Diamond DA40 or Cessna Skyhawk PPL training Question

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Aspiringpilot, May 26, 2018.

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Should I stick with the cessna or go with the DA40?

  1. Cessna

    25 vote(s)
    73.5%
  2. DA40

    9 vote(s)
    26.5%
  1. Aspiringpilot

    Aspiringpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello everyone!

    I wanted to get some valuable input regarding the issue I am trying to figure out. I am going to begin my aviation journey this summer and I am really excited for it! Theres just one problem, I don't know what flight school to choose. I am caught between a school that is locally owned and recommended by my friends dad who is a commercial airline pilot. He happened to know the owners of it and directed me to them! They were very nice and have a very good reputation along with great reviews. They fly a variety of Cessna 172's, which is wonderful! Recently, I just had another discovery flight with a school around the corner from that other school, and it was really great! The instructor was very nice and gave a lot of insight and information about their program. They operate only 2 diamond da40's with the Garmin g-1000 avionics package. My parents really liked the plane because he explained that it is really safe, but also explained that if I did training in a Cessna that at some point I would have to transition into a plane that uses the Garmin package, which is what would cost me more. Which segments into the issue, do I learn to fly in a Cessna with the one flight school and save about $2,000-$3,000? Or do I pay the extra (around $12-$13,000) and learn to fly with the other school? I am just not sure what to do because I loved both places so much and it certainly is a hard decision to make. (as a disclaimer, I personally don't mind learning to fly in a Cessna, but I just want to make sure its worth it because I plan on going on to make this my career someday).
     
  2. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Transition training to the Garmin won’t take long after you have your certificate. The little bit that training will cost you is far less than what you’ll save by staying with the Cessnas for now.
     
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  3. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    The Cessna 172 is statistically the safest aircraft ever made ever. As far as transitioning to the Garmin package, just depends on your goals? Are you aiming for the airlines? if so that's probably true.

    Also keep in mind that it's MUCH easier to go from round gauges (such as in the 172) to a G-1000 than from a G1000 back to round gauges. I would probably choose the cheaper option if I were in your shoes, but you can't go wrong either way.
     
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  4. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A plane is only as safe as the pilot. Cirrus's have chutes and people still smash them into the ground. I would recommend learning in something with round gauges, its easier to go from round to glass than the other way around.

    Since the one school only has two DA40's aircraft availability may be an issue especially when one of them goes in for maint.
     
  5. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff

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    The question you ask is like, should I learn to drive in a compact car, or should I learn in an SUV, because I plan to eventually become a truck driver. Which would you choose? I trained in a DA-20 for my private pilot certificate, and I can tell you with confidence that it makes absolutely no difference which airplane you choose. You will spend a good 10-20 hours learning basic aircraft control, and what avionics is on the panel will be irrelevant. Transitioning to a different airplane and avionics may take 2 -3 hours, at most. Its not worth worrying about.
     
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  6. Topper

    Topper Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Finding the instructor that fits you is way more important than what Plane to train in. I also agree that transitioning from steam to glass should be easier than the other way around. Of course I have only done it one way, so I can’t know for sure.

    Jim
     
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  7. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I agree with a lot of what's been written here already, but it bears repeating: The instructor is more important than the airplane. Take a discovery flight with each of the schools, and ask that they give you whoever they would assign you as an instructor, and choose the school with the better instructor.

    It is also easier to go from "steam gauges" to the G1000 than it is to go in the other direction by far, especially for instrument work. We are, of course, making the assumption here that the 172s at the school you visited don't have the G1000 - There are lots of 172s that do have G1000 as well.

    The DA40 is one of the best airplanes ever built, IMO - But at the same time, it's so dang easy and fun to fly that it'll spoil you. The 172 will force to you work a bit to fly it, and thus will teach you a little better how to fly whatever else you're going to fly in the future.

    So, even though I love flying the DA40, for your goals I would lean toward the 172. However, if the instructor you get at the school with the DA40s is better, then go there. That is THE most important thing, by far.
     
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  8. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Earlier this month I got my PPL, after training on Skyhawks with steam gauges. And last week I was checked-off to fly, as a renter, the school's Archer II and the DA40. Each check-off flight was about 1.5-2 hours, with $40/hour for the instructor on the Archer II and $50/hour for the DA40.

    Total added instructional cost, beyond my PPL: $180 (plus aircraft rent, of course).

    What I found very useful in my case was the Garmin 430 in the 172s I flew. As a student, I became comfortable using the 430. Familiarity with the 430 was helpful and applicable when I tried the DA40's G1000.

