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Getting a sport or private pilot license: where?

Getting a sport or private pilot license: where?

Old Aug 31, 20, 1:46 am
  #16  
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wow, thank you all for so many incredibly valuable contributions! Will need to process all of this to further refine my thinking. I'm in no hurry, but my age starts with a 4 (and its double digits...) so I feel like it's now or never. And yes, my wife is aware of the mid-life crisis (I call it a midlife epiphany...) aspect of this idea ;-)

it also means that I am not on a very tight budget. I always seek for value-for-money, but I can easily afford to get 20 or 30 more hours than strictly required, if the instructor and I feel that's what I need.

Totally get why mountains wouldn't make the best training environment, so I'll disregard that idea. I guess your first 40 odd hours, the least of your concern is how gorgeous the scenery is? For reference: I did my initial diving training in Borneo, and because there was no pool, we did the 'pool exercises' on a shallow part of the reef. The very first time I submerged wearing scuba gear, there were sharks and turtles. That was kinda distracting...
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Old Aug 31, 20, 2:58 am
  #17  
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I think a point being made earlier was that you need to consider the not-insignificant ramifications of being in a foreign country for three/four months. Even if you do get in, there are considerations around medical insurance and other travel-related concerns. I'm thinking of something similar but not sure how/if I can spend four months at our Florida home in the current environment.
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Old Aug 31, 20, 3:30 am
  #18  
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maybe its a stupid question, but could you do lets say 80% of your training in a certain place, and then complete it elsewhere?
let's say I have 6 weeks in total in AZ, and I fail to complete the training and have to come back come. Could I complete it here in Europe? I assume the hours flown would still count?
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Old Aug 31, 20, 9:33 am
  #19  
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There's no doubt about all the go pro cams in cockpits these days broadcast on you tube must be increasing flight school enrollments.

I just hope pilot wannabees don't think they can be Steveo1Kinevo in 90 days.

Last edited by enviroian; Aug 31, 20 at 9:45 am
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Old Aug 31, 20, 10:55 am
  #20  
 
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Originally Posted by fwerfel View Post
maybe its a stupid question, but could you do lets say 80% of your training in a certain place, and then complete it elsewhere?
let's say I have 6 weeks in total in AZ, and I fail to complete the training and have to come back come. Could I complete it here in Europe? I assume the hours flown would still count?
I don't know the EASA requirements, but I would think that most CFIs in the USA would not qualify to provide instruction under an EASA program, thus the hours may not transfer -- or at least not easily. If needing to leave before completion is likely (and perhaps even if it's not), I'd try to find one of those programs that would transfer a little easier because they operate under EASA requirements. A quick google search found a few in Arizona, for instance (https://pea.com/international-students/easa-program/).

Note these type of flight schools tend to come with similar disadvantages to the large operations previous posters warned about (I agree with them). Just something worth considering if you may leave early.

Learning to fly is awesome, and well worth it. I definitely also agree with not trying to fly too often -- twice a week was the sweet spot for me during my private. Good luck...keep us up to date with your choices and adventures!
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Old Aug 31, 20, 12:22 pm
  #21  
 
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I think it would be a lot simpler if you picked one country and did everything there. Once certificated, the process of transferring to your home country should be relatively easy.

Lots of Europeans come to the USA for flight training due to the cost, less restrictive regulation, and weather. In ~1988, I took a Dane from zero to private pilot in 31 days in Arizona. He said that the entire cost of his trip, lodging, and training was well under what the cost would have been in Denmark.
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Old Sep 1, 20, 6:27 am
  #22  
 
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How much should one expect this to cost? I imagine itís tens of thousands but donít know if itís closer to 20k or 80k? How much in time and money is it to get a instrument flying license?
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Old Sep 1, 20, 10:23 am
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by travelinmanS View Post
How much should one expect this to cost? I imagine it’s tens of thousands but don’t know if it’s closer to 20k or 80k? How much in time and money is it to get a instrument flying license?
In the US, you can probably still become a private pilot for under $10,000 if you work hard and use an older, less expensive airplane. Don't be distracted by the newer, fancier airplanes with fancy avionics. You don't need any of that to learn to fly. You can learn about them after you are certificated with a little self-study and a flight or two with an instructor.

Another way to save money is if you can be effective with your self studying. The FAA handbooks, I linked to above, are cheap in book form and free in pdf form. The more self-study you do the fewer hours of ground instruction you pay your instructor for.

