Author Topic: Are there any Mustachian pilots?  (Read 1805 times)

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Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« on: January 30, 2020, 01:21:07 PM »
I've wanted to get my pilot's license for as long as I can remember but I've put it off because of cost. DW and I just hit skinny FI but she still enjoys her work a lot and isn't ready to call it a career. I'm self employed and while the money is good I am a bit bored and have been really struggling to stay focused since taking a month off over Christmas.

My very rough estimate is that owning a plane would add $10k a year to our expenses. We live in AK where being a pilot is actually a pretty useful hobby and could even turn into a small business if I really enjoy it. Are there any Mustachians pilots on here? Do you have any tips or recommendations for getting a pilots license and owning a plane in a Mustachian way?

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2020, 01:55:08 PM »
Do you have a small airport near you? Sometimes the old timers teach courses to prepare you for the exam. Some of them will also take people under their wing if they volunteer around the place. If available, you may also find that rentals or sharing schemes are better off than buying, at least while you are getting time in. Even if they don't offer to take you up, you can learn a lot from these folks about plane choice for your area and plane maintenance.

Also look for an aviation club in your area. This is the kind of hobby that many people like to share and talk about.

The pilots exam comes from an established question pool. My uncle and I took the exam around the same time. He memorized the questions and their answers and aced it. I, a very fast test taker by most people's standards (teachers often tried to get me to go over it again because I finished so early), focused on the concepts and did the math during the exam. I was not able to finish in time.

Have you checked out your $10k budget with local owners? I imagine the storage and maintenance in AK has to be pretty special.

Before you invest anything, check that any medical conditions you may have are not considered disqualifying. Certain diabetes treatments (not diabetes itself), many heart conditions and even some mental disorders are on that list.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2020, 02:20:52 PM »
I fly, have had my license for a decade and change at this point.  And recognize that AK is... weird.  Flying-wise, the stuff that seems insanely high risk out here is apparently called "Thursday" up there.  So be careful.

It's not a popular point of discussion on this forum, as it's something fairly few people here do (there've been the scattered "pilot" threads over the years with a few pilots posting, and a lot of people insisting that it's a stupid way to spend money).  And it's not that cheap.  Certainly more expensive than a bicycle habit.

=======

That said: Go look for flying clubs near you.  Seriously, go look for flying clubs.  Ownership is just about the most expensive way to fly, even factoring in some obscene rental rates, and shared ownership makes things far, far nicer.  I'm part of a club out here, and dues are $60/mo fixed, a 172/160hp is around $75/hr wet, a 180hp 172 with a cruise prop is about $90/hr, and 182s are about $130/hr.  Wet.  That's Hobbs time, not tach time, so adjust as needed.

Flying is fun, I quite enjoy it.  To get to a point where you can (legally) make money at it, you'll need a commercial cert, which requires a couple hundred hours total time - it's not something you can do with a private license.

Get your license and rent a bunch before you buy - unless you're buying something like a 152 or 172 that you plan to sell after a bit.  They hold value decently, in proportion to engine hours left, as long as you take care of them.  If you want some bit of equipment in the panel, buy a plane that has it, because it's far cheaper to buy it already installed than to have it installed.  Drop $10k on panel upgrades, the value of the plane might jump up $3k.

In terms of ownership and costs, the big thing to consider is the annual cost.  The more complex the airplane, the higher the base cost for the annual - and the more the parts to fix what's wrong, because there's always something or other acting up.

IMO, for most use cases, retractable gear isn't worth the cost.  You can come awfully close to a retract with good wheel pants and fairings, if you're flying from paved strip to paved strip.  And if you're going back country, which I assume is most airports in AK, "down and welded" is an awful lot stronger.  Plus, insurance is cheaper - it's pretty hard to manage a gear up landing.

A constant speed prop, though, is an awfully useful bit of equipment - it might make sense.  Again, it depends on what you're doing.  If you're bopping from gravel strip to gravel strip, I might not bother, but if you want to get out of a gravel strip, and then get up and go somewhere, they're quite nice.

