Chicago to Keys

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by czodzy, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. czodzy

    czodzy Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi there,
    I am new to flying, just recently got my PPL, and was wondering how crazy or not it is to fly from Chicago to Florida Keys in Cessna 150? How long will it take me, is it more than just a weekend trip?
     
  2. mwagg737

    mwagg737 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You're probably looking at 10 hours each way. It would be a fun trip as long as you plan it carefully.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
     
  3. Nina Abul-husn

    Nina Abul-husn Filing Flight Plan

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    I don’t think so at all! One of the reasons we get our PPL, to do such cool things, no? I haven’t done any long trips yet, as I’m still working on my license...but definitely in the plans! I want fly to Mexico, and the Caribbean...hell, someday I wanna fly around the world!! And it’s gonna be in a C182! Plan it well, and it’ll be a blast!
     
  4. sonopoa

    sonopoa Pre-Flight

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    Flying after you get your ppl isnt crazy. Congratulations!

    The practical aspects such as concentration, well being of the pilot over the trips (both ways), where to stop for fuel - hotels and logistics around a long journey (work?), contingency, WEATHER and airspace planning, alternates, aircraft tec issues, paperwork etc,etc should be thought about (which you know from your training)
     
  5. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    A long xc is just a bunch of short xc trips. Just pay attention to weather and TFR's and you will do fine.
     
  6. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Myeh...just do it.
    Be careful of getting stranded due to weather...
    Otherwise is is a fantastic adventure.
     
  7. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Line Up and Wait

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    Reasonable facsimile
    As long as you don't put too much time pressure on yourself, it should be a fun trip. If you do go, take pics and tell us all about it!
     
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  8. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    At least a week. Plan on getting stuck a day or two here or there for weather.

    But in a big, fast, 150, shouldn't be a big deal. (Having flown from Detroit to Alaska in a Cessna 120)
     
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  9. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    A weekend would be a challenge since you're talking at least 12 hours each way. Give yourself more time as leeway for weather and you'll have fun. I've flown a Jabiru Light Sport from Minnesota to Ft. Myers. It would have been only an hour more to Key West (which I've done in a Cherokee Six.) Long XC is fun. As someone else said, a long XC is just a bunch of short XCs back to back.
     
  10. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    It's a very full day in my Traveler to fly from CNY to the gulf coast or central Florida. Count on maybe 2 days to get to the Keys. Part of the fun is planning your route and stops, and choosing the time of year to avoid the worst of weather delays. If you do your home planning, you will get a better idea of how long it will take you with no delays. Taking such a trip is a fun adventure.
     
  11. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Lol. My dyslexic brain read the thread title as “keys to Chicago” and thought “who the hell would want them?”
     
  12. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    As others have said, you may have to land and wait out the weather or have a maintenance issue fixed. I've done both on one trip. What was supposed to take six hours and twenty minutes flying time took over twelve. But I have a story to tell. If everything goes as planned with no delays or problems, it isn't much of an adventure, therefore, no story to tell. The goal is that if required, you be smart enough to wait out the weather or plan alternate routes or fuel stops and come back home in one piece.

    Enjoy
     
  13. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Adventure: Adversity retold at leisure.
     
  14. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Chicago to the Keys in a 152 in 10 hours? In your dreams.

    The direct line distance is alone is 9.5 hours at 75% not counting climbs, the Atlanta Class B, wind and 3 fuel stops. 15-18 hours each way is more realistic.
     
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  15. mwagg737

    mwagg737 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yeah, been a long time since I've been in the 152

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
     
  16. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Go for it!
    Our local FBO owner is a very elderly woman. I will chat with her sometimes, and she loves to tell stories of flying her 150 all over the place. Florida, Bahamas, and more. She loved that plane!

