FAQ's, Miscellaneous Ramblings
and a Few Rants
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association ("AOPA") is a great source
of information about lots of things, including flight training, insurance and $$money$$--loans, scholarships etc.
Read all about it here: http://flighttraining.aopa.org/
I only have time (money etc.) to fly about once a week (once a month,
once every six months etc etc.), can I learn to fly? YES! The more often you can fly the quicker you'll learn,
but the most important thing is to GET STARTED! Don't wait for that magic day when you have time or can afford it, the
kids are grown up, whatever--it never comes. That day is NOW! Life ain't no rehearsal. This is the real
thing--GO FOR IT!
Do I have to be really, really smart or an athlete with Super Vision
and Really Fast Reflexes? No, nO and NO!!!
I'm not a kid anymore, can I still do it? Hey, NONE of us are
kids anymore, ha ha!
What about Guaranteed Courses? Do you have GUARANTEED COURSES?
Yes, of course! Pay in advance, fly a minimum of twice a week, keep up with your
ground studies and get all the instruction you need--no matter how much--at no additional cost for the instruction. Is
there a catch? Of course there's a catch. Teaching people to fly is FUN, but it ain't no charity! Here's
the deal: You gotta fly at least twice a week--less than that your retention falls off. Do that and ALL flight and ground instruction, 5 hours or 500 hours--no limit--is included in the Course price. If you still
need more instruction it's ALL FREE! The catch? If your total Flight time exceeds the standard Course length,
you pay for the additional aircraft flight time, but NOT for the ground or flight instuction. ANYONE can learn
to fly--I guarantee it! Look--I've been doing this for 35 years. If I didn't KNOW you could do it, I wouldn't
offer it--this is how I pay the bills.
How long does it REALLY
take to learn to fly? Tired of all the double talk? Here's the facts: The national average is more than
70 hours over a period of about a year. Of course we're all good looking and above average, so
you'll do it lots quicker, right? Hah! Notice that my Guaranteed Private Pilot Course requires you to fly at
least twice a week. If you fly twice a week you'll complete the course in about three months--not
a year--three months or less. That's the key to becoming proficient quickly and reducing the number of hours you'll
need. Forget those 35-hour courses you see advertised. Bunch of Baloney! Nothing more than a marketing ploy
designed to suck you in--the old bait and switch! Yes, I've trained lots of pilots in those 35-hour courses, and some
actually completed the course in 35 hours, but the truth is you'll probably need at least 50 hours, more if you take a year
to do it. You'll probably need about 30 hours of flight instruction, at least 10 hours of solo flight (the minimum required
by 14 CFR Part 61--hey, it's the law!), plus at least 15 hours of pre- and post-flight ground instruction to be both
safe and proficient. That's assuming you keep at it, fly as often as possible and is the realistic TRUTH!
The 35-hour courses just don't provide enough time for you to become both safe and proficient--STUPID and UNREALISTIC.
Can you do it in 35 or 40 hours? Yes, but probably not with any degree of proficiency and certainly not if you take
a year to do it. Be realistic: You want to be safe and proficient. If you fly once or twice a week you can
figure about 50 hours. But, you're not gonna stop flying then, anyway. You've just begun! You want to be
confident, safe and proficient. Wouldn't let your spouse and kids fly with someone who could just barely fly, would
you? Now you know the truth about this stuff, makes my Guarnateed Private Pilot Course look like a pretty good deal,
eh? No lie!
Got a buddy who's thinking about learning
to fly, too? Let me tell you about a great way for the two of you learn to fly together, have some good fun and save
some serious buck$$ while you're at it. I call it the Buddy System (pretty clever and original, eh?). While you
fly from the front seat of my 180hp Cessna 172 your buddy rides along, watching and listening. (S)He learns while you
do. Then, you trade seats, (s)he flies while you observe. This is a terrific way to learn and not only doesn't
cost anything extra, I'll give you a nice discount if you and your buddy sign up together. Can't beat that! See
my Pilot Training page for more info.
Aren't taildraggers harder to fly than
nosedraggers? The short answer is NO. You CAN do it. In fact, if you want to learn how to fly well,
not just kinda, you need to learn in a taildragger. Yes, I know there's lotsa taildragger macho baloney out there, but
the fact is if you can't fly a taildragger you're probably pretty marginal. Anybody can do it.
But you gotta DO IT! And it takes training.
