Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

Sorry I couldn't get you down to Kittyhawk last year - still trying to get KATI permitted. But try to have a look at some local strips and see if there is anything available that might work for you.
Aircraft are a bit like buying a really really old car. even if it's a relatively new aircraft. That is - they're a gamble.

If all works out well, you can get a cracking hourly rate and all is good. If you get a big bill, the hourly rate goes up to a catastrophic number leaving you wishing you'd just rented.

To feel like aircraft ownership is a success you have to make sure you get the advantages you need. Consider where it's based, how available it is, what you can do with it, how restricted it is - do these things make it worth it? At one end of the market is rental, then non-equity shares, then equity shares, then two blokes owning a plane, and then sole ownership. That's a sliding scale of convenience with sole ownership obviously winning hands down, but consequently giving you 100% risk of any problems.

I bought a helicopter to learn on, in order to save the £300/hour rental. After a year I was rather proud that my hourly rate was under £150 having done an entire LAPL courses on it, and having had lots of fun. Then I got a £20,000 bill. Ouch. It made my hourly rate more than renting would have done. That wiped the smug look off my face in a flash. But - the Benefit - I got to keep my machine at home, something that made it unbelievably better than renting.

On the flip side, like many on here I've owned a bunch of LAA machines and found them to be vastly better, primarily because you can do all the work yourself. This means if something goes wrong it can still be a pain - but you can save thousands by fitting it yourself. Last year my RV10 needed a new alternator - I ordered it and stuck it on, and the inspector signed it off - cheap. Could have been a much more serious event on a certified aircraft.

Best way to learn about this stuff is to read what everyone writes on here, and go and chat to some real owners and see their aircraft and experiences. A little grass strip with LAA machines is a very different world to a bigger airport full of certified aircraft. Horses for courses.
Cessna571, mick w liked this
carlmeek wrote:If all works out well, you can get a cracking hourly rate and all is good. If you get a big bill, the hourly rate goes up to a catastrophic number leaving you wishing you'd just rented.

I have to say, in the 18 (nearly 19 now!) years I've owned the Bulldog, on very few occasions have I been left wishing I'd rented a PA28! :clown: :D
AndyR, JAFO liked this
On Afors this morning, a Streak Shadow. This one's a Group "A" (they're normally Microlight) Jabiru engine(solid tappets (hydraulic ones notorious) has been on before, seems buyer has ducked and owner is desperate to deal it on.
Sounds like a really cheap hours-builder for a PPL. A PM to G t E might be worthwhile, as he has considerable experience with Microlights and is a fount of wisdom.
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By Nero
Thanks for this thread, really opening my eyes to the possibilities.

Have you seen the Rans? Modestly priced and look like a regular plane. Not sure about the Cat A status, maybe someone experienced here can answer that.

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For a somewhat different approach, consider TMG/SLMG. Free flying if you’re prepared to turn off the engine (I rarely do!) and around £30ph with it on. Monthly costs vary but with a reasonably sized group £50pm seems to be of the right order. Modern TMGs are comfortable and relaxing to fly. Often made of GRP and having modern-ish engines reduces maintenance costs too. And there’s the added bonus that hours flown count towards “Group A” totals if that’s important to you.
lobstaboy wrote:Some thoughts
It's a personal thing. You need to like it. Go and look at them, get people to give you rides (when that's possible again), and keep to simple stuff. Apart from that I'd say if you can afford it, go for it.
By afford it I mean you need to forget any trade in value - assume the money has gone. You may get something back later when you sell it, but it's less fraught to only spend what you can afford (a bit like a night out at a casino - only take what you can afford to lose and leave your credit cards at home).
Great advice Lobsta, I know exactly what you mean.
Here you go.


First things first if you are considering sole ownership, where are you going to keep it? Is hangarage available? Will you/the aircraft mind being kept outside if that is all that is available?

If you are thinking of a CofA machine who will look after it for you? Certainly get an independent inspection done and maybe get the proposed maintenance team involved.

As noted by others there are tales of £14k aircraft suddenly needing £20k - 30k at the first annual.

Edit - Just re-read Andy's post as an example. :(