That will get you the private pilot certificate. Those who intend to use an airplane for serious traveling will want to go on and get an instrument rating. Those on a professional track will need commercial pilot, flight instructor, and multi-engine certifications. Costs vary widely depending on how you do it all. Someone who is diligent at pursuing the goal of keeping the costs down can achieve significant savings.
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Old Sep 3, 20, 12:05 pm
  #24  
 
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One of the things to decide is not only what do you want to spend on getting a PPL, but what to spend afterwards. If you don't have your own aircraft (and a good idea even if you do) is that clubs you can rent from expect currency within 56 (some 28) days, otherwise an instructor needs to revalidate you. So 6-9 days' flights per year, every year.

I chose a club close to home, did mainly weekends plus a few holiday days. Being London, an amount was lost to weather, but not too much - rain in the morning was often gone by the afternoon. Spend the waiting time on the examination work, even rehearsing things inside a cockpit on your own.

It may sound trivial, but our club field had a one-man shop concession, who sold just about everything. It was so convenient if, say, you turned up with your fuel sampler missing, to just go and get another one. Sure, things are cheaper online, but the convenience scored.

Be aware that expectations of "40 hours" etc are a minimum. My instructor had actually done it in the minimums, one of the few, and a couple of years later was flying jets commercially, but that was sufficiently unusual to be commented on.

An older good old C152 or PA28 is perfectly reasonable to get your PPL on.
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Old Sep 3, 20, 3:28 pm
  #25  
 
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
I suppose a consideration is where you are currently based.
Not at all. Assuming visa considerations aren't an issue, recreational flying is so ridiculously expensive in Europe that many European pilots come to the US to learn to fly and build time and ratings.

If building time quickly is the goal, go someplace with generally clear skies and good weather. Arizona/Southern Nevada fit the bill quite nicely. I would absolutely NOT go to Coastal California (unless you are pursuing an instrument rating in which case the SF Bay Area is absolutely ideal... unless you have a lousy CFII who is scared to fly and teach in actual IMC... if so, fire him/her and find a CFII who has lots of actual instrument time and is not afraid of the clouds).

I'd be a little concerned about learning in Florida just because of the prevalence of thunderstorms that may cause a lot of canceled flights.
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Old Sep 3, 20, 5:32 pm
  #26  
 
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Originally Posted by travelinmanS View Post
How much should one expect this to cost? I imagine itís tens of thousands but donít know if itís closer to 20k or 80k? How much in time and money is it to get a instrument flying license?
I got my PPL in 2005 and IR in 2006 in the southeast USA. Both were between $6000-$8000 (each) near the minimum number of hours. I think for private and instrument together at a cheaper location you would be looking at close to $20k all in once you include flight training and buy the requisite Bose headset, Ray Bans, and epaulets.

I'm being sarcastic...but the $20k range in the USA would be reasonable at the low end. My flying club (one of the cheapest ways to rent) rents a late-90's vintage 180HP Cessna 172R/S for $117/hour I believe (pretty reasonable), and instructors are $30-$40/hr (cheaper than average) on top of that. So for a PPL, $147/hour times the national average that I have seen at 60-75 hours gives you between $8,820 and $11,025.
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Old Sep 4, 20, 1:33 am
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Herb687 View Post
Not at all. Assuming visa considerations aren't an issue...
Why would you assume that? At the moment, there is no realistic way someone based in Europe is going to be admitted to the US. When will those restrictions be lifted?
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Old Sep 4, 20, 9:40 am
  #28  
 
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Originally Posted by LondonElite View Post
Why would you assume that? At the moment, there is no realistic way someone based in Europe is going to be admitted to the US. When will those restrictions be lifted?
How would I know? I didn't realize being able to fire up that Lycoming engine tomorrow was OP's primary objective. Given what Europeans have told me about the relative affordability of flying light aircraft here versus over there, OP would likely save a lot of money by waiting until it's possible to go through flight training here.

As to getting an instrument rating, I assume that my comments above with regards to the SF Bay Area would also apply to LON. I bet LON is a great place to work on an instrument rating: plenty of opportunity to spend time in actual hard IMC.

Fog, of course, being the best kind of hard IMC in which to start learning instrument flying. Fog is usually associated with very light wind or none at all.
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Old Sep 4, 20, 12:41 pm
  #29  
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Old Sep 5, 20, 7:29 pm
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Look into EAA, there are always meet ups all over the world for private pilots. Let me know if you make it OSH for Airventure, largest general aviation gathering in the world.
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