cert or build first?

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ozzmac920

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Mar 15, 2016
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Looking for some advice. So, I'm a prospective pilot and would like to build from a kit. As for getting my PPC, the next step is visiting an AME and start taking flight training. As for starting my build, the next step is filling out the order form.
I'm lucky enough to live near Torrance CA. So the place I'm going to get my kit from, avionics and flight instruction are all one and the same. TAF for the sling 4 quick build kit, MGL for the avionics and Sling flying club for the instruction.
Problem is, what to do first??? Do I get my cert first and rent while I build or build first and get trained in my own plane when it's all finished?
While I'm not in any particular hurry, I would like to fly sooner rather than later. But... GA isn't the cheapest thing I can do with my time, so I expect to shell out some money, but building first would save on rental costs in the long run.
It's a conundrum, any insight would be helpful.
 

Victor Bravo

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KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Definitely start flying now, and build the plane either at the same time or after the training is complete per your budget/finances.

If they're all in one place and under one umbrella, you can definitely negotiate the crap out of them. No reason to pay full retail gringo tourist price when you are buying so much from them.

Tell them that you will agree to do all your flight training and kit purchase and avionics purchase with them, and that you will start training immediately... but after you have completed the flight training and are ready to buy the kit you want the full value of the flight training aircraft rental applied to the aircraft kit purchase.

Make sure you don't let them sneak back in later and mysteriously raise the price of the kit or the avionics to cover the "discount". Lock all that in at the beginning, which further protects you from (unrelated) price increases later.
 

TFF

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Learn to fly first. Expensive but once that is under your belt, you can do anything. Build a plane first and you can watch others fly it until you learn how. It is actually cheaper in the long run to learn to fly first. Your tastes might change too; you might want something different after learning how to fly.
 

BBerson

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Go to solo. No need to go further till you get more experience.
I did about 10 hours *of dual in a rented C 150 before solo. Then my brother and I rebuilt an Aeronca Chief over the winter.
Then I got about 50 cheap hours solo in the Chief before the Private check ride.
Rent a plane once a month or two to stay current.


* 10 hours in 1975. Probably milk you for 20 hours now. Ask for instrument and night lessons and radio stuff to be delayed if possible if you want to solo soon.
 

Joe Fisher

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Galesburg, KS South east Kansas
What I would recommend you do is first learn the basics of flying the airplane. I would recommend that you go out to Apple Vally. Take your first lessons there. They do not have a control tower and you can concentrate on learning to fly the airplane. You can tell them you want to train for a sport license. Make sure that you fly with a regular CFI not sport pilot CFI. You do not want instrument, Control tower or night training. Just get the experience flying the airplane. Then you can go back to Hawthorn and build on that experience.
 

Dan Thomas

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Building an airplane and thinking you'll learn to fly in it? Probably won't happen. For one thing, no instructor is going to get into an untested airplane (not legal here in Canada and probably not in the US either) and for another, you could be a long time putting the thing together. There's an urge to give up when you don't have the motivation provided by flight experience, and there's also the fact that you don't really know yet what sort of flying you'll like so you don't know what sort of airplane you'll want.

Get the license, fly a bunch of different airplanes, and then pick something.
 

xrfred

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Mar 15, 2016
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Bloomington Il
How much spare time do you have? that's a big question. Have you looked at the scheduler for the club aircraft.
How many instructors are availabe? I am in a club and there is always a couple a holes who go and reserve the plane four days a week or every sat and sunday morning for two months. That can really slow you down.
I am doing both currently but building with my father. Ready for my checkride in a couple weeks after 8 months and my first instructor moving away. Plane is 90 percent done 90 percent to go..

Cheers,
Fred
 

kent Ashton

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As a cheapskate, I would buy a cheap two seat experimental and get lessons in it (find a cooperative CFI). It will teach you a lot about airplanes, save piles of money, and help your figure out what you want in an airplane. After you get the ticket, you can likely sell it for about what you paid for it, then build the Sling if you're still inclined, or fly it while you are building your Sling.

No need to thank me for that great idea. :)
 

Turd Ferguson

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As a cheapskate, I would buy a cheap two seat experimental and get lessons in it (find a cooperative CFI).
No need to thank me for that great idea. :)
I would do the same but I would choose a C-150 since he wants to get a PPC. Plenty of C-150's around and easy to sell when done.

Also no need to thank me.....lol
 

TahoeTim

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stick to your plan

if you want a sling, then learn in a sling and start building

your first flight in your sling will be less stressful since you will know the plane

do NOT buy a stinky old turd Cessna to save a few bucks; dumb idea
if you want to save a few bucks, get your sport pilot ticket and upgrade to PP in a year or two
 

ozzmac920

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Well first, thank you all for your replies, this community is awesome!
@VB: that's a great idea. I had never really considered negotiation influence. Even if SFC and TAF are two separate businesses operating out of the same facilities, there are other opportunities that can be exploited.
@Fred: haha, when I start flying lessons, I will probably be one of those Holes. Don't you worry though, I will try to be considerate of others and not book to far in advance.

to some of the other comments. I read somewhere once that planes chosen based on the pilot's goals are in the air and those chosen for their appeal are in the hangar. I chose to get the Sling even though I don't yet have my cert because of what I eventually want to do as a pilot. Those goals might expand as the world of GA opens up to me, but the base won't change. Otherwise I would be looking at a Glasair III (that thing looks fun), and I know I would need a PPC w/ complex and high performance before anyone in their right mind would let me within 50' of one. :lick:
I imagine most CFI's would be somewhat reluctant to get into an exp built by the student. But that's kind of what brought this whole discussion up for me. If I chose another exp, I probably wouldn't be able to find a CFI willing, but with TAF and SFC working so closely, I have instructors who probably wouldn't have any problem with it.
And... I've never considered getting a cheap exp to learn in, even if I could find a CFI willing to get into an exp other than a sling. It's the whole repairman cert thing with exp's. Once I get (build) an exp, I'm keeping it. I have considered getting an old certified to learn in, though I always looked at Piper's not Cessna's, just a personal preference for low wing.
 

