View Full Version : Learning to fly?

09-21-2011, 11:38 PM
Assume for the sake of argument you were not constrained by budget or time.

And that you wanted to learn to fly general-aviation aircraft, for getting your family from A->B, and picking up supplies, and so on, in an area with fog, storms, often over semi-protected ocean water in Puget Sound, right on the US/Canada border, and in a semi-complicated airspace because of commercial airports and military bases nearby.

What would be the best approach, and what sort of training/hours would you think necessary?

And how many hours/month to maintain skills, ongoing?

09-22-2011, 01:10 AM
I looked into this a couple of years ago. The ideal area for me to train would have been Denver/Boulder - besides personal reasons, weather conditions in the Rockies can be very challenging, there is plenty of restricted airspace, and some excellent flight schools.

Private pilot's license is a minimum of 40hrs., most people take about 60-70, 10 of which have to be solo. For myself, I estimated 100 hrs., with 25 solo, to feel sufficiently confident. I would have also wanted the multi-engine rating (initially land, but with sea in the future), as well as instrument and night qualification. I figured training/ flight time to all certs at $20-25k.

Afterwards, I would want an average of 8-10 hrs. a month in flight-time to stay current, and get better.

Idea was shelved due to constraints in budget and time...:wink:

09-22-2011, 02:50 AM
Bae, check out northwestaviationcollege.edu. I started to work on my PPL on the eastern side of the state, and heard nothing but great things about this program. Sounds like the best approach in the sunny PNW.

09-22-2011, 03:40 AM
The main thing is to get your private ticket in as efficient a manner as possible. The less time you have to devote to it, the longer it will take (in flight hours as well as calendar time), and the more it will cost. Best thing to do would be to hook up with a good part 141 school in an area with year round good weather, take a month or two off work, and get it done. Then return to the PNW to start working on your instrument rating, which will make you into an all-weather pilot. In the meantime, there is little value to intentionally doing your initial flight training someplace with crappy weather; it will just slow you down because there will be days you cannot fly.

When I got my PPL, I went to the flight school at S43 in Snohomish, because I had family in the area. This turned out to be a mistake, because while it was good to spend time with them, the spring weather added weeks to the time to get my ticket, even though I managed to do it in 56 hours, which is below the average. The weather would have been fine for somebody working on an instrument rating, but if I hadn't been lucky enough to have an understanding employer and adequate reserves, I would have had to quit before finishing and come back to it later.

On the other hand, my brother did his at the same school, but he was able to do it in the middle of summer, and was fortunate enough to hit a patch of good weather. He finished in around 5 weeks (maybe less), because he was able to fly nearly every day. I think it took him about 52 hours. Almost nobody finishes anywhere near the 40 hour minimum. Partly because it's just hard to do, and partly because the flight schools have a vested interest in dragging it out a bit.

Edit to add: You are right to ask about time required to maintain proficiency. One of the reasons I haven't flown much since getting my license is because I won't spend enough time at it to stay proficient. I knew that going into it, but I wanted to get my license while I was young and relatively free of commitments. The certificate never expires, and it's FAR easier to pick it back up once you have it, than to try getting it once you have family responsibilities, etc. Now that my brother (owns an airplane) is back in AK, I expect I will be getting back into it over the next year or two. Getting legally current again just means spending a few hours with a flight instructor, and passing a physical. Then I can pick up right where I left off as far as building time and pursuing ratings are concerned.

09-22-2011, 05:09 AM
Go someplace with a good school and good weather get an apartment for a couple of months so you can get serious with it and blow through ground school and get your hours in.

We had a lady from the Bahamas come up to East TN when I was flying there and finish very quickly because that is all she did for the summer.

After that it is a matter of getting enough hours in to get your instrument ticket which you can do the same way or in your own plane as you can.


09-22-2011, 06:45 AM
Heading into meetings the next couple days. I have a prescription in mind for you and will give you a full write up when I get a chance between things.

