Is this all worth it?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Ko21, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Ko21

    Ko21 Filing Flight Plan

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    Quick background. Travel a lot for work, thought a PPL would be a way to make travel easier, more enjoyable, save myself a lot of time, etc. Local airport is shutting down next summer for about 4 months so that pushed me over the edge to start training. I have done a few hours in the air, so still very early in training. With what I spend for business travel, I can afford a good plane and cover expenses with minimal hit to my bottom line. I would also be able to fly to many places that I currently drive to, so saving lots of time. I had a pulmonary embolism a few years, because of travel, and that requires a special issuance, which I've applied for. My AME thinks it won't be a problem. In the mean time, this has been a pain in the ass. Dealing with the FAA bureaucracy, training, learning about all of it, etc, has taken a lot of time and expense. I love the challenge of it, but in the end, this is to make life easier/better rather than frustrating/stressful/more of a pain in the ass. I wouldn't be looking to do this if it wasn't for work, but the idea of a lot of the fun things the family could do with it is great. The whole aviation thing is a bit overwhelming and I hate the feeling of walking blind through all of this. I have a pilot friend who got me into all of this, but nothing beats experience, which I don't have any. When I received my initial letter from the FAA about the special issuance, I thought it was a denial letter and was upset but really more relieved. I put training on hold until I get the medical sorted out. I'm having lots of second thoughts, and my ideas change from minute to minute. Not sure what I'm looking for here but any input and experiences are appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    It's overwhelming at first, but like any acquired skill it becomes easier over time. I was teaching my son how to drive at the same time I was learning to fly and that helped me put it in perspective.

    Also, many folks will be along to tell you why it's a really bad idea for business travel (instruments, ice, etc.). If you're looking for the reliability of the airlines, you're going to be disappointed. If you're willing to fly commercial when you need to (even on a return trip leaving your airplane behind temporarily) you can get good utility out of it. But it's not like hopping in the car a driving.

    Hope this helps.
    John
     
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  3. Ko21

    Ko21 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks. I do recognize I will still be dealing with airlines and having a ppl is more supplemental than a total answer. I am so tired of travel that anything that can make it more enjoyable is welcome. Unfortunately, Changing jobs isn’t in the cards right now after spending 15 years building things up. Plus, I do like what I do, just need to manage the travel better.
     
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  4. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You're asking pilots if they think the time, expense and hassle of learning to fly and getting legal to fly is worth it. They're pilots so for them, its probably worth it. But you're also supposed to enjoy it. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it. Life is too short.
     
  5. Eric Gleason

    Eric Gleason Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is one of those things that you innately know the answer to already. Some folks fly because it's a practical solution to a problem. Some of us fly because we don't feel right when we can't. Some folks have other motivations. I'm in the the 2nd group, there has never been a time when I thought some FAA hoops weren't worth it. (I don't like them and I grumble a lot, but I recognize that it's one of the dues to pay to have access to a thing I'm passionate about.)

    If you're in the first group, then maybe it's not worth it for you. You've already spent a lot more time than you stand to save on your business trips in the first year or two. If you can get past the initial special issuance hurdle, you'll likely qualify for Basic Med in the future and won't have to jump through these hoops again.
     
  6. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    None of this (learning to fly, buying a plane, etc.) makes much sense if you look at it critically. Travel by car or airline will be cheaper and more convenient in 99% of the cases. We do it because we love it, we do it because it is unique, and we do it because it is challenging.
     
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  7. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    And we do it because IT IS FUN!
     
  8. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    And to be fair, it can be worth it in opportunity cost of your time for trips in the 500 mile range, assuming you don't live next to a major hub.
     
  9. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

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    Like most questions, the answer to this one is "it depends". Where will you base you airplane, an how far will you be going? How is the weather there? Will it be VFR most of the time, or will you need an instrument rating to make this worthwhile? Do you have much schedule flexibility?

