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Posted: 10/31/2010 2:37:23 PM EDT
Apologies in advance for the long rambling here, but there's a bunch of stuff rattling around in my head.

Myself and a few business partners are starting a new manufacturing company in another state. They've made me the CEO. The production facility will be about 240 straightline miles away from my house, but 360 miles by car (winding roads through mountains). While I don't have to be at the plant everyday, or even every week, I certainly need to go a couple of times a month plus the need to make sales calls to potential customers all across the country. There is no commercial airport close to where I need to go for the production facility. Rather than drive all that way, I figure I could fly in to a General Aviation airport only 10 miles from the production facility (I have a couple General Aviation airports close to my house, too). Why not turn a 6-hour drive into a 1.5 hour flight? That way I could fly down and back in the same day if I wanted to.

My questions include aircraft choice, reimbursement for flying expenses and overall feasibility of my plan.

Aircraft choice:
While the airports I'd likely be using on a regular basis are both sizable (5000+ foot runways), I am certain to be flying through some mountains in between. Thus, I'm leaning towards finding a used 2-engine prop like a Beech Baron, Cessna 310 or Piper Twin Comanche. This aircraft may also be used to go on vacations with (wife plus another couple - he's a pilot already), so 4-person seating is desirable. Any other recommendations? Thoughts on operating costs for these birds? Or am I overthinking this and should just stick with a single-engine prop? Also, do people usually buy their plane while still taking lessons, so as to avoid having to pay aircraft rental fees?

Reimbursement:
Since I'll mostly be flying to and from the plant, I'd like to be able to be reimbursed for my travel costs. Not flying for profit, mind you, just want the gas and wear/tear taken care of. Is this kosher for a Private Pilot to do? If so, what sort of mileage rate can you get? I know you can get 50 cents a mile using your private car for business, is there something comparable for using your own plane?

Overall feasibility:
I realize some of the potential hangups. Buying used means having to deal with existing maintenance issues in addition to the periodic maintenance going forward. Obviously I'd have to get my private pilot's license, but the time to do that can occur during the next several months while the production facility is being set-up. Weather may not always cooperate (and the airport near the production facility does not have precision approach). Et cetera. Anything else obvious I'm missing?
Link Posted: 10/31/2010 2:46:31 PM EDT
Tag. I'm thinking about buying an airplane in the next 5 years.

Link Posted: 10/31/2010 3:21:51 PM EDT
This is my opinion (I have been licensed for 36 years, owned several airplanes, run an FBO and owned my own non-aviation companies):

-It will take more time and cost more money than you expect it to. Don't do it if you expect to save money.
-Don't travel by air unless you can sit on the ground a day or two and wait out bad weather. Get-there-itis kills people; I've lost several friends over the years because they "had to get home tonight".
-It is dangerous to fly if you have other business on your mind (my partners were all high-time military-airline ATP & CFII pilots; if we flew for "business" one of us had the primary responsibility as pilot and was not required to participate in ANY other business on flying days).
-Good equipment, well maintained is *necessary* if you want to live.
-Get the best training you can find, your life and those of your passengers depend on it every flight.
-Take a few lessons and see if you have the necessary mental skills and coordination to be a good pilot - not everybody does.

If you must do it, then hire a company pilot with a CFII to teach you and to fly with you as you build time for a couple of years, until you know enough not to kill yourself (and especially others).
This may not be "the" right answer, but it has kept me alive so far.
Link Posted: 10/31/2010 3:35:45 PM EDT
NOTE - This is in NO way knocking your skills or ability to afford general avaition ––––-but,

I bet being CEO takes a lot of your time. That might place pilot training lower than #1 on your list.

Casual use of any higher performance general aviation aircraft is looking for trouble.

Look into the rich doctors flying syndrome. Many doctors have ended their lives early thanks to general aviation.

If your company has the $$$ to buy a nice aircraft,,,,,,, buy it and hire a pilot. Have him train you as you go for the first year or 2. Then work up to your instrument rating over the third year.