Light Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot
What follows may be getting a bit far
afield and may not belong on this page, so you may want to skip ahead. Maybe I'm just an old reprobate, stick-in-the-mud
who can't keep up with the times, so take it with a grain of salt or whatever its worth--this is purely my own opinion, c'est
la vie (or guerre?), non? Here goes:
What about Light Sport? What
are the differences between Sport Pilots and Private Pilots, Light Sport Aircraft and Standard Category Aircraft? Can't
you save a lot of money by learning how to fly in a Light Sport aircraft--they say it only takes 20 hours!
Lots of interest in Light Sport
these days (Or is it Sport Light? Never can get that straight--early onset Alzheimer's? Hope not!). In fact,
a lot of people are very excited and think LSA will revitalize low-budget fun flying. I hope they're right! I
loves cheap flyin'! Cessna just announced their entry into the LSA wars, so they're taking it seriously, too.
In fact, Cessna also announced they'll be introducing a whole new line of airplanes, so looks like interesting times ahead!
Good! As for differences between Sport Pilots vs. Private Pilots and LS Aircraft vs. Standard Category aircraft, there
are many, in fact its a pretty complex subject. For more info see http://www.sportpilot.org/learn/final_rule_synopsis.html.
First, Sport Pilots vs. Private Pilots.
FAA requirements specify what you need to do to get a Pilot Certificate and then, once you're a pilot, what airplanes you
can fly, where and when. The most important things are 1) Sport
Pilots can only fly Light Sport Aircraft, which have lots of restrictions on size, performance
and use--a VERY big restriction--and 2) you don't need to pass a medical exam to fly Light Sport Aircraft--if you have a current
driver's license you're good to go. Good. No one has ever been able to establish a link between pilot performance
or safety and medical exams anyway. Still, if you know you have a medical "deficiency" or have failed a FAA medical
exam you are not eligible to fly Light Sport Aircraft, or any other aircraft. Glider pilots don't need medicals,
either--or a driver's license. In fact, you can solo a glider at age 14!
Private Pilots can fly LSA and Standard
Category aircraft, Sport Pilots can only fly LSA. Restricting
yourself to LSA only is a pretty big restriction! A lot of old timers, fearing they might fail their next FAA medical
exam, are opting for LSA so they can keep flying. I understand exactly how they feel. Hope I don't have to think
about that for a long, long time.
What about training costs--are they
lower for SP? Good question! Let's talk about
the cost of training, the instruction you need to learn to fly safely. Training costs first, then we'll talk about the
cost of the airplanes.
If you can learn to fly LSA in only
20 hours won't you save a bunch of money?
It's true the training required by
the FAA is somewhat less, mostly having to do with learning to fly in busier airspace, night flying and reduced solo time
required before you can get your license, so that reduces the training required and should save you some money.
Trouble is, those are things you need
The reduced solo flight requirement
is the biggest part of the difference in the advertised (as opposed to the real) cost. Required solo
flight training is the biggest difference between 40-hour PPL courses and the 35-hour courses, too. Listen closely,
because nobody else is going to tell you this: Flying solo in a training environment is an
important part of your flying education and shouldn't be dismissed lightly, whether we're talking SP or those
35-hour PP courses. You need the supervised solo experience before you can safely fly on your own and start carrying
passengers. You don't get it (the FAA doesn't require it) in those 20-hour SP or 35-hour PP courses. Stupid and
dangerous. All we're talking about here is getting a little solo flight experience under the supervision of your flight
instructor before you can legally fly on your own or carry passengers. Doesn't that sound like a sensible thing to do?
Learning to fly is all about getting experience, not just checking boxes on an FAA list. That's why almost no one learns
in the minimum time specified by the feds, regardless of what their rules say. It's about common sense and safety.
Why would you want to skip ANY
of that stuff, anyway? It's important!
Here's the biggest lie: If you
look a little closer, beyond the advertising, except for the solo flight requirements you still have to do nearly
all the same things for a SP license as for a Private Pilot certificate (all good stuff), but in less time! Can't
be done! There is nothing magic about the way LSA's fly--they're still ariplanes!
Learning to fly is about becoming comfortable
in a new environment, understanding how this stuff works and learning to make an airplane behave the way YOU want it to.
That takes time. Nothing wrong with that. Living takes time. Are you going to stop flying the day you
get your license? No. You don't get a college degree the day you finish kindergarten, either.