    As @Bill Jennings said, most people who fly do so for the love of flying. Unless you get some satisfaction from this you're not likely to continue. Just getting your Private is quite an accomplishment, if you have to get an instrument rating on top of that it could take two years before you could use the airplane for your intended mission.
     
  10. Jeff Creamer

    Jeff Creamer Filing Flight Plan

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    I don't even have my license yet. In fact I just completed my second cross country this week. But I will tell you my experience. The beginning was not fun. Going out to the practice field and doing turns, stalls, etc. made me seriously reconsider my decision. But, when I finished my solo I was hooked. And when I completed my first cross country I was infatuated and couldn't wait to get back in the plane.
    My flying is strictly for pleasure - so my motive is different from yours. I almost quit twice due to schedule, a little motion sickness, and the added load of learning (which I enjoyed) in addition to my full time job in medicine. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I'm super excited that all the hard work is about to pay off.
    Hope this helps and the best of luck to you in your endevours.
    JC
     
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  11. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There are lots of people out there who use their own airplane for work related travel and enjoy doing so quite a bit. So in that respect, what you're intending to do is entirely achievable. But if you really dig into it I think you'll find that most of those who own a plane and use it for work regularly would tell you they would own and fly regardless of work need assuming their finances could otherwise allow it.

    It doesn't sound like that would be the case for you. I'd still recommend following through and getting your private just for the life experience of it. But to answer your question about it being worth it, I think I agree with the others. Its one of those things where if you've got to ask, you probably already know the answer.
     
  12. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

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    Located in the mountains? May not be worth it.
     
  13. Ko21

    Ko21 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks everyone for the replies, this is really interesting. I live in St. George, UT and most of my travels are within UT, OR, CO, and ID, although I work nationwide. It's not the best place to live for someone with a heavy travel schedule as there are limited commercial flights. I end up driving to Vegas a lot, which is a little under 2 hours away. I am a psychologist and the best way to describe what I do is working as a consultant doing psych evals. There is quite a bit of flexibility in my schedule. This whole thing definitely has its hooks in me, which is what I think makes it a difficult decision for me. I can get just a little obsessive, for example, I got into cycling, made my way through all the disciplines, and now own a couple of bike shops. Flying and planes seems to be all I can think about lately, which is cool but also creates stress, if that makes any sense. I've always wanted to fly, but it never seemed even remotely accessible until I had a friend who did it. I would plan to work toward IFR if for nothing else just to be a better, safer pilot, and the advice I've received from others is go to a mtn flying class immediately after getting the PPL. What about the mountains makes this less viable?
     
  14. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route

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    Mountains drive you higher. (Sounds a bit obvious, but bear with me.) To reliably travel in your own plane in the west, you need a higher performance plane (maybe turbo, maybe twin, maybe twin turbo) with de-ice and either oxygen or pressurization. The reality is you have to go high to get over the mountains which means you have to fly on clear days or you have to deal with ice. Traveling for business (even with a flexible schedule) means you have to fly in a more weather-capable airplane.

    Given what you said about the bulk of your travel and that you don't have much in the way of commercial flights, you do sound like a good candidate for flying yourself for business.
     
  15. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's not worth it til you're addicted to it.
    Dammit.
     
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  16. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    sea level flying (most folks) is one thing, mountain flying another,

    keep moving forward & see what happens
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  17. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    I've had my license and a plane since 1994. Often times, I would agree with you: its a pain in the ass. I particularly don't like the FAA bureaucracy, the pop up TFRs (or any TFRs for that matter, such BS), the ridiculous equipment expense... I enjoy flying, but if I got called in to the FSDO like was experienced by another member of this site, it'd be the last straw for me, and I'd truly tell them they can stick my pilot license up their arse (see what I'm talking about here: https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/i-got-reported-to-the-faa-not-a-satire.114495/ ). Soooo, lol, I guess after 24 years, I'm still "on the fence" as to whether even I should stick with it. But, only you can make that decision.
     
  18. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Old dog w/o new tricks
    If you think everything involved is too much of a pain in the ass to make it worth it then it probably isn't worth it for you. Not everyone is cutout for the effort involved in flying. There are simpler pursuits.
     