    Even a 172 can get pretty slow in big headwinds though..so if you have time/flexibility, I'd definitely look at the wind very seriously, and use it to your favor.
    Might be discouraging on your first big trip to watch all the cars passing you up ;)
     
  17. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    Someone I know has flown his 150 from Minnesota to Sun'N'Fun for the past few years and all VFR. So it can be done. He does tell of sleeping in little airport municipal buildings along the way and take more than just a day to get there. But he seems to really enjoy the trip, probably more so than the destination. IIRC, he allocates an entire week to the Sun'N'Fun and how much time he actually spends there depends on the time to get there and wx concerns coming back home.

    So far I am up to only 500nm away from the home base. Worked out pretty good but this winter MVFR/IFR wx gets on my brain gets me to wanting to leave early rather than be stuck.

    If you asked me today to plan a VFR flight down to Florida (I have thought about it :)) I would first want to have options on when to actually go. Like make 3 different weekends or just open on any weekend. I would then watch weather (Windy, etc) for possible good wx ahead of time. And I think I would want like 4 days. If all went well, could get there late the same day. Same for the trip home. At best that leaves 2 days down there. If a hint of bad wx I'd probably depart early and get as close to home as possible so that I could be closer to ensuring back home on time for work.

    I will admit, my real goal would not be flying around Florida but rather to fly over to the Bahamas. If I knew I could rent a 182 down there I might even consider that as it might be cheaper than the all the fuel to get down there and back. Not sure if you trip to the Key's is specific. I would think a 150 rental would be quite easy. But if you want the adventure of the flight I say go for it and tell us how it went. You will learn so much on that flight it will be crazy!!!
     
  18. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    You can rent them. Probably close to $200 per hour, so figure probably $400-500 per day minimum, plus check out expense, raft rental, etc.
    If they let you take them to Bahamas..

    http://www.rentplanes.com/results/index.asp?Loc=FLL

    I'm trying to put some math to it if I were an owner.
    By the time you paid airfare down there, the check out costs, rental rates, etc., would you be saving much? Would you need renters insurance?
    Probably playing with weather/availability of the rental a little bit also, as opposed to having your plane ready when the weather is ready.

    But there may be tie down/landing fees, etc.

    hmmm...
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  19. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    Well this might be some thread drift...but to kinda answer @Skyrys62 question I just did a quick flight plan from my home base to the Keys (KEYW). So a bit farther than where I would fly to hop to the Bahamas but still what the OP was interested in. I show 1380nm one way. For the 182 I planned for about 123kts. I have 4 legs total the first 3 being around 375nm. The last leg down Florida is 256nm. That is 9.3hrs of flight time including climbs/descents. Add 1hr stop after each leg and its pretty close to a 12hr trip (no wx/mx delays). So, in summer especially, it could all be done in daylight.

    Now the fuel. It is showing 103gal (includes climbs/descents - no winds) but I rounded to 120gal. Let's go with $5.75/gal average. So lets just go with $1400 of fuel for the round trip.

    So it takes a full day each way and $1400 to get there and back.

    Lets say a second person goes and they are a pilot. That gives a bit better chance of making it in a day, less mistakes (airspace, etc).

    Lets say round trip airline tickets for the two to Ft. Lauderdale from Minnie are $400 each. So that is $800 to fly commercial down and back. So that leaves the commercial option $600 ahead and they are in FL way earlier.

    Lets say they do the rental checkout that afternoon and takes 2hrs at $275/hr for the plane and instructor for $550. Now the commercial guys have $50 left to spend!!!

    Lets say there is a total of 7hrs of flying: Get over to the Bahamas on day 1, hop around some on day 2 and then back to Florida on day 3.

    My overall operating rate for our 182 is $125hr for everything or another $875.

    Lets say the rental agreement for three days was $200/hr and minimum of 3hrs/day x 3 days (I have no clue on overnight minimums). So the rental would be $1800.

    Lets leave out food, hotel, survival stuff as they are about the same. Then it looks like the following:

    $2275: 2 People Fly GA Plane Down And Back
    $3150: 2 People Fly Commerical then rent from FL to the Bahamas and back.

    Now bring in the variables.