The 20-hour nonsense is just deceptive
marketing baloney--the old bait and switch! We get enough of that in politics! The REAL cost isn't so outrageous
that telling the truth would discourage people in the first place--so why lie about it? You don't stop flying the day
you get your license anyway--you've just begun! Sheesh! Just because the
new rules say you can learn to fly LSA in only 20 hours doesn't change the fact that it has always taken 50 hours
or more, even though the rules have always said 35 or 40. Is there some SP magic going on here? No. Learning
still takes time, regardless of the airplane you're flying.
What about the cost of the airplane?
Now we're getting serious! Are LSA airplanes cheaper to fly? Maybe.
The most important factor in the cost
of learning to fly--all flying, really--is the cost of the airplane. Be smart! Learn to fly in a good, simple
airplane at a reasonable rate--like my beautiful Cessna 140! Only $80/hr. Cheap, simple airplanes (did I mention my beautiful, sweet flyin' Cessna 140--ain't none nicer nowhere! Only
$80/hr) CAN save you some serious money, whether standard category or LSA--GOOD! If you can fly a cheap LSA I say GO
FOR IT! Why pay over $100/hr if you can fly for $80? Just be aware that if you pursue a Sport Pilot certificate
in a LSA you'll be restricted to flying nothing but LSA. Is that what you want? What if you could fly a standard
category airplane for the same cost as a LSA--or even LESS? Wouldn't that make more sense? Like my Cessna 140
for only $80! (yet another shameless plug!)
But, seriously, what about those LS
Aircraft? Are they really cheaper to fly? Again, maybe.
Since aircraft purchase price is
the most significant part of the cost of flying, what do these LSA cost? Are they cheaper to buy?
Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no.
Several aircraft already certificated
in the Standard Category (Piper J-3 Cubs, some Luscombes, Aeronca Champs, Taylorcrafts, Ercoupes etc.) also qualify as Light
Sport Aircraft. You can buy some of them for pretty reasonable prices, maybe as little as $15-$20K or even less.
GO FOR IT! I highly recommend buying your own simple, cheap airplane as a good way to save money, maybe even make
a little $$ when you sell it and have lots of good, cheap fun.
But there are NO cheap NEW airplanes,
LSA or otherwise--that's the big hurdle lots of folks are hoping LSA will jump. Ainna gonna happen! Yes, there
are lots of new LSA's coming on the market, but they're not cheap, unless you consider more than $100K cheap! (In which
case I'd like to have a chat with you about a really terrific economic opportunity!)
Many LSA are imported from Europe,
where all this LSA stuff really started. Some are very interesting, technologically advanced and high-performance for
the power--though FAA rules place many restrictions on performance for LSA in the U.S. I've had some nice chats with
LS folks about costs. Although some are advertised for around $80K (and that's the bare naked no tires or motor teaser
price--the real price is probably $100K or more), many are $130K-$150K or more! Don't know about you, but $80K
and up is a lot of money to me. There's hardly an airplane been made that can't be had for $80K or (way) less used.
In fact, you can buy several new US aircaft (Taylorcrafts, Champs etc.) that are certificated in the Standard Category--meaning
none of the restrictions placed on LSA--for about the same price. Why aren't they getting the attention LSA are?
The second most important factor is
the cost of operation. Most two-place airplanes have about 100 horsepower. It takes about five (5) gallons of
gas per hour to make 'em run. Avgas costs about $5/gallon today (May 2010), but even if you have to pay $6, it means
the cost of operation is under $30/hr, more or less. Other stuff (oil, tires, maintenance, insurance etc.) adds
maybe another $5 or $10 per hour, so say it all comes to about $35 or $40/hr. That's why buying your own airplane is
the only way you can really save money and why the purchase price is such a big factor. Keep it simple, keep it cheap.
Hey! I do just fine charging $80/hr for my beautiful little Cessna 140 (none nicer nowhere--and there ain't never been
no better fun flyin', cheap flyin' airplane ever been made nowhere!). The reason most flying schools charge so much
is because (1) they ususally don't own the airplanes--they lease them--meaning they have to split the income with the owner
(2) the real owner had to borrow money from the bank to buy the airplane, so the income gets split again and (3) neither the
flying school nor the owner is going to be the one actually giving you the flight instruction--they're just business people
trying to make a buck on someone else's labor! Too many hands in the pot, and none of 'em want to do any work!
