ratings in 18 months for a little over $34,000. Does that sound reasonable? I wouldn't mind flying cargo around. Matter of fact, I think boxes are easier to get along with than most people! Seriously, my wife thinks becoming a professional pilot is the only thing that would make me happy, and a lot of my friends often tell me that they think I should be a pilot, and are surprised that I never went that direction. Guess I should do it. I would really love flying for a job.

Lachlan
Old 06-12-2004, 01:03 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Jeepindog-

I have been flying professionally since 1977, and flying as an airline pilot since 1986. I currently fly MD80s for a small carrier.

Based on my experience, and watching others in the business, if you love flying and love airplanes, it is a great career. Without that love for aviation, the frustration will make you wish you'd taken up pottery or truck driving as a career

The airline business is very cyclical, and highly dependent on the economy, with about a six month lag time in events in the economy as a whole. In an airline career, you can expect a lot of business "turbulence", and you can expect to be furloghed (laid off) at least once, if not more, in your career. Given that only 25% of startups continue past the first year, it is very likely you will work for an airline that goes out of business. The pay is paltry until you get to the regional airline captain level, and even then it is far less than you could make as a manufacturing or software engineer with the same years of training and experience.

If you (and your wife/family) can live with that, go for it... it is a great way to make a living for the "afflicted"... If not, don't waste your time or money - you will become frustrated and bitter....

The "usual" path to an airline career is to obtain your Private, Instrument, Commercial and Flight Instructor (CFI), Instrument Flight Instructor (CFII) and Multiengine Flight Instructor (CFIME) ratings, Alirline Transport Pilot certificate (ATP), amass enough hours (2000-2500) to be qualified to fly for a regional airline. Total investment, around $50-60k, with some payback for your flight instuction time ($10 - 20 per hour).

At this level, you be competitive for a First Officer (F/O) position at a regional airline for $1000 - $1800 per month. After two to five years with a regional, and upgrading to Captain, you will have enough hours to be competitve for a larger airline job.

After five to ten years at the new ailirne, you may finally begin to make $100k a year... Given the major alirline fiancial problems, I believe that the days of $250k+ per year airline pilots are numbered as deregulation, unions and competiton take their toll.

Good Luck!! Cheers!

Jim
Old 06-13-2004, 09:07 PM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

This is definately one of the things that you DO NOT want to go with the lowest bidder on. Take your choice of flight schools very seriously for at least the private pilot. If you want to bang out the rest of the ratings quick and cheap that's OK, but if you go with a crappy school for your private (which all of those 10 ratings in 18 months places are) You'll just end up paying more for it in the long run. I'm a carrer flight instructor and it's so difficult to retrain all of the bad habits out of a pilot that was taught improperly... makes me sad that their instructor did such a disservice to them. The airplanes are really not the issue, it's the instructor.... look for an instructor that is interested in you and your background, that talks clearly and chooses the right words to avoid confusion, and has some experience. However, experience can be misleading... a 50 year old pilot with 20,000 hours can be a terrible instructor, and a 20 year old pilot with 500 hours can be a really good instructor... time teaching is more valluable then time flying. Personalities to watch out for are the young airline track CFI's that are just interested in filling out their own logbooks so they can get a "flying job"... as if instructing isn't a flying job?? And the crusty set in their ways I'm right your wrong let me show you how it's done types... In general flight schools do a better job then flying clubs... flying clubs have little control over what is taught and how... learning to fly definately needs to be done in the proper order using a good syllabus. I have heard good things about a school called Strand. They are located on an airport with C-130's from a guard unit somewhere near the rockies.

Good Luck,

Ty
Old 06-14-2004, 09:38 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Too old? Never! I went to flight school with guys in their 50s. If you are ready for some seriously hard work, go for it. Its not easy, and we had over 60% drop out rate in our school, but that was more the schools fault. I wouldn't want to do anything else though. I am coaching a friend back in DC and she is having all kinds of trouble. There are a lot of really bad instructors out there. Work to find the good ones and if you end up in the air with a bad one, get rid of him quick and find someone else. That can hurt you more than anything. I had a bad one for a while and almost quit. I switched and things clicked and man, what a diff. Least the first one taught me how not to teach. Its a great field to be in. Nothing better. I have never wanted to fly for an airline, but there are lots of other things to do. I flew movie stars around on business jets, flew for a corperation, did charter for another company, and the guy I work for now does aerial photography which gives me more freedom to run my construction company and be home more insteat of in hotels for weeks at a time. Much more fun and better money than the corperate jobs were paying. I do miss my jet though. Was going to fly it part time when we were not flying here, but it kept conflicting with this scedule so I don't do it any more.