As you become more comfortable as pilot-in-command you can phase him out.

You know what the still running engine on a light twin is called? The one that takes you to the scene of the accident. Lower end twins have a very poor safety record.

As a plan "B" look into chartering an aircraft for a few years to see how it works out.

Operating a high end single engine aircraft or any twin today is a VERY expensive option.

I hope your company makes lotza money but I would bet there are very few small companies that can support aircraft ownership.

Link Posted: 10/31/2010 3:49:01 PM EDT
Will it be feasibLE? NO

Unless you can get a turbine aircraft (reliability) instrument ticket (weather) and quite literally a million dollars to spend on fuel and insurance. No.

Time to spare, go by air
Link Posted: 10/31/2010 6:19:46 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/31/2010 6:24:24 PM EDT by Kalahnikid]
If you're only looking to fly a few times a month, its not worth the cost.

If I were in your shoes I would buy the plane and hire a local pilot to do the flying. Im sure there is a CFI near you that would love to pick that up as a little side job.

ETA: And if you have the money, now is the time to buy a light twin.
Link Posted: 11/1/2010 7:20:45 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Morne:
...about 240 straightline miles away from my house, but 360 miles by car (winding roads through mountains). While I don't have to be at the plant everyday, or even every week, I certainly need to go a couple of times a month plus the need to make sales calls to potential customers all across the country. There is no commercial airport close to where I need to go for the production facility. Rather than drive all that way, I figure I could fly in to a General Aviation airport only 10 miles from the production facility (I have a couple General Aviation airports close to my house, too). Why not turn a 6-hour drive into a 1.5 hour flight? That way I could fly down and back in the same day if I wanted to.
This is a great scenario where GA shines - with caveats. For example, I recently had a business trip in a city about 5 hours away by car, but only 2.5 hours by plane. Of course, add the extra .5 hour in front and back to cover getting the plane prepped for takeoff and getting the rental car on the road at the destination, so the one way trip by plane saved about 1.5 hours each way. The real point is I was able to spend about half a day in the office, then fly to my afternoon meeting, then fly home to sleep in my own bed at my normal bedtime.

Aircraft choice:
While the airports I'd likely be using on a regular basis are both sizable (5000+ foot runways), I am certain to be flying through some mountains in between. Thus, I'm leaning towards finding a used 2-engine prop like a Beech Baron, Cessna 310 or Piper Twin Comanche. This aircraft may also be used to go on vacations with (wife plus another couple - he's a pilot already), so 4-person seating is desirable. Any other recommendations? Thoughts on operating costs for these birds? Or am I overthinking this and should just stick with a single-engine prop? Also, do people usually buy their plane while still taking lessons, so as to avoid having to pay aircraft rental fees?
It sounds like you've got a good idea of the mission. What you haven't given us is geographical reference. "Mountain" has a different meaning in various parts of the country. Are you talking about 6k Appalachian peaks? 14k Colorado Rocky peaks? 2.5k Ozark peaks? I can surmise your "mountains" are of the Rocky or Sierra Nevada kind based on your desire for a twin, but it does make a difference.

Keep in mind that altitudes above 12.5k feet will require you to use oxygen or a pressurized cabin. Pressurized is going to add a lot of cost. Oxygen will add funny tubes you and your passengers. As with evertying else in life, it's all about the compromises.

Twins can carry more weight, but this is not necessarily the case. High altitudes may also require turbonormalized engines regardless of twin or single. Once you start putting turbos on engines, your options (and costs) open up, so don't think you have to get a twin to meet your mission.

Also, owning isn't necessarily the best option, either. Other options include fractional ownership, club, or rentals. They all have cost, availability, and other considerations, but the point is to avoid prematurely locking into a particular acquisition model. Investigate the options in concert with consultation with your tax professional to see what option(s) work best for your scenario. Some pilots buy a small C150 for initial training with the intent of selling it soon after getting the certificate. Others buy the plane they want to fly then get training in the plane they plan to keep for many years. Still others consider renting the better option. Right now is a buyer's market for planes. Keep that in mind when deciding whether to buy with the intent of selling in the next year or so.

