Do you regret giving up flying?

Lndwarrior

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Gary
After 35 years of flying for fun, building my own plane, and visiting my bucket list places I'm seriously thinking abut selling my plane and giving up flying.

I'm sure there's a few on here who have faced this and wondering if, or how badly, you regretted it?

I am definitely torn on this. I was born and raised on Air Force bases and aviation has been a passion like no other. However, I'm into my late 60's and I can see I may have 10 years left where my wife and I will be able to travel and explore.

I've learned its just not feasible in my small light sport plane. Its too slow, we have two dogs, the weather never cooperates, and we just aren't using the plane like I imagined.

Once I sell it I'm done flying. Don't really have any interest in renting (assuming I could) and flying for $100 hamburgers. Been every place nearby many times.

If I sell the plane I can afford a decent RV. Then my wife and I and the dogs can have some real adventures together. The only way I can afford an RV is to sell the plane.

I always tell people (and mean it ) that my job never defined me. However, I have to admit being a pilot has always been something very special to me. In some ways it did/does define me.

I should add also that building and maintaining my own plane has been an unpleasant ordeal for me. Probably because I am very risk adverse and still spend 3 hours working on it, inspecting, upgrading it, for every hour I fly it.

Clearly I was never meant to be a builder because I pretty much hated every minute of it and just wanted the all-consuming nightmare to end. I thought the ordeal would be over once I completed the build. It didn't take me long to realize when you build a plane it is never "done".

So the combination of the ordeal of maintaining the plane and the desire to get a few more adventures in with my wife before we age-out has me feeling it's time.

I'll admit I'm having a very hard time getting used to the idea that I won't be a pilot any more.....

I rarely ask for people's opinions on this forum, but this is one time I would like to hear so other people's thoughts on the issue. The idea of making a final decision on this is eating at me. Flying has been my over-riding passion for over 35 years. How the hell do I walk away from flying????
 
If I were going to give up aviation to RV because I was not having fun flying I fear I would not have fun RVing.

I might try renting an RV for two weeks and go somewhere with my wife to experience the challenges of an RV first hand.

I find as I age (74) it is harder to get up the motivation to work on my aircraft because invariably my body hurts afterwards.

As my income shrinks and aviation uses a larger percentage of my money is easy to imagine how nice it would be to not have to fund aviation.

I went flying today and again found the joy that I have only found in the sky.

For me I just need to pay more attention to enjoying flying, my airport, my hangar and my tools.

I have a 65 year old primary learner Thursday and I will have this discussion with him.

Learning to fly, getting a pilot’s certificate and getting the correct aircraft is a major commitment of time and resources.

Flying is not for everyone and when it is time to stop it is time to stop.
 
Life is short and there are a lot of different hobbies and activities out there. A few YouTube videos of RVing the Alaska highway may make the decision easy.
 
I sold my plane and don't plan on buying another and don't regret it. It was a chore keeping it maintained and after having it for a few years, flying it felt like a chore too. It was fun while it lasted though.
 
Start that new chapter. My Dad's health took a bad turn earlier than they expected, so many things my Mom and Dad wanted to do in retirement they couldn't. Buy that RV and get going!

And if you hate it? Sell the RV and start plane shopping again, or join a flying club!
 
Yes get the RV now and sell the plane if it is not giving you pleasure.
I have been a RVer since I was a young man. I worked on my parents old RV and when I got married we borrowed it for a honeymoon in 1984.
Then went 15 years without one and bought a toterhome in 2002 to pull a large race car trailer. Lived out of it while racing.
Then sold the race trailer 2007 and kept the freightliner toterhome.
We have always had a dog and the RV is great for dogs. We have taken countless epic trips in it my wife and I and the dog.
Love RVing.
Never having to use a public bathroom while out on the road for 2 weeks at a time is important thing for my wife and me.
I could go on and on with hundreds of pictures.
Sell that plane and hit the road with your honey and dogs!
Good luck to you.
 
