Pilot Weight for Training

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by ChrisCox911, May 17, 2019 at 11:21 PM.

  1. ChrisCox911

    ChrisCox911 Filing Flight Plan

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    Good day all,
    I am 6’7 450 Lbs. very mobile just the way I am built. I was told by a flight school I was interested in that I need to lose a lot of weight and then give them a call. Kind of frustrated. Any suggestions without everyone telling me I need to lose weight(this I know and am working on).
     
  2. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    Most GA planes used for initial pilot training are not roomy, and you are a big guy. You might not have enough shoulder room, though I bet your seat and the instructor's would be offset, given you'd slide all the way back. You could also be near, at, or over max gross weight in a 172 depending on how big your instructor is.

    If you have the bucks and determination, you could train in a larger, roomier aircraft, but it'll take some research, outreach, and resolve to find someone to rent you a higher end aircraft for primary instruction. And someone willing to take on the teaching, as well.
     
  3. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Find a flight school with a Cessna 182 and pay for a discovery flight. If you and a slim instructor cannot comfortably work together in the cockpit then you are just going to have to wait. Don't know what other a/c are routinely found at schools that might work. You could also do all your training in a twin, plenty of them have Cessna 310's (American Flyers, for one), maybe those are roomy enough?
     
  4. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Many seats themselves also have a maximum weight limit IIRC. This may come into play even if a plane that's roomy enough was found.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019 at 6:18 AM
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  5. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Maybe go buy your own Piper Dakota and train in that?
     
  6. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    That and seat belt length.
     
  7. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    Looking to fly for a career or just for fun??
     
  8. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    The aircraft are not designed for a 450# pilot. Putting a guy your size in a Cessna 172 or 182 results in cracking the rails and damaged seats. With a 200# CFI onboard, a172 would have to be off loaded to only 20 gallons of fuel to remain within the gross weight limitation and the aircraft would very nose heavy in flight.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019 at 1:45 PM
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  9. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips Pattern Altitude

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    A 330-lb friend of mine took lessons in a 172; it was pretty tight (I flew with him several times.)
     
  10. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    At the risk of making this a bit about the weight, the examiner that did my PPL ride in 1976 had to go close to 350 lbs and was not a tall/strong guy. And this was in a Cessna 152! Luckily, I only weighed about 135 lbs back then. He had me do the w&b then said that we were flying without defueling (doubt we could have removed fuel and still made w&b anyway). "They say a hummingbird (or bumblebee, don't exactly recall) can't fly and yet it does and so shall we."

    It is realistic for you to buy an airplane unless you have money to burn. Try a 182 or a twin and if that doesn't work then perhaps it will serve as (added) motivation. When I went to skydive for the first time in 2011 or so (AFF), I was overweight and could not go. I only had a bit to lose but it motivated me to knock that out in a couple weeks. As far as seatbelts, buy an extender or have one made.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019 at 11:20 AM
  11. JScarry

    JScarry Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The W&B will work in a Piper Arrow and I think you will have enough legroom as well. (I’m 6'3" and long legged and I don’t push the seat all the way back.). Keep the fuel below 50 gallons. Here’s a calculator you can play with. They are a popular complex plane with flight schools so you can probably find one around you.
     
  12. timwinters

    timwinters Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    One other consideration if you haven't checked into it...I don't know how old you are, but, if you're older like many of us were when we learned how to fly...you might want to make sure you can pass a third class medical before getting too serious about plane selection.
     
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  13. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    This - I didn't think of an Arrow, but it could work, and plenty of schools have (had?) them.
     
  14. Sinistar

    Sinistar Pattern Altitude

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    @ChrisCox911 here is some info for our 182 (P Model). Maybe it will help you understand weight and balance (W&B) with an example. Foreflight, Garmin Pilot, Gyronimo (iPad) and a few others apps all have decent W&B calculators. For this example I am using Gyronimo.

    1200lbs: That maximum amount of weight that can be added to the plane
    -475lbs: Your weight
    -210lbs: A male CFI weight
    -360lbs: 60gals of fuel (plane holds 78gals)
    -----------
    155lbs: Amount left for tools, backpacks, etc

    ...so from a "Weight" point of view you would have 155lbs to spare. 60gals of fuel is enough for any of your training flights including your longest solo cross country and that includes enough reserves for day and night flight.