I own my airplanes outright, do all of the instruction and most of the maintenance myself and don't share none of the money
with nobody!! So I can charge less and do just fine. You can do exactly the same thing and save yourself a bunch.
That's the real world of airplane economics. Want to save money? Don't piss it away on "handling" (as in other
folk hands in the pot) fees. Keep it simple, keep it cheap. Do it yourself.
So much for LSA saving you money. Hah!
About those SP restrictions:
You want to be able to fly in any kind of airspace, don't you? Night? Faster, more capable airplanes? Take
your friends and family along? If you already are or become a Private Pilot you can fly Light Sport Aircraft any time
without further ado--no additional certification required, no limitations, no restrictions, nada, zip, zero, nuthin'.
If you become a SP and then decide you really do want to fly something with a little more zip, big enough to take family or
friends along, fly in busier airspace, at night etc., you have to upgrade to PPL. No can do as SP.
The little bit of additional training required to become a Private Pilot is all Good Stuff that will only make you more capable,
safer and more proficient, with none of the restrictions on the airplanes you can fly, how or when. But why make it
a two step process? That won't save you any money! Who wants to be
Bottom Line: I love cheap flyin',
but most of this SP stuff is just deceptive advertising. I really can't think of any good reason for being a Sport Pilot.
Listen!! Training is the most valuable part of flying--get all you can! Be a ratings collector! You will
never stop learning to fly--don't even think about trying to skimp to save a couple bucks. It don't work! Want
to fly Light Sport Aircraft? Sure, me, too--been flyin' 'em for years! But Sport Pilot? No, don't think
so, thanks for asking. Just sounds like marketing nonsense to me. Sorry if I rained on your parade, but
that's the way I sees it.
BTW, whatever happened to all those
"Recreational" pilots? Ever met one? Me, either. Isn't RP a lot like SP? Hmmm.
Had enough? Ah, but there's more!
LSA/SP offers the first real hope in over a generation for good cheap, fun flyin'. I loves cheap, fun flyin'!
And you thought I was just another foot and knuckle-dragging whiner! Not so! Nobody has manufactured a viable
training airplane since Cessna quit building 152's way back in the 80's. Now, most 150's and 152's are clapped-out,
high-time old dogs long overdue for Sun City. Worse, they're not big enough inside for today's average 200+ pounders
to fit. I'm hoping against hope that Cessna, Piper or somebody else will take advantage of the greatly simplified LSA
certification rules to start building a 2-place airplane with room enough for two of today's-sized real people to fit
with real elbow room, 200 pounds of bags, enough power to climb 800+ fpm, 300+ nm range with ample reserves, is
aerobatic, has tricycle landing gear, a low wing and a bubble canopy, solid-state semi-IFR panel (think Dynon) with a
moving-map GPS/com and basic ILS capability (like VAL INS 422) that sells for about $50K, brand new. Just another fantasy?
Maybe not. I still believe there is a big market out there for good, cheap airplanes. They'd have to be built
in big-enough numbers to amortize costs and to squeeze enough small profit to make it worthwhile. Will Cessna do it?
Maybe. Piper, Beech or some foreign manufacturer? Cessna is wedded to high wings, so no bubble canopies for them.
Beech has just gone though a Wall Street-style buyout and Piper has been on the ropes for years, so I'm not too hopeful for
them--HOLD IT!! STOP THE PRESSES!!! Piper has just announced a nice looking new LSA! Sorry, but it ain't
cheap, starting at about $130K, sigh... And its not built in the USA... But aren't these the days of off-shoring
(sho' 'nuff--isn't all manufacturing?)? What's to keep a new startup or foreign manufacturer from building my dream
airplane in China, Mexico, eastern Europe or the Philipines, and sell them as very simple to finish kits to us Americanos?
I think all it takes is faith enough in the market to give it a shot. Maybe some of those entrepeneurial Russians with
their pools of unused talent will figure out a way, or somebody in India or Taiwan. If there's any hope, LSA
is it, so keep those fingers crossed. And as for SP, yes, they're on the right track, but let's skip the phony
marketing baloney, OK?