Go take a discovery flight, see if you actually like flying, get your license, and then worry about a plane, though.  Unless you're planning to buy a plane to get your license, at which point either get a 152 if you and your instructor can fit, or a 172 if you're not a twig.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2020, 04:43:18 PM »
Thanks I will definitely look into flying clubs if I decide am want to pursue flying. I have two siblings who are pilots and a brother in law who is an aircraft mechanic and wants to get his pilot license so it's not totally out of the blue.

My sister said much the same thing about flying in AK and she just finished getting her commercial license here. As i understand it the combination of terrain, sparse population, and interesting weather make for some flying. Of course it's the sparse population and millions of acres you can only reach by air is a good part of the reason to get into flying here.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2020, 07:39:12 AM »
My very rough estimate is that owning a plane would add $10k a year to our expenses. We live in AK where being a pilot is actually a pretty useful hobby and could even turn into a small business if I really enjoy it. Are there any Mustachians pilots on here? Do you have any tips or recommendations for getting a pilots license and owning a plane in a Mustachian way?

I got about 50 flight hours into getting my pilot's license while in grad school, and then ran out of money / motivation. The university has a flying club so I joined that to get good rates on rentals (currently $107/hr for a Piper Warrior II) and instructor time was dirt cheap since the university  was chock full of people instructing as a way to build their flight hours.

Now that I have the money, I still don't have the motivation to take it up again because the flying itch has been successfully scratched, and I'm off to new challenges.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2020, 10:42:20 AM »
Now that I have the money, I still don't have the motivation to take it up again because the flying itch has been successfully scratched, and I'm off to new challenges.

I think I mostly lost the desire to become a pilot during my time in New Mexico because it wasn't as useful there and I was focused on other challenges especially getting to FI and world travel. The itch has definitely returned now though. As Syonyk pointed out it makes a lot of sense to start with getting airborne and then if I love it I can decide how much the new hobby is worth.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2020, 11:08:33 AM »
Syonyk,

From things you've shared previously on electric cars, DIY solar array, and other such topics I kind of gathered that we likely have similar views on environmental stewardship. How do you reconcile the desires that led to solar power and an electric car with the desire to fly just for the joy of it?

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2020, 02:50:54 PM »
New Mexico is a great state to fly, just... be aware of density altitude.  On a hot day around Albuquerque, there's precious few thousand feet between field elevation and the service ceiling of a 152.  If you're at 5800' field elevation, on a 100F day, density altitude basically 10,000 feet.

In terms of the environmental side of it, well, I like flying, and I don't put enough gallons through O-320s and O-470s to really make that big of a difference.  For currency, potting around the local area stuff, I tend to keep the throttle pulled pretty far back because I'm in no hurry at all, and for longer stuff, it's not that much worse than driving a typical gas car (and far, far better than my truck, which gets used for hauling big stuff - though it does dominate property fuel use even on quite few miles a year).  You're flying something far closer to straight line, and depending on what winds are, if you plan right with the weather, can get quite the tailwind.  Or a headwind, so... it's about a wash.  A 172/182 cruises around 15mpg, but over a shorter distance than driving in almost all cases, and in some cases, by quite a large factor (30-40% for some of the trips I made in Iowa).  I should probably keep closer track of avgas burned, though.  But figure around 20mpg car fuel economy to match a 172/182 on a typical trip.  It's not great, but it's not horrible either.  Once the kids are out of the house, I might get something like a Long-EZ and work it for fuel economy - there's a guy with a Vari-EZ getting somewhere around 50mpg (actual).

Though for solar, I've mostly been DIY-learning why the local installers charge $4/W installed, and it's because of the damned roadblock at DBS who adds a ton of cost and time to every single project, because he's Adding Value by randomly rejecting plans for nonsensical reasons.  So I still don't have home solar, and while I'm doing my best to get it going this year, if I spend the whole year racking up money in plans review after plans review, well, not a whole lot I can do about it.


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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2020, 09:54:33 AM »
I encourage you to go get your PPL and then figure out if you want to move up to CPL or buy a small aircraft or both.

Isn't the point of MMM to deliberately spend your life doing the things you want and make you happy? If flying is that thing for you, do it.

I have a CPL but have't flown regularly in years due to cost. Depending on how a big upcoming opportunity works out this year for my business, I want to get back in the cockpit in 2021. I'm currently researching what kind of aircraft I can afford to own and operate, and also thinking about opportunities to make some money doing it.