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We were lucky to be able to RV the summers of 2008-2012 during the recession years. The traffic was light and the National parks only had foreigners in them. Then I noticed since then the highways have filled up and the campgrounds have been overloaded especially since covid. I think that may have died down some and should be many RVs on the used market.But the highways are still jammed packed.
Spend more than you think you should on a good one. Get big holding tanks, good diesel generator and big diesel power if you can afford it. I promise you won't be sorry if you spend more now and don't do it twice(buying a RV)
We spend just as much time boon docking than we do in campgrounds. We are self sufficient for 3-4 days at a time taking showers for both of us.
 
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I might try renting an RV for two weeks and go somewhere with my wife to experience the challenges of an RV first hand.
I was friends with an older couple. The husband dreamed of retiring with a home-base and an RV. He bought into an RV community in Florida. Once settled, they set off on their first RV adventure. It concluded with his wife emphatically saying, "Never again!". He sold the RV.
 
I’m on the fence myself, I just don’t fly as often as I thought I would. It doesn’t help that my wife is a very nervous flier and she’s rarely interested in travel by flight. So, I end up driving anyway. If I do decide to sell my share, it will be the end. Hard stop.
 
I’m on the fence myself, I just don’t fly as often as I thought I would. It doesn’t help that my wife is a very nervous flier and she’s rarely interested in travel by flight. So, I end up driving anyway. If I do decide to sell my share, it will be the end. Hard stop.
Sure, as soon as we move down you stop flying. :rofl:
 
Sure, as soon as we move down you stop flying. :rofl:

Ed, I’m giving it another year to decide. I do want to fly more, but using the plane for travel is very limited. Can discuss later.
 
I was friends with an older couple. The husband dreamed of retiring with a home-base and an RV. He bought into an RV community in Florida. Once settled, they set off on their first RV adventure. It concluded with his wife emphatically saying, "Never again!". He sold the RV.
Wonder why?
My wife was nervous at first because the RV is large. But now she loves it and even drives it for me out on the highways.
And when she is mad at me she sleeps in it in our driveway. She calls it her shoe shed.
I wanted to sell ours last year but she said no, not until the dog is gone. We still take trips in it, just not as often. We took it to Oshkosh this past summer for 10 days.
MVC-408S.jpg
 
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I don't think it will really be my choice.

I've been a pilot for 50 years, owned a C206 for 40 years and a Cub for about 30 years. I'll sell the C206 if I can't get insurance and will keep the Cub as long as I can fly it legally, even without insurance.

We already bought the RV a few years ago. It's "different" but fun.
 
Leaving aviation does not have to be permanent.

A good friend of mine retired from a long term flying career. He and his wife bought and RV and spent several years traveling around the US. They even sold their home.

After a number of years, they sold their RV, bought a home and settled in. And he bought a J-3 to fly.

I have taken time off from flying a few times. But somehow, always come back to it.

It also sounds like you have the wrong plane for your current mission. Instead of an RV, consider a plane that would be useful for longer trips with the dogs included.

A number of options. But I really agree with the suggestion to rent an RV for a period of time (several weeks or even months) to see how it works for you.
 
I first think you’re never not a pilot; you may not be current or proficient, but once a pilot, always a pilot. As for the RV, as others have said, rent several and do both short and long trips before making the commitment. You’ll find RVs can be a chore and there’s always some work to be done as most aren’t designed for the earthquake that is every trip you take.

Pauses. I took a decades long break, with only two or three flights in between because that was the season of life between my .mil career and raising two kids. As a partner in a plane that is, as of this week, grounded until we can get an overhaul done, it’s frustrating. So is making the same trips to the same places. We find our underlying desire with traveling is really about finding new places and exploring. We can do that a lot of different ways, whether by plane, train, trailer, or bike. For us it’s the juggling act of time and treasure as we enter our last decade of full time careers.

As travelers, we’ve learned some pets and people are better at that than others. We’ve learned the mode of travel is less important than any given trip being easy and as low stress as possible. In some cases, we take the 172, others we go commercial, some we drive, some we meet an RV there, sometimes it’s a cruise ship. But we experience those things together, and I think that’s what you’re realizing. Your current situation sounds like it isn’t enabling time together; that’s what I’d figure out how to do.
 
