Just curious on your opinion ... what next after PPL?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by woodchucker, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. woodchucker

    woodchucker Line Up and Wait

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    This is for a 40ish hobby pilot. I just enjoy flying. Around 150 hours only.

    Glider?
    Tail wheel?
    Instrument?

    Which would be the most valuable to attain as a next step? Feel free to rank them in order, or add another option.

    Thanks! :)
     
  2. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    After the private I took a few glider flights and one tailwheel ride...then got my instrument. YMWV.
     
  3. woodchucker

    woodchucker Line Up and Wait

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    Did you ever get a glider or tailwheel eventually? I've heard instrument is the next best thing to making a better pilot, but I've heard the same about the other two also.
     
  4. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I have not pursued eithe glider or tailwheel. Of the two I’d prolly go glider first. Both enforce good skills, glider for the whole flight, tailwheel for a few seconds on take-off and landing. Side note, I’ve thermaled and used ridge lift for powered flight in the mountains.
     
  5. woodchucker

    woodchucker Line Up and Wait

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    That's a good point. I live in Utah and (so I have heard from a Michigan glider pilot) there are some really good conditions for gliders here.
     
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  6. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    It really depends on what you want to do. Any of them will increase pilot. Some will be more work than others. It's more about you than the activities themselves. This is solely for illustration, not advice.

    I tend to be practical in the sense of focusing on things I would actually use. I've taken lessons in gliders but wasn't interested enough to pursue the rating. Same for sea planes. I finally got my tailwheel endorsement more than 20 years later "because it was there." It was fun, but don't have access to a tailwheel rental so it was probably a one shot deal.

    OTOH, right after I got my private, I got checked out in 3 additional types at two different airports and found, in addition to widening my rental opportunities, helped increase some skills. It was also fun: I've now flown about 30 types of singles.

    The first new rating was Instrument. Got it because I lived in New England where it was almost a necessity. It has alway paid extra dividends in skill, knowledge, utility and fun.

    What is really all about is you and your mission. What will you find useful? What will you find fun? And what is the balance you want to have between the two.
     
  7. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

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    If you want to use the plane to travel and not just bore holes in the sky, I would vote for the instrument rating. If just for the thrill of flying, go have fun, glider or tailwheel sounds like a blast.
     
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  8. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    +1
     
  9. FlyingTiger

    FlyingTiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Instrument rating really adds a lot to your flying skills and makes your license much more useful. That being said, after doing all that work getting your private it would be perfectly understandable if you wanted to do something you consider fun like tailwheel or glider training.
     
  10. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    :yeahthat:
     
  11. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I’m on board with that as well.

    In addition, combining basic aerobatics with tailwheel in something like a Citabria would expand horizons.
     
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  12. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, for me, I got my complex shortly after my private. Then I just the flew the crap out of every plane I could.

    Never got my instrument. I probably will someday but it’s not a big priority for me. Having fun, going places, and flying the crap out of everything I see if more fun than paying for an instructor.

    But everyone has their own druthers. If you’re more interested in getting all of your ratings and endorsements, I’d recommend the complex and instrument next, then commercial. Then high performance.
     
  13. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Cleared for Takeoff

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    Tailwheel!

    I know a lot of guys with an instrument rating that I would never fly in IMC with. I think one of the most dangerous pilots out there is an instrument rated pilot who doesn't fly in actual conditions very often. I've flown as a safety pilot for two friends recently, in VFR conditions, with them wearing a hood. Both of them were sweating and struggling when things didn't go as they expected. On the other hand, if you're flying IFR a lot, I have no doubts you're a better pilot than me!
     
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  14. mondtster

    mondtster Pattern Altitude

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    I didn’t see spin training mentioned. That might be something worth considering as well.

    The glider and tailwheel training will likely improve your stick and rudder skills. I can usually tell if someone I’m flying with has experience in either.

    The instrument rating will hone your flying skills and will allow you to fly in a wider range of weather but it also takes the most commitment to finish, of the things being discussed.
     
  15. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Tierra del Fuego.
     
  16. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

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    Fly for a while and see what you plan to actually *do* as a PP. If you will fly IFR, get an Instrument rating. If you'll have frequent access to a tailwheel plane, get a tailwheel signoff. Glider would help with skills, do that anyway. If you're just gonna tool around VFR, maybe guy more avgas
     
  17. edo2000

    edo2000 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I like the suggestion by @midlifeflyer to get checked out in some other types which you can rent in your area. Fairly simple and quick, improves your skills, and comes in handy if you need an airplane with different capabilities than the one you normally fly. Instrument ratings are (IMO) approximately as much work as starting from scratch and getting a PPL. Tailwheel and float ratings are much less time and effort, I have no experience with gliders.

