What's Flying Like in Retirement?

OneCharlieTango

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OneCharlieTango
As retirement draws nearer, I'm giving some thought to what kind of flying makes sense. I have a 185 and fly it IFR cross country in order to find small strips in the middle of nowhere. All of my family lives within 10 miles of me, so "fly to see the grandchildren" isn't my mission.

ISTM that retirement reduces time pressures, allowing me to fly slower and exclusively VFR. If that's the case, I could downsize to a smaller, slower, cheaper airplane, allowing me to fly more and to a later age. At the same time, mechanics are getting harder and harder to find. Owner maintenance is a lot easier on a simpler airplane.

Have you continued flying in retirement? How has your flying changed? Am I being unrealistic when I think I could keep flying and fly for a lot less if I traded the 185 on an owner-maintained RV-12, Kitfox, etc.? Assume I know what I'm doing, maintenance-wise.
 
Ain't retired yet, but I am flying smallest, slowest, cheapest owner maintained airplane you might find. The issue that would come up if I were retired would be that I would have limited access to a TIG welder, lathe, mill, etc. for fabricating things from scratch. (Most things don't require the lathe or mill, but they do come in handy sometimes.) (Kit manufacturer is long out of business.) The issue with not being retired is the day job and honey-do's don't leave much time for maintenance. Right now the airplane is down waiting for me to install the fuel tanks (again) and weld up / install the new heater parts.

It also doesn't help that the bridge I normally use to get to the airport is closed for emergency repairs for an as yet undetermined length of time - the extra 20-30 minutes (longer during rush hour. Much longer.) it now takes makes it harder to dash over after work.
 
I am 56 years old, so not retired yet, but I am looking at it! I have thought about how flying would change for me and it comes down to one huge difference - COST! I own my own businesses and I have two airplanes - both modest but still have to be maintained. I am like alot of people - I run all of my airplane expenses through my business (and have the airplane ownership set up in another LLC). So although not "free", it takes the pain out of my back pocket by almost giving me the illusion that it is "free".

Once I retire, all of my flying expenses will be coming from my "grocery money". I have already started dreading that. I think that will take some of the fun out of it.
 
What kind of biz enables you to expense two light GA aircraft? How do you handle personal use of the airplanes?

I'm an engineer not an accountant. My CPA sorts it out, but no, you cannot expense the personal use of the aircraft. But believe me, a having it registered to your business helps alot.
 
I’m retired and loving it .Traded my twin travelair for a small liberty two place single certified airplane. The bucket list is to fly to all 50 states, have 9 left. Don’t fly as much IFR now,I’m 73 and hope to go on flying forever.
 
Find a way to do some volunteer flying. For example, I hooked up with a group here in AZ that transports cartons of blood and blood platelets, and have flown about 40 hours so far this year doing that. Fuel and other expenses are not reimbursed, but there is a formula setting a charitable tax deduction by the hour, based on aircraft type and horsepower.

Otherwise, we're happy with our 172 in retirement. We make occasional trips to neighboring states to visit family and friends, trips to national parks, etc. We're blessed with good weather, and what clouds there are in AZ I wouldn't care to fly through, so there's no pressure to keep up with the Joneses in avionics. Then there's the fun of just sitting around the hangar chewing the fat with the other airport bums. :)
 
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I'm mostly retired, and it's my "mission" to fly everything that's fun.
I fly one or another of the J3 Cubs every week, year round, because they are fun, and keep me on my game.
The Luscombe got sold off, so I'm gearing up in a Taylorcraft BC-12D with wing tanks. This will be my "traveling" plane.
In the summer I have access to a SeaRay, so I can get wet.
Having a bunch of friends with planes they are too busy to fly themselves makes me a valuable resource.
Who knew?
 
I stink at retirement. I retired from day gig four years ago, and don't need to work for income. However, there's lots of things I like to do, and some of those are still a form of employment. Once I left my day gig, I imagined that I'd have scads of time to fly, would knock out my IR in no time, and maybe move up to a more capable airplane to go see the entire country whenever I wanted to. Hasn't panned out that way. I'm still trying to find time to fly as frequently as I'd like, and still have a work-in-progress PA28-140 Cherokee.
 
I plan on flying Angel Flight missions on weekdays instead of weekends in retirement.

We'll still also travel via general aviation as well. At least where that fits. International, long distance (east to west coast) and winter/ski trips will still be done commercially.

Traveling is part of our retirement plan. Which means we're saving for that. We could retire now if we wanted a more low-key lifestyle in retirement.
 
I’m looking at retirement very soon. I can’t see myself not working anymore, so whatever part time job I get is going to flying.
 
All of my family lives within 10 miles of me, so "fly to see the grandchildren" isn't my mission.