-Flight Instructor Clint

lj bluesboy
09-22-2011, 12:07 PM
A big +1 to everything SIL said. Take the time and the money to get it done quick.

I did my private checkride in 40 hrs flat, so it is possible. It helped that I worked at the flight school, flew at least 1.5 hrs 5 days a week, and could study during the slow periods in the shop. I think total time was about 5 weeks. You have to eat, live, and breathe it every second of the day, and chairfly every chance you get. However, budget for at least 50; if you do it in less you can put the leftover $$ into a nice headset or toward your instrument. Working at the school, it seems that the biggest roadblock for most people is the first solo flight. I think mine was at 13 hours, but some did it in 10, and one girl had about 80 and still hadn't. After the initial solo, things go pretty quick and you build your time fast. Once you've got your PPL, the instrument rating is the point in your flying where you will learn the most volume about the most things, and it will make you a much better pilot. On top of it all, you will save a lot of money doing it quick, since you won't have the time to lose the lessons you've learned.

One thing to look at is the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 schools. 61s are more of your mom & pop type places, while 141s are more of a structured program with classes, flying schedules, and the like. They both have their pros and cons. 61 schools are more liable to be able to tailor your training to your needs as a student. The training at 141 schools cuts time from the hour reqs before a checkride, but you'll likely pay more per hour. For example, you have to have 40+ hrs at a 61 for your checkride, but only 32 (I believe) from a Part 141. The time difference between the two really gets obvious when going for your Inst. I don't recall what the difference is, but its a pretty huge difference. A lot of 141 schools will target a group of people as their cash cow; Houston has a lot of 141s who target Indians who convert their US ratings into Indian ones back home.

You are required to have a biennial flight review every two years to stay current, but if you can get 3-4 hours in every month, you shouldn't have any problem with your skills degrading. To carry pax it's 3 takeoffs and landings every 90 days. Instr currency requires that you shoot X number of approaches every Y months. At one point, I hadn't flown in over a year and it took me about 4 hours to get back on the horse. It really is like riding a bike.

Go for it. You won't regret it. Let me tell ya, after that first solo, you will :bliss:all the way home.

09-22-2011, 01:17 PM
Is this what you are looking to do? You can build it in two weeks, maintain it yourself, and avoid paying the annual inspection bills to a mechanic. The company is in your neck of the woods and the president of has trained with Gabe. The videos are included for motivational purposes. The freedom of general aviation is astounding-

Wrong. I have friends who have built Glastars. They are a good airplane, but you cannot build it in two weeks.

09-22-2011, 01:40 PM
If I read your question right,you are asking a bit more than how do I get my private pilot's license. There is a utility question regarding doing all the things you want to do in less than good weather. I am a Certifeid Flight Instructor, and I hear this a lot. The private license is just a first step. To fly in less than ideal weather (VFR), you will also need an instrument rating. This is perhaps the most difficult of ratings to get for the average person. Even then, unless you are flyng some very sophisticated equipment, weather is a very limiting factor. I do not say this to discourage you, but to give you a realistic idea as to the limitations of a private ticket alone.

09-22-2011, 03:12 PM
You are going about this in the correct manner. Find a great school with the best instructor available and pay whatever it takes to do it all quickly.

Exactly why I started asking questions here, and thank you all for the great info so far.

My intent is to do a focused program - I find I personally learn best in an immersive environment, without distractions. And for something where I stand a chance of ending up swimming in 45 degree ocean water if I screw up (perhaps *too* immersive...), I want to do it right :-)

I have a friend here who is a pilot. He went into the drink just a few hundred yards offshore on a landing attempt, due to some confusion over the sudden freak thick fogs that spring up here. He lived, though his legs were shattered pretty badly. With the injuries, he still managed to extract his wife, and one of his twin daughters from the plane before it finished sinking. The other twin daughter went down with the ship. :-( The survivors only got rescued because someone on the shore heard something through the fog, and went out looking, otherwise they all probably would have died from the cold in short order.