If I were in your shoes, I'd hang on to that boring day job and start flying with the intent to eventually make some money at it. Over a year or two, you can learn the ropes on the flying side and see if a) you're good at it and b) if you can do it affordably.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2020, 11:25:02 AM »
I was talking to a co-worker who recently gave up flying as a hobby due to the expense.  He said that he was paying around $300/hr in the SF Bay Area to fly, however the cost in Ames, IA was something like $60-$80/hr.  I wonder if it would be worth taking a vacation to some place where the cost per hour is markedly cheaper to do some initial flight training and see if this is something you'd like to continue doing?

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2020, 01:46:18 PM »
New Mexico is a great state to fly, just... be aware of density altitude.  On a hot day around Albuquerque, there's precious few thousand feet between field elevation and the service ceiling of a 152.  If you're at 5800' field elevation, on a 100F day, density altitude basically 10,000 feet.

In terms of the environmental side of it, well, I like flying, and I don't put enough gallons through O-320s and O-470s to really make that big of a difference.  For currency, potting around the local area stuff, I tend to keep the throttle pulled pretty far back because I'm in no hurry at all, and for longer stuff, it's not that much worse than driving a typical gas car (and far, far better than my truck, which gets used for hauling big stuff - though it does dominate property fuel use even on quite few miles a year).  You're flying something far closer to straight line, and depending on what winds are, if you plan right with the weather, can get quite the tailwind.  Or a headwind, so... it's about a wash.  A 172/182 cruises around 15mpg, but over a shorter distance than driving in almost all cases, and in some cases, by quite a large factor (30-40% for some of the trips I made in Iowa).  I should probably keep closer track of avgas burned, though.  But figure around 20mpg car fuel economy to match a 172/182 on a typical trip.  It's not great, but it's not horrible either.  Once the kids are out of the house, I might get something like a Long-EZ and work it for fuel economy - there's a guy with a Vari-EZ getting somewhere around 50mpg (actual).

Though for solar, I've mostly been DIY-learning why the local installers charge $4/W installed, and it's because of the damned roadblock at DBS who adds a ton of cost and time to every single project, because he's Adding Value by randomly rejecting plans for nonsensical reasons.  So I still don't have home solar, and while I'm doing my best to get it going this year, if I spend the whole year racking up money in plans review after plans review, well, not a whole lot I can do about it.

Yeah, in hind sight Abq would have been a great place to learn to fly and probably cheaper. It seemed more like a fun hobby than something really useful there and I was still primarily concerned with maximizing my stash and saving enough to take a year off to travel.

That's a really good point about shorter routes. Now that you mention it, I might actually burn less fuel to flying a 172 up to visit my dad than driving the winding road in my Tacoma. It looks like it's about half the distance by air. Even at that I'm not sure it could beat our Honda Fit on fuel, but it would be a really beautiful flight. 

Sorry to hear about the Solar plan review. Seems a little ridiculous given all the electrical projects on your blog... You should be able to just submit a link and a note that says "I promise I'll do it right".

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2020, 01:51:00 PM »
I was talking to a co-worker who recently gave up flying as a hobby due to the expense.  He said that he was paying around $300/hr in the SF Bay Area to fly, however the cost in Ames, IA was something like $60-$80/hr.  I wonder if it would be worth taking a vacation to some place where the cost per hour is markedly cheaper to do some initial flight training and see if this is something you'd like to continue doing?

I do have in-laws in Wichita... That's probably one of the cheapest places to get a pilot's license. My sister did some flying there. I think she paid $65 and hour for the 152. But the flying would be a lot more scenic (and conditions more relevant) at the school in Palmer. I think my sister was paying about $100 an hour to rent in Anchorage when she was building hours before getting her commercial.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2020, 02:00:42 PM »
I encourage you to go get your PPL and then figure out if you want to move up to CPL or buy a small aircraft or both.

Isn't the point of MMM to deliberately spend your life doing the things you want and make you happy? If flying is that thing for you, do it.

I have a CPL but have't flown regularly in years due to cost. Depending on how a big upcoming opportunity works out this year for my business, I want to get back in the cockpit in 2021. I'm currently researching what kind of aircraft I can afford to own and operate, and also thinking about opportunities to make some money doing it.

