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N400QW

Sport Pilot -- What a bunch of baloney

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Well, it looks like I won't be soloing after all, not due to any lack of pilot skill, but simply because I am so disgusted at this point I can't even look at an aircraft.Today I wanted to call and get an idea of what insurance would run. Drumroll.....$6000 a year UNLESS I purchase a certified aircraft. Problem is, most Sport Pilot class certified aircraft are coming in around the $70,000-$100,000 price range, way out of my league. Basically, insurance would run more than fuel, maintenance, tie down, etc.... It's a laugh that some brand new driver can come along, buy an SUV, and cause a chain reaction crash that takes out a dozen cars and snuffs out the lives of people in their prime--and still pay an insurance rate a third of someone in the "statistically safer" realm of flight. The funny thing is, I could fly without insurance. Unlike driving, there is no law requiring it and my local airport confirms that. A couple of pilots I've spoken to, including one CFI, do just that. But all I need is a gust of wind to blow my aircraft into a B200..., and I can kiss my home goodbye, and probably every item of clothing I own too.Anyway, for new pilots I would discourage you from going for a Sport Pilot license. I did because at this stage in my life I know the FAA medical would become an issue sooner or later and because I felt Sport Pilot lent itself to a class of aircraft that would be easier to afford. I guess I was pretty naive. Signing out, and thanks for letting me vent...John

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Did you ever consider getting a private pilot's license? I think C-152s aren't too expensive or even a Piper Cherokee or something. I have my license and I go flying about once a month, costs me about $80.00 an hour to rent the 152 and it's got some high tech avionics in it too.Jeff

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Nope--Sport Pilot allows me to fly with my Driver's license as my medical. My vision in my left eye, while clear, suffers from an issue where I can't read with it due to some visual cortex damage caused by a fever when I was a child. I would have to gamble a PPL on a waiver for that condition, and I just don't want to gamble the cost for a PPL vs. that. I know established pilots fly with monocular vision, but it's hard to be the "new kid in town". -John

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John,Don't get the rating/license confused with aircraft ownership rules.First thing: You're flying in the PHX area, right? If so you shold probably get your PPL anyways, unless you have a condition which would prohibit you from gettting the PPL.Second: Aircraft ownserhip: Alot of these "sport class" aircraft are for the most part are full blown production type aircraft in terms of money by the time you select your avionics packages. In some cases it might actually be cheaper to buy a brand new Cessna.Cirrus is a good example of an "experimental class" aircraft with all the modern day features of a 777. A good bargin, but still expensive.Insurance however might be more expensive on experimentals because they may not have the maint. requirements for regular production aircraft and require less pilot hours and experience to fly.There are still some sport class aircraft that are inexpensive. For me I've always had some sort of affinity towards the really light/almost ultralight class even though I've never flown one. There's just something about them. Low and slow and easy to get into the air.You're kind of in a catch 22 just like the rest of us even with PPL's. Imagine what "Goefa's" costs are on his Baron, even for an used one.Flying is expensive no matter what the case it seems. Renting from a good club or school with newer equipment should also be considered. I was really surprised to find an outfit here in KC with 2 Cirrus aircraft. I've never flown them but the rates were pretty good. I think someone bought them thinking they could lease them back and maybe make a couple of bucks in the process. They'll probably find out different here soon if they haven't already.Don't give up. Just get your ratings, start getting to know people and you might not have to pay for that stick time before you know it. :-) It's all about getting in the air.

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>>Insurance however might be more expensive on experimentals>because they may not have the maint. requirements for regular>production aircraft and require less pilot hours and>experience to fly.>An "experimental" such as a Van's RV, runs around $1300-1800 per year.Off hand, I don't remember how much "hull" insurance that includes, but it's usually enough for the parts to build a new one.L.Adamson

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For the reasons I mentioned above, a PPL is pretty much out of the question. In Phoenix, there's only a handful of certified Sport Pilot aircraft, and all are used for training and nearly impossible to rent on weekends. The insurance companies, and to some extent the flight schools, are trying to steer new students into these certified aircraft, but many are just priced way out of synch with their capabilities. There was some discussion about whether a 150/152 class aircraft should be included in Sport Pilot. I would bet there were political reasons that didn't happen--it would have opened up many more aircraft available to fly. Orignally EAA was promoting Sport Pilot as a cost effective way to get into flight, and a cost effective way to stay in flight for pilots at the close of their careers. But as you say, flying seems to be expensive no matter how one does it and I realize I'm simply out of my league here--I'm not willing to take out a 2nd Mortgage on the house--I guess I don't love the air that much. If I were single, it would be a different story. But I don't want to make my family sacrifice for my dream.-John

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John; Don't forget that sailplanes also have essentially no medical requirements...and in Phoenix you've got an ideal combo of terrain and weather plus several good soaring outfits to choose from at Estrella (south) and Turf Soaring School (west). Sadly, this is one concrete example of the real effects of our unwillingness as a society to rein in the lawyers. I've heard estimates that as much as 40% of the price of a new GA airplane goes for the product liability insurance.RegardsBob ScottATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-V L-300Santiago de Chile

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If I lived in PHX I would seriousely consider an upper end ultralight just for the fun of it.