Reimbursement:
Since I'll mostly be flying to and from the plant, I'd like to be able to be reimbursed for my travel costs. Not flying for profit, mind you, just want the gas and wear/tear taken care of. Is this kosher for a Private Pilot to do? If so, what sort of mileage rate can you get? I know you can get 50 cents a mile using your private car for business, is there something comparable for using your own plane?

The IRS does have a mileage reimbursement schedule for aircraft use. Unless your new company wants to exceed that on their own - and that your corporate insurance allows it (definitely not a guarantee), this is the rate you can expect to recover (currently $1.07/nm). While one may reasonably expect the car mileage rate to cover most expenses for gas, maintenance, etc., the rate for airplanes may fall well short of your fuel costs much less oil, maintenance, and engine reserve.

For example, I fly a 1967 Cessna 182 with a non-turbo carbureted engine. I belong to a club (technically a shareholder in a non-profit corporation that owns the plane) that charges $115/hr wet (meaning it includes fuel costs) and charges only for actual flight time. (This is a key differentiator from most rental outfits that charge a daily minimum if you take the plane cross country.) The trip I mentioned above covered 556nm round trip and reflected a total operating time of 5.4 hours (must include head/tailwinds and ATC in times) resulting in a total cost of $621. The IRS would reimburse me a total of $594.92 were I to expense it. You'll need to consult a tax professional to see whether additional costs can be applied to your particular situation, but you can see how straight reimbursement rules play into a real life scenario.

Actual fuel burn for our engine averages around 12 gallons per hour as we tend to lean it rather rich of peak right now. When I fly longer distances and climb up to my preferred altitudes of 10-12k, fuel burn drops to around 10.5-11gph. Oil consumption is nominal at about 1qt/10hrs. A twin is going to just about double these values. Turbine/turboprop aircraft are a completely different league.

Overall feasibility:
I realize some of the potential hangups. Buying used means having to deal with existing maintenance issues in addition to the periodic maintenance going forward. Obviously I'd have to get my private pilot's license, but the time to do that can occur during the next several months while the production facility is being set-up. Weather may not always cooperate (and the airport near the production facility does not have precision approach). Et cetera. Anything else obvious I'm missing?
I think the scenario as described hits the sweet spot of GA. It turns a two-day drive into a one-day flight. Commercial carriers may not serve the location or may require transfers that turn a one-day flight into a two-day experience.

However, this scenario will require an instrument rating to be anything close to realistic. If the weather in the area has 300+ sunny days every years, then a VFR pilot may be feasible, but most areas of the country in this scenario will demand an instrument rating to be successful. You didn't mention whether the airports in question have non-precision approaches, but those can get you under much of the weather in many parts of the country. For example, precision approaches have rarely been necessary in my years of GA flying on the east coast (since 1997). (Proficiency/currency considerations notwithstanding, of course.) Even if the airports are both sunny, weather in between can easily be under VFR minimums.

That said, I'm going to echo some of the other comments in that the time required for training is significant and varies from person to person. I took almost two years to get my private due to start/stop/restart scheduling. Getting a private today will cost $10-12k (perhaps a bit more) using a decently equipped single engine plane. If you can dedicate yourself to a schedule of 2-3 flights per week (say, 3 flight hours per week) and are competent on the controls, you may be able to complete this in 3 months. I would expect 4 months. Getting an instrument rating will add more time and expense. A dedicated schedule for the full ticket will require 6-7 months and perhaps $25k.