  19. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Line Up and Wait

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    pulling @GRG55 as he lives in the mountain and travels in his plane for work quite a bit
     
  20. Doug F

    Doug F Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Training, for me, was never fun; it was work...all of it...the regs, flight planning, landing, maneuvers, landing, weather, ,and landing. I had more than one crisis of faith during my (way too long) training but stuck with it and got the SP cert.

    Flying is still work; managing a flight is not like driving from point A to point B even if you're using GPS. That said, the actual flying part is a delight and I'm glad I stuck with it.

    Making the cost/benefit calculation is, as has been said in another post on this thread, generally going to come out high on the cost and low on the measurable benefit. If flying makes you happy, what the hell...it's only money! It's not dissimilar to owning a motorcycle. On the surface, they seem cheaper than a car but the cost of tires and maintenance tends to push to overall cost into similar values. BUT IT'S A BIKE! They push the fun meter to 11.
     
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  21. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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  22. Volitation

    Volitation Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Being able to sometimes make business and personal travel faster or easier is how I rationalize the expense in time and money of something that is fun!

    But if it wasn’t fun I couldn’t justify it at all.
     
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  23. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    Nothing to add other than what everyone already said. Just going to say welcome, please stick around, we are bunch of nutjobs and are in dire need of your professional help
     
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  24. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Fair perspective but almost completely the opposite of my experience. I liked flying as a private pilot. I really enjoyed flying as a commercial pilot, at least for the first couple years before I got burned out and started to hate the industry. But as much I liked all that, I loved my private training. I looked forward to every flight and couldn't wait for the next lesson. In between lessons I was buried in the Machado book and the King courses and practicing whatever the last lesson was and the next lesson was going to be in MS flight sim.

    Obviously flight sim won't do anything in terms of teaching stick and rudder skills. But I used it extensively as a procedures trainer and to practice navigation techniques and testing my flight planning skills. Flight sim isn't going to get you good at stalls. But I found that using it to practice things like the steps and order of stall recovery for a few hours made the hours I spent in the plane more productive.
     
  25. skier

    skier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    [QUOTE="Lane Wallace]I'll run my hand gently over the wing of a small airplane and say to him, "This plane can teach you more things and give you more gifts than I ever could. It won't get you a better job, a faster car, or a bigger house. But if you treat it with respect and keep your eyes open, it may remind you of some things you used to know – that life is in the moment, joy matters more than money, the world is a beautiful place, and that dreams really, truly are possible." And then, because airplanes speak in a language beyond words, I'll take him up in the evening summer sky and let the airplane show him what I mean."[/QUOTE]

    I wouldn't fly if I didn't enjoy it. I find it relaxing. I find it to be a great way to escape from stress. I find it fun. I love the view, especially at night.

    If all you're after is a mode of transportation, then there are likely other cheaper and faster options available.
     
  26. Eric Stoltz

    Eric Stoltz Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hey!! Speak for yo'self! Some of us enjoy the river of Denial. :) Then, some of us Recover, only to Replace with Aeroplanes. A much more healthy, sustainable, non-DSM-5-able, endeavor.

    None the less, welcome to the fray, Ko21! Get the SI, get the certs, get a folding bike, or a plane that can hold a few normal bikes, and go fly! It is *by far the most rewarding* (I can one up myself, however, with a more rewarding journey) thing a person can accomplish, if you ask me.
     
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  27. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    [QUOTE="skier, post: 2625235, member: 1808]
    I wouldn't fly if I didn't enjoy it. I find it relaxing. I find it to be a great way to escape from stress. I find it fun. I love the view, especially at night.
    If all you're after is a mode of transportation, then there are likely other cheaper and faster options available.[/QUOTE]
    +1
    You've already heard people on this thread use words like "relaxing", AND also words like "stressful"... to describe the same thing! Which seems paradoxical, and if it feels paradoxical to you too, that's perfectly normal. It'll make perfect sense later. :)

    Before I learned to fly, I used to sail small dinghies on lakes. It was a small place of escape, all to myself, where all the other stresses of the day would melt away, because I had to focus entirely on the wind and the waves. I find flying is similar. It forces focus. That being said, learning to fly was one of the hardest things I've ever had to learn.

