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A few questions...

BayDesigns

Active member
#1
1: Those of you who soloed at or close to 16, how many hours did it take?
2: I have 3 options for training: a C150, C172, and a PA28. Obviously, the 150’s the cheapest to rent, but are there any really compelling arguments for or against any of these types?
3: Since I’m in school, I won’t be able to do lessons as often during the school year. Currently, I’m thinking of doing my solo on my 16th (in November), and then doing lessons less frequently through the school year to stay proficient, and then finishing up the following summer and getting my license on my 17th. Does this sound reasonable?
Thanks for your help!
 

Piotrsko

Master member
#2
Spacing out your lessons will increase the process by maybe 20% because you haven't made muscle memory and have to relearn much.

Unless you are in love with a trainer like a cub, you're better off getting qualified in a 4+ seater so you don't have to repeat the process AGAIN to be qualified in the bigger plane that holds more than 1 friend.

Soloing my daughter @ 14 took about 50hrs TT in a glider, and she's pretty adept.
 

BayDesigns

Active member
#3
Spacing out your lessons will increase the process by maybe 20% because you haven't made muscle memory and have to relearn much.

Unless you are in love with a trainer like a cub, you're better off getting qualified in a 4+ seater so you don't have to repeat the process AGAIN to be qualified in the bigger plane that holds more than 1 friend.

Soloing my daughter @ 14 took about 50hrs TT in a glider, and she's pretty adept.
That's all good to know! Thanks!
 
#4
I would get to solo in the 150 then transition over to the 172, You will find that there are more 172 availiable to rent, That will give you two option of planes to rent in the future, after getting you ticket, get some Piper time.
Fly at least once a week, you will spend less money in the long run
 

Piotrsko

Master member
#5
Only problem with the 150 and trauma chicken is that by myself I was technically over gross with full tanks. With the instructor on board, I couldn't do short field and soft field operations correctly. Then we got to weight and balance and immediately went oops and upgraded.

I suppose if you're normal "standard" 5'4" 140 lb human, you can fly anything you want with the same size friend.
 

Mr NCT

Active member
#6
1: Those of you who soloed at or close to 16, how many hours did it take?
2: I have 3 options for training: a C150, C172, and a PA28. Obviously, the 150’s the cheapest to rent, but are there any really compelling arguments for or against any of these types?
3: Since I’m in school, I won’t be able to do lessons as often during the school year. Currently, I’m thinking of doing my solo on my 16th (in November), and then doing lessons less frequently through the school year to stay proficient, and then finishing up the following summer and getting my license on my 17th. Does this sound reasonable?
Thanks for your help!
Great goal to have! I learned in a 150 and had a ball, though slightly after my 16th birthday. The 150 is a great stick and rudder plane, you feel every gust and thermal and gets you used to anticipating what the plane is going to do so you can learn to correct as it's happening. After getting used to flying a 150 everything else, especially the 172, feels like driving a truck. Fly as often as you can, it will cut down on the learning curve and get you soloed faster. One thing I found helpful was flying MS flight sim so I learned the instruments on my own time and dollar rather than in the cockpit. It was also helpful learning the pattern at the local airport. Go for it!!
 

BayDesigns

Active member
#7
Only problem with the 150 and trauma chicken is that by myself I was technically over gross with full tanks. With the instructor on board, I couldn't do short field and soft field operations correctly. Then we got to weight and balance and immediately went oops and upgraded.

I suppose if you're normal "standard" 5'4" 140 lb human, you can fly anything you want with the same size friend.
I am, as far as I know, fairly average size for my age, but that’s good to know! All the airports I’m looking at flying from are quite close to sea level, but it does get hot here.
Great goal to have! I learned in a 150 and had a ball, though slightly after my 16th birthday. The 150 is a great stick and rudder plane, you feel every gust and thermal and gets you used to anticipating what the plane is going to do so you can learn to correct as it's happening. After getting used to flying a 150 everything else, especially the 172, feels like driving a truck. Fly as often as you can, it will cut down on the learning curve and get you soloed faster. One thing I found helpful was flying MS flight sim so I learned the instruments on my own time and dollar rather than in the cockpit. It was also helpful learning the pattern at the local airport. Go for it!!
Thanks! I’ve got X-Plane 11 (doesn’t run great so no payware add-ons but it’s enough), and I also have the FAR/AIM, AFH, and PHAK, so I’ve been studying. Regarding the 150’s flight characteristics, that’s good to know!! It sounds like it makes a great trainer as far stick and rudder skills go.