    So if the Skyhawks you are considering are equipped with a 430 (or maybe a 530), you will be able to gain experience in the Garmin interface, especially as you get close to your cross-country solo. This experience is transferable to the G1000 when the time comes.

    In the first 10-15 hours of your training, you'll be quite focused on the mechanical aspects of flying. During this period, avionics may not be a priority for you.

    If your school is similarly priced as mine, here's a back-of-the-envelope calculation to consider:

    50 hours of dual instruction in the 172: $8,250
    50 hours of dual instruction in the DA40: $10,500

    Diff: $2,250

    3 hours of dual instruction post-PPL
    to transition from 172 to DA40: $630

    And you still come ahead $1,620.

    (The calculations above are based on the following prices:
    C172: 125/hr, instruction: $40/hr
    DA40: $160/hr, instruction: $50/hr)
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  9. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Absolutely. Entering flight plans, choosing approaches, etc all works exactly the same on the G1000 as it does on the 430 and 530. A transition to the G1000, even for instrument flying, can be done in an hour if you've got lots of experience with the Garmin GNS units.
     
  10. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 En-Route

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    Summer? Cessna... that DA40 is an oven, lol.

    I fly both of those models regularly, as it's all that's available around here. I like both for different reasons, but I agree that you should take a few lessons in each to evaluate the instructors a little further, as well as the planes.
    I also flew both during my training, with the majority in the 172.
    If you train in the diamond for a while, you'll feel like you're riding a turtle when you get in pattern with the 172. But it's not a bad thing, just different.
    Conversely, if you train in the 172 for a while, you'll get a nice little rush from differences of the DA40.

    I felt like the Diamond was nicer for steep turns and stalls, but the 172's were better for short field work....and easier to hit my target on landing.
    The DA40 floats a little and it's easy to work that stick for greasers.

    If you are seriously going to make a career out of it, you could start with the Cessna's for the PPL, save a little money, and then move on to the other outfit if they offer IFR training in the DA40's.
    Auto pilot will be nice for building some cross country time too. Most Diamonds I've seen have AP, but few of the Cessna trainers I've seen do...but I haven't seen all that many either.

    You've got a nice problem to have :)

    Good luck!
     
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  11. Aspiringpilot

    Aspiringpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Thank you all for your input! I have a lot to consider but I definitely need to look into the instructors more like everyone has said before
     
  12. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    The cheapest airworthy one.

    Both are not ideal trainers however as they are both far too forgiving and mask errors well.


    Ofcourse of there is anywhere to spend more money it's on a good CFI, note I didn't say school, the individual CFI is the largest factor in your training.
     
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  13. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What do you recommend then, a Curtiss Jenny? :rofl:

    I think @Skyrys62 did a pretty good job describing the differences, and the DA40 is very easy to fly and land, but I don't think the 172 is too forgiving. It is forgiving of the right things, but it still will have a good break on the stall, it will still force you to learn to flare to land, etc.

    The one thing the DA40 will be harder on is short field landings - It has very low drag and more pronounced ground effect, so will be much less forgiving of extra speed on both short field and normal landings. That's one thing to check out as far as their CFIs, OP - What speed do they have you fly on final? Many CFIs who originally trained on Cessnas will have you go too fast on final in the DA40, which is very detrimental. The Cessna can tolerate a few extra knots because it's a brick. The sleek DA40 must be flown at the correct speed on final. If they tell you to fly any faster than 75 knots, or have you land with less than full flaps, do not train there.
     
  14. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I learned on a 7AC, but a J3, citabria, PA18, most gliders, taylorcraft, etc. at the very least something that you can at least spin and invert.

    As far as the diamond being slick and 172 CFIs teaching coming in too fast, that's mostly just bad instruction, really it's all the same, doing a text book short field isn't a issue, knowing your numbers and how the plane feels, it's all the same fundamentals, problem is low time and low skill CFIs don't have much experience doing REAL short field or backcountry work, they were taught by CFIs who also didn't, thus they are scared of lower speed operations and off field work and keep passing that nonsense along, see self licking icecream cone.