    I'm glad I did the instrument rating and I used it a lot for many years. But, I live in New Mexico now and my latest airplane has a VFR panel so the rating is not currently useful. I also flew taildraggers and floatplanes in Alaska for a long time but I have not even seen a floatplane since I moved to NM. As others have said, if you have ready access to an IFR equipped a/c, a tailwheel a/c, or a glider then it would be a good thing to get training to use one or more of them, otherwise ... not as useful. That said, I have found that any flight training is a good thing. Good luck.
     
  18. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    Probably an inappropriate quote excerpt, but...this.
     
  19. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pre-Flight

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    I second this.

    A glider and tailwheel rating will help you as a pilot more than you'll know.
    The instrument rating is essential, as well.

    I'd go in that order.
     
  20. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    I agree with this. after training, it helps a lot to get in different planes with different panel layouts so you break out of the 'comfort zone' of always flying the same plane. also, and most importantly for me, was after training with the same stinky crotchety CFI (jk brian!) you now get exposure to other CFI's and their input, which most likely will have a different twist than what your primary cfi taught you. I found this extremely helpful.
     
  21. craigh

    craigh Filing Flight Plan

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    If you just want to expand your horizons, get tailwheel or Glider time. If you want to use your ticket to increase your utility,
    Get the IR. IR took my trip completion rate from about 50% to around 90%. Mainly just being able to climb above the low cloud layer.

    Wife was very annoyed that I did not complete it sooner.
     
  22. skier

    skier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    +1. I fly for fun in VFR conditions, boring holes in the sky. If it's cloudy or otherwise questionable, I'll just stay on the ground. I don't need to fly. For that kind of flying a IR isn't needed and would be a waste of money.

    As for what to do next, I did complex and high performance right after my PPL because it was easy. Tailwheel shortly thereafter. I've done some glider flights, but I wasn't big on it. I couldn't stand wasting an entire day at the airport to only get .6 hours of flying in. I've got too many other things going on for that. Seaplanes are a blast. They're one of the most fun things I've done in aviation. I did it in a Citabria on floats off the Hudson River. Gyroplanes and Helicopters are fun too, but you need a bigger wallet than I have to complete either of those ratings.
     
  23. N659HB

    N659HB Pattern Altitude

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    I second the combo aerobatic/tailwheel training. Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Then instrument.
     
  24. wilkersk

    wilkersk Cleared for Takeoff

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    My vote is aerobatic/upset/spin training. Money well spent!
     
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  25. TCABM

    TCABM Line Up and Wait

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    I’m surprised there isn’t more mentions of upset/spin as well as an emphasis on max performance in slow flight maneuvers.
     
  26. woodchucker

    woodchucker Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks for the well thought out responses. I had instrument on my next to do list, but living where I do it's pretty rare to NOT be able to fly due to clouds. I'll check out the tail wheel and upset/spin training. I know one local flying school had a Citrabia but somebody had a prop-strike in it. I think that plane was just written off. Have to dig around.
     
  27. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    In no official order:
    If you can get access to a plane, tail wheel. It will help make you a better pilot.
    Instrument rating. Even if you don't ever plan to use it, someday it may save your life.
    Glider, because it will make you a better pilot.
    Floats, because some things are just too much fun to pass up.

    I want to re-visit the auto-gyro.
    Then, when I meet Gyro Girl, we have something to talk about.
     
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  28. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Get the instrument rating,then go out and have some fun.wouldnt be in a hurry to get the tailwheel ,unless I had access to one on a regular basis.
     
  29. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Which ever one you would use the most
     
  30. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    WHAT! :eek: That's it? Here was your opportunity James! ;)
     
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  31. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    PPG ;)
     
  32. iamtheari

    iamtheari Cleared for Takeoff

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    Of those options, choose whichever one is most convenient. If there is a taildragger and CFI available to you, do that. If a glider, do that. If a CFII, get your instrument rating. Seaplane and instructor, get your ASES rating. Just fly!

    Last week I did a 10-hour aerobatic course and then got checked out in a 172 because I had never flown a Cessna before and wanted to have a rental option at the airport closest to my parents’ winter home. Both of those things were a blast. One more so than the other of course, but I wouldn’t have any regrets if the only flying I did was one hour in a rental 172.
     
  33. woodchucker

    woodchucker Line Up and Wait

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    Found a local flight school with a Husky. And they have a bush pilot program. That sounds like it might be fun. I'll have to see what that will run me.
     