Going to schools that specialize in accelerated training can reduce the time, but will require you to attend full time classes over several weeks and may add significant cost. Also, there are multiple points of view regarding these schools. Some folks view them as akin to cramming a lot of foam into a small sack. You can get the foam (information) to fit into the sack (the brain) for a period of time, but the foam expands quickly to spill out (as in the pilot may start to forget things shortly after the checkride). In short, some folks think the lack of real world experience for these graduates can present safety problems. Others see that theory as hogwash and point to the safety record of such outfits as well as the ability to get pilots into the ranks quickly - something the GA domain needs more than anything. FWIW, one of my club members ran the Cleveland FSDO and is a big fan of the compressed schedule schools - especially for the instrument rating. There is merit to both sides of the discussion and you'll need to investigate the options and evaluate your own capabilities to see which is a better fit.

Regardless, you're going to need a very significant time and money commitment in order to make this scenario realistic. I'm definitely not trying to scare you off, but we also need to confront the reality that flying is a much more expensive hobby than shooting - even if you apply the hobby to a business scenario.

Once you get the ticket, however, the doors really open up to what you can do. For example, I can easily make a couple beach weekend getaways with the plane that would be unrealistic in the car. I can hit almost any airport from Buffalo, NY to the Outer Banks of NC in 2 hours or less. This Thanksgiving will once again see us turn a 9.5 hour one way drive into a 8.5 hour round trip in the plane - landing less than 5 miles from my family's home. I greatly value my certificate and instrument rating and put it to use regularly. To do that requires a regular time and money commitment to maintain currency and proficiency, but the payoff is large enough for me to keep doing it. Nevermind the sheer joy of flying itself.

Oh, let's not forget the security lines, either. Most of the GA airports I use allow me to drive my car to the plane for loading and unloading. Even if they don't, avoiding the TSA allows me to leave my front door in northern VA and be in NC before my wife leaves the ground from Dulles (IAD) heading the same direction. Another real-world example: My wife and I left the hotel in Charlotte, NC to return home. She was flying commercial and I was in "my" plane. I drove the rental car from downtown Charlotte to Concord, NC, returned the car, preflighed the plane, flew home to KJYO, secured the plane, drove home, and still beat her there by almost an hour. Both of us had direct flights, too.

Be sure to let us know what you ultimately decide.
Link Posted: 11/1/2010 7:35:56 AM EDT
A safe, fairly simple single with some bad-weather capability is my suggestion - my 182 I think is the perfect plane for your situation. I also use mine some for business and I prefer the flexibility of using it for any travel east of the Mississippi R. I have an instrument rating and a fairly diverse experience level, yet I still often can't fly because of weather (storms and ice stop me). I think the PLAN of high performance single or a twin is a mistake - you should build a lot of experience in a 172, 182 or similar before making that move. Frankly, in your situation a 150 would give you a time advantage, and if you had the discipline to use it when weather permits and drive otherwise, it'd be a good experience builder. Airplanes aren't cheap - you can't justify with $ savings but I can justify with time savings (which for me is $) and flexibility.

Link Posted: 11/1/2010 9:54:55 AM EDT
Thanks everyone for all the replies. Even the cold water "reality checks" - I want to hear those, too.

To answer a few questions:
-The mountains I'm talking about are those in West Virginia.
-I don't expect to save money, just TIME. My wife emphasized that she's fine with me spending the money if I can cut down on my TIME away from home.
-I wholly understand and agree that "flying with an instructor" for the first few years after getting my ticket is the smart thing to do. IIRC, pro-athletes with their own planes are contractually required to do this, and it is just smart.
-Yes, the airports I intend to use have non-precision approaches.
-Again to save time, I intend on leaving a car (my wife's old car, just bought her a nice new one) at my usual destination for use while at the plant, so messing with a rental car is no big deal. Another advantage of this is that if the weather is too bad to fly (or even threatening to be), then I can always drive my car home.
-I'll definitely take some lessons first just to see if flying is "for me".