    You want a CFI who is experienced, and experienced in more than just bare bones lowest common denominator CFIing, you want a plane that will highlight all your shortcomings and also be responsive enough that your experienced CFI can let you take the plane far enough into a screw up that you couldn't recover but they still can, you want a plane and CFI who can fully teach you spins and put the plane on its back and have you recover, do a real power on stall all the way into a "inadvertent" spin, one who will take you through stalls, falling leaf stalls, basic spins, cross wind, tailwind, power off, power on, etc all before solo, and who is comfortable enough on all sides of that planes envelope that he will pass on confidence in operating that plane on all corners of its envelope, not pass on pointless fear.
     
  15. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The 172 is probably more cost effective,learn on the 172 and then if your thinking of flying a diamond ,it won’t take long to get checked out on the G 1000.
     
  16. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Sounds like you'd be paying a lot extra just for the Garmin g-1000 avionics package, which really has little to do with learning to fly. Stick with the 172.
     
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  17. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    The problem with the 172 is the controls are sloppy and very forgiving of pilot mistakes.
    The result is most CFI's do not bother to teach precision control in the 172. I am not going to get into causes here :)
    With the law of primacy in learning, you have to know where you want to go later in your flying life.
    If you want to fly a more sensitive plane like a Cirrus or a Mooney, then switching to the Diamond (I have just a few hours in Diamond so I do not know it well) could save you money longer term if your teacher lets you be sloppy in the Cessna. Multiple instructors I have met are much more precise in other planes then the Cessna.
    On the other hand, if you CFI keeps you on the ball amd makes you fly the 172 as precise as it can be, then stay with it.

    Tim

    Sent from my LG-TP260 using Tapatalk
     
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  18. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I'd go as far as to say the big screens are counter productive to making a good VFR pilot.
     
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  19. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've never flown a Diamond, but another factor *might* be comfort, *if* you are either significantly shorter or taller than the average pilot. I love flying 150/2's because they're "my size"; in a 172, I always have to crank the seat all the way forward and then add a cushion. Not that this is an insurmountable problem or anything... But it may contribute to a preference for some folks. Maybe short (or or tall) Diamond pilots can weigh in; they're probably not that different from a 172?
     
  20. RoadRunner

    RoadRunner Filing Flight Plan

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    Seem my other post for a gory description of my own ppl saga, but for what it's worth, after five years and 200+ hours of flying before getting my license, I have re-thought many of my decisions along the way.
    One of them was switching from 172 to DA40 after ~30-40 hours. If I could do it over again, I would've stayed in the 172. It is, quite simply, the industry standard trainer. Any deviation from that standard introduces variables in your process that you don't need. There are fewer Diamonds so scheduling is harder. Greater risk of extended downtime: I failed a checkride in part because I tried to cram and take the test in a DA20 since my standard plane was down 4 weeks for a fuel sender replacement. Finally, you'll be flying a plane for your checkride that is not as familiar to your DPE. It's stall characteristics are so benign my final DPE actually took the controls to satisfy himself the plane was really stalled.
    The DA40 is a fantastic plane, preposterously forgiving, very capable, economical, speedy. (and contrary to what someone else said, I believe holds the world record for lowest fatals) But the 172 is the default industry standard, and the safest choice.
     
  21. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    It doesn't matter a rats azz, really, it doesn't; safety is not really an issue - you can kill yourself in either plane, though you might have to work at it a littler harder in a 172. Steam versus glass is way, way over-thought, in this forum and elsewhere; at its most simple, for a new VFR pilot, think of glass (G-1000) as just screen representations of the same instruments you'll see in a steam gauge airplane. The "learning" is the peculiar navigation/buttonology of the G-1000. You can get a bunch of that on YouTube and a free simulator, when/if the time comes, and the time spent in the airplane to transition will be brief.

    There is an old saying "If you can't fly a 172, you can't fly". For working on your private pilot, the aircraft instrumentation, whether "pictures" or real gauges, isn't too relevant. If you like the Diamond and the Diamond school better, and the difference in costs doesn't matter, do the Diamond. Same-same for the 172. The rest is just noise. . .
     
  22. carlapilot

    carlapilot Filing Flight Plan

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    can I have a quiestion? I learn on a Cessna 152.... As far I know (dont know a lot about airplanes), C172 is bigger - more seats, bigger engine, more HP, more fuel - so it cost more, than a 2 seated airplane. This difference counts when you pay the whole course... there is big difference in the price of like renting it so.... later I can get the type rating for c172 in a couple of hours, after my PPL.
    My instructors and flight school said, cessna is the perfect and safest plane for training. Easy.
    And as my Instructor is old stylish, we use no G-1000 just the regular instruments and also a paper map. He says, electronic devices can fail any time, so you cant 100%trust them, its important to learn everything without.
    Ok I know planes getting more and more modern, but... i dont mind learning on the oldstylish way :D
     
  23. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ive never flown a diamond but I’ve got over 300 hours in a 172. The 172 is a terrific plane and will make you a good pilot and it will make you respect winds as the high wing design is more susceptible to wind gusts( so I’ve been told by people who’ve flown both high and low wings.). Even though planes are going more modern with avionics, I’d encourage you to learn on the standard 6 pack steam gauges first. You want to learn how to fly with eyes outside the cockpit and I think the new avionics encourage more head down eyes in type flying. Just my thought thpugh as almost all of my 350 something hours are in 6pack steam gauge planes.