    Lets say there is a wx delay for the GA flight down. Maybe the trip gets scrubbed. If schedules are flexible it will basically add hotel room and dinner for a couple nights ($150/day or $300). Now the difference is close to $500.

    Lets say the commercial flight gets there early enough that the check out ride can be done the same day. That saves time but both groups still need a hotel that night. If the commercial fliers were already checked out in the plane they could fly to the Bahamas and save one hotel night in Florida which might close the gap by $175 or so and do leg # 1 to the Bahamas on the first overall trip day!

    For the commercial flyers, if the check ride takes longer (3hrs or more) it starts to increase the difference. And if my guess the 3 day rental is off on the low side I think the commercial flyers will be spending even more.

    The nice part of about renting is it might be a newer plane (for me it would be). No hours on my plane. Its only 7 or 8 hours of flight time so less chance of a mx issue far away from home. Plus a mx issue for my plane way down there would be more of a PITA than a rental plane down there.

    The odds of the commercial option getting in the full 3 days is higher than the GA option since the commercial flight has like a 95% of making it down. Being a VFR pilot I am guessing a 50% chance of making it in a day.

    If you can add a 3rd person the savings for flying GA get even better and still easily doable in the 182.

    If I had extra money I'd fly commercial and rent. But that would miss the point of the adventure of getting there and back. I hope to do this trip some day soon :)

    ...that's basically how I see it. I probably missed like 23 things - LOL!

    But I am guessing the OP will be thinking along the same lines.
     
  20. Dana

    Dana Line Up and Wait

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    Almost any time you fly a small plane VFR a long distance, it should be about the journey and not the destination. You might make it straight through... you you could hit weather and be delayed a week. No reservations and no fixed schedule... which for me is the most enjoyable and relaxing kind of trip, whether by plane or by car.
     
  21. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    You might get checked out pretty quick since you're a 182 owner.
    But I wouldn't discount the renter's insurance, especially these days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019
  22. czodzy

    czodzy Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks guys for your inputs, I didn't even realized how big this community is. After reading your comments it made me 100% sure that going for my PPL was a good decision! Now I want to build my hours and going to Keys was just a quick and expensive way of doing that. I know that aviation in not cheap but one way or the other I need to get to 1k.
    Thank you!!!
     
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  23. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    Go for it. It's not how cheaply you can do it. You can always fly commercially faster and cheaper for 1000 nm trips. It's about the fun and adventure of using your PPL. And it's still faster than driving even in a 150.
     
  24. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I've flown my Archer to quite a few distant places. To me this is the best use of a GA aircraft. A 150 won't get you there fast but honestly it's probably about the same experience, it will just take longer.

    Flying VFR it is more likely you'll have weather delays than not. I've never had a big trip that I didn't end up staying somewhere overnight for a day or more waiting out some weather. I've had at least one trip where I didn't even leave home until 6 days after I planned to leave. Just plan for the extra days and make peace with this fact and you'll have a great time.
     
  25. Possum

    Possum Pre-takeoff checklist

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    An acquaintance tells of the time that when he was a low time pilot, he and two other young college boys loaded up a Piper 150 and headed to the Bahamas in search of a good time. The trip to the Bahamas was uneventful but they couldn't find any unattached females to party with and soon boredom set in. They headed back to the states and up the Florida coast in IFR conditions [not IFR rated] flying around 400' and dodging the clouds and smokestacks until they finally made it home. At the time he viewed the trip as a total disaster. The time spent in the Bahamas was wasted and the return trip was stressful and flat out dangerous. However, today when he reflects on the trip he describes it as a "learning experience" and certainly an experience worthy of sharing among fellow pilots. Thus it is about much of life experiences.... while in the moment we question "why did I do this???".... ultimately we can look back on the event and find some measure of satisfaction.
     
  26. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    If ifs and buts were candies and nuts.....
     
  27. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    For the record: I will be flying my my plane :)
     
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  28. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Come pick me up!

    btw... what are you holding in that underwater pic/avatar?