Now for some more questions, as every good conversation prompts:
-I see people referring to the aircraft I mentioned as "high performance". What makes them "high performance"? And is the point analogous to a kid buying a crotch-rocket for his first motorcyle and being completely overwhelmed?
-How heavily does the periodic maintenance factor into overall operating costs? Obviously a twin will have double the engine and prop maintenance.
-I see people saying that if I am only going to the plant a couple times a month then it might not be beneficial. What sort of commuting frequency would make it worthwhile? Are we talking 50 flying hours a month?
-Do people with multi-engine aircraft usually make their birds available for rent to the local CFIs (at least those checked out on it) to help justify the ownership cost?

Thanks, again!
Link Posted: 11/1/2010 10:51:11 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Morne:
-The mountains I'm talking about are those in West Virginia.
My opinion: A twin may be more expense than necessary, but you'll need to keep in mind your desired mission and payload requirements. For consideration, virtually any normally aspirated (i.e., non-turbo) single can carry you at safe altitudes above the Appalachians.

-I don't expect to save money, just TIME.
Do you have a plane budget in mind?

-I wholly understand and agree that "flying with an instructor" for the first few years after getting my ticket is the smart thing to do.
I don't think that's necessary nor do I think that's what was intended by other posts. I think folks were presenting the option of essentially taking lessons concurrent with flying to and from the plant in the interest of time management. Once you get your ticket, you should be proficient enough to be on your own - but you're the ultimate judge of safety.

-Again to save time, I intend on leaving a car (my wife's old car, just bought her a nice new one) at my usual destination for use while at the plant, so messing with a rental car is no big deal. Another advantage of this is that if the weather is too bad to fly (or even threatening to be), then I can always drive my car home.
Excellent plan.

-I see people referring to the aircraft I mentioned as "high performance". What makes them "high performance"? And is the point analogous to a kid buying a crotch-rocket for his first motorcyle and being completely overwhelmed?
"HP" = more than 200 horsepower. "Complex" = retractable landing gear. Some designs are more draggy than others and need the HP to maintain semblance of speed. Others, like Mooney and Columbia/Corvalis, are slick piston singles that are equivalent to airborne "crotch rockets." For comparison, my C182 qualifies as "High Performance" but I get a mere 120 knots true airspeed at cruise. It's the airborne equivalent of a bus - but if I can get the doors closed, it will fly. Basically, there's a "time buffer" around (particularly in front of) the airplane. It's different for each pilot and is the time necessary to properly plan where the plane is going to be and what it will be doing. You do it with your car, too, but it's "staying ahead of the plane" and the faster the plane, the more distance is needed to stay ahead of the plane. There's a saying: Be sure the airplane doesn't get there before you do.

-How heavily does the periodic maintenance factor into overall operating costs?
I'd budget $3000-5000 for annual inspection and related expenses. This may be high or low depending on a number of factors including powerplant type, airframe type, age, engine time, etc.

-I see people saying that if I am only going to the plant a couple times a month then it might not be beneficial. What sort of commuting frequency would make it worthwhile? Are we talking 50 flying hours a month?
Man have you kicked the ant hill... This is the core of many cost-benefit/rent-buy discussions. Google for "airplance purchase spreadsheet" for some good modeling tools. In a nutshell, if you fly less than 100 hours per year, renting is probably more economical - but every situation is different. For example, how much is "always available" worth in your situation?

-Do people with multi-engine aircraft usually make their birds available for rent to the local CFIs (at least those checked out on it) to help justify the ownership cost?
This is the "leaseback" scenario. Google will help here, too. Also, check with your tax professional to see if he has or knows anybody with experience in this area. I've known some folks that did this and I've heard mixed results.
Link Posted: 11/1/2010 1:22:58 PM EDT
Don't lease you twin to the flight school if it is turbocharged. Multi engine training is is rough on engines, murder on turbocharged engines.
Link Posted: 11/2/2010 4:40:50 AM EDT
Unfortunately you are a LONG way off from being a safe proficient insurable aircraft owner that can accomplish what your mission is.

That being said your goal IS within reach.

One of the first things, if not THE first thing to consider is your ability to maintain your medical going forward. It can be very difficult to keep that little piece of paper and the smallest issue could blow your whole plan to bits in the future.