    The other thing to consider is after you pass your checkride the 172 is probably the most available plane around which will lead to easier accessibility if you are renting and probably lower rates. If you are planing on buying then it probably does not matter about rental rates but I just thought I’d throw that out as an option/thought.
     
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  24. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    @carlapilot @jspilot

    Hmmm where to start...
    Let's go with safest. Pull any Nall report and you will see that is false; the C172 is not the safest training plane.

    Low wing and high wing matter for gusts on the ground when you taxi, or potentially in the flare and on the runway. This is because there is a larger sail area which can capture the wind between the wing and the ground.
    However once you are out of ground effect, what matters more is not high wing or low wing but the flat area. In this case Cessna has a large flat area compared to mostnlow wing planes. However go fly a Tecnam and you will see a high wing with a much lower amount of flat area, and behaves much better.

    Steam gauge versus glass. Comes down more to generational then anything. I can read glass faster and take in significantly more information faster than I can read the gauges. You will find many older pilots who swear by the gauges and blame all the pretty glass inside the cockpit for accidents. Instead if you look at accident trends you will find the stats are about the same, what pilots do to kill themselves is changing.

    It is better to blame the instructors for pilots who never look out the windows, or learned to use an insect dot on the windshield to track the horizon than to blame the equipment. Further, a PFD in most glass cockpits can be limited to the same information as a six pack. An MFD or Nav/Com does display more then a couple of old radios. However, if you know the GNS430 it has almost all the same information excluding engine params as a MFD. And yet, you do not see many of these old pilots wanting to give up on the new Nav/Coms.
    So the reality is, it is people complaining about two things. 1. Change. 2. They have grown up with gauges, not the equivalent of tapes. so the information is harder to process.

    I could go on and on.... Start asking why and for actual physics behind a lot of these gross generalizations.

    Tim
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
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  25. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    Uhhh. . .I'm an old pilot, but also an IT guy and a former avionics tech . . .I see, in my experience, VFR and IFR, about zero meaningful difference between steam and glass. Glass is a little more labor intensive, but better integrated, though the user interfaces are clumsy. Steam is simpler, obviously less "vendor" specific, and "rate" indications are more intuitive than in, say, a G-1000. I've flown both quite a bit, and given an autopilot in a steam gauge airplane, I don't see a lot to recommend one over the other. But, as you point, out, the steam gauges airplanes usually had a G-430 or G-530, so you could say they were glass "supplemented", perhaps. I imagine glass is cheaper to install and sustain, but that's outside the bound of usability.
     
  26. Ben2k9

    Ben2k9 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Can you provide stats? I’ve seen stats that show DA40is safest.
     
  27. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 En-Route

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    I'm average height, but with fairly short legs. This creates a position in the 172 where I have to have the seat pretty far forward, and I also raise the seat to it's highest setting for a better view.
    The only issues with that set up, is that on a full stall, the yoke is in my gut, and with a kneeboard, the yoke wants to hit it during a turn. Not enough to stop anything, but enough to be annoying.
    In the Diamond (the two DA40's I've flown) they have the adjustable brake/rudder pedals. I pull them up close and everything else fits like a glove.
    I've heard a few folks complain about the Diamond seats being uncomfortable, but I like them. I like the Cessna seating equally well, just in a different way.
    The older Cherokee seats have hurt my back for some reason though, after about an hour.
     
  28. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    During VFR you're not supposed to be looking at the panel for "flying" that much anyway. Except for a few scenarios (altimeter, engine gauges, and navigation for example), the instruments are just to verify what you think you're seeing outside, right?