Air Pirate
09-22-2011, 07:33 PM
Lots of good advice here! Only thing I would add is be careful about stereotyping by 91 vs 141 school or young vs old instructors. In regards to type of school for your situation it sounds like 91 MIGHT be a better fit as it can be tailored to your schedule and specific type of flying. 141 is very regimented and inflexible. And as far as instructor age, for every slacker "young" CFI there is also a crochety "old" one who is inflexible, my way or the highway, resistent to change and technology.

Think of it like going for pizza. Get trusted recommendations, and go check it out. If it smells funny or you spot a roach from the corner of your eye, go check the next place. As for the "pizzas", the freshly cooked kind can suck or be amazing. The great one that was "left over" can be just as great after a day or two in the fridge. But if its been sittin out and gotten stale and hard as a rock, then its worthless, even if it came from a 5 star restaurant in its hayday.

My 2 DOLLARS (i like being generous with new pilots, Haha) as an instructor who's been around the pattern a few times, and who did my training literally every way. Good Luck!


09-22-2011, 10:21 PM
Two weeks of ten hour days, with one day off and you put the key into the ignition and start your engine and taxi away. The aircraft is built. However, it still requires a full inspection FAA sign off an paint. Most people get it done on site, others ship it or trailer it home (the stab comes off, the wings fold in about five minutes- I've done that operation numerous times myself at airshow demos for shoppers) and have the final inspection done at their home airport. You want it that way. Slow down, do the inspections carefully, get your mind right for the first flight.

I'm aware of the builders' "assistance centers" operated by various kit manufacturers. They skirt the letter of the law, but I guess since the FAA is willing to give them a free pass, that's not for me to judge. It is true that working long days with everything set up at hand, and with additional skilled labor helping/guiding, it is often possible to assemble a minimally finished airplane in two weeks' time. That's a far cry from "you can build it in two weeks."

09-22-2011, 11:51 PM
First, as an A&P I'm not threatened in any way by the program because the only homebuilt project I've ever worked on is my own (though there is locally a flying Bearhawk that benefited from the use of some of my tools). Maybe if somebody manages to build a 737 under the 51% rule I will start to feel threatened by that (only in that I will want to run far away from it)....

Second, I did watch the videos you linked in your initial reply. It wasn't clear at all to me that the builder still does all of the assembly operation himself. If that is the case, then I stand corrected, and I apologize for insinuating otherwise. My only purpose was to prevent bae (or anyone else who is reading this) from thinking they could simply buy a kit and throw it together rapidly on their own, a mistake that many others have made, which has led to plenty of unfinished projects along with unfulfilled dreams of flight.

The vast majority of aviators are far better served by buying a factory built aircraft (or a completed homebuilt) than they are in dicking around with ANY homebuilt project, and I surmised that with his busy lifestyle, that is probably true of bae as well. Building an aircraft is a pursuit all of its own and the people who have it in them generally do not need to be pushed in that direction.

And yeah, I have a problem with the "hired guns" and the so-called "assistance centers" where you can pay to have your airplane built for you. Not that I agree with the regs (if I were king, huge swaths of the FARs would be eliminated along with many other stupid governmental rules/functions), but for the time being we are stuck with them, and they are unlikely to get better. Given that environment, those people hurt all homebuilders because they give the FAA an excuse to bring out new rules and policies that only impact those who follow the rules to begin with. A friend of mine in CA will likely not be able to license his homebuilt project under the new rules because his tube fuselage (now heavily modified) started out as a Piper product. Never mind that he built the wings from entirely new parts, and built the engine himself from a mix of automotive and other components, and all thanks to people who were breaking the rules combined with typical government over-reaction.