I'm not near retirement but, if the grandkids are already around, then I would suggest "fly and make memories". Airplane camping, $100 hamburgers, and sightseeing flights are experiences they would never forget. If you don't have it already, consider picking up a CFI rating. I'm not saying that my life has turned out poorly, but my 20s would have been very different if my grandfather had taught me to fly.
 
I too I am nearing a time where I am wanting to get out of my day job. Into something more time flexible. I am looking at joining an organization as a technical consultant Which requires travels to destinations both domestic and international. I was planning on using my plane for a lot of the domestic travel. The aircraft is already owned by an LLC. As a contractor I was thinking of renting the Aircraft from the LLC and expensing it. If that doesn’t work out I’ll probably sell it and find something else less complicated, although the piper arrow is not that complicated.
 
I have started keeping my eyes open for a float plane, and have a new 172 on order. Will probably within the next 10 months or so sell my Bonanza, and use the two small planes, until i retire in 8.5 years, at age 57. Then I want to find a good used M350 to use for travel, and do some serious travel in pressurized comfort, get that out of my system, however many years it takes, then sell the M350 off. But I really miss float flying, and want to get back to it. Hopefully somebody is going to sell off a nicely equipped CC EX3 or something similar already set up on floats I can purchase. The EX3 really appeals to me, but not the building it part. The other possibility is doing the FX3 instead and just spending some time in Yakima working on it. I get bored easily, and also am too impatient to spend 5 years building a kit.
 
Doubt I'd ever retire, doesn't seem to be something folks do in my line of work. Don't know what I'd do if I did. Might have to give up aviation entirely due to lack of funds. Might downsize to some slow day VFR flyer. Might stick with my complex airplane, maybe even try and get something faster. Maybe I'd try my hand at building. Just don't know.
 
I've been retired for 10 years and have a step-down plan:
1. Keep the C206 for travel as long as my wife and I are interested and able. She is a PP and can operate under Basic Med, and as an instructor I can make that transition very easily. We've used that plane with a motorcycle for trips to Alaska, the Bahamas and most all of Canada
2. Keep the J3 and let my estate deal with it, flying under Light Sport if Basic Med doesn't work.
3. Continue to tow gliders for fun as long as I'm safe and competent to do so. I don't need the money, but I love to do it.
4. Last year a partner and I sold our PA12 on floats, mostly due to a lack of support for a commercial sightseeing operation. Neither of us wanted to commit full time to that operation, but I do miss flying the thing and giving rides.
 
I’m in the tail end of building a Hatz Classic. Biggest adjustment for me in my recent retirement is not having a business account that I could purchase airplane parts with. Now the CFO at home sees all my building expenses. Drat!
 
I'm only semi retired... And not back in the air... Yet.

But, as soon as I get up there I'll let you know if it's any different than it was when I was not retired at all.

Rusty pilot seminar first part of December. Then, I'll look at the two clubs in my area, join one, get some necessary instruction, and start flying on my own again.

I don't think it'll be any different. But it's been 20 years. Maybe it'll be even better!
 
I am retired (going on 3 years) and while I am finding that I have lots of “free” time, it’s hard to find. My wife and I both have volunteer gigs and we have also decided to lend a hand with day care for our daughter who made a job change. Supposed to be temporary but you know how that goes. One of the habits I am working hard to break is flying on weekends. I try to fly during the week (like I did today) and Pilot and Paws has helped a little in that regard. However, if you like to go to fly-ins, pancake breakfasts, etc., they are all on the weekends.
 
I retired from my "day job" about 2 1/2 years ago at 73. Thought I would fly the heck out of my Arrow but push-back from a scrooge spouse (who has never seen the Arrow in 17 years I've owned it) has limited my flying to what I can afford being an adjunct prof. (not much!). Now I have an engine to replace so, regardless of a really good nest-egg, I probably will kick the bucket before it is anywhere close to being emptied. So, take what you can get while the getting is good and never put off until tomorrow what you want to do today :(
 
I once read an article about why people DON'T retire. There were four main reasons:

1. Money
2. Lack of interests outside of job
3. Self-importance within job (they can't possibly succeed without me)
4. Fear of being stuck all day with spouse

I'm happily retired. :)
 
As retirement draws nearer, I'm giving some thought to what kind of flying makes sense. I have a 185 and fly it IFR cross country in order to find small strips in the middle of nowhere. All of my family lives within 10 miles of me, so "fly to see the grandchildren" isn't my mission.

ISTM that retirement reduces time pressures, allowing me to fly slower and exclusively VFR. If that's the case, I could downsize to a smaller, slower, cheaper airplane, allowing me to fly more and to a later age. At the same time, mechanics are getting harder and harder to find. Owner maintenance is a lot easier on a simpler airplane.