If I were in your shoes, I'd hang on to that boring day job and start flying with the intent to eventually make some money at it. Over a year or two, you can learn the ropes on the flying side and see if a) you're good at it and b) if you can do it affordably.

I don't want to just drop my current engineering clients and their projects so if I decide to give it up I'll probably phase it out over the course of this year. That should provide more than enough surplus for a PPL and probably even an instrument rating if I decide to get serious about it. That would be pretty handy up here.

The estimate for ongoing cost came from an accountant friend whose husband is deciding if he should get back into flying. Her thinking was "If you're going to do it you should do it often enough to be good at it." She figured that meant 100 hours per year at $100 per hour. That logic makes sense to me, especially flying up here.

The thoughts of yearly cost is mostly along the lines of "should I pursue this expensive hobby when hiking is free". As you point out though, the point of FI is to be able to try things and spend money on them if you do really enjoy it. 

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2020, 12:11:10 PM »
Here's another thought:  You don't have to make a total commitment at any point.  You can spend a thousand or two dollars to take a number of lessons, and then decide whether you want to continue it and possibly purchase your own aircraft.

Likewise, once you have your PPL, until you have a better idea of how often you'll be flying, rent.  Once you know how much you'll want/be able to fly, then you can run the calculations to decide if ownership (or split ownership) is worth it.

Also, paging @Exflyboy , who not only used to fly, but built a couple of his own planes.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 12:13:59 PM by zolotiyeruki »

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2020, 01:03:00 PM »
Here's another thought:  You don't have to make a total commitment at any point.  You can spend a thousand or two dollars to take a number of lessons, and then decide whether you want to continue it and possibly purchase your own aircraft.

Likewise, once you have your PPL, until you have a better idea of how often you'll be flying, rent.  Once you know how much you'll want/be able to fly, then you can run the calculations to decide if ownership (or split ownership) is worth it.

Also, paging @Exflyboy , who not only used to fly, but built a couple of his own planes.

I think that's the route I am headed. And as a bonus the thought of finally doing it gives me more motivation to sit at my computer and work. Though i still seem to be more distracted by the forum that usual...

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2020, 01:54:58 PM »
Do you have an idea for what you want to do with that pilot's license after you've earned it?  After all, it's a means to an end, right?

I have visions of retirement where I can pack up DW and a suitcase and fly to visit our kids and grandkids without dealing with commercial air travel.  And of tooling around low and slow in an ultralight or STOL plane.  And endlessly tinkering and optimizing my plane to squeeze another one or two knots out of it, or another .1 or .2 gph.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2020, 04:11:43 PM »
Do you have an idea for what you want to do with that pilot's license after you've earned it?  After all, it's a means to an end, right?

I have visions of retirement where I can pack up DW and a suitcase and fly to visit our kids and grandkids without dealing with commercial air travel.  And of tooling around low and slow in an ultralight or STOL plane.  And endlessly tinkering and optimizing my plane to squeeze another one or two knots out of it, or another .1 or .2 gph.

There are a lot of amazing parts of Alaska that are only really accessible by air. So at a minimum it would mean access to more of my home state. If I enjoy flying as the right seat flights I've done in a small plane suggest then I could see it growing into a small side business. That would require a lot more flight time and licenses but could ultimately turn an expensive hobby into a fun break even hobby or even add income beyond the stash. Similar to MMM and his carpentry (which I also do some of).

I don't want to need to earn a living at it, and certainly don't want to become a commercial pilot for a major airline. The money is good, but if i was going to go that route I should have done it 20 years ago. I could also see flying leading to some new engineering projects... I'm sure there are still as lot of Alaskan specific improvements to be made. There is on most other mechanical devices I've used.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2020, 04:56:18 PM »
If you do decide to get your PPL, I suggest you take an hour or two of glider lesson.  Maybe about half way through.  I have my PPL and at around 100 hours I decided to try soaring.  I learned so much about aerodynamics and energy management in the first hour in a glider than I did all during my primary training.  I really think 2 hours in a glider should be required for all fixed wing pilots. 