Another question- obviously this depends on the club but is there a chance that I could take an intro lesson or two to see if the club is a good fit for me before joining?
 

Mr NCT

Active member
#8
I am, as far as I know, fairly average size for my age, but that’s good to know! All the airports I’m looking at flying from are quite close to sea level, but it does get hot here.

Thanks! I’ve got X-Plane 11 (doesn’t run great so no payware add-ons but it’s enough), and I also have the FAR/AIM, AFH, and PHAK, so I’ve been studying. Regarding the 150’s flight characteristics, that’s good to know!! It sounds like it makes a great trainer as far stick and rudder skills go.

Another question- obviously this depends on the club but is there a chance that I could take an intro lesson or two to see if the club is a good fit for me before joining?
Intro lessons or even a ride along is a great idea. Expect to pay for the plane time & lesson but absolutely do that. If they don't want to unless you join the club then it's probably not the right one anyway. I'm in the midwest and took lessons out of a small grass strip airport. One thing that was popular here was doing jobs around the airport - washing planes, mowing, etc. - in exchange for lessons. See if that's an option where you are. Pilots love people who are enthused and want to work and learn.
 

BayDesigns

Active member
#9
Paying for aircraft and instructor time is something I’m happy to do, no doubt there. I forgot about doing odd jobs around the field, but I had considered that before. Good to know that it still works! Learning how to wash an airplane is in my future. I’ll probably have more questions in the future, but for now, thank you so much for the information and encouragement!
 

Piotrsko

Master member
#10
Free is always better, particularly in something different like a Howard or Ercoupe or staggerwing. Daughter flew free in exchange for working in the airport lunchroom. Microsoft flight used to be counted one for one as hood time with a console.
 
#11
1: Those of you who soloed at or close to 16, how many hours did it take?
2: I have 3 options for training: a C150, C172, and a PA28. Obviously, the 150’s the cheapest to rent, but are there any really compelling arguments for or against any of these types?
3: Since I’m in school, I won’t be able to do lessons as often during the school year. Currently, I’m thinking of doing my solo on my 16th (in November), and then doing lessons less frequently through the school year to stay proficient, and then finishing up the following summer and getting my license on my 17th. Does this sound reasonable?
Thanks for your help!
I soloed in 4 hours at age 19 in a C-150 - that was 44 years ago. I would recommend the C-150, but don't space your lessons - weather permitting, try and fly no less than 3 times a week until you have 20 or 30 hours. I've trained hundreds of pilots, from private to ATP, and from C-150 to Airbus A330 - and most instructors will tell you that if you fly more often that once a day, it is a waste, and less often than twice a week is equally inefficient.

I swept hangers, and pumped gas for a FBO, and then gave me a 10% discount on renting a C-150. They also let me run a tab, which meant I could fly almost every day and got my private in about a month. Within 2 years I was a CFII and then on to a commuter airline. 3 years after that I was flying for a major airline.
 
#12
I soloed in 4 hours at age 19 in a C-150 - that was 44 years ago. I would recommend the C-150, but don't space your lessons - weather permitting, try and fly no less than 3 times a week until you have 20 or 30 hours. I've trained hundreds of pilots, from private to ATP, and from C-150 to Airbus A330 - and most instructors will tell you that if you fly more often that once a day, it is a waste, and less often than twice a week is equally inefficient.

I swept hangers, and pumped gas for a FBO, and then gave me a 10% discount on renting a C-150. They also let me run a tab, which meant I could fly almost every day and got my private in about a month. Within 2 years I was a CFII and then on to a commuter airline. 3 years after that I was flying for a major airline.
That’s a helpful story! Aside from the money side of things, which I’m starting to figure out, there’s also the transportation side of things. I can’t drive yet, so flying regularly this year would take a lot of planning, but next summer, I should be able to get out to the airport a lot. Hearing these different stories is really helping me figure out a plan, so thanks to everyone for helping me out!
 

Piotrsko

Master member
#13
The other thing is $$$$. Cost me a new car equivalent to get licensed PSEL taildragger, but i am not particularly coordinated. @CappyAmeric might have a insight on how people are being recruited currently as I saw in the WSJ about it being impossible to get trained "bus driver's" anymore.
 