Anyway, I'm sorry that I allowed one of my hobby-horse topics to intrude on this thread, but at least I hope you can see where I am coming from. I've been a homebuilder longer than I've been an A&P, although you probably couldn't tell from the lack of progress on my airplane over the last few years.

09-23-2011, 06:36 AM
bae- I'm a CFI and have taught quite a few guys with 'means' how to fly. The universal problem guys in your position have is they love learning to fly but you'd almost have to put a gun to their head to make them crack open a book. So I'd end up with skilled hands, but mushy brains. It took forever to sign off the middle aged guys because they didn't have the knowledge needed to support their skills. So make sure you don't make the same mistake. (I'm pretty sure you're the opposite of this, but I just thought I'd share).

I flew at part 61 and part 141 and instructed at both. Don't worry about which one is better. You get a GREAT instructor, and do your part, and you'll have a great result either way. I got my private at age 17 in part 61 with a great instructor doing 2-3 activities per week. I soloed in 12 hours and had my license in 41 hours. But I also was well studied and prepped for each activity, and if the weather stopped us from flying, we did ground work. Ground work is very fruitful.

Now if I was in your shoes, this would be my plan:

1) I'd get a good private pilot DVD and book series and go ahead and go through the whole thing and pass your FAA written exam before you even start flying. This will put you ahead of the game big time and won't take you more than a week or two if you're diligent.

2) Simultaneously, I'd be finding a Cessna 182 to buy, and a great flight instructor to teach you. If I had unlimited financial means, I'd find a sharp young instructor without a family and offer them a place to stay on your island and just pay them for a few months to teach you exclusively. Then you could get amazing individual attention, and learn in the plane you're going to own, in the locality with all its nuances and weather challenges you'll be facing. Think about how much more confident you'll be in flying a 182 in Washington if you train in a 182 in Washington versus a 172 in sunny Arizona. If it's a cloudy day, have your Instructor fly you above the cloud deck, then work on high work above the clouds. Then when you get a good sunny day, do a million touch and go's. The reason I say go ahead and buy is I believe it's a strong buyer's market, and you're risking very little in doing so. Get a good used ship at a good price, and even if this whole thing doesn't pan out, you should be able to sell it for about what you paid for it if you need to. You'll get to learn in the plan you're going to fly, AND it's more cost effective hourly to do so if you have the capital to put into the ship up front.

3) I would have your instructor develop a plan that takes you straight through your Instrument rating. So basically you start training to be an instrument pilot simultaneously with your private pilot license. Then about half way through, you take a private check ride and get your license, then do your Instrument ground DVD series and ground test and keep training straight through your instrument. You'll need it anyways, might as well bust it all out. This is how I got all my ratings so quickly so young, is my flight school taught us to Commercial standards even throughout our Private ratings, and then you never have to switch modes or unlearn anything. You want to be an instrument pilot where you live, so start with that goal from the beginning.

4) Be focused, but you don't have to do 10 hour days every day or anything... you don't want to get burned out, and you want this to be fun. So I'd just set aside a couple hours every week day or every other day to spend with your instructor, and don't neglect your family and social life.

09-23-2011, 06:41 AM
Oh and I'd also buy one of those home computer based simulators with a yoke, rudder pedals, and throtte controls that give input to a flight simulator. This will be very helpful for doing flight lessons when the weather isn't cooperating, and practicing Instrument flying at home.

09-23-2011, 06:51 AM
I don't want anything to do with instrument flying without a HUD, or at least a velocity vector on a screen. I never really liked the nuts and bolts of flying...just fighting a jet and dropping bombs, rockets, gun, etc., doing FAC(A).

So...since I wasn't excited about flying, the instrument part of things wasn't the most fun for me...but I got very good at it, because I understood the need, and it saved my arse so many times, I can't even count them.

To keep a long story from becoming endless, the whole point of this is that I wanted to +10 to the sims and computer trainers that have you flying approaches. That, and chair flying, or visualization, going over an entire approach and what you're going to be doing at any given time, will be cash money in the airplane.