    If you're already using words like "hooks in", already at this early stage, then it sounds like you're of similar ilk? Howz dat for pop psychology? :)
     
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  28. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    If it was easy, everyone would be flying.
     
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  29. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Time to spare, go by air...but when it works for travel, it's an eye opener
     
  30. Ko21

    Ko21 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the insights, it's all very helpful. I am going to keep moving forward with it and see where it goes. It has been a great experience thus far and I have put a lot of work into it. I think I could probably pass the written exam now with all the studying I've done even though I don't truly understand it all. My fear is with my medical issues the FAA could rip that away at any time even with Basicmed after spending a few hundred thousand, but I guess I could overthink that to death.
     
  31. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Welcome,good luck with your medical. Only you can decide if it’s worth it.
     
  32. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

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    I’m guessing you’re in that ‘instant gratification’ age group. It’s all just too much trouble if it’s not easy. Drive, you’ll be happier in the long run.
     
  33. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    You are learning to do something that only a tiny percentage of people in the world ever get to experience.
    Be thankful you are fortunate to have that opportunity and don't take it for granted. It's a privilege most don't even have available.

    If you think it's worth doing, focus and discipline will get you there. You have one pilot who's influenced you to start. Talk to that pilot, and get to know a few more. They'll help you get through the times you feel uncertain in your training.
     
  34. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How do you plan on spending a few hundred thousand without actually becoming a pilot and flying quite a bit? If you end up spending that much, you would have answered your question regarding it’s worth long before you have that much invested. Sorry, but you just don’t make much sense.
     
  35. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    makes sense with an uncertain medical scenario vs clean no issues
     
  36. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There are things about owning a plane and being a pilot that are a pain but for me the benefits far outway the problems.

    Even with a 172 my time getting to destinations in Texas typically averaged about half of what it took by car. The plane also made traveling to meet with multiple small town customers in a day practical but each would be a day trip on their own by car. I find flying also much more relaxing then driving. I hate flying commercial now so only do that when I have to.

    You do need to recognize that weather will impact your ability to use the plane so you have to have a plan B. As long as you have some flexibility and always know that you might need a different way to get to your destination at a specific time it can work well.

    Good luck
    Gary
     
  37. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Old dog w/o new tricks
    So tell me how you think he’ll spend a few hundred thousand dollars without actually receiving a certificate and logging a bunch of hours? Unless you think he’ll spend that on obtaining his medical which is just a ridiculous idea.
     
  38. vman

    vman Pre-takeoff checklist

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    sounds to me like op passed a medical to get started, but..
    without any details of the known medical issue, or assurances of not a big deal, a showstopper unless sorted first
     
  39. woodchucker

    woodchucker Line Up and Wait

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    Take care of the medical first. Oregon and “nationwide” you will want to go commercial. Closer jaunts like Utah, Idaho and Colorado why not?

    I’m in Salt Lake City and the flying here is amazing. Weather is normally not a factor, and flying north to Idaho is no big deal. Colorado is a bit iffier. There are a number of Colorado pilots on this forum that may give you input. But, for example, in a 172 you cannot fly direct to Denver from Salt Lake. You have to route north over Wyoming, but it’s doable. Without referencing maps, from St. George getting to Denver shouldn’t be an issue if the weather looks clear.

    Okay, that was the positive side. There are always drawbacks. Where you live is basically a 80 mph car drive to all points. While flying will be faster, it depends what you fly. My wife has looked down and said “hey, those cars are passing us.” And she wasn’t joking. That was in a 160 HP 172. If you plan on commuting you will want to buy something that can beat the freeway drive by a good amount.

    And you have to love it. If you don’t then it’s not for you.
     
  40. Dana

    Dana Line Up and Wait

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    Sounds like the hook is already set.