Van's Aircraft is building an E-LSA (meaning Experimental Light Sport) aircraft--the RV-12. My
hangar neighbor Dan is building one right now! He sez they can be built in about 650 hours (wow!), not the 2000-4000
most homebuilts take. And the cost should come in at about $65K! Wow again! Of course, you have to build it, and
since they're Experimental they can't be used by commercial operators (like flight schools) but at least you can finally own
a brand new airplane for about the same price as a nice car. This is the best news in a long, long time. Now all
we need is for (1) Van's to put them into production (but that would raise the price so probably not so good), and (2)
the FAA needs to change the rules so Experimental airplanes can be used for "commercial" training purposes. Actually,
if you build or buy an Experimental airplane you CAN pay someone to teach you how to fly it. It's just that flying schools
can't OWN the Experiemental airplane and then use it for "commercial" purposes like flight instruction. Say what? Yeah,
that's right. If you own it, no problemo. But if I own it its gotta be a charity operation--which ain't never
gonna happen, even if I am a really nice guy. I gotta pay bills, too, dontcha know! Maybe some day the feds will
get outa the way, but for now...
Enough on that!
Gee, Jerry, Wild Blue Aviation is practically
a one man operation. And your rates are WAAAAY lower than anybody else. How do you do it? How come you don't
have a pretty secretary, a glass palace, a bunch of 18 year old, 200 hour flight instructors working for $10/hr (no offense--I
was 18 and had 200 hours once), a bookkeeper and high prices? Answer: Flying is supposed to be fun--that's why
I'm here. I loves to FLY! And I love teaching people how to fly! If I was trying to make money or get an airline job I wouldn't be doing this. Leave that stuff to those
other folks who think flying is a BUSINESS. Hey! I don't want my flying to become WORK. I put my emphasis
on having FUN and FLYING, not making money or trying to impress people with a lot of BS.
Can women be REAL pilots?
What a dumb question! Believe it or not, some people are still living in caves and ask this question--even women! If
you're a woman and looking for a career in aviation, you've got lots of advantages over men--it's true. I'm not talking
because you're nicer to look at and smell better, either. The female persuasion has lots of advantages in the cockpit
and women make great Flight Instructors, too! TRUE! Just ask the FAA. Plus, there ain't no better life nowhere.
You CAN do it. Of course you can. What a dumb question. Sorry I brought it up. But don't go away yet!
Women in Aviation is an organization
dedicated to the advancement of women in, you guessed it, Aviation! Check out their web site www.wai.org. Among other things, they' ve given away more than $3million in scholarships. Maybe they have some $$$ for YOU!
Speaking of women pilots, here's a
couple of web sites with lots of great stuff you ladies might enjoy: Girls With Wings http://www.girlswithwings.com (for all you big and little girl pilots) and the Chick Fighter Pilots Association http://www.fighterchicks.com (we're talkin' REAL fighter pilots here, sweet young ladies whose idea of a good time is a knife fight in a
phone booth--don't mess with these girls--they sure ain't no camo-paint Cessna flyin' wannabees)--these girls rock!
come so many TAILDRAGGERS? And CLASSIC AIRCRAFT, WARBIRDS, FORMATION FLYING and AEROBATICS, too? What's the deal?
Well, you want to be a complete pilot and have some FUN, too, don't you? It's a big aviation world
with lots of interesting things to fly. Some have tailwheels! Some are older than you and even older than me!
Some fly upside down and inside out! Formation flying with your (properly trained) buddies is lots of FUN! Sad
to say, but lots of old airplanes are nicer flying than new ones and WARBIRDS may be the most fun of all. Really!
Hear me now and believe me later--try 'em out for yourself. There's a whole world of cool airplanes out there not
made by Cessna, Piper or Beech. Some are even made in some a them furrin' countries! AND, fact is you'll never
really learn to handle a crosswind takeoff or landing unless you train in a taildragger. Having
Said All That, nosewheels offer many advantages and only a few disadvantages, so forget the macho stuff. In
fact, one of my favorite airplanes is the good ol' Aircoupe--one of the best flying, best performing, most fun airplanes ever
made. Stand by, I'll be getting one soon! But if you don't learn to fly taildraggers you're closing the door on
lots of great airplanes. PLUS, the sky is a 4-dimensional place. Try putting the blue side down and flush that
old blood from your brain. Flying is FUN! More different kinds of airplanes and more different
kinds of flying are MORE FUN!
WOW! This flying is EXPENSIVE!