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2020, 05:01:28 PM »
Paging @Exflyboy

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2020, 05:46:01 PM »
If you do decide to get your PPL, I suggest you take an hour or two of glider lesson.  Maybe about half way through.  I have my PPL and at around 100 hours I decided to try soaring.  I learned so much about aerodynamics and energy management in the first hour in a glider than I did all during my primary training.  I really think 2 hours in a glider should be required for all fixed wing pilots.

Thanks, I do know a glider pilot so I will have to ask her about doing this.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #20 on: February 04, 2020, 05:50:47 AM »
- "It only takes two things to fly - Money and Airspeed!"

Me and my wife are both pilots (one fixed wing, one rotary). Perhaps it's because being pilots is paying the bills and funding the FI dream that we see it more as a means to an end. Funny how your perception of something "cool" changes when the relationship is funded in the opposite direction. Both of us will likely never fly again once we are FIRE because the reality, for us, has changed our perception.
I don't say this to put you off just merely that if you plan on starting a small aviation business with it then that will change your feelings and relationship with what could be an entertaining and fulfilling hobby if it's worth the outlay.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 05:56:00 AM by American_Redcoat »

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #21 on: February 04, 2020, 11:49:31 AM »
- "It only takes two things to fly - Money and Airspeed!"

Me and my wife are both pilots (one fixed wing, one rotary). Perhaps it's because being pilots is paying the bills and funding the FI dream that we see it more as a means to an end. Funny how your perception of something "cool" changes when the relationship is funded in the opposite direction. Both of us will likely never fly again once we are FIRE because the reality, for us, has changed our perception.
I don't say this to put you off just merely that if you plan on starting a small aviation business with it then that will change your feelings and relationship with what could be an entertaining and fulfilling hobby if it's worth the outlay.

That's a great quote!

The bold is exactly why I don't want any flying service to need to make a profit. I've a had a very similar experience with designing things. I have half a dozen ideas I'd like to pursue designing and building, but after spending years earning money designing boring (to me) things for other people it's hard to get excited about modeling my own parts.

Being a rotary pilot up here would open a whole new world of options.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #22 on: February 04, 2020, 12:44:08 PM »
I worked towards my ppl several years ago, got within ~90% of being done.  Just not worth finishing and work got very busy.

The most challenging part was coordinating schedules between me/my instructor/rental plane and the weather.  I found it to be a lot of hassle towards something that is not really useful.  Many other hobbies are about as much fun but a lot cheaper and a lot less invasive in your life.  PPL does poorly when looking at a total cost benefit analysis; (total cost+effort vs fun).  I was just never able to even fake an interest in the weather.  You also have to do a lot of bs paper/pencil math that gets old quick. 

I would definitely say go take some lessons and maybe even work up to a solo, soloing is "easier" than you might think.  See how you like it and get a better sense of how it might work in your lift.  If you just like getting up in the air, gliders may be a better option. 

Lastly I found that many of the flight instructors and schools are run a little less than professionally, they are almost hobby jobs for some. 

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2020, 01:05:34 PM »
Thanks for the contrarian thoughts AlanStashe.

Many other hobbies are about as much fun but a lot cheaper and a lot less invasive in your life.  PPL does poorly when looking at a total cost benefit analysis; (total cost+effort vs fun).

I think this is my primary internal objection to pursuing my PPL. Hiking is nearly free and so is snowboarding if I climb my own hills instead of taking the lift... Why spend the hours sitting at a computer to earn the additional stash required to support such an expensive hobby when I could just going hiking now? I think others have done a pretty good job of arguing why it may be worth it and how to pursue the hobby in a mustachian manner.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2020, 01:35:49 PM »


I was a paraglider pilot for a number of years. It was super fun and relatively inexpensive for something with "pilot" and "flying" in it. I never tried the motorized form of that sport, but that provides another option if mountain/thermal flying and ridge soaring are not great in your area.

Easy to learn. Not expensive to own and your "aircraft" fits into a hatchback car.

Just a thought.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2020, 02:28:34 PM »


I was a paraglider pilot for a number of years. It was super fun and relatively inexpensive for something with "pilot" and "flying" in it. I never tried the motorized form of that sport, but that provides another option if mountain/thermal flying and ridge soaring are not great in your area.

Easy to learn. Not expensive to own and your "aircraft" fits into a hatchback car.

Just a thought.