First off, RVing sucks at least around here on the east coast. I bought one thinking I'd be able to blast off on a moments notice dog in tow to any place I wanted. Reality is you have to plan your trips months if not years in advance to get camping spots. It's also a major hassle to keep a second house clean, stocked, and maintained. As for flying, I toy with the idea of hanging it up all the time. The cost have gotten to be more than the enjoyment I get from it. If I had to rent, or my father wasn't an A&P to sign off the condition inspections I would not be in the hobby. I'm bored with my airplane and it doesn't fit my flying mission but the cost of getting something different is just insane right now. I keep toying with the idea of building an airplane but kit prices and lead times are crazy as well. I have some plans I may start on but I look at used or new engine prices and know when I get to that phase there is no way I'd spend that much on an engine and it's probably only going to get worse.
 
Sounds like you love being a pilot, but do not like being an airplane owner. The two are not inherently joined. Sell the plane, get an RV, and find a rental or club to scratch the pilot itch when the mood strikes.

Alternatively, take on a partner or two in your plane, and use the proceeds to fund the RV. There are lots of younger folks out there searching for a way to afford to fly. Many of them would leap at the chance to learn to turn a wrench under the tutelage of the builder.
 
After 35 years of flying for fun, building my own plane, and visiting my bucket list places I'm seriously thinking abut selling my plane and giving up flying.

I'm sure there's a few on here who have faced this and wondering if, or how badly, you regretted it?

I am definitely torn on this. I was born and raised on Air Force bases and aviation has been a passion like no other. However, I'm into my late 60's and I can see I may have 10 years left where my wife and I will be able to travel and explore.

I've learned its just not feasible in my small light sport plane. Its too slow, we have two dogs, the weather never cooperates, and we just aren't using the plane like I imagined.

Once I sell it I'm done flying. Don't really have any interest in renting (assuming I could) and flying for $100 hamburgers. Been every place nearby many times.

If I sell the plane I can afford a decent RV. Then my wife and I and the dogs can have some real adventures together. The only way I can afford an RV is to sell the plane.

I always tell people (and mean it ) that my job never defined me. However, I have to admit being a pilot has always been something very special to me. In some ways it did/does define me.

I should add also that building and maintaining my own plane has been an unpleasant ordeal for me. Probably because I am very risk adverse and still spend 3 hours working on it, inspecting, upgrading it, for every hour I fly it.

Clearly I was never meant to be a builder because I pretty much hated every minute of it and just wanted the all-consuming nightmare to end. I thought the ordeal would be over once I completed the build. It didn't take me long to realize when you build a plane it is never "done".

So the combination of the ordeal of maintaining the plane and the desire to get a few more adventures in with my wife before we age-out has me feeling it's time.

I'll admit I'm having a very hard time getting used to the idea that I won't be a pilot any more.....

I rarely ask for people's opinions on this forum, but this is one time I would like to hear so other people's thoughts on the issue. The idea of making a final decision on this is eating at me. Flying has been my over-riding passion for over 35 years. How the hell do I walk away from flying????
I quit a year or so ago. I miss it from time to time but it doesn’t dominate my thoughts. I got rid of my plane about 10 years ago and became a renter. Availability was a problem. Usually had to schedule days in advance. No more wake up in the morning and say it’s nice day let’s go flying. That took a lot of the joy out of it. I let my medical expire and haven’t flown since. I was a full time RV’er for about 8 years and part time for a few more after that. Do your homework before doing the RV thing. Lots of really good advice about that here. Availability of campgrounds/RV parks started being an issue around 2016 and kept getting worse. More boomers retiring and hitting the road. More full timers, some boomers, some priced out of conventional housing. Somebody mentioned boondocking. If you aren’t going to like that when you need to you may want to think twice about the RV thang unless you’re willing to take spontaneity out of the equation and plan well in advance.
 
