Socal aerobatics: CP Aviation vs. Sunrise

Discussion in 'Aerobatics' started by dudewithacamera, Sep 19, 2015.

  1. dudewithacamera

    dudewithacamera Filing Flight Plan

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    Hey all, this is my first post here. By way of introduction, I'm a low time VFR pilot (been flying for about 2.5 years), volunteer with Civil Air Patrol, joined EAA and IAC, and have a dream to learn aerobatics. I live pretty much halfway between CP Aviation in Santa Paula and Sunrise Aviation in Santa Ana. I'm trying to decide which would be better for me to do some tailwheel/spin/aerobatic training.

    I went to visit Sunrise and it was a great experience. Michael Church and another instructor personally spent an hour with me explaining their program and honestly answering my questions and even offered to start my training himself. They were not nearly that friendly at CP, but I constantly hear great things about them. Here are some other considerations:

    1) Location: I love the small town feel of Santa Paula where you can taxi right onto the runway. Also CP Aviation has wavered airspace adjacent. Sunrise is at a much busier airport, and the practice area is about 20 miles away. However I'm told that it takes that far to climb to altitude in a Decathlon anyway. Will I be wasting a lot of time taxi/straight and level at Sunrise? Are there any disadvantages to flying in wavered airspace?

    2) Price: CP Aviation instruction is slightly cheaper, but rentals without instruction are a few bucks cheaper at Sunrise. Both places will allow you to solo after completing their programs, but only Sunrise will allow you to compete in their planes (not sure if I'm interested in this yet). Presumably instruction will be cheaper at CP, and rentals after that will be cheaper at Sunrise.

    3) Curriculum: Both courses are structured to be about 10 hours of flight time in a standard and super decathlon. I get the impression the curriculum at CP Aviation is more structured and therefore has a set price. This could be both a positive or a negative. My primary flight instructor really milked me before my checkride, so I'm sensitive to this.

    Maybe I'm overthinking this. But if anyone has any further thoughts, recommendations, or personal experience, I'd really appreciate it!
     
  2. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I've done unusual attitude training at both Sunrise and CP. Both are quality programs with very good instructors. To me, the main difference was in dealing with SNA airport operations, the Class C, and the transit time to the practice area, vs. SZP where getting in and out to the practice area is usually just a few minutes. This ends up giving you more real flight and instruction time for your $.

    Can't go wrong with either program.

    Jeff
     
  3. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maybe commute a little more for the Sean Tucker school.

    I would think many of the top notch guys would be in Reno.
     
  4. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I read the title of this thread as "Social aerobatics". Which place is friendlier?
     
  5. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    I will mention that a famous school owner (or instructor) means almost nothing when it comes to providing quality basic aerobatic instruction. Good instruction is all that matters. Some of the best instructors out there are little-known names. Unless you have references for a particular operation (or instructor), there's a good chance you'll be well served by either. Give the most convenient a try. Like any other operation, if the instructional style of one doesn't serve you well, try another.
     
  6. dudewithacamera

    dudewithacamera Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the feedback. Sounds like I'll probably get the best bang for the buck at CP Aviation, and if I don't jive with the instructors, try Sunrise.
     
  7. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Welcome to POA!
     
  8. Luvrv8

    Luvrv8 Line Up and Wait

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    CP has a great program and a great reputation. If you want advanced aerobatic training come over to Camarillo, one of the IAC ACE's would be happy to train you in a Pitts.
     
  9. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    We only have people doing anti-social acrobatics around here.
     
  10. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    When I lived in CA, you could through a Starbucks and probably hit some retired airline guy with a pits who fancied himself self a aerobatic guru CFI.

    At least with someone who has won a few competitions, you know they at least can fly themself and did more than just finance a aerobatic plane and build a crappy website.
     
  11. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    Well sure, but the OP was asking about CP Aviation vs. Sunrise, not some random guy with a Pitts. Both operations are highly reputable in the aerobatic community. When I say some of the best aerobatic instructors are little-known names, I mean they are little-known to the GA public. Inside the tight-knit aerobatic community, they will be known, and will have many good references. Since there are ZERO requirements for becoming an 'aerobatic instructor', anyone looking for good instruction should ask around, as the OP is doing here.
     
  12. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Indeed.


    What's your opinion of the Tucker school in king city? Or patty Wagstaf in Fl?
     
  13. whifferdill

    whifferdill Line Up and Wait

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    Tucker's school is largely namesake, but he has some excellent instructors working for him, namely Ken Erickson, who's a very highly regarded 'non-famous' acro instructor. Ben Freelove as well. Ben is on the US Unlimited Team. I don't know anyone who's flown with Patty.
     
  14. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    Hi Nate. I can't offer any input about either of them since I am in the middle of the country, but welcome to PoA! I will be looking forward to you letting us know how it goes.
     
  15. ActiveAir

    ActiveAir Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Rich Stowell works out of CP some months out of the year. I took EMT, tailwheel and light acro training from him a few years ago. Great instructor, has written books and done CD's. I love KSZP. Great fuel prices there as well.
     
  16. ActiveAir

    ActiveAir Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The training I got from Rich at CP was invaluable. One day I woke up early in the morning from the wind blowing hard. I thought that there was no way we would be flying that day. I got to the flight school and everyone was cancelling their lessons. Rich walks in and asks if I am ready to go. I say we're not flying today. He says yes we are. He says if he can walk to the flight school from his hangar, and his hat doesn't blow off, then it's not too windy to fly. I say fine, but at least take your chin strap off. We got our butts kicked around for an hour just flying the pattern in a tail wheel, no less. I was drenched in sweat, but it was the best hour of training that I ever had. I learned to fly the plane. Before, I was almost a timid, only fly the plane A to B, only gentle turns, kinda pilot.

    He was great at the spin and acro training as well. Very cool to read his books and watch his videos. Great instructor. Well worth the money. Every pilot should take that training.
     
  17. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Concur. I've only had one lesson with Rich, but he really got me comfortable with spins.

    Shameless plug, my sister will be instructing at CP starting sometime next summer or early fall (including tailwheel and aerobatics). She currently instructs part time in the Seattle area.

    http://www.rainierflightservice.com/seattle-flightinstructor.php?id=32#flight-instructor
     
  18. dudewithacamera

    dudewithacamera Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks everyone, sounds like even more support for CP. I don't have anything against a reputable instructor with a Pitts, whether that be a Sean Tucker's school or a random guy at Starbucks. However I've found most of these guys charge $300-400+ per hour for plane and instruction which is way out of my price range right now. Can't beat the prices at CP in a Decathlon. I've also heard that it's better to start in a lower performance plane and work your way up.
     
  19. Bobcat1

    Bobcat1 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Both schools that you mentioned are petty decent. I'm kinda partial to SZP. Good outfit, great folks and the practice area is right there east of the airport.
     
  20. Dead Stick

    Dead Stick Line Up and Wait

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    Our company sent all of our pilots to CP Aviation. Great program and great instructors.
     
  21. warthog1984

    warthog1984 Cleared for Takeoff

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    CP is complete and utter junk.

    They train their PPLs to fly short fields 5 knots too fast, disallow wheel landings for their TWs, and their chef pilot is 1) afraid of slips, 2) afraid of the stall horn, and 3) either clueless or an out and out liar.

    I wouldn't wish CP on my worst enemy.