Let`s say you get your plane, training, time, money and skill in place and you find that you were charged with a DUI. I said "charged" not convicted. You WILL have your medical suspended. PERIOD.

Let`s say you`re doing well and the factory is up and running and you have blood in your urine at your next physical. You will NOT be flying anymore.

Let`s say you have a vision issue and go to the eye doc and find that you need glasses. You may very well be finished flying.

These are extreme examples I`ve listed but they DO happen to people just like you.

The point I`m trying to make is that for any reason at all your flying can come to a complete halt. Car wreck, heart attack, busting class B airspace or any number of things will put you back in your car.

Enough of the bad stuff.

My plan was as follows and was very effective during my flying life of over twenty yrs.

1) Buy a trainer aircraft
2) Learn to fly in under 60 days by flying every minute you can
3) Sell trainer for slight profit
4) But Cessna 182
5) Fly it for 1-4 yrs––-During this time after you have 150-300 hours call "PIC" and have them come to your home or business and GET YOUR INSTRUMENT TICKET. DO THIS
6) Sell the 182 and buy B36TC and travel the country in comfort.


Most insurance companies are going to have minimum standards that you will have to meet before they will insure you. The Cessna 182 will help you greatly in this regard. You will be building time in a "high performance complex aircraft". This will NOT get you insured in any retractable gear aircraft BUT you WILL be able to get insurance if you agree to fly with an instructor for "X" number of hours.

I cannot stress this enough––get your instrument ticket. It WILL save your life. I didn`t realize what a terrible pilot I really was `till I`d had my IFR ticket for about a year. Sure I could fly but I wasn`t really "flying". When you can file and fly into HOU at minimums with confidence and all that a flight like that entails you`ll then be a pilot. When you hear "respect" from the controllers because YOU aren`t causing them a problem then you`ll know you`re a pilot.

Time for more coffee. Good luck.
Link Posted: 11/2/2010 7:26:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/2/2010 7:27:29 AM EDT by tknogeek]
Originally Posted By ACEB36TC:
Most insurance companies are going to have minimum standards that you will have to meet before they will insure you. The Cessna 182 will help you greatly in this regard. You will be building time in a "high performance complex aircraft".
Say again model?

Most Skylanes don't meet the definition of "complex" - unless you buy a particular model with retractable gear.

14 CFR 61.31e
Additional training required for operating complex airplanes. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of a complex airplane (an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller; or, in the case of a seaplane, flaps and a controllable pitch propeller), unless...


The insurance constraint is a good point and is more likely to apply in the case of the "airborne crotch rockets" discussed above.
Link Posted: 11/2/2010 3:39:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By tknogeek:
Originally Posted By ACEB36TC:
Most insurance companies are going to have minimum standards that you will have to meet before they will insure you. The Cessna 182 will help you greatly in this regard. You will be building time in a "high performance complex aircraft".
Say again model?

Most Skylanes don't meet the definition of "complex" - unless you buy a particular model with retractable gear.

14 CFR 61.31e
Additional training required for operating complex airplanes. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of a complex airplane (an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller; or, in the case of a seaplane, flaps and a controllable pitch propeller), unless...


The insurance constraint is a good point and is more likely to apply in the case of the "airborne crotch rockets" discussed above.


My bad..I was thinking about the prop,,,,and I was sitting on the back porch looking at the massively painful cuts on my left thumb and forefinger I self-inflicted in the process of opening a can of dog food for BOXERDOG. We just moved and all I had was some white atheletic tape and acetone.

Link Posted: 11/2/2010 4:01:26 PM EDT
Originally Posted By ACEB36TC:
...I was sitting on the back porch looking at the massively painful cuts on my left thumb and forefinger I self-inflicted in the process of opening a can of dog food for BOXERDOG. We just moved and all I had was some white atheletic tape and acetone.
Ouch!
Link Posted: 11/3/2010 9:05:22 AM EDT
Originally Posted By tknogeek:
Originally Posted By ACEB36TC:
...I was sitting on the back porch looking at the massively painful cuts on my left thumb and forefinger I self-inflicted in the process of opening a can of dog food for BOXERDOG. We just moved and all I had was some white atheletic tape and acetone.
Ouch!