Yes, it is. It's addictive, too. Want to save some money? Pay in advance and get a 20%! discount--no
phony "club," no "membership" joining fees, no dues, no baloney. Yes, you really can fly for as little as $80/hr. Take
a look around--I've got the best airplanes at the best rates available anywhere! But I'll let you in on a little secet:
Want to save real money? BUY YOUR OWN AIRPLANE! But aren't they expensive? If you buy the Space Shuttle
or a 747, sure! But you don't need a 747 or a jet or a twin or a Bonanza or anything fancy. You just need a simple,
easy to maintain, cheap to fly FUN airplane! But aren't old airplanes unreliable? That's why we have the FAA--so
airplanes will be absolutely stone dead reliable and SAFE. These are airplanes, not old beater cars!
Here's how to save some serious money:
Find yourself a good, simple, cheap used airplane (like a Cessna 140
or 150, Aircoupe, Aeronca Champ etc.), buddy up with an A&P mechanic (like me) who'll help you learn how to do most maintenance
yourself and fly for not much more than the price of gas! In fact, you might even make a little $$ when time comes to
Find an airplane that needs a little TLC, put a shine on it, fly the
pants off it and have GOOD CHEAP FUN!
Do the math: Lots of airplanes only burn five or six gallons
per hour. Even if gas hits $6 (it's about $5 now--May 2010), you can fly for only $30 or $35 per hour! Why pay
$100/hour or more?
Be smart, watch for good deals, get a nice simple cheap airplane and
fly for almost nuthin'! Airplanes aren't cars--most used airplanes are going UP in value. They don't depreciate
like a car. You don't need a glass panel super gee whiz IFR flight director retractable gear constant speed prop autopilot
multi-engine jet to have real FUN flying. Just the opposite. Cheaper airplanes are MORE fun than complex, expensive
airplanes. Like my friend Bud Granley says, "What's the hurry? Slow down and enjoy the FLYIN'!" And save
a bunch of money, too. Maybe even make a little $$ while you're at it. How do you think I got into this horse
tradin' biz, anyway?
Can I use my own airplane for training? You betcha! Even
if its an "Experimental" airplane, like a homebuilt or Nanchang or Yak. Sounds like a smart idea to me.
Yes, of course my Flight Training Courses are FAA approved, cover all of the Aeronautical Experience,
Flight and Ground Training requirements specified by 14 CFR Part 61 (the standards established
by the FAA). Hey! It's the law!
What's NOT included in your courses? Ground study materials
(usually about $100-$150), the cost of taking written tests (about $75, paid to the testing facility) or the flight test fee
(paid directly to the Examiner).
What about Ground School? Well, "Ground School" is pretty much
a thing of the past. In the old days there was "Flight" school and "Ground" school--two different things, in different
places and times. Some places its still that way. We all learned many years ago that the Public School production
line "factory" model of education just isn't very good. We all learn in different ways, have different interests and
objectives in life and are better at some things than others. My job is to make learning to fly FUN, interesting
and comprehensive, all at the same time. It has to fit what YOU want and need, not just what makes it easy for
me or the FAA. Flying is a wonderful combination of fresh air, fantastic views of sky above and earth below
and coordinated physical and mental activity. That's what makes it so enjoyable and satisfying. It ain't
like sitting in your cube at work, or in front of the TV, that's for sure! It's both active and contemplative,
mental and physical, all at the same time. So, we work together, you and me, to combine flying and study in
a logical sequence that gets you where you want to go, when you need to get there. We integrate what you learn
in the air with what you learn on the ground, in real time. It's all part and parcel of the same thing. We combine
"in the air instruction" with personalized one-on-one instruction before and after each flight, together with written and
interactive DVD or online program materials that allow you to "ground" study what you need, when you need it, at your own
pace, with no lost motion or eyeball glazing. There are many good DVD and online courses available but the one I consistently
hear good things about is Sporty's (see http://sportys.com/PilotShop/product/11792). The DVD and online courses are the same cost ($199). The online course is always up-to-date, but has an expiration,
so don't buy one fom Ebay. The DVD's last forever, but the content may become obsolete (the FAA has a way of changing
things over time even though physics pretty much stay the same). The Sportys course includes both the standard "ground
school" stuff--weather, navigation etc., but also includes lots of good stuff about real flying. It dovetails right
into the full training program. Take a look at EBay for some good deals, but be aware that old courses may be slightly
out of date about federal regulations (they keep screwing around with detail changes for the most part, usually not significant,
but you never know).