#14
I've heard a lot about the pilot shortage. Obviously, that's not a huge thing at the moment, but by the time I'm out of college, I'm pretty sure some sort of flying job won't be hard to get. Going the airline route isn't totally out, and I'll probably end up flying corporate or for the airlines at some point, but right now, I'm thinking of going into the military first, then getting a commercial job after that.
 
#15
I've heard a lot about the pilot shortage. Obviously, that's not a huge thing at the moment, but by the time I'm out of college, I'm pretty sure some sort of flying job won't be hard to get. Going the airline route isn't totally out, and I'll probably end up flying corporate or for the airlines at some point, but right now, I'm thinking of going into the military first, then getting a commercial job after that.
The airlines will be doing serious recruiting in the next few years. IMHO, if you want to fly, the military is not the route. Military pilots do relatively little flying. The best pilots are people like you sound like: those that just love airplanes and take the early initiative to get as much flying as they can. Compare the career flying time between airlines and the military: at the end of an airline pilot’s career he flies his last trip just before his 65th birthday and has on average flown nearly 30,000 hours. The average Air Force general, stopped flying when he turned 45, and has about 3,000 hours.
 
#16
The airlines will be doing serious recruiting in the next few years. IMHO, if you want to fly, the military is not the route. Military pilots do relatively little flying. The best pilots are people like you sound like: those that just love airplanes and take the early initiative to get as much flying as they can. Compare the career flying time between airlines and the military: at the end of an airline pilot’s career he flies his last trip just before his 65th birthday and has on average flown nearly 30,000 hours. The average Air Force general, stopped flying when he turned 45, and has about 3,000 hours.
I had no idea that was the case! That's good to know. I've been heavily considering the Guard/Reserve route. That way, I get to do a similar job, just on a part-time basis. That also leaves the full-time option open. It's not just about the flying, though, it's also about the service and the fact that I really enjoy helping people out. I'm considering Air Force Guard/Reserve, active duty Coast Guard, and maybe active Navy/Marine Corps. Really, the Guard or Reserve fits me best since I can choose where I serve and what I do, not so with active duty.
 
#17
I had no idea that was the case! That's good to know. I've been heavily considering the Guard/Reserve route. That way, I get to do a similar job, just on a part-time basis. That also leaves the full-time option open. It's not just about the flying, though, it's also about the service and the fact that I really enjoy helping people out. I'm considering Air Force Guard/Reserve, active duty Coast Guard, and maybe active Navy/Marine Corps. Really, the Guard or Reserve fits me best since I can choose where I serve and what I do, not so with active duty.
Very admirable reasons to go that route. I have a son has who been an active duty AF pilot for 8 years. I also have many many friends who went the military route, and no doubt many would not do it differently if they were to do it again, although the military has changed dramatically in the past few years.

That said, the life of a professional pilot is always about serving people whether we are civilian or military. We bring families together, we take people to weddings, to funerals, to meet with friends, families on vacation, business people supporting their families, etc. My father was a missionary pilot, and I learned that if you are a pilot will always be able to serve.
 
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#19
Have you thought about one of the service academies?
I have. My uncle is a Marine, and I'm fortunate enough to live fairly close to the Naval Academy. I've been there a lot, and I've met a lot of Midshipmen, some of whom were family friends, some complete strangers. They were all very enthusiastic about the Academy, and I'm definitely considering it. I've heard from a lot of people that it's a wonderful school, and from the (small) parts that I've seen of it, it surely is. Full-time service definitely is not out of the question, and I would absolutely love to attend one of the academies. I'll almost certainly apply to the Coast Guard and Naval Academies, but I've got some time to decide. RIght now, I'm finding new options every month, so the list of schools and service options is ever-expanding.
 
#20
Very admirable reasons to go that route. I have a son has who been an active duty AF pilot for 8 years. I also have many many friends who went the military route, and no doubt many would not do it differently if they were to do it again, although the military has changed dramatically in the past few years.

That said, the life of a professional pilot is always about serving people whether we are civilian or military. We bring families together, we take people to weddings, to funerals, to meet with friends, families on vacation, business people supporting their families, etc. My father was a missionary pilot, and I learned that if you are a pilot will always be able to serve.
I've got no doubt that the life of a professional pilot, no matter what occupation, is one of service. It's one of the main reasons other than "I love flying, so why not get paid to do it" that attracts me to this career field!