Flight training help

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etterre

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
313
Location
St. Louis, MO, USA
Help! I'm currently finding myself as the lead character in that all-too-typical story of the form: "Yep, I started training 20/30/40 years ago but then work/family/life/kids/money got in the way. But I'm gonna finish it now that I'm retired."

I'm only 33 and 30+ years of waiting seems a little bit much, so I'm looking for advice about what to do.

More specifics about my story:
I was taking lessons for Sport Pilot at H49 with Andy Mueller, but that isn't currently possible. The bulk of that story can be found here: www.flystl.com My last flight was back in October 2006 and I've got 17 hours in the Luscombe so if everything goes my way (Andy re-forms the business this fall and gets another Luscombe), I could finish up a sport pilot certificate with another 15 hours. But that hangs my hopes on a lot of maybes and I certainly wouldn't finish before winter sets in. Unfortunately, the wife is also getting a little annoyed about:
1. the $$$ spent
2. the time spent
3. and how little I have to show for it

Things I've thought about:
I could finish my Sport Pilot ticket at St. Charles flying service. The hardest bit is that I live in South St. Louis City - so travel one way is an hour drive in good traffic, which means lessons only on weekends. Lessons on weekends = learn slow and catch flak for delays on household projects. The other hard bit is that renting their Evektor is twice as expensive as Andy's Luscombe.

I could also take Private Pilot lessons somewhere else. The best option I've found is a C-172 at CPS (which might be even more convenient than H49)... which rents for $97/hr wet... Once again, about twice as expensive, but at least I have a better chance of actually taking lessons. But lessons for what purpose? Sport Pilot level privileges is all I really want at the moment and a PPL is probably another 30-40 hours from where I am currently. 30-40 hours of instruction is quite a bit more cash than I have in the budget and the calendar time to get those hours is going to wear on the wife's patience.

I could take the lessons at CPS until I "feel that I know enough" for the SP practical, do a couple of weekend lessons at St. Charles for solo signoff, and finish up with the practical test in their Evektor. But again, what purpose does that serve? St. Charles has the only rental LSA in the area, so I'd have a license but I'd have very few chances to actually use it.

I've also poked around for a partnership or a flight club, but the three that I've found with openings all have a "no students" policy - either in the form of a PPL requirement or a minimum of 100 flight hours. I've toyed with the idea of forming a partnership around an LSA and basing it at H49, but I would imagine that insurance would be nearly impossible (which is the reason for the "no students" policies), finding partners would be difficult, and then there's the small matter of acquiring an LSA before winter sets in...

Does anyone have some better ideas?
 

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
8,972
Location
CT, USA
How 'bout an ultralight? Or a barebones LSA (like a "fat ultralight" converted to LSA, like a Quicksilver of such)? Buy it and learn to fly it for less than 30-40 hours in a rented 172. Even though ultralight hours don't count toward a certificate, the experience could get you your SP in the legal minimum logged hours.

BTW, I learned to fly at CPS (30 years ago when Parks College still had their flight school there). Back then, you could rent a C-150 for $15 wet. On my first dual flight, I looked over at the Arch and my instructor said, "don't even THINK about it!" Used to have fun doing touch and goes on the levees, though...

-Dana

Aviation is like drugs: You go up, then you come down. You are out a big pile of money and have nothing to show for it but the experience.
And you can't wait to do it again.
 

etterre

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
313
Location
St. Louis, MO, USA
How 'bout an ultralight? Or a barebones LSA (like a "fat ultralight" converted to LSA, like a Quicksilver of such)? Buy it and learn to fly it for less than 30-40 hours in a rented 172. Even though ultralight hours don't count toward a certificate, the experience could get you your SP in the legal minimum logged hours.
That's a good thought and there is an ultralight field just a little south of Columbia, IL. I couldn't find it from the car, though. Where should I be looking to find ultralights for sale? I've been keeping an eye on barnstormers, but the best deal I've seen so far was a Rans Airaile kit for $6000 (which I sorta regret not buying (and getting in trouble for)).

BTW, I learned to fly at CPS (30 years ago when Parks College still had their flight school there). Back then, you could rent a C-150 for $15 wet.
Parks is still there... but the program has been swallowed up by SLU and I've had my fill of college bureaucrats.:mad2:
 

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
8,972
Location
CT, USA
Barnstormers is always good, there are also a lot of ultralights on ebay but as always of course buyer beware. There's also websites and email lists (yahoo groups and such) for specific types, where used planes often get posted.

Parks was part of SLU even back when I was there, but it still maintained its own separate identity at the Cahokia campus... SLU was not very supportive and I transferred out after 2½ years.

-Dana

But, Officer, a broadsword is hardly a concealed weapon!
 

lake_harley

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2007
Messages
962
This may be of no help, but have you considered checking out the airport not too far South of you at Festus? Even a little further South is the airport at Perryville (actually closer to Chester, IL just off Hwy 51). Cape Air Charter has a "branch" at the Perryville airport and they offer lessons and have an instructor(s) I believe. Let me know if you want a phone # for them. I talked with them a few months ago, don't remember the rental or instruction rates but seems they were reasonable, but I guess that's a subjective term.

Lynn
 

etterre

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
313
Location
St. Louis, MO, USA
This may be of no help, but have you considered checking out the airport not too far South of you at Festus?
I honestly hadn't considered it, but I might try to run by there this weekend. Probably not quite as far from me as 3SQ... I had heard that the city council voted to close it, though...:cry:

Even a little further South is the airport at Perryville (actually closer to Chester, IL just off Hwy 51). Cape Air Charter has a "branch" at the Perryville airport and they offer lessons and have an instructor(s) I believe. Let me know if you want a phone # for them. I talked with them a few months ago, don't remember the rental or instruction rates but seems they were reasonable, but I guess that's a subjective term.

Lynn
Thanks for the offer, but the Perryville/Chester area is just too far away. Now if I could fly there....:grin:

Yeah, reasonable is definitely a subjective term :gig: A couple of co-workers think I'm nuts for spending more for an hour of flight instruction than they pay for an entire weekend of golfing....

I was thinking about it a little more last night and dug around on my pc to find the 2 year old spreadsheet that I used to "prove" that SportPilot was the way to go for the moment. I was kinda surprised to find calculations based on $74/hr wet for a 172 (versus the ~$100/hr I'm seeing now). I can only guess that fuel prices are a big part of my current problem.

I'm gonna meet with the CFI from Ideal aviation at Parks tomorrow and see what happens. I figure that it can't hurt to get a little time in a 172 until I figure out something better or get confident enough in my skills to want to do the ultralight thing...
 

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