Have you continued flying in retirement? How has your flying changed? Am I being unrealistic when I think I could keep flying and fly for a lot less if I traded the 185 on an owner-maintained RV-12, Kitfox, etc.? Assume I know what I'm doing, maintenance-wise.

Get on of these! I have owned and flown lots of different airplanes and this is still my favorite... You don't need anywhere to go.cub 1.png
 
I retired in July and so far it's just ok. I have more time to fly, but my friends aren't retired, so it's just me and the wife and of course the dogs. It seems like we have something going on every week. I used the Conquest for my weekend trips to the beach and business as well as personal trips all over the southeast. Now that I am not in such a hurry to get back on Sunday night for a Monday morning meeting, driving seems more prudent. I moved the airplane to a cheaper airport and I am still thinking of selling it, it's paid for and the fuel and hangar aren't an issue, I am more concerned about big maintenance items that might pop up. I can pay the bill, but is it a good use of resources? Anyway, I can tell you more in a few months after all the dust settles.
 
As a small business owner with my son I won't retire in the traditional sense of the word. Like walk out the door with a box of stuff to never return or think about again. However, I am spending less time in the office in that business. What it has meant for me flying is more time for contract pilot work, more time for flight instruction and more time for flying my plane for personal use. I'm doing all those things and have never flown more.
 
I retired in 2003, and love the freedom I now have to do what I want, when I want. I fly my Zodiac LSA frequently and it's perfect for me. It's experimental so I can perform my own maintenance and modifications, and with my light sport repairman inspection certificate I can do my own condition inspections. The cost of ownership is a small fraction of what it cost to own and fly the 172 I owned, and I can do 90% of the kind of flying I did in the 172.
 
As retirement draws nearer, I'm giving some thought to what kind of flying makes sense. I have a 185 and fly it IFR cross country in order to find small strips in the middle of nowhere. All of my family lives within 10 miles of me, so "fly to see the grandchildren" isn't my mission.

ISTM that retirement reduces time pressures, allowing me to fly slower and exclusively VFR. If that's the case, I could downsize to a smaller, slower, cheaper airplane, allowing me to fly more and to a later age. At the same time, mechanics are getting harder and harder to find. Owner maintenance is a lot easier on a simpler airplane.

Have you continued flying in retirement? How has your flying changed? Am I being unrealistic when I think I could keep flying and fly for a lot less if I traded the 185 on an owner-maintained RV-12, Kitfox, etc.? Assume I know what I'm doing, maintenance-wise.

Or get your CFI and instruct.
 
Clip4...A point of caution is in order...I have been a CFI-A/I for 45 years and have stopped active free-lance instruction quite a while ago because of the potential for liability issues. I still maintain the certificate to stay current on regulations, practices, etc., but now I only do BFR or IPC checks for pilots I know and on whose aircraft insurance policies I am a listed pilot. Flight instructor liability insurance premiums far exceed what few $$ I earn!! A CFI working for a flight school may be covered for liability but that should be one of the first questions asked if the CFI chooses that route.
 
I once read an article about why people DON'T retire. There were four main reasons:

1. Money
2. Lack of interests outside of job
3. Self-importance within job (they can't possibly succeed without me)
4. Fear of being stuck all day with spouse

I'm happily retired. :)
That's interesting because I pretty much fall into #2 and #3.
I mentioned this yesterday in another post. I have almost 34 years on the same job/career (electrical) and I could retire next October at age 55(full pension benefits).

However, (#2)... I have no interest in doing anything (within my capabilities) outside of what I do now. I'm in pretty good health and see no good reason to leave yet (other than no longer working around the clock). Although that may be reason enough after all of these years!

#3... My job has a six position- rotating schedule. One guy has been here around eight years and the rest have less than five. As Senior Electrical Systems Controller (19yrs), it's not that "they can't possibly succeed without me", however, my nearly two decades of facility knowledge and experience makes me a valuable asset to the agency. Those are the sentiments expressed by the top brass. Just a few days ago, the facility GM (general manager) and PPM (physical plant manager) brought a dozen people (engineers, techs, etc) up here to give them a tour of our Supervisory Control Room and they were discussing this job position and responsibilities. Someone asked my age and how long I've done this particular job.
I replied, 54 and almost 20 years. No one thought I was that old, lol.

Then I commented about possibly retiring next year, to which the GM and PPM both jumped up and said... "He COULD retire next year, but we ain't letting him!" :D

Flying...
As a non-owner, when I do retire, I want to get out of the northeast/ NYC area and find a nice club to join. Renting sucks!!! especially in this area.
 
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When I signed that 10 year contract in May 2018, I already knew that it would be my retirement position. I have no desire to work past then, retirement for me will be age 57 years, and 7 months old.
 