It is too stressful to pre plan a RV trip. Sure plan where you want to go but we didn't plan where we were going to sleep each night. That took my wife a bit to get used to.
We went to the west coast a lot to visit family. We mainly stayed in rest areas when traveling and did not do campgrounds for just a over night. We made a list of favorite quiet rest areas out west that were better than most campgrounds back east. So many nights boon docking, we really love traveling that way. No schedules, no pressure and no finding out the campground is full. We can sleep almost anywhere with our RV.
During the RV season we keep the RV stocked, no packing up every trip. It is always plugged in, in the driveway and is like an extra room to our home. Fridge stays on all summer long.
 
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For many years, being a pilot “defined me,” both personally and professionally. I grew up around airplanes, and when my friends in high school were spending money on stereos and motorcycles, I spent mine on flying. After a couple of attempts at college, I ended up flying for a living. I owned a couple of airplanes, I had a Staggerwing restoration project, and spent most of my vacation time on aviation activities.

in 2011, at the age of 45, I got married and acquired a family, and my priorities shifted. I was actually talking to my wife about finding a non-flying job so I wasn’t gone so much when my job ended in 2012. Unfortunately I’m not qualified to do anything else, since I spent all my time in aviation, and I ended up teaching one of the jets that I used to fly. Still an aviation job, but I’m home every day.

with the move, my brother ended up taking my Maule temporarily, and ended up wrecking it during his checkout due to a broken tailwheel spring…I let the insurance company have the airplane, and I think it’s flying again. I sold the Staggerwing project a few years ago, since I don’t have space to work on it.

Long story short, I’m two airplanes and a flying job down from before I got married. I struggled for a while not flying taildraggers or gliders, but I never really missed jet flying.

My wife and I bought an RV a couple of years ago, and really enjoy it when we can get away. We talked about full-timing for a couple of years when I retire, but realistically I don’t think that’s going to be an option beyond a short transition time to wherever we end up when I retire.

bottom line is I have things my life that are more important than my identity as a pilot.

As far as the RV idea, obviously I’m in favor of it. ;) I’ll add a couple of comments regarding the realities of RVing from my perspective.

As others have mentioned, one of the results of COVID was a large increase in RVers, so campgrounds may be difficult to find at some times and in some areas.

I took our RV (a 2004 motorhome) in for winterizing and annual service the first year, and for various reasons I wasn’t excessively happy with the experience. Plus, I’m kind of cheap. So I spent a bunch of money. :D I went to the NRVTA https://nrvta.com/ for their fundamentals course, which I highly recommend. Even if you don’t work on your own RV, it gives you a better ability to identify things that aren’t right and communicate more clearly with a technician. I also understood some things that confused me about what the shop did…turns out they didn’t do some things correctly.

I ended up going back for the additional courses necessary to become a Certified RV Technician so I can diagnose and repair my own stuff. I also did the Certification test and hung out my shingle as an RV tech, but thats Just me. In the process, I found some other things that the shop did incorrectly, and am getting those fixed.

What I’ve also learned along the way is that a lot of shops prefer To remove and replace appliances rather than fix them, because that makes more money. Rather than charge $100 to replace an air conditioner capacitor, they’ll replace the whole unit for $1500 or more. I just got a call from a guy whose furnace went out. The shop he called basically told him that furnaces are disposable, and they‘d replace it for $2000. If you buy an RV, I’d suggest finding a mobile tech through the RVTAA locator rather than going to a sticks and bricks shop. I still had to hire someone to diagnose (and end up replacing) my generator, and find a shop to do chassis work other than oil change and lube, but I’m a lot happier with the condition and maintenance.
 
For the 3rd time this past Sept, we parked our RV at 6I4 for 3 weeks. My wife and dog stayed there while I flew in and out for work during the week. Bests of both worlds. The airport owners allow us to camp there, have water, electric and sewer hook up for one RV.
IMG_3317.JPG

Pretty nice to look out your RV window and there is your plane.
IMG_8992.JPG
 
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For many years, being a pilot “defined me,” both personally and professionally. I grew up around airplanes, and when my friends in high school were spending money on stereos and motorcycles, I spent mine on flying. After a couple of attempts at college, I ended up flying for a living. I owned a couple of airplanes, I had a Staggerwing restoration project, and spent most of my vacation time on aviation activities.

in 2011, at the age of 45, I got married and acquired a family, and my priorities shifted. I was actually talking to my wife about finding a non-flying job so I wasn’t gone so much when my job ended in 2012. Unfortunately I’m not qualified to do anything else, since I spent all my time in aviation, and I ended up teaching one of the jets that I used to fly. Still an aviation job, but I’m home every day.

with the move, my brother ended up taking my Maule temporarily, and ended up wrecking it during his checkout due to a broken tailwheel spring…I let the insurance company have the airplane, and I think it’s flying again. I sold the Staggerwing project a few years ago, since I don’t have space to work on it.

