Author Topic: Frugal flight lessons?  (Read 2086 times)

RyanAtTanagra

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Frugal flight lessons?
« on: October 16, 2019, 11:53:28 AM »
I've been wanting to learn to fly for a long time now, and keep putting it off due to the cost.  With most things in life, there is a way to accomplish them frugally if you look at alternative paths.  I figured out how to learn to sail frugally, which is also considered an expensive hobby, so I feel like I just haven't found the trick yet for flying.

Anyone have any tips or tricks on cutting down the cost of flight lessons?  Meet friends with planes?  Join a flying club before even knowing how to fly?  Things I can do on my own to minimize time needed in the cockpit with an instructor?  I don't know much about the flying world so I'm still in the stage of not even knowing what I don't know.

Lucky Penny Acres

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2019, 01:55:21 PM »
Check with the local colleges and universities that have aviation majors / flight schools.

You might be able to enroll and pursue an aviation degree on the side. Flight hours for enrolled students are usually significantly cheaper than for non-students - though you may have to pay some amount of normal college tuition to access that discount so you'd have to calculate out whether or not you would come out ahead versus buying flight time separately.


Heywood57

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2019, 03:02:51 PM »
I just started looking into this as well.

One guys recommendation and I don't know if it is good or bad

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZQLQsuq0Rw

Boll weevil

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2019, 04:13:58 PM »
There are a lot of stories out there about people getting their start by swapping labor (washing  planes, cleaning the hangar, etc.) for lessons or labor for money which paid for lessons, but most of them were kids or teens at the time, and I donít know if thereís an age where it starts to be frowned upon. But bartering labor or services would be my recommendation.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2019, 04:45:19 PM »
Check with the local colleges and universities that have aviation majors / flight schools.

Looked into that a little, it's an option, but not sure it saves a whole lot of money, and seems to be a bit of a hassle.  The schools that do it are also a further commute.

I just started looking into this as well.

One guys recommendation and I don't know if it is good or bad

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZQLQsuq0Rw

I was just looking at the online course material to pass the written before taking any other steps, based on a suggestion from someone else.  I'll probably go that route to start.

But bartering labor or services would be my recommendation.

I thought about trading sailing lessons for flying lessons.  Just have to find a flight instructor that wants to learn how to sail :-)

TempusFugit

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2019, 04:46:51 PM »
One way to minimize the more expensive flight + instructor time is to start off flying gliders.  You may have a glider club near you.   The Soaring Society of America can direct you to a club. 

https://www.ssa.org/

Glider clubs can be very inexpensive (compared to powered flight) and would be a way to get lots of the basics under your belt with then just the relatively small power add-on where you are now paying for instructor time and fuel, etc.  Plus, you may discover that gliders are more fun than powered aircraft (because they are). 


LightStache

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2019, 05:22:02 PM »
I agree that all of the on-the-ground learning, including sims and radio practice, will save you $ time in the air.

In this case I don't recommend going the P2P route. All of your training is in prep for checkrides, and the more often you're in the cockpit, the fewer total hours you will need to pay for to be ready for your checkrides.

That means if you go the "buddy CFI" route, you'll probably take longer and maybe even pay more in the long run than going through a flight school. I'm sure there does exist a CFI somewhere in your area who's independent, available, and reliable, but he/she will be pretty hard to find.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2019, 08:06:13 PM »
I agree that all of the on-the-ground learning, including sims and radio practice, will save you $ time in the air.

In this case I don't recommend going the P2P route. All of your training is in prep for checkrides, and the more often you're in the cockpit, the fewer total hours you will need to pay for to be ready for your checkrides.

That means if you go the "buddy CFI" route, you'll probably take longer and maybe even pay more in the long run than going through a flight school. I'm sure there does exist a CFI somewhere in your area who's independent, available, and reliable, but he/she will be pretty hard to find.

Can you expand on this some more?  Is this because the more OFTEN you fly, the less total time you have to spend?  So a 'buddy CFI' will most likely not be available as often as I would want to be able to keep up the training (multiple times a week)?

GizmoTX

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2019, 08:09:51 PM »
First do ground school, enough to get a perfect or near perfect score on the FAA written exam. This is a lot less expensive than in the air time & it will save instructor time later.

Learn Flight Simulator, especially the landing ó itís much harder than actual flying.

When you are ready for flight instruction, block out as much time (& money) as possible ó fly daily if possible. You will learn much faster than one lesson per week ó this saves money & time. This is usually only possible at a flight school, where your instructor is available & reserved for you.

I agree about glider flying ó I learned this way, soloing at 15 & getting my Private license at 16. You really learn maneuvers & how to judge altitude, since you have but 1 shot to nail the landing. I added engine lessons & got my Single Engine Airplane at 17; it was simpler splitting them in two, especially since there is more radio work in a powered plane. You do fewer powered hours because you already know how to fly.

When you get a license, expect to fly at least monthly or you wonít be safe. Plan on more ratings to keep learning & expand your safety net. My Instrument rating was invaluable & I did several refresher courses when I didnít do it enough to stay sharp & safe.

LightStache

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2019, 10:10:13 PM »
I agree that all of the on-the-ground learning, including sims and radio practice, will save you $ time in the air.

In this case I don't recommend going the P2P route. All of your training is in prep for checkrides, and the more often you're in the cockpit, the fewer total hours you will need to pay for to be ready for your checkrides.

That means if you go the "buddy CFI" route, you'll probably take longer and maybe even pay more in the long run than going through a flight school. I'm sure there does exist a CFI somewhere in your area who's independent, available, and reliable, but he/she will be pretty hard to find.

Can you expand on this some more?  Is this because the more OFTEN you fly, the less total time you have to spend?  So a 'buddy CFI' will most likely not be available as often as I would want to be able to keep up the training (multiple times a week)?

Yep you got it. It's commonly accepted that the total number of hours, and therefore the cost, is inversely proportional to your pace of training. And I assume that a non-professional CFI will have other commitments that will prevent you from flying as frequently as optimal.

Fuzz

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Re: Frugal flight lessons?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2019, 05:30:02 PM »
I think having a few hours in the air will help with ground school. There are only relatively cheaper options. Your goal should be to be a safe pilot, not just to crank through the program in the fewest hours/least cost. And then when you get your ticket, you need to fly and train regularly to remain safe.

I am a big fan of intensive programs. You're in an expensive place of the country to get instruction. I think it was $250/hour all in to train in Novato, less than $200/hour to train at Livermore and more like $125/hour (if you join a club) in Boise. Those numbers include tax/rental/CFI. There is a program in St. Paul MN that is around $7000 for a 2-week course. A lot of the other ones are closer to $10,000.

I'd encourage you to do an intensive program and then join a club.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!