Dan Thomas

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I have considered getting an old certified to learn in, though I always looked at Piper's not Cessna's, just a personal preference for low wing.
Be careful. There is no such thing as a cheap old airplane. If it has been well kept, it will cost money to buy. If it hasn't, it will cost money to buy and more to fix, maybe a lot more than you paid for it. I encounter this all the time in my work.
 

bcguide

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Just get your license first, especially if your on a budget. Iv tried it owning a plane, the plane ate up both time and money
 

Turd Ferguson

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Well first, thank you all for your replies, this community is awesome!
@VB: that's a great idea. I had never really considered negotiation influence. Even if SFC and TAF are two separate businesses operating out of the same facilities, there are other opportunities that can be exploited.
Ya, if you're going to drop ~$125k on a quick build kit (or ~$180k for in-house build program), I'd simply have the flight training included at no extra cost. Training is only a single digit percentage of the total sale. You have indicated you'd rather fly first, be aware, even a quick build will require a large time investment before getting airborne.

If you want to learn how to fly first, just go to a flight training school and knock it out. At the end you'll walk away with a certificate and minimal tangible investment. Getting a SP cert vs. a PP cert gives more options because the training requirements are lower, however, if your goal is to fly a 4 place plane, SP won't cut it.
 

don january

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I look at this question a little different then most. I say start your build and see if you have the ability and patience for the bird. You can alway's build flight time as you build your plane and if both world's feel good to you about the time your plane is done you will have your ticket and some flying time to test hop your build. You can alway's sell your plane and regain some of the money you dropped but the flying cost will never return.
 

Topaz

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Building an airplane and thinking you'll learn to fly in it? Probably won't happen. For one thing, no instructor is going to get into an untested airplane (not legal here in Canada and probably not in the US either) and for another, you could be a long time putting the thing together. There's an urge to give up when you don't have the motivation provided by flight experience, and there's also the fact that you don't really know yet what sort of flying you'll like so you don't know what sort of airplane you'll want.

Get the license, fly a bunch of different airplanes, and then pick something.
This. I know, right now, you're absolutely sure you'll put in several hours a night, and get the airplane done in a couple of years. In reality, life happens. I don't know how old you are, or what your life-status is, but all sorts of things can and do happen - girls come along, kids come along, roof leaks, transmission leaks, job transfers or layoffs ... Lots of things come along in life. Every one of them will delay your build, even if you're really as diligent in reality as you think you'll be. Some nights and weekends, you're just going to be too darned tired to do any work on the airplane. And as new member xrfred (welcome to the forums!) just noted, airplane building is a Twilight Zone sort of thing: When you've finally got the first 90% of the airplane done, you'll find that you only have 90% to go!

Go learn to fly. Your airplane is going to take several years to complete, with almost absolute certainty. In the meantime, enjoy flying. Don't put it off until the "someday" when your airplane is done.
 

MikePousson

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Looking around on the web in my area, a Cessna 152 rents for $125/hr wet. To build your time to a license in your on plane, the school gets $75 per hour to ok you log book. All prices Canadian. Just the price of Avgas in your own plane for training is not feasible. Your plane would be taking the beating for your learning experience. Plus on other factor. I hadn't looked into the insurance part, but pretty sure damage to a plane by its unlicensed owner would be an easy out for the underwriter.
 

BJC

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Looking around on the web in my area, a Cessna 152 rents for $125/hr wet. To build your time to a license in your on plane, the school gets $75 per hour to ok you log book. All prices Canadian. Just the price of Avgas in your own plane for training is not feasible. Your plane would be taking the beating for your learning experience. Plus on other factor. I hadn't looked into the insurance part, but pretty sure damage to a plane by its unlicensed owner would be an easy out for the underwriter.
I owned an A152. Bought it for my son-n-law to learn to fly in. Insurance automatically covered any licensed pilot, whether he had time in type or not. Any student needed to be named, but the additional cost was minimal.


BJC
 

Turd Ferguson

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Here in my neighborhood, a student pilot could get his personally owned Cessna 150 insured with full coverage for ~$700/yr
The hourly would run around $45-$50/hr. Find a local CFI, swap him time in the plane for CFI services. Don't need reserve funds cause not going to own the plane long enough. Buy it with fresh annual, sell before next annual is due. There's pro's and con's to owning and renting so it would have to be something other than cost to drive me one way or the other.
 

TFF

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The other question about training is are you going to hit it hard and get it over or is going to be a 4 year degree of stops and starts. The ones who get it over are the most successful at moving on. A 1/2 finished airplane project and a 1/2 finished pilots license does not make one of anything.
 
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