Give it a shot if you want to do it. You won't be sorry. Just don't go into it thinking you are going to get rich. The first year you will be lucky to make 5 grand, the second might make 12, and the third a little better. It takes 5 or 6 years to get estabolished and make enough to live on unless you are extremely lucky! I got a lot of lucky breaks. I know many people that were not that fortunate. Also a couple friends that flew for airlines that after years got dumped on their butt and are not flying now. Thats not my idea of a good time, but it can happen fast in any company in aviation. The planes are always the first to cut when things are bad.

Good luck
Old 06-14-2004, 03:53 PM
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Live Wire
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

This is the Bottom line If you want to fly bad enough you will find a way. Other than that for get it!!!!!!!!!!This is a way of life we live and love flying , Love it or LEAVE it.
Old 06-15-2004, 07:38 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Thank goodness for this forum. These guys are giving some great advice. Aviation is very unpredictable. All I can say is that if you want to stay in the cockpit, you will find a way. I have been turned up and down throughout my career and for some reason, still have found ways to fly. Right now if you need to pay off some of those bills you will accrue, I say at least get that private, instrument and CFI. I work full time as an enigneer, but have found a lot of weekend and evening work doing land surveys, livestock inspections, pipeline inspections (for my present boss), aerial pictures, sightseeing trips, and training from the local airport. If you can find a good one, join a flying club or local pilots association. This is like joining an RC club where you strike up relationships with other pilots and owner/operators. Some clubs are just a bunch of guys that meet on Saturdays and drink coffee while others may offer you a chance to buy or lease shares in a plane. I would look into doing this before and during flight school so that you can get advice from other pilots, kinda like your doing here, but more one on one.
Old 06-15-2004, 08:39 PM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

I agree with most of these guys also. Your initial flight instructer is the most important person in your flying career. I was fortunate in having a very good one that taught me all of the fundimantal flight skills. I then went on to learn how to fly a taildragger and aerobatics. I am only a private pilot but have had a hell of a good time in my fling carreer. I have owned everything from a Cherokee to a T-6. I have over 90 types in my logbook and have been the initial test pilot on six homebuilts. So there is more to flying than just a career although looking back I probably should have made it mine. So go for it and even if you don't end up making a living flying at least it will be one of the greatest experiences of your life. You never forget your first solo. Don
Old 06-16-2004, 07:22 PM
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Jeepindog
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Great responses! Wow! Well, I didn't expect to get rich, but I was honestly hoping that if I did invest $50k into flight training that I could make around that much to start out. Ok, now that the laughter has subsided, I am going to pursue getting my private rating, and once that is done I will see if a career is a reasonable choice. My new bride is just starting nursing school, so I will keep my current job for a couple of years, anyway, until she is done with school. Thanks to everyone for your honesty and good advice. Keep it coming.

Lachlan
Old 06-16-2004, 08:30 PM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

My dad worked for Delta back in the 1950's as a mechanic and he bought a plane to build up enough hours to hire as a pilot. He ran out of money and was bitter about it. He used to take me flying when I was 3 or 4 y/o. I ended up in flight school in the Army and they paid for everything. Ended up with a commercial instrument license and was an instructor for a number of years. We all had the notion that we would do our 4 year commitment in the service, and then get those high paid flying jobs that don't exist in real life. We were all a depressed bunch when we learned the facts of aviation life.

I had an Army friend who met a gorgeous pilot at Base Ops one day. She flew some exec in for a meeting and he hit on her. Anyway, this was about 10 years ago and she was only making something like $8 an hour......$8 an hour of actual flight time. She wasn't paid anything for her time on the ground waiting for the exec, not to mention flight planning time, preflight time, runup time, taxiing time, etc.