I've done that once as a tandem and it was a lot of fun. Doesn't provide the same kind of access to the wilderness up here but it would be beautiful.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2020, 03:02:01 PM »
A FAR 103 ultralight might be another low-cost option to scratch the flying itch, although it wouldn't get you very far distance-wise.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2020, 04:41:38 PM »
A FAR 103 ultralight might be another low-cost option to scratch the flying itch, although it wouldn't get you very far distance-wise.

If I get into flying building an ultralight seems like a pretty good project. Also building one of these: http://www.bushplanedesign.com/videos.html


Fuzz

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2020, 05:07:32 PM »
Here's an older thread on this issue:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/private-pilots-and-mustachianism/

The advice about joining a flying club is great. I would 100 percent join a flying club if there was one within 1.5 hours of my house, but there is not. The only sort of mustachian way to own a plane is to go experimental or be content flying a 50+ year old air frame (and many folks are).

I also think you could make the case for buying a relatively new plane, flying it for 200-300 hours, and then selling it for what you had into it. I'm thinking the Vashon Ranger for $107K; maybe the Rv12is, as a kit built. You could fly either of those for 20 percent of the engine's useful life and sell it for 90% of what you paid for it (ish), and likely do little to no maintenance for the time of ownership while enjoying the benefits of a newer plane. You have a huge capital carrying cost, but probably low operating costs. I'd be curious if folks disagree with that assessment.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2020, 05:23:54 PM »
Here's an older thread on this issue:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/private-pilots-and-mustachianism/

Thanks for that link. I'll have to read through that when i have a bit of tiem. At first glance it looks like a lot of the same people are still here and interested in flying. That's got to be a good sign.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2020, 06:56:16 PM »
@zolotiyeruki and @MissNancyPryor

Yup I built two airplanes. The last one was a Vans RV7a in which I also got my instrument rating.

Building your own is by far the cheapest way to get into high performance flying. The RV cruised at about 200mph (or 180 running lean of peak and about 7.7 gallons per hour of auto fuel.. Avgas is too expensive and an environmental nightmare due to the lead content).

The airplane was also aerobatic with invert fuel and oil systems.

I have a few feelings on flying.

1) Either fly a lot, or don't fly at all. I know a lot of Sunday afternoon pilots who take their family up once every six months and honestly some of these folk scare me to death. one of them I know had two big accidents. The last one him and his friend was lucky to survive. There is a lot to learn and unless you are doing it often those numerous little things that you just know instinctively get forgotten. Multiply that problem by about 3 for instrument flying!

2) IFR in Alsaka.. Sounds like a good idea but from what I have been told airfields with instrument approaches are so far apart that filing an instrument flight plan is virtually impossible for most light aircraft. Remember that if the weather drops below 2000' you are required to file an alternate and have 45 minutes of fuel left at your alternate. I have zero experience flying up there but that sounds legit. Not to mention flying in real weather usually involves freezing and hardly any small planes have deicing equipment. The RV actually flew quite well with rime ice.. It happens.

3) There is nothing remotely mustacian about flying. But then again flying is fun (aerobatics) and equally terrifying.. Instrument approaches down to minimums in an aerobatic aircraft gets your attention fast!

I enjoyed it.. I enjoyed building just as much. I eventual got about 1200 hours with about 500 IFR. After that though I just became sick of doing the maintenance on the airplane and realised the $90k I had invested in the airplane was better off in my investment accounts.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 07:08:19 PM by Exflyboy »

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2020, 07:18:53 PM »
Nice looking plane you built.

Your first point is very much on my mind in deciding if it's worth pursuing. If I'm going to do it I don't want to fly a few times a year for that very reason.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2020, 07:21:01 PM »
Thanks but I would suggest more like a few times a month!

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2020, 07:37:19 PM »
Thanks but I would suggest more like a few times a month!

My WAG of 10k a year assumed something around 100 hours a year. Does that seem too little to you?

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2020, 08:15:33 PM »
Your first point is very much on my mind in deciding if it's worth pursuing. If I'm going to do it I don't want to fly a few times a year for that very reason.