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Thanks Bob,I've thought about sailplanes from time to time and if I were single I probably would try that route, but my main goal for powered aircraft was to give my daughter (and any future children) a chance at learning something she could choose as a vocation. My wife too--she would be a great instructor. I guess I am too upset now to think rationally about any options--it was more the attitude I met today talking to agents who don't seem to give a hoot about new pilots. That, and the whole homebuilt market that was supposedly to be opened up by Sport Pilot is essentially "off limits" to anyone but experienced pilots. It's just hard to see any good in continuing on with the training--I suppose if I were doing my training in Glendale I might see otherwise but three hours of my training is spent getting to and from Falcon Field. -John

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Life insurance wouldn't cover an ultralight--ultralight flying is excluded from my policy whereas being a licensed pilot is not. I want to fly, but I love my family more.-John

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Insurance is a pain-and it isn't even for planes. Right now I have to pay $2000 a year to insure my 18 year old to drive-and the stickler is he doesn't drive-he is away at school the whole year. Both my cars could be paid off in 5 years of insurance payments-and after that I will be paying more than the value of the cars to insure them!I also had a catch 22 when I moved to flying twins-it isn't just new pilots. I won't describe what I had to do-but jumping hoops was one of them. I did find a way around it. One of the reasons I moved to a twin now is I figure it may be impossible at some time the way the insurance companies are going....I wanted to get the 250 hours most require in while I could.There is always a way, however .Why not get a couple partners on a 70k new sport plane-then you can split all the costs?I owned my own single airplane for 11 years-now I am in a partnership with two others and I love it. No guilt when time makes it so you can't fly the plane every week, people to share all the pain in the #$#$ paperwork, ad's, and expenses on maintenence, hanger costs, much cheaper, and never a problem getting the plane when I want it. Split the insurance and it isn't so bad....great friendships-lots of bonding flying trips-very nice!I am now flying a twin for less cost than it was for me to fly my single-and it is also less work and headache-not a bad deal!Also-give a little time for the "certified" sports planes to become sold "used"-that is usually much more of a bargain-like buying a 2 year old car vs. a new one.http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpg

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Thanks Geof,I looked at partners, but there aren't enough Sport Pilots in the area--maybe in a couple of years, but not now I'm afraid...-John

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Amen. I have 4 cars in my household including an 18 year old and a 19 year old. Costs me 2500 bucks (negotiated!) every 6 months. Eric

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Hey All,John 2 points.1) I have been considering getting the Canadian equivalent of a sport pilot license (uktralight or advanced ultralight). Here too it appears to me to be very expensive to own aircraft however I suspect that if the sport pilot thing actually takes off costs are likely to come down rather than going up. It would not surprise me to see sport plane rentals become more common as well. There is of course no way to predict the future... That said...2) I think that even in the worse case scenario a solo is a life fulfilling event and if you care about it - not one to miss - even if you to never fly again by choice or economics. I'm thinking of doing it for no other reason than to achieve something in life that I've always wanted to - a solo. If aircraft rentals, partial ownership options and/or other economic options appear great - if not well - I will have soloed and no economic circumstance can take that away from me.So I suggest that if you want to solo - do it and see what opportunities the world presents down the road. Don't let the current economic climate deter you.JMO -Ed-

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In Canada we have what's known as a recreational permit. It costs about half the cost of a full ppl, but imposes some restrictions such as no night flying, a limit of one passenger, can't cross the border, etc. A flying club might impose its own limits, too. For example, the Ottawa Flying Club won't let you take a club aircraft more than 60 nm away, but in theory at least, it's possible for a sport pilot to fly coast to coast in a C172 provided all other restrictions were met.A rec permit doesn't require ground school (though you still have to pass the test)and has only a self-declared medical.I thought the new U.S. sport pilots licence was similar, but I guess it's a lot more restrictive.(The rec permit still proved too rich for me, however. Like John, I found myself unable to justify the cost and effort of training over the needs of my family. Bring on FSX, I say)BlairCYOW

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