    (please don't answer 'my breath') :)
     
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  29. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    The camera :)

    My daughter and I were snorkeling at a local lake and I was trying out a underwater camera rig. She was taking pictures and feeling pretty cool (7yrs old). The big dome on the front was so heavy that she couldn't hold it straight so I was just helping keep it level.
     
  30. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    lol... gotcha...so it's a glamour shot.
    Thought maybe you were harassing some local sea life and it got cropped out of the picture.
    Happens to me on occasion. (not the glamour shot)

    well ok that too
     
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  31. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    I've never been cropped out for harassment :)
     
  32. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Go for it. Just be sure to have a few days of padding in your plan for weather delays.

    I think that long cross country flights only get dangerous if ‘get-there-itis’ kicks in. I flew my 172 from Houston to the black hills a week after passing my PPL. Flying a plane gives you freedoms that no other form of travel does.

    I’ve also found some of the most interesting small airports while making unplanned stops for weather. One I stopped at in Kentucky had a sign on the desk in the FBO that said ‘Welcome to xxxx. I’ve gone to Alaska to go fishing. If you need fuel put a note in the book with your N-number, a phone number, and how much fuel you used then mail a check to cover the cost to xxxxx. If you need the courtesy car it’s parked out front and the keys are in the drawer. We’d appreciate it if you’d put some fuel in it if you go very far’.

    When I mailed them my check I included a request for them to call me when they got back from the fishing trip to let me know how they did. They actually called. After talking about the fishing trip for a while I told them how amazed I was that they allowed me to buy fuel using the honor approach. He said he’d been doing that for 15 years and always came out ahead because most people added a few bucks when they sent in their check. He said he’d never lost money on the deal.

    Where but the flying community will you find that kind of trust and honesty?

    Let us know how the trip goes.

    Gary
     
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  33. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Give yourself plenty of time and don’t push weather or fuel reserves and I don’t see a issue, should be very fun.
     
  34. Martin Pauly

    Martin Pauly Pre-Flight

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    The key (no pun intended) to make this a good experience is for the journey to be part of the fun.

    Your 150 will be agonizingly slow. No way I would try to make that trip in one day. Plan for at least two days to go down, and again on the way back. Make it a fun stop somewhere nice, e.g. Smoky Mountains - maybe even plan to stop there for a day. And there may be weather delays.

    So this could be a lot of fun! Just don't rush it.
     
  35. USAF JD

    USAF JD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I did that trip from 3CK a few years ago in my Cheetah. I had a few stops on the way down to see family but did the return trip in one day due to weather. It was all dandy on the return until we passed Nashville where my wife thought she was spending the night....The AA5A had long legs, we made it home just as the sun was going down. We had 9 hours of flying that day and it was too long.
     
  36. IK04

    IK04 Line Up and Wait

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    I am still waiting for a break in my schedule to ferry my C-140 from Portland to Central Texas. I have the trip planned in three days worth of flying with two fuel stops per day. It is all over familiar routes I have flown many times, so I'm not worried about surprises... I think it's 1800nm or so. I will plan an entire week to get it done and hope for the best. I'd like to bring someone along with me, but with full fuel, that person would have to weigh 120 pounds. In order to carry a normal sized human, my legs will be shorter and it would add six or so fuel stops! Screaming along at 90mph/85Kts, I'll have plenty of time to make fuel calculations...
     
  37. Thunderbird83

    Thunderbird83 Filing Flight Plan

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    What airport in Chicago do you fly out of? This trip is not at all crazy, but you might enjoy it more if you take a couple of days to get down seeing things on the way, a couple more where you stay on the ground enjoying the Keys (or wherever), and a couple more to get back... And, of course, if you're flying a C150 in the winter, be prepared to just sit somewhere for a few days waiting out weather.

    What's the range and cruise speed of your 150? I'm thinking 250 - 300nm legs? 1200nm or so, that's probably 4 fuel stops each way. Plan it out to see some interesting places, and then maybe see some different places on the way back.