I see you are also a certificated "Airframe and Powerplant" (A&P) mechanic. How come? Well, airplanes are
machines, you know, very reliable machines, but still, they need a little maintenance now and then. In fact, IT'S
REQUIRED by Federal Regulations. This is one way I keep my rates so LOW--I do most of the work myself. If you're
thinking about going to A&P school--GO FOR IT! The combination of a pilot's license and your A&P is a guaranteed
ticket to a good flying or mechanic job. Besides, its fun and interesting.
See also, TAILDRAGGERS etc., above. Don't just fool around--get the whole enchilada. Be a compleat pilot/mechanic.
How come you don't "rent" airplanes. Well, er, I do.
But not to just ANYONE. I got a flyin' school here, not a rental agency! This ain't AVIS! I've
spent my whole life and all my money tracking down the best, most fun airplanes ever made and I don't wanna see 'em wrecked!
Would you? ANYBODY can rent and fly dime-a-dozen spam cans. Lots of places have 'em--go there if that's what you
want. I don't have 'em, never will. Not interested. This is NOT just a BUSINESS for me--this is my life! I
have nothing against money and could make lots more if I thought flying was just a BUSINESS like some other
folks. But that's just not the way I see it and money's not that important. I'm not starving and my wife
isn't begging for diamonds--big smoocherino to you, sweetie pie! I like to keep things simple. I teach people
how to fly because that's what I love to do. I'm not in the rent-an-airplane biz. Man! If I got all wrapped up
in that stuff I'd have to get one of them pretty secretaries, newbie instructors and a glass palace etc etc etc.
NOT INTERESTED. Of course, The Real Reason is, "student" pilots are the safest pilots anywhere. FACT. Why?
"Students" (like you and me) have a MISSION to perform on each flight. How do you think the military trains people to
fly F-15's etc. in only 200 hours? That's why they call ALL their flights "training missions." Why are the airlines
so safe? They're being guided by their Commanding Officer/Chief Pilot/Flight Instructor. They're NOT out "experimenting,"
seeing just how short and rough a runway they can get this thing into in the middle of the winter with snow on the ground
in the mountains on a 100 degree day with the wind blowing 50 knots perpendicular to the runway, at 5000 feet elevation trying
to get to some business appointment in way-over-their-heads miserable weather or buzzing their girlfriend's house.
Know what I mean? Flying is fun, but it's also serious. If you're seriously engaged in LEARNING this is the
place. FUN? Yes. Doing and Learning New Things, going to New Places, flying New Airplanes, YES! That's
what it's all about. Here's a little secret: I've been a "student" pilot all my life. Always will be.
Otherwise, no, no "rentals." "Student" pilots only. "Training Missions," only. 'Nuff said?
What about insurance? There's lots of baloney out
there about insurance. It's against the law for a "club" to sell insurance. "Clubs" and flying schools are NOT
insurance companies. That's just a way to suck more money outa yer pocket. Be smart--buy your own Renter's
policy for very reasonable rates and have REAL coverage. See AOPA, above, and my "Real Insurance, Financing
and Escrow" page for more info.
One last thing. What about all these Very Light Jets
coming on the market. What effect will they have on the flying biz? What's going to happen to the airlines?
I think VLJ's are going to revolutionize the way people travel, especially business people. Eclipse will sell you a
share in a new jet for only a few hundred bucks a month and is projecting seat-mile costs comparable to a car! Did you
know?: For the first time in human history the average speed of travel is decreasing. Why? Traffic
congestion, security checks and Hub airline routing. All things considered, you can probably drive faster to a destination
under 500 miles away than you can get there by airline. If you fly yourself you'll get there way quicker, hands down,
even in a slow airplane, especially if you're not going to and/or from one of the airline hub cities. VLJ's will kick
the airlines' butts and are already selling by the thousands--and they're gonna need qualified pilots. There's
never been a better time to get into the flyin' biz than right now.
ONE MORE LAST THING
Why are so many of my airplanes for sale? Isn't this
a flyin' school? Well, you know what? I never met an airplane I didn't like! I even like Cessna 150's, 172's,
Piper Tomahawks, Cherokees and Tri-Pacers. And Aircoupes, too! And the next one is always the most exciting,
best airplane I've ever had--which is more than a few! Don't you like a little variety? Me, too! Life is
a never ending search for the next best airplane! You'll never get bored with the same ol' stuff at Wild Blue Aviation!
MORE Questions? Give me a call--Jerry Painter,
CFI, Chief Pilot, A&P, Airport Bum, Permanent Latrine Orderly, Head Bottle Washer, etc etc. 425-876-0865
I loves talkin' airplanes!