    The next part is the "Balance" which is where your center of gravity (CG) will be. In your case, your are right on the edge in the numbers I gave above. If you were to put 62gal instead of 60gal you will bust CG (forward). However if you throw 60lbs in the baggage compartment you can actually fly with all 78gals and not bust...actually it will be easier to fly to as it won't be so crazy nose heavy. You could also take a 170lb passenger in the back seat (but not the 60lbs in the baggage compartment) and also be okay.

    So from a W&B point of view and old 182 will work. However if you are training at high altitude (eg .Denver) or very hot locations you'd probably want to reduce the max weight (above) by 10% for a safety margin.

    One place where you would like the 182 is your height. The pilot and copilot seats in a 182 slide back forever. In other words you should be able to have legs fit and not be up against the yoke. Not sure if the low wing equivalent (Dakota) is the same or has less seat travel. Also the pilot seat is usually height adjustable so you could crank it all the way down.

    I think the single most important issue was already mentioned. The maximum weight in the seat and the seat rails. I would also wonder if the seat rail stops might be questionable. Many old 182's (including ours) have a factory upgrade that basically uses a seatbelt on the floor to also lock the seat in place. If you were flying a 182 at your weight I would think you would want this installed.

    The best advice was already given...obtain your 3rd class medical first. Don't just rush it. If you find yourself answering yes to anything come back here first and run it by the crew and they will tell you if you might need assistance.

    My suggestion:
    Find a way to fly with someone..any GA plane....with two flights of 45 minutes each. If you are still interested then get your medical. If you are "all in" and have the money to purchase (probably $80K) find a few mechanics and start researching your weight vs the few planes that work and if they are any options. Then learn to fly in your plane and pick a super hot 89lb female CFI :) At your height, it might be hard to drop enough weight to get most flight schools to just take you on. But in your own plane with W&B all worked out many CFI's would fly with you. To also be clear, in the end it won't really be much cheaper to learn in your own plane so don't do it for that reason. Do it because you want to control all the variables you can to reach your goal.

    Its doable, but the range of options if limited and will be more expensive than the average person getting their pilots license.
     
  15. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    Let me preface with saying this in the utmost respect and trying to be nice. I work in internal med and geriatric medicine and see patients like you often enough.
    Why not try to lose some damn weight!! I tell my patients that are north of 4 bills that the best part about being this big is that it is super easy to lose it. Your basal metabolic rate (amount of calories you need to intake just to be u) if your around 40 yo is a whooping 3600 cal a day. You put yourself on a 2000 cal diet-which is still a lot of food you’d lose 2 pounds every 3 days. You’d sustain that till your under 400. By the end of the year you could easily be under 375 without breaking a sweat-literally. No exercise. Add that in and it will go faster. You will need to make some more serious changes when you near 3 bills.
    You may fee great now and feel that you have no major health problems. But the reality is that this will not last. Decide how long you fee you want to stay on this earth? Average male age pushing 80. Now take a walk around the mall and try to find a 70 yo that is 400 pounds. You won’t see them. Do stoke the fire hard enough to sustain what you do the fire has to burn hot. And it will burn out quickly.
    I would take aviation and place on the side for a moment and make it part of your reward for a Weight loss goal. Get under 350 and book that first lesson.
     
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  16. texasclouds

    texasclouds Line Up and Wait

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    I’d say get sub 300 lbs, 250 better.
     
  17. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Even if you are a muscular and healthy 450, you are really looking at a 182, Arrow or Cirrus territory to train in. Most schools are using 172s or Cherokees. You probably just need to cut the weight, even if you have a 6 pack and bulging veins.
     
  18. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    The Piper Cherokees/Arrows have a weak wing walk...............and repairs are common/expensive. I doubt the design load is for 450#
     
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  19. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's not true.
     
  20. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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  21. ETres

    ETres Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No one is "just the way I am built" at 450 lbs. That's too much weight for any human to carry, at least for the long haul.