Also +1000 to learning to fly somewhere in good weather. I don't know how many flights I had canceled and how many hours of my butt polishing a ready room chair I wasted because of FL or MS thunderstorms. Do it in good weather and crank it out, then deal with the puffy things after you have the basics down. I've had the seat cushion further up my puckered sphincter because of weather than just about anything else I've faced in a jet. Might as well have the flying thing down before you worry about flying in clouds.

But....don't learn to fly instruments from someone who flies VFR all the time. Learning instruments flying out of Yuma would be a bit counterproductive. Learn to fly instruments from someone who flies IMC a LOT.

09-23-2011, 07:49 AM
Bae - When you're all done with your basic training, instrument ratings and urban scenarios, head on up to Alaska and work with the best Bush Pilot(s) that you can find.

lj bluesboy
09-23-2011, 11:54 AM
Put your most of your training bases in the desert or where the weather is generally decent?

Thats why I'm happy to be going to Columbus MS in 5 months. From what I hear you get real IMC instead of the hood. That and Laughlin is spittin distance from the Rio.

09-23-2011, 12:42 PM
Clint is right, follow his advice. I have my commercial, and haven't flown in years, because of time and money issues. Big issue is get the instrument rating. you'll be surprised how much simpler it is to get from point a to point b. Also, looking at your weather it also give you more options. The only thing I might differ with Clint on is the bird. You'll be over water quite a bit, I either get a float plane or a twin engine with deicing gear. Call me chicken but ice scares the heck out of me. The backup engine or being able to land on water are nice options.

09-23-2011, 12:45 PM
SIL, goin' kind of slow there ain't you....:firedevil:

lj bluesboy
09-23-2011, 12:51 PM
Thanks. End goal is the Strike Eagle, but these days I'll be lucky to get anything I can sit in. Figure I'll end up fine so long as I buckle down, do my best, and don't worry about what I drop into.

I'll be sure to watch my tail (so to speak). Any town with a womens college AND a base full of UPT studs is asking for trouble....

09-23-2011, 01:30 PM
I am completely and utterly in agreement with respect to the "hired gun" builders. In my opinion, it's fraud.

I have always believed that as well, but for shits and giggles I just downloaded the current version of the Affidavit of Ownership for experimental aircraft registration (AC 8050-88), and it doesn't say anything about the aircraft having been constructed for education or recreation. It just wants to know that over 50% of it was built either from miscellaneous parts or a kit. I'll have to mention that to my friend because I think he is still under the impression that the new rules left him in the cold, but that would seem to allow him to register his V-6 STOL project. Be interested in getting my hands on the older version of the form for comparison purposes.

The repairman certificate that goes to a builder, enabling him to do condition inspections and not have to pay an A&P for annuals sticks in many mechanic's throats. Short sighted as that may be.

That strikes me as being similar to the union mentality of "the world owes me a living." Or that they are special because they have put in the time to get a license, despite the fact that somebody who has built an entire airplane has certainly put in their time, and the certificate only allows them to do the annual on that one airplane anyway. Guys like that don't seem to understand that the more people who can afford to fly, the better off everybody in the industry is.

Something has to give in General Aviation. Things like the costs of NextGen (a mess in itself), leadless fuel, and overbearing tax regulation is going to put even more pressure on an industry in an already weakened state. The only bright spot in terms of innovation are a few companies providing kitbuilts.

A bunch of things have to give. The real solution to the fuel thing is an affordable, modern engine that's reliable with the crap automotive fuels that are available today (or Jet-A). We also need affordable insurance (liability reform), instructors who are interested in more than time building, more reasonable medical requirements for non-commercial pilots, et cetera ad nauseum.

lj bluesboy
09-23-2011, 02:13 PM
I understand that comment completely in today's "drone world". Important mission to be sure, but man, that ain't what you signed up for!