About 20 years ago I was on a Lufthansa 737 from Greece to Germany. The pilots let me fly in the jump seat the whole trip. What a dream job that was! The stewardess, gorgeous and very blonde, asked me too if I wanted tea or coffee. It came on a nice tray and she treated the 3 of us like we were royalty. It wasn't fun to get off the plane and be flying smelly Army aircraft the next day. I kept hoping a lucious stewardess would show up.......but you know the rest of that story.
Old 06-17-2004, 12:22 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

I don't want to fly to get rich- I want to fly because I want to be up there. Besides, it's not like I'm making so much money currently that the bank needs to add on a new vault just for my cash! I would like to eat, though. I think a small transport company would be perfect for me- cargo ferrying would be just fine. I could fly all the time in someone else's plane that THEY pay the maintenance on! Rent a light plane for fun. Who knows. Maybe it's just a dream. I am going to try very hard to find a way to get my private rating, though.

LM
Old 06-17-2004, 04:56 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Just get out there and do it. You seem to really want it and you WILL kick yourself in the future if you don't! You will love it!
Old 06-17-2004, 09:42 PM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Of course flying is for the pure fun of it, but you have to eat. I missed the good times of flying in the service. It had gotten worse every year. I never knew that the thrill of flying could be found again in r/c, but it's there for me. I guess I'm luck that way.
Old 06-18-2004, 06:38 PM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

A school here in Denver told me that they could get me a private rating for $5000. That would include everything- ground school, flight instruction, aircraft rental, etc. Guess I'd probably have to buy a headset and some books. It doesn't add up, though. He told me that the aircraft rental is $63/hr. At 40 hours that comes to $2520, and 40 hours of instruction at $35/hr equals $1400, for a total of about $4k. Maybe it takes most people a little over 40 hours, and some sim time, which is extra? Maybe I should just do it and shut the hell up, right? He said I could pay as I go, and buy blocks of aircraft rental in 5 hour rates. That's not so bad at all. Affordable, actually, since he said the instructor time is a "Pay per flight" deal if I want it. There's no savings by paying the whole thing in advance, which makes me believe that it is an honest school that really cares about it's students. After all, I guess all CFIs are rated on the # of students that pass their check rides, right?

Lachlan
Old 06-18-2004, 10:24 PM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

Good start, now go talk to several instructors to get a feel for which one is right for you, that is the most important part.

Ty
Old 06-19-2004, 03:20 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

The national average is much higher than 40 hours. Some say 55-65 and some say 65-75. It really depends on the person trying to learn.
Old 06-19-2004, 07:20 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

I think the national average is so high because it seems most of the instructors are low time and just sitting there to gain time to move up to an airline job. There are not many career instructors that can really teach. Most put more of an emphasis on working in the system than on actually flying the airplane. I got my pp in 1976 in 35hrs from a part 141 school. My instructor was teaching me something every minute we were in the airplane. Find a CFI that is a real teacher not one just there to log time. Also you might consider going to a smaller airport so you don't burn up a lot of time waiting for clearances and traffic. Don
Old 06-19-2004, 07:41 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

so far this hobby has costed me more then it would have to get over 16 hours of flying lessons in a cub
Old 06-19-2004, 11:19 AM
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Default RE: I want to fly full scale!

You might also want to consider other kinds of flying if you want to fly for fun. Sailplanes, ultralights, hang gliders, hot air balloons, seaplanes. Don't get hung up on one goal and miss all the other opportunities out there. It's a big sky and there's so much to learn and experience.


With that said, flying as a career is something I always wanted to do, and now that I'm doing it it's all I ever want to to. In many forms it's given me gifts I could not have earned in any other way of life. But in other ways it's also extracted a terrible price. 11 years of working 2-3 jobs, a divorce, etc.

I keep it in perspective: If I had gotten my dream slot with United I'd be furloughed now. The guys one month ahead of me in senority have their 737 or 75/767 ratings and were at my affiliated major airline for several months when 9-11 came around. Others in my class who were 4 numbers junior to me may never be able to "flow up" to our airline due to a contract dispute.

If you're going to go career have a backup, spend the money to find an excellent instructor and a good school (Not a "puppy mill") before you start, and remember that many, many damn good pilots do not fly for the airlines.


And good luck to you!

Steve

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