Long story short, I’m two airplanes and a flying job down from before I got married. I struggled for a while not flying taildraggers or gliders, but I never really missed jet flying.

My wife and I bought an RV a couple of years ago, and really enjoy it when we can get away. We talked about full-timing for a couple of years when I retire, but realistically I don’t think that’s going to be an option beyond a short transition time to wherever we end up when I retire.

bottom line is I have things my life that are more important than my identity as a pilot.

As far as the RV idea, obviously I’m in favor of it. ;) I’ll add a couple of comments regarding the realities of RVing from my perspective.

As others have mentioned, one of the results of COVID was a large increase in RVers, so campgrounds may be difficult to find at some times and in some areas.

I took our RV (a 2004 motorhome) in for winterizing and annual service the first year, and for various reasons I wasn’t excessively happy with the experience. Plus, I’m kind of cheap. So I spent a bunch of money. :D I went to the NRVTA https://nrvta.com/ for their fundamentals course, which I highly recommend. Even if you don’t work on your own RV, it gives you a better ability to identify things that aren’t right and communicate more clearly with a technician. I also understood some things that confused me about what the shop did…turns out they didn’t do some things correctly.

I ended up going back for the additional courses necessary to become a Certified RV Technician so I can diagnose and repair my own stuff. I also did the Certification test and hung out my shingle as an RV tech, but thats Just me. In the process, I found some other things that the shop did incorrectly, and am getting those fixed.

What I’ve also learned along the way is that a lot of shops prefer To remove and replace appliances rather than fix them, because that makes more money. Rather than charge $100 to replace an air conditioner capacitor, they’ll replace the whole unit for $1500 or more. I just got a call from a guy whose furnace went out. The shop he called basically told him that furnaces are disposable, and they‘d replace it for $2000. If you buy an RV, I’d suggest finding a mobile tech through the RVTAA locator rather than going to a sticks and bricks shop. I still had to hire someone to diagnose (and end up replacing) my generator, and find a shop to do chassis work other than oil change and lube, but I’m a lot happier with the condition and maintenance.
Good advise^^
Yes RVs require work to maintain. I am a mechanic by trade so I was able to maintain ours for 22 years now. The same RV on a truck RV chassis, Amish built with solid oak and leather inside. One piece roof and large tanks. Built to last and has held up pretty good.
Putting a new custom made replacement tail pipe on our RV. The generator dumps out into this pipe making it run pretty darn quiet. The local Midas shop would have been imitated by this request. Have always worked alone.
MVC-009S-9.jpg
 
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I really appreciate all the considered responses. In some ways this has been eye-opening.

Maintaining my airplane has really been the happy-killer for me. What I am beginning to understand is that a used RV will likely put me in the same boat.

We live in a rather isolated community in the foothills of the Sierras. There are not a lot of options for RV repairs. I don't want to do it, and I don't have a lot of disposable income to pay for expensive repairs.

My plane doesn't really cost me much at all. My last condition inspection was just over $100 (done by me). I only pay for liability insurance ($400 per year) and hangar is $250 per month.

Maybe I keep the plane and just rent an RV a couple of times a year?

You've all given me a lot to consider and potentially changed the direction of my thinking. I appreciate you taking the time to respond!
 
Never having to use a public bathroom while out on the road

This and sleeping in your own bed every night.

I used to fly for a living, then stopped because of health problems. I am toying with the idea of flying again, but I need a reason to fly. I have never been one to go up and circle for an hour. I need a challenge in flying, and I am not sure I can get that without going back to Alaska.

Looking back, I have missed flying. I have not missed working for crappy operators and having bosses that have no knowledge of aviation. And I have not missed the ''go or get fired'' business owners.
 