You're not kidding. I appreciate the capability, and the fact that the average RPA driver likely has more bombs downrange than any "real" pilot since probably 91. Personally, I just can't get over killing people and breaking their stuff then picking up the kids from school on the way home. Along with having to live at Creech.

Air Pirate
09-23-2011, 05:22 PM
Ha, yah, true that. My best friend from the Zoo was in 16's...BUT now has been at Creech for a few years in Preds/Reapers. He's making the best of it and has a great attitude, but I know he hates it. ALOT has changed since we first got off those blue buses...

09-23-2011, 06:12 PM
Perhaps I should start my own thread but I hope bae won't object if I ask a quick question to all of the pilots he has gathered here.

What do yo all think of ultra lights? I have a small local strip here in CO where I could go and learn to fly one of these little dudes. I haven't really researched the capabilities of such a craft and would like some input from you all.

09-23-2011, 11:23 PM
What do yo all think of ultra lights? I have a small local strip here in CO where I could go and learn to fly one of these little dudes. I haven't really researched the capabilities of such a craft and would like some input from you all.

Well, if it's a true part 103 ultralight, they are pretty limited as far as utility goes, but if you just want to go out by yourself and punch holes in the sky when the weather is nice, lots of people seem to enjoy them. There was an ultralight guy at the field where I got my license, who flew pretty regularly. You had to be really careful when he was out because you never knew where he would show up... which included flying perpendicularly across my glide path when I was nearing short final one time. My instructor was on board and I think he said something when we got back because the UL did a better job of staying out of the pattern after that. Kind of soured me against ultralights, but I know that's not fair because it was just the one guy.

09-24-2011, 12:00 AM
Still, they are intriguing for a small, light, quick getaway aircraft in a pinch. Mr C should have one handy in Columbia.

Yeah, but won't people wonder what the long ramp on top of the hotel is for?

Edit to add: In lots of other countries the ultralight regs are not as screwed up as they are here. Something with more capability may be practical.

09-24-2011, 10:59 AM
Thanks again for all of the great advice and ideas, folks!

Is there a particular book/DVD/computer training package you'd recommend for initial study?

10-24-2011, 02:51 PM
I am rated ASEL, AMEL, and instrument airplane. I have owned a Cessna 172, 182, and a 310. I am now a humble government elected official, and cannot afford an airplane. I know that others here have more credentials than I do. But I do continue to read, listen and learn. Given what I assume to be your financial status (based on other threads), if I were you, I would get my private pilot license and instrument rating (including the requisite hours), and if you could find a business reason for owning, get a single engine turboprop like the Pilatus PC-12. Get training at Flight Safety. I just read that their Dallas facility will be getting new Level D simulators and Part 142 approved training program for the PC-12. You could even get your initial training at Flight Safety. I read the post from the jet jock dissing instrument flying for other than saving your neck, but being part nerd (okay, mostly nerd) I can truthfully say that I got as much enjoyment out of managing systems and operating in an IFR environment as I did from stick and rudder flying. But then, I wasn't able to go mach 2 with my hair on fire. It really is a fantastic feeling to fly 250 nm in IFR (VFR on top is even better!), then shoot an ILS to minimums and break out on short final with all those beautiful lights right where they should be. I wish I could learn all over again. The above outline would have been my fantasy approach to learning to fly, and in no way obtainable by me. But for you? Who knows. Have fun.

10-24-2011, 06:16 PM
At last something I can teach in this forum! . To learn how to fly I recommend you do 2 hours per week (2 times per week). For your monthly training 3 flights per month, not hours. And I recommend that you avoid storms and fog . Finally, if you buy an aircraft choose Beechcraft or Cessna.

10-24-2011, 06:21 PM
I forgot, single-engine !

10-25-2011, 12:58 AM
Interesting that Randy Babbit at FAA has announced a complete overhaul of the flight training regs. Hope something good comes of it, but given the track record, it's difficult to be very enthusiastic.

