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What type of license do you need to fly a 1000 HP plane?

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Hey,

So I know it's unrealistic, but I was trying to figure out a way for me to be able to own a warbird. I was wondering what type of license you need to fly something like that, since they have retractable gear and have more then 200 HP? I know this isn't a FS question, but I was just curious. 


"An optimist built the airplane, a pessimist built the parachute."

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On top of my head, you will need:

- Legally (bare minimum): a private pilot certificat + a high performance endorsement.

- in order to get insured: a training with an instructor experienced on the particular aircraft.

You will find further details here:

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You'd need both a complex and a high-performance acft endorsement on whatever level of license you're operating with, unless you have an ATP and have previously passed a flight check in complex/high-perf acft.

The rules are in 14 CFR 61.31, paragraphs (e) and (f)  https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/61.31


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Thanks guys


"An optimist built the airplane, a pessimist built the parachute."

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It actually depends which country you are in as to what the restrictions are. For example, UK (i.e. EU/JAR) licences are restricted by take off weight limit (12,000lbs) rather than HP, so you can in fact fly anything within that limit, thus a 12 seater 1,000 hp Antonov AN-2 can be piloted solo on a basic PPL in the UK. The AN-2 has a Shvetsov ASh-621R nine cylinder radial which is is basically a copy of the Wright R-1820 Cyclone (1,820 Cubic inch displacement developing typically around 1,000 horsepower although some variants kick out up to 1,300 hp). That engine and variants of it, power a number of warbirds including the SDB Dauntless, FM2 Wildcat, Curtiss Helldiver, Curtiss P-36, Grumman F3F, Polikarpov I-16, B-17 etc, so if you want to drive something which basically has the same engine as a B-17 etc, this is one way to experience that kind of engine control.

Since you can convert a US PPL to a JAR PPL fairly easily, and vice versa, a trip to Europe with your FAA PPL and a few hundred quid to get you legal in UK airspace, would mean you could fly pretty much any warbird you liked so long as it weighed less than 12,000 lbs and you had access to it (difficult with many of them being single seaters) although obviously for many warbirds, they are single seat and most would not be flown before you had a bit of experience in something like a Chipmunk or a Harvard (i.e. Texan), but there are several airworthy twin seater Spitfires around which you could fly (it'll cost you about ten grand for a one hour flight).

To give you an idea of what that weight limit means in terms of what is on the cards for a UK PPL, the F4U Corsair is within that limit at  9,205 lb and so is the P-47 Thunderbolt at 10,000lbs. A good one to try therefore, is the Boeing Stearman, which is big and powerful, but also tough and fairly forgiving to fly and there are many of these about. It was used to train warbird pilots, so it's a part along the pathway to flying those kinds of things.

Interestingly, and a bit of a standing joke among glider pilots, is the fact that most glider licences (such as they are) specify that you can fly any glider and there is no stated weight restriction. This means that with a glider licence, technically, you could legally fly the 172,000lb Space Shuttle Orbiter for its de-burn return to Earth and landing in UK airspace with an FAI licence, since it is a glider when it does this stage of its flight. 🙂

The real restriction to owning and flying a warbird, is not the license, it's the money. If you have the money you can get the licence and that'd be the least of your problems; you need at least two million quid to get something like a Spitfire or Mustang, and that's not even considering insurance, maintenance etc, which is very costly - a Merlin engine burns through 24 new spark plus in just twelve hours of engine running time, and those plugs are expensive. This is just one aspect of the maintenance, there are many others. This is why you see people build replicas of these things with more practical and economical engine installations.

Edited by Chock
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Alan Bradbury

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10 minutes ago, Rob_Ainscough said:

haha ... but is it a "high performance" glider ... perhaps it's time to redefine the regulations to something more appropriate to the task involved rather than some arbitrary limits on weight and HP?

Cheers, Rob.

To be honest, it tends to regulate itself largely by the costs involved. As they always say, 'if God intended us to fly, he'd have given us more money'. If you can afford the fancy plane, you can probably afford the necessary licences and training it takes to get them.

All is not completely lost however if the OP really wants to own and fly a warbird. One thing you can do is build a very large RC version of it and install an FPV camera on it then fly it with FPV goggles. This is definitely something which is affordable in the sense of probably only costing you less than a grand and in fact, I have knocked up some FPV aeroplanes for less than 100 quid including the cost of all the equipment involved.

If you aren't bothered about FPV, here's a P-51 Mustang you can fly for well under a hundred quid, or if you prefer, an F4U Corsair. These are great fun by the way.

Edited by Chock
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Alan Bradbury

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18 minutes ago, Chock said:

It actually depends which country you are in as to what the restrictions are.

Exactly correct - in my country, aside from a couple of endorsements like multi-crew training, gas turbine etc., a well-to-do PPL could fly their own private 747.


David Porrett

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6 minutes ago, Rob_Ainscough said:

I'll disagree there a little, costs AND number of deaths involved

Well that's true, but since I've personally known three people who died in rented gliders, I'm very much aware that such fatal incidents not limited to high performance stuff.

One of the first things I ever heard at an open evening at a flying club I eventually joined, was from a member who was honest enough to say to me: 'I'd be lying if I said people did not die doing this sort of thing occasionally'. It didn't put me off. You have to accept that if you are going to hurl yourself around in the air unnecessarily, that is more risky as a hobby than playing cards or knitting.

Edited by Chock

Alan Bradbury

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11 minutes ago, DavidP said:

Exactly correct - in my country, aside from a couple of endorsements like multi-crew training, gas turbine etc., a well-to-do PPL could fly their own private 747.

For Europe, EASA part-FCL would require ATPL(A) theory passed I believe. The 747 being multi-pilot, high performance, complex airplane. 

 

 


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