We enjoyed our Cherokee Six, but it was proving to be a lot of airplane for our lifestyle. Our son and his family are full-time RVers (https://rss.com/podcasts/recvariables/) and from them we were catching the bug. I was starting to think it was time to hang up the helmet, goggles and silk scarf and buy an RV.

Then early one morning it occurred to me we could sell the Six, and with the proceeds buy both a nice Class C RV and a simple two-seat airplane for local joyrides on nice weekend mornings - maybe something like a Citabria. I went to the computer and checked my airplane broker's website. At the very top of his inventory list was a nice '77 7ECA Citabria! I phoned him and asked about the Citabria. He said, "Oh, that's the one Tony [my trusted mechanic and friend] just did the annual on last week!" Could it be this easy?

So we sold the Six through the broker, and bought the Citabria (love it!!) and a new 25-foot Class C motor home. I like simplicity, so this floor plan has no slides.

We left on Mother's Day this year on our first big RV trip - 3,000 miles through seven western states, visiting friends and family we haven't seen for too long.

It was a great trip, but by the time we got home on June 6 I was coughing a lot and had some significant back pains. Turns out those were all symptoms of an advanced recurrence of my prostate cancer from four years ago.

Since then I've had seven rounds of chemotherapy (I'm typing this with an infusion going into the port in my chest right now), and over a dozen sessions of radiation. A bone tumor caused a fracture in my right arm, resulting in surgery to put in an IM rod at the end of September. There were times I was in a lot of pain and felt like I was in the express check-out line. But the good news, the doctors told me, was that this is a small-cell cancer that though aggressive, responds well to chemotherapy and radiation, and that seems to be the way it's playing out.

I feel great now, zero pain, just a bit of fatigue for a few days after each round of chemo. The right arm works and feels like new. The last CT scan report says (exact words), "dramatic improvement". I'm living a normal life again, and the doctors are starting to use terms like "durable recovery," though of course with the disclaimer "No promises." I lost my hair, but grateful there has been no nausea/vomiting or other bad side effects from treatment.

The Citabria had its annual last week, and I flew it a couple of days ago for the first time since June. Now we're planning a four-day RV trip in a couple of weeks. It's all do-able.

We could not have known it at the time, but selling the big Six, and buying the simple, little airplane and the RV were exactly the right decisions at exactly the right time.
 
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I rented an RV for a week, glad I did discovered it wasn’t for me. I own an airplane and a boat. If maintaining the airplane is a chore,you might want to go certified and leave the maintenance to a good shop.
 
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The thought above about taking on a partner in your plane may be a good one. I just bought solo, but I have been in a 4 person partnership on a similar plane to yours for about 4 years now (Zenith CH650). One of our partners is in his 70's. He still loves to fly.

For the maintenance that he can't do, we do it. It is a partnership, after all...Hah. It does work very well in sharing the load and costs if you have the right minded people.

That may get you the best of both.
 
I recently sold both a Ducati and race car. At different times. I thought it would affect me more than it did. I say sell the plane and rent to scratch the itch.
 
I rented an RV for a week, glad I did discovered it wasn’t for me. I own an airplane and a boat. If maintaining the airplane is a chore,you might want to go certified and leave the maintenance to a good shop.
I rented one for a long holiday weekend and came to the same conclusion. There's an annual music festival we have attended for many years in Michigan, and last year instead of a tent we rented one of the teardrop campers. It was perfect for the weekend.
 
For the price of a nice class A motor home you could rent one for about 1,500 days and come out ahead - without having to maintain it. Think about it. That’s 5 months of the year for 10 years You could be using it , while letting someone else fix it in between trips.
 
I don't know much about the RVing thing, so can't help you there. But there is one saying I've heard as a pilot. We have to accept that eventually we all will take our last flight. The only difference is whether or not you will know it is.
 
I don't know much about the RVing thing, so can't help you there. But there is one saying I've heard as a pilot. We have to accept that eventually we all will take our last flight. The only difference is whether or not you will know it is.
I fly like every flight is my last.....:cool:
 
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