Smart man/woman.  There are a lot of details you can forget you forgot if you dont do it often, never mind hand eye skill.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2020, 09:09:03 PM »
If you do decide to get your PPL, I suggest you take an hour or two of glider lesson.  Maybe about half way through.  I have my PPL and at around 100 hours I decided to try soaring.  I learned so much about aerodynamics and energy management in the first hour in a glider than I did all during my primary training.  I really think 2 hours in a glider should be required for all fixed wing pilots.

I'd agree.  I've got an hour and a half in a sailplane with an instructor, and I did more "honest stick and rudder flying" in that hour and a half than I do in 15-20 hours of going places.  You are always doing something - feeling for thermals, centering in a thermal, thermaling, managing energy... it's nuts.

And it's insanely cheap.

Being a rotary pilot up here would open a whole new world of options.

You think flying fixed wing is expensive... multiply it by 5, at least, for rotary.

A FAR 103 ultralight might be another low-cost option to scratch the flying itch, although it wouldn't get you very far distance-wise.

Probably not a good option for Alaska.

A 172 or 182 is almost certainly the best set of compromises for up in Alaska.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #36 on: February 04, 2020, 09:56:03 PM »
I wonder what a Pipistrel Virus is like?  Maybe good for building hours & sipping fuel.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 10:14:47 PM by GreenEggs »

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2020, 07:02:52 AM »
- "It only takes two things to fly - Money and Airspeed!"

Me and my wife are both pilots (one fixed wing, one rotary). Perhaps it's because being pilots is paying the bills and funding the FI dream that we see it more as a means to an end. Funny how your perception of something "cool" changes when the relationship is funded in the opposite direction. Both of us will likely never fly again once we are FIRE because the reality, for us, has changed our perception.
I don't say this to put you off just merely that if you plan on starting a small aviation business with it then that will change your feelings and relationship with what could be an entertaining and fulfilling hobby if it's worth the outlay.

As someone who left commercial flying, I think this is too pessimistic. I'm sure you have friends that have found really cool opportunities in commercial aviation and love it. The mustachian way to go about this venture is to make it at least revenue neutral -- the challenge will be to figure out how to do that and have fun.

You know how people save up to slow travel around the world? That's not cost effective. I just had someone else pay for me to do it. Sure that added some things that weren't as fun as being a travel bum, but I also stayed in five star hotels, flew business class, and exited the 18 months with +100K NW.

I feel like MMM forum advice is sometimes too focused on how to cut costs versus generate extra revenue. Like it's assumed that revenue generation is either too hard or inherently unpleasant. It's an equal part of the equation and something that MMM does consistently after FIRE.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2020, 07:05:48 AM »
I feel like MMM forum advice is sometimes too focused on how to cut costs versus generate extra revenue. Like it's assumed that revenue generation is either too hard or inherently unpleasant. It's an equal part of the equation and something that MMM does consistently after FIRE.

That's due to the environmental reduced consumption portion of the MMM message. It's not a perfect correlation, but spending less does lead to consuming less and polluting less...in the broad strokes. Just earning more money to then spend on luxuries does not.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2020, 07:36:39 AM »
I feel like MMM forum advice is sometimes too focused on how to cut costs versus generate extra revenue. Like it's assumed that revenue generation is either too hard or inherently unpleasant. It's an equal part of the equation and something that MMM does consistently after FIRE.

That's due to the environmental reduced consumption portion of the MMM message. It's not a perfect correlation, but spending less does lead to consuming less and polluting less...in the broad strokes. Just earning more money to then spend on luxuries does not.

Environmental stewardship is a worthwhile consideration but I think there are stronger driving factors for the forum tendency to focus on cost improvement more than revenue improvement.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2020, 07:38:29 AM »
I feel like MMM forum advice is sometimes too focused on how to cut costs versus generate extra revenue. Like it's assumed that revenue generation is either too hard or inherently unpleasant. It's an equal part of the equation and something that MMM does consistently after FIRE.

That's true with just about every financial forum / outlet. I think the fundamental issue is that there are so many unique, but finite**, ways to generate revenue that it is difficult to provide revenue generation information that will create a broad subscriber base. For example, in a forum of commercial pilots trying to increase their revenue, it wouldn't take long for the members to start competing against each other in a meaningful way, and thus decreasing their willingness to share information. Would a pilot really want to share their super secret way to attract new clients when it means other people on the forum will soon start trying to attract new clients (such as the original poster's clients) with the new method? I doubt it.