    Not a direct answer, but to me it means "it don't matter"
     
  29. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    At the private pilot instructional level, you won't really be using all of the G1000's capabilities anyway. I would not recommend using the G1000 for your private pilot training, and certainly would not recommend paying more for your private training just to get a G1000 equipped plane when you won't be getting any benefit from the G1000's capabilities at that point in your flying carreer. I loved the DA-20 I trained in, so I have nothing against Diamonds. When (if) you start your instrument training, then you might consider transitioning at that time. That's not unreasonable. But I would even recommend doing that after you complete the instrument on steam gauges.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  30. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    They're called paragraphs. You hit the "Enter" key on the right side of the keyboard.

    Oh, you were asking about airplanes. :)

    You can learn to be an aviator in either airplane. If you're doing this as a career, you'll be flying all sorts of avionics packages for a number of years before you get paid to do it, so it really doesn't matter at all. You'll transition when you need to, and going all the way through all of the ratings to fly as a profession, you'll transition as necessary.

    The instructor who says you'll "need to transition to Garmin" avionics is absolutely full of crap at your stage of the game, so there's strike one against that instructor. I'm not keen on hiring people who lie to me, but you do as you wish.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
  31. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    There's also the all too common mistake of thinking your training will take 50hrs and it takes 60hrs or 70hrs. If you go with the cheaper, more common plane the difference just might buy you those last unplanned hours instead being broke but knowing how a G1000 works.
     
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  32. mizer2167

    mizer2167 Pre-Flight

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    My suggestion would be to go with the least expensive option, as long as there is high availability for both plane(s) and your instructor.

    I would plan on knocking out your initial training in 3 months by flying several times a week. You'll retain more and repeat fewer items that way, provided you study/review before and after each lesson. If you can't get training scheduled when you need to fit your availability, it will extend the time it takes and increase your costs.
     
  33. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

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    I agree with picking the least expensive option, but I'd also do a check to see how convenient it'll be to schedule a lesson. Call each school and ask about the availability of an instructor w/airplane (time slots) over the next 2 weeks. You may find that one school has too many students (or too few instructors) and always has a full schedule. To maximize your learning speed and minimize your total cost, you'd like to fly a couple of times a week. If you can't reasonably expect to get on the schedule that often, look elsewhere.
     
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  34. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    Timothy
    So what did you decide?
     
  35. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Change whatever number that got pulled from a warm dark place and used in the denominator and you can pretty much get the result that you want. :-(
    Safest aircraft to fly are clearly Cessna 120/140s, Luscombes and T-carts. But you will note that the PA-28, 172, and 150/152 are much safer than they were in the 1980's.
    [​IMG]
     
  36. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    @Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    You will note, I just said the C172 is not the safest. Made no claim on which is the safest. To many assumptions, but generally using fleet hours based on survey or FAA data, or school reporting; the DA-40 is generally considered the safest.

    When you look at the fatality/accident rate; using the FAA method to determine fleet hours; the rate has remained fairly constant. Regardless of the fleet hours being high or low, with a consistent method for decades it will be a rather consistent metric.

    Hence my comment.

    Tim
     
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  37. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    There are so few DA-40s used for training I don't know how you can possibly conclude that it's safer for training than any other garden variety trainer. Any assertion is probably based more on wishful thinking than reality. Btw, any statistician would laugh at the Nall report.
     
  38. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Speaking outside of training operations, the DA40 has a stellar safety record. There are actually quite a few DA40s used for training - Without even looking it up, I know of places in California, Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and probably others I'm not pulling out of my head right now. I'm sure there's many more I don't know of. They're certainly not as common as 172s, but they're not as uncommon as you'd think. However, I would think the confidence interval on any stats on "training in DA40s" is fairly wide.
     
  39. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You don’t need a type rating for a 172.
     
  40. JustinD

    JustinD Line Up and Wait

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    It's your flight training, which one did you feel best about?

    As for the one day having to switch to a G1000 sounds like a sales pitch to me in a way, while he may not be wrong, it's not that big of a point. I got my private in round and switched to G1000 through my training, I'm sure many others on here have as well. The cost to go with an instructor and do "G1000 Transition Course" if you will is far less expensive than that difference in pricing you have mentioned to get your private. I taught in the G1000 for a good amount of time, and in my opinion after as little as 2-3 short flights you'd be more than proficient enough to operate the G1000 safely (your mileage may vary there) even if you did 5 flights, that would still be less than 3k. And most likely if you make that switch it would probably be during some point in your flight training

    What I'm getting at is I wouldn't let that flight schools statement on you'll have to transition to G1000 eventually sway your decision in anyway.

    I'd pick which one you feel best about, which is most convenient, and most importantly which one you'd get the most bang for your buck!