Acetone (dimethylketone) is produced by your body in very small amounts. It IS a very strong solvent. It also burns like hell when you dip your cut finger in it!!!!!!!!!!!!! The application of acetone followed by bandaging with Scotch 33 brand black electrical tape is a VERY effective trick for skin cuts. Typically a cut requiring one or more stitches , treated in the above fashion, will be good to go in 1-2 days.

Link Posted: 12/4/2010 6:40:56 PM EDT
***UPDATE***

Well the deal went through! But like a lot of business deals, things change. I'm not going to be the CEO anymore, but am still a sizable share holder. I'll also still be pretty involved getting things set-up, but after that my required involvement should decrease. All things considered, I'm happy with how the deal shook out. I have less pressure on me and still can reap some of the anticipated rewards.

As it pertains to flying though, this development does reduce the "need" for getting my ticket. Still considering doing it, of course, but by the time I can fly on my own my need to be at the plant will probably be down to once per month. That's worsens the case for aircraft ownership in my application, at least as it pertains to the "business travel" end of it.

I have the names of a few instructors in the area and will be contacting them soon to see about starting off. My buddy who is a pilot (and a CFI, but he lives several hours away) has already warned me that it is IMPERATIVE to get along well with your instructor. He made sure I understood that if we're not "gelling" to drop that instructor like a bad habit and get someone else. That's why I have a couple of numbers on hand to call, I want options.

The local skypark has a formal ground school class that meets one night a week for 15 weeks. Thinking about doing that. Opinions on a formal classroom setting for ground school?

Regardless, I am pretty sure that my New Year's resolution will be to get my PPL.
Link Posted: 12/4/2010 6:46:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Morne:
He made sure I understood that if we're not "gelling" to drop that instructor like a bad habit and get someone else. That's why I have a couple of numbers on hand to call, I want options.

The local skypark has a formal ground school class that meets one night a week for 15 weeks. Thinking about doing that. Opinions on a formal classroom setting for ground school?

Regardless, I am pretty sure that my New Year's resolution will be to get my PPL.


Yes, you need to gell with your instructor. I went through 2 before I found "the guy" and it was worth it. You'll be spending a lot of time sitting next to this person in a small plane so make sure its someone you're comfortable with. I kinda just asked myself "could I go have a beer with this dude when the lessons over?"

Ground school: Some people will tell you its a waste of money, others think its great. It just depends on how you learn. Do you prefer a classroom vs. self study?

Congrats on both your business deal, and your decision to become a pilot. Its a very rewarding experience.
Link Posted: 12/4/2010 9:17:17 PM EDT
Are you planning on flying any of the members of your company with you?

Something to think about - if your company gets large enough and earns enough money, you and your partners will soon be taking different aircraft on your trips.. I've flown for 2 different corporate flight departments that grew from small time "let's start with a Baron" to "We need a Lear 60 for each exec and a Citation X for the bossman." They also were at a point where before they each got their own "aircraft" they often took airliners to meetings, different flights on different companies - all of this at the request of the banks they worked with.. I am currently flying a bit of the side with a company that is going through the exact same thing.. They have gotten large enough where the Navajo turned into a Mu2 and now the Mu2 is about to turn into 2 or 3 Mu2's..

Just something to think about..
Link Posted: 12/7/2010 7:05:20 AM EDT
Spoke to an instructor the other day and he gave me lots of good info. Friendly fella, too. Going to sign up for a formal ground school at the nearest airport. Class starts in January.

Guess it is time to find an AME and get my medical certificate. I don't foresee any problem, having read up on it a bit.
Link Posted: 12/7/2010 8:38:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Morne:
The local skypark has a formal ground school class that meets one night a week for 15 weeks. Thinking about doing that. Opinions on a formal classroom setting for ground school?