In contrast, sharing information about reducing costs is broadly applicable to everyone and doesn't limit the sharers ability to reduce costs.

**Real estate seems to be the exception due to it being a highly localized field that doesn't require much specific training.**

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2020, 07:43:06 AM »
Environmental stewardship is a worthwhile consideration but I think there are stronger driving factors for the forum tendency to focus on cost improvement more than revenue improvement.

The MMM folks from this forum that I actually know are definitely motivated by environmental impacts to reduce spending. They all know how to make more money efficiently.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2020, 08:08:57 AM »
re spending vs income.  Also remember the 4% rule, where to support spending 1$ you need to have 25$ invested.  But yeah things get more complicated if you want a hobby job in retirement or the added spending is for a defined duration.  Things get specific to the individual real fast.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2020, 11:27:54 AM »
Thanks but I would suggest more like a few times a month!

My WAG of 10k a year assumed something around 100 hours a year. Does that seem too little to you?

I think thats a good start. That turns into a couple of hours per week which is a good amount for a beginner.

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #44 on: February 05, 2020, 12:25:45 PM »
Thanks but I would suggest more like a few times a month!

My WAG of 10k a year assumed something around 100 hours a year. Does that seem too little to you?

I think thats a good start. That turns into a couple of hours per week which is a good amount for a beginner.

My father lives about 5 hours away by road. Looks like it would be about 3 in a 172 so I could get some hours in while saving some driving cost in exchange for the higher flying cost. There are two mountain ranges between here and there... It would be pretty easy to get weathered in by something I wouldn't hesitate to drive home through... One advantage of being FIREd first!

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #45 on: February 05, 2020, 12:33:35 PM »
Environmental stewardship is a worthwhile consideration but I think there are stronger driving factors for the forum tendency to focus on cost improvement more than revenue improvement.

The MMM folks from this forum that I actually know are definitely motivated by environmental impacts to reduce spending. They all know how to make more money efficiently.

I want to dig into this a bit deeper but I don't want to get completely off topic. It seems to me that reducing consumption is good and it's definitely one reason for reducing spending. However, if taking care of the environment was really as high of a priority as many here claim it is I would be compelled to spend my FI to work at something that would actively reduce humanities impact as a whole rather than RE. One of these days I will get around to creating a poll on this...

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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #46 on: February 05, 2020, 01:10:40 PM »
Thanks but I would suggest more like a few times a month!

My WAG of 10k a year assumed something around 100 hours a year. Does that seem too little to you?

I think thats a good start. That turns into a couple of hours per week which is a good amount for a beginner.

My father lives about 5 hours away by road. Looks like it would be about 3 in a 172 so I could get some hours in while saving some driving cost in exchange for the higher flying cost. There are two mountain ranges between here and there... It would be pretty easy to get weathered in by something I wouldn't hesitate to drive home through... One advantage of being FIREd first!

OK this is for the future reference but every experienced pilot reading your post is now twitching wondering whether to reply at the risk of sounding sanctimonious.

Two things that will kill you faster than anything is a combination of mountains and weather. Either one will kill you by themselves quite easily.

If you read enough accident reports you will find them littered with stories of under powered C172's and the like trying to out climb the terrain as they fly up a box canyon, only to realise their climb performance drops rapidly with increasing altitude. They then can't climb over the top and the canyon has narrowed so they can't round either.... Stall, spin, dead is how the rest of the story goes.

Weather of course can change rapidly in mountainous terrain and cut off your escape path. I haven't even mentioned the horrific downdrafts that happen on the leeward side of BFR's (Big freaking rocks!)..:).

Anyway, my personal rule was to climb to at least 2000' above the highest peak before the terrain started climbing. Now the RV with a constant speed prop and an I0360 makes a C172 seem like a golf cart with a flat tire..  climbing at 2500 feet a minute was par for the course. A 172 is much more limited.

So as I said, that was for future reference but when I talked about the lots of details that will severely limit your life expectancy.. Well that was two of them right there!


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Re: Are there any Mustachian pilots?
« Reply #47 on: March 12, 2020, 03:50:06 PM »
Pilot license is probably hold for OMY unless flight school goes on sale for 25%+ off...