A 185 is a pretty nice "forever plane." Nothing wrong with keeping up adventures in retirement and the price to keep that up isn't much more than some experimental
 
Clip4...A point of caution is in order...I have been a CFI-A/I for 45 years and have stopped active free-lance instruction quite a while ago because of the potential for liability issues. I still maintain the certificate to stay current on regulations, practices, etc., but now I only do BFR or IPC checks for pilots I know and on whose aircraft insurance policies I am a listed pilot. Flight instructor liability insurance premiums far exceed what few $$ I earn!! A CFI working for a flight school may be covered for liability but that should be one of the first questions asked if the CFI chooses that route.

I agree with everything you stated, but the times are a bit different and there are instructional opportunities that are not freelance and do not require your own insurance. At a community college program near me they are begging for instructors and paying $40 an hour and one could set there own hours and load. It’s what each person’s definition of retirement is. Age at retirement is also a factor.
 
I retired in July and so far it's just ok. I have more time to fly, but my friends aren't retired, so it's just me and the wife and of course the dogs. It seems like we have something going on every week. I used the Conquest for my weekend trips to the beach and business as well as personal trips all over the southeast. Now that I am not in such a hurry to get back on Sunday night for a Monday morning meeting, driving seems more prudent. I moved the airplane to a cheaper airport and I am still thinking of selling it, it's paid for and the fuel and hangar aren't an issue, I am more concerned about big maintenance items that might pop up. I can pay the bill, but is it a good use of resources? Anyway, I can tell you more in a few months after all the dust settles.
Congrats on your retirement. But I have been following you since your thread on renovating your dealership and I had planned on buying my next truck from you when I visit relatives in North Atlanta. But since I keep my vehicles quite a while, the situation hasn't come up yet.

And now that I am retired, I will probably keep my vehicles even longer so I can continue to pay those fuel, hangar and mx bills longer.

Even though I am retired, my wife still works one or two days a week. She works every Friday and other days as needed, so we don't take as many long cross countries as i had planned fore retirement, but when she fully retires in about two years, we plan a lot of long tours of the country and to burn up a lot of those Marriott Rewards points I have been accumulating. Last year she took off 3 days (giving us 27 days to complete a Florida-Alaska round trip. This year she took 2 days giving us almost 3 weeks to go from Florida to Southern CA to Seattle to Macinac MI then back home, with a bunch of places along the way. Those kinds of trips are hard to do while still working. Especially when you are the owner of a small business.
 
When I signed that 10 year contract in May 2018, I already knew that it would be my retirement position. I have no desire to work past then, retirement for me will be age 57 years, and 7 months old.

a lot of things can happen over the next 9 years that may sway your decision.
 
Clip4...A point of caution is in order...I have been a CFI-A/I for 45 years and have stopped active free-lance instruction quite a while ago because of the potential for liability issues. I still maintain the certificate to stay current on regulations, practices, etc., but now I only do BFR or IPC checks for pilots I know and on whose aircraft insurance policies I am a listed pilot. Flight instructor liability insurance premiums far exceed what few $$ I earn!! A CFI working for a flight school may be covered for liability but that should be one of the first questions asked if the CFI chooses that route.
Funny. I'm doing more instruction now than when I was working full time. Not doing it full time - I'm much too jealous of my free time after the final 8 years of full time career - but definite more. Flight reviews, IPCs, transitions, checkouts, rusty pilots (love that), general recurrent.
 
I retired early 15 years ago. I fly at least once a week to one of a number close restaurants for breakfast or lunch. My wife and I plan 1-3 long cross country trips a year within a radius of around 1000 miles. That gets us into the Bahamas, the Northern Caribbean, and most of the Eastern US. We go the Western US every 2-3 years. I quit CFI'ing last year.
 
Clip4...A point of caution is in order...I have been a CFI-A/I for 45 years and have stopped active free-lance instruction quite a while ago because of the potential for liability issues. I still maintain the certificate to stay current on regulations, practices, etc., but now I only do BFR or IPC checks for pilots I know and on whose aircraft insurance policies I am a listed pilot. Flight instructor liability insurance premiums far exceed what few $$ I earn!! A CFI working for a flight school may be covered for liability but that should be one of the first questions asked if the CFI chooses that route.

Same here, and even a flight review can expose you to lawsuits because of all of the things that you DIDN'T cover in the session. Without adequate insurance you're hooked for attorney costs just to defend yourself, much less pay out a settlement.
 
Retirement does not exist on a ranch or farm so I will never be affected, but wouldn't a good question be what do you want out of life? If you like doing meaningful things with interesting people look in to Lighthawk.org which does environmental flights. They will keep you busy.
 
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