Some folks do well in a structured environment, others do better unstructured. That said, ~4 months to pass the written seems like a good schedule.
Link Posted: 12/7/2010 8:43:47 AM EDT
Originally Posted By tknogeek:
Originally Posted By Morne:
The local skypark has a formal ground school class that meets one night a week for 15 weeks. Thinking about doing that. Opinions on a formal classroom setting for ground school?

Some folks do well in a structured environment, others do better unstructured. That said, ~4 months to pass the written seems like a good schedule.


Yeah that would be good. It took me about two years of on / off self study before I really hunkered down on it for a couple months.
Link Posted: 12/7/2010 10:50:34 AM EDT
Sounds like you need to get your ticket and join a club, check-out the local FBO rentals, or buy part of a plane. That would get you the ability to move yourself over and back once a month for giggles plus let you enjoy the other aspects of flight as you see fit.
Link Posted: 12/7/2010 11:01:44 AM EDT
In my opinion, you should get a 182 or 210. A twin would be nice, but the distances you are describing see too short to see a benefit. Hire a local experienced CFI to fly you in the meantime while you train and work towards your private pilot cert. and instrument rating.

Expect to drive on days when the weather is bad, and be prepared to stay in hotels.
Link Posted: 12/8/2010 8:42:08 AM EDT
Here is my take on your situation: Quit worrying about what type of aircraft you should get. This problem will sort itself out the further you get into aviation. You have to learn to walk before you can run. Find out if flying is in your blood first. By taking ground school and more particularly quality flight lessons you probably will find this out. If all flying means to you is transportation to your new plant I would not recommend it. It should mean more to you. Being proficent at the art and science of flying requires that you love or at least really like the activity which is more than just a casual hobby in my opinion. There is always something; new to learn, a new rating to get, keeping current and proficient in your airplane, keeping abreast of the latest FAA regs requires attention. Owning an aircraft also means buying or leasing a hangar, learning basic aircraft systems, attending to maintenance schedules, keeping abreast of AD's and SB's etc. etc. These items will become a burden instead of a challenge/fun to you if all flying means is transportation to a meeting. Hell, some of them are burdens on everybody who loves to fly but we deal with them beacuse there is more positive than negative.

Good luck and have fun starting out in this adventure we call flying.
Link Posted: 12/8/2010 2:16:52 PM EDT
Your talking a new pilot with little to no training. Flying for his own business, in a mountainous region in Ohio. Hate to say it but this isn't looking so good the more and more I read. You will not save money with maintenance, housing/landing fees. Flying a mountainous region with no Instrument Rating will result in days upon days of waiting for weather to clear. On top of that a bad day at the office could be a fatal day at the yoke. Good luck with what you do but got a lot riding against you.
Link Posted: 12/15/2010 2:54:44 PM EDT
Passed my medical. Now to enroll in the ground school.
Link Posted: 1/20/2011 4:31:09 AM EDT
Ground school has started and thus far it is very easy. But then, classroom settings always were easy for me. Took a quiz on the first chapter and I got a 100%.

The weather sucks out loud up here in Ohio but I have flown the past two weeks. Joined the local club and scheduled two days each week, usually one or the other pans out with the weather gods. I am hoping that if I can get up there for 1.5-ish hours each week while the weather is bad then I'll be ahead of the curve when Springtime finally hits. Ideally, I'll get done with ground school and flight instruction at about the same time.
Link Posted: 1/31/2011 1:50:40 PM EDT
Learning a lot sbout GA headaches lately. Weather kept me down all last week. Today we had perfect weather but the plane had multiple items needing maintenance (that preflight is not just a formality).

Oh well, these things happen.
Link Posted: 1/31/2011 1:55:02 PM EDT
Learning to fly + winter + midwest = suckage.

Last year I was at the point where I was needing to do my x/c's but the weather never cooperated and it would be a month or more between lessons and then I was rusty. We're on the downhill slide though!
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