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  34. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform Pattern Altitude

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    There ya go, with a name like woodchucker, that's perfect. Go have some fun!
     
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  35. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Tailwheel it is then!

    I completed my glider and airplane ppl at the same time but was hooked on gliders. Ended up racing them for 10+ years. Gave that up when I moved and bought a tailwheel Maule. My wife and I traveled with that for 10+ years and picked up my IR in it. Then built an RV10 and we’ve been traveling with that for 6+ years. Along the way I’ve done a little glider acro, got my multiengine, commercial and high perf. But racing then traveling have been the focus.

    It’s all good. Depends on what you like, where you live and what you want to do.

    I’ll always be a glider pilot.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  36. jnmeade

    jnmeade Cleared for Takeoff

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    You're young enough to have many flying years ahead of you. Over time, you'll be tempted to increase your skill level as a challenge. OK, here's what I'd do. (I can't really suggest what you SHOULD do because I'm not in your shoes.) Focus on a skill you can use now and indefinitely, and is not airplane dependent. If you have the time, money and interest, probably most of the suggestions above have merit.
    1. Complex and high power endorsements. Opens the door if you can cadge some right seat time,etc., and is pretty easy to do. Just time and money. Expands your appreciation for what the plane can do. Punch the ticket.
    2. Upset training, or whatever you call it. Aerobatic, whatever. Enough to give you more confidence in your ability to get out of a bad spot and comfort in the envelope you can fly the airplane in. Most pilots are afraid to get over a 30° bank angle. It's nice to know the plane will do more, even if you seldom ask or need it to.
    3. Glider training. Take 2-4 dual lessons. If you get hooked on soaring, get the license, otherwise take a few lessons from time to time if you feel the need/urge. It's a social activity for the most part (unless you buy a self-launch) and you need to be at the club and get along with the other pilots and help out and all that stuff. Sometimes you spend more time helping others fly than flying yourself. (I bought a self-launch.)
    4. Avoid vanity ratings. Take specific training, without a ticket in mind. What? Why would one do that? Here I'm going to say something that many will disagree with. Don't get ratings you won't use. Don't get a commercial if you won't fly commercial. I did not say don't master the skill level of the commercial ticket. It's an admirable goal to be able to fly the maneuvers to the skill level of a commercial pilot. Just don't worry about getting the ticket. You might think it will help insurance. Maybe it will, but so will other documented training. And if you get into a tussle with the FAA, they will hold you to the standards of your rating even if you don't use or maintain it. They'll say they won't be don't believe them. Oh, the vanity ratings count for a flight review. Sure they do. Kind of expensive flight review. :)
    5. Tailwheel - if you fly one and will maintain skills, get the endorsement. If not, don't worry about it. Modern airplanes have good gear and a trike is as good as a tailwheel in all but the most demanding environments. Yes, I've owned and am building one but I intend to put tundra tires on and land in soybean stubble. For grass, the right trike is OK.
    6. Seaplane - I got one and am glad that I did but it was a waste of money. I don't use it. If I needed to, I'd have to get a lot of training again. I think it's a nice thing to brag about and I do, but it's not very high on the money-well-spent list for most of us. You'll have to decide for you.
    7. Instrument - good to take some instruction from time to time. You need to stay proficient in it. If you'll file frequently, great. If not, well, you can get in trouble. It's a great skill, but you need to keep it sharp.
    8. CFI - probably don't bother. You learn a lot learning it but teaching is poor payback and even though I shouldn't I worry about liability.
    9. ME - only if you'll be able to apply it regularly.
    10. Mechanic - don't laugh. Of all the skills I wish I'd developed when I as young, A&P is one I'd like to have. It gets harder and harder to be confident one is getting a competent mechanic at the time and place you need him/her. This is especially true if you own a fabric or wooden airplane. But, I suppose it's not realistic for most of us.

    As others have wisely observed, it's mission dependent and your mission will change as resources and objectives change. There's nothing like a grandchild in another state to get the wife interested in a faster, more comfortable airplane, but there is seldom any way you can compete with airline rates.

    My bottom line? Chase skill and not paper.
     
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  37. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You'll probably get a lot more out of that than the other options.
     
  38. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    I vote seaplane rating. Combine the European vacation with some quality time on Lake Como.
     
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  39. Rykymus

    Rykymus Line Up and Wait

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    Without a doubt, Instrument. You think you'll never find yourself in IMC, but you do. And it just makes you a better pilot all around. Better to be ready.
     
  40. DesertNomad

    DesertNomad Cleared for Takeoff

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    Instrument. No question. You'll be a better pilot, make better decisions and have a lot more versatility.
     
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