From what little I've heard about that, they want to force people who want to fly commercially to get their training from Part 141 flight schools. In other words, students teaching students. There's nothing really wrong with a 141 school per se, and I got my PPL at one, but while some of the instructors are great, others are just building time towards their advanced ratings and using their student to pay for it. The real advantage is that there is usually a staff of instructors, so training is easier to schedule, and IIRC the training can transfer to another 141 school so if you move, you don't necessarily have to start over from scratch. But the flip side is the dilution of experience which results from the use of advanced students to train the beginners, instead of hiring more experienced pilots for instructors. If they did that, it would cost a lot more.

10-25-2011, 01:34 AM
I haven't read through the whole thread, but in terms of being proficient and safe, I'm told the guys who most often get in trouble are the ones who get their ratings but only fly once in a while.

Bae, if you want, I know a very seasoned NW pilot who I bet would be happy to talk with you. He'd know exactly the type of training you'd want for your AO and probably have an informed opinion about the types aircraft would suit your needs. He flew for one of the San Juan islands charter services for a bunch of years plus worked at GlassAir in Arlington as a sales and test pilot. Last time I talked to him he was flying for the Forest Service doing forest fire support stuff. Let me know if you want his contact information.

Edit: I inquired and found he's doing flight instruction now, too.

10-25-2011, 11:00 AM

may help.

11-08-2011, 10:43 AM
You can find many exellent instructors in your area, online, or by talking to people at your most local airport. Just because they aren't advertising, doesn't mean you can't find a good flight instructor. Depending on what you want...single engine, dual engine, intstrument rating etc.. It will cost about 10k to 30k dollars. As posted previously, its a minimum of around 40 flight hours to get your license. That's if you grasp everything right off. You should plan on more hours (hours=$). There are less expensive routes, monetarily speaking of course. Several of the military active duty, and guard or reserve branches offer the chance to fly helicopters. Active army, Army NG both offer a warrant officer course (enlisted to officer, solely for flying). If I'm not mistaken, the USMC also offers the same things. Of course, the price you're paying for these flight lessons aren't with money. Another route you might look into is the Civil Air Patrol. I believe, but might be mistaken, that they will help you to get your license at a discounted cost. You'd get to help find lost hikers, and you wouldn't have to deploy. If your looking for cheap, I would start with the CAP honestly.

11-08-2011, 11:15 AM
Learning to fly is doable by most everyone. It is the landings that extract the highest payments. Fortitous outcomes do not always equate with proper training applies to gun fighting and flying. Flying is an unforgiving mistress of mistakes.

I say do it. It will open vistas you have never imagined. If money means nothing then get your PPL and IFR ticket and continue logging lots of hours. Get your other tickets as your skills increase. Building your own is very hard and gratifying..............all kinds of help is avaiable. Start with the EAA(experimental aircraft association) for the "real skinny" on building. If you like thinking and hard, smart work then build your own from an EAA accepted design.
I wish you luck and good fortune on your "adventure" of learning to fly...........remember you will ALWAYS be learning (just like gunfighting).

And my last parting statement is "there are old pilots and bold pilots; but no old, bold pilots"

Brent Yamamoto
11-08-2011, 01:41 PM
I don't know the first thing about flying, but my ex got her license in 52 hours, flying out of Boeing Field in Seattle. She had to do this on a tight budget, so she accomplished it by A LOT of prep before she took her first lesson. If I understood correctly, going to ground school wasn't a requirement, you just have to pass the test. That takes a lot of discipline and time of course. But she did it, so obviously it can be done.

Other than really hitting the books, reading a lot online, and basically learning every single thing she could before getting in the cockpit for the first time, the thing I remember her doing was listening to the control tower for Kennedy International (available live online). She did this to prepare herself for communicating with the tower (Seattle is a very busy airspace). She says this paid off big time.

I got sick of listening to it but I have to agree it was an effective means of practice. :)