Sign in to follow this  
N400QW

Sport Pilot -- What a bunch of baloney

Recommended Posts

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

Share this post


Link to post
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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.

Share this post


Link to post

>>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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

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-

Share this post


Link to post

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

Share this post


Link to post

At the Aopa convention this year I looked very closely at the "certified" sport pilot airplanes. While they had a certain "ambiance" (I loved the Russian seaplane model) and cheap operating cost was appealing, I came away thinking that it is a much better bargain getting a standard ppl and buying a used conventional aircraft.I do not think your medical condition would keep you from getting a ppl-you should ask an examiner off the record,, or best write an email to aopa to ask. You will probably find that it may not be that big a deal. Since you are giving up on the Sports Pilot-it would seem you having nothing to lose.Even though the ppl will cost more to get initially-in the end I think you will get something with more power, and could end up spending much less, both in insurance and aircraft, and much more ability to do some "real-e.g. less restricted" flying.The appeal I see for a sport pilot is for those who know they can not get a medical or will shortly lose theirs. (I know a "standard" pilot who knew he was going to get booted on his next medical-instead of losing his ability to fly totally which would have happened had he reported for a medical, he became a sport pilot). To me, that is what it is really set up for-for the cheapest and best flying I think a standard ppl is still the way to go. Before you give up-I'd investigate-there are lots of pilots out there with more disabilities than you have-a pilot in our local CAP is deaf-he is now a commercial/ifr rated pilot. Check out the adds for partnerships and clubs at your local fields-there are usually several advertised-and you may find out that it can be fairly cheap-certainly not much more than boating/golfing and many of the other passions people pursue in life. It would be a shame to give up now that you have your feet wet.http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

John,Just wondering if you've done some fact-checking on the class 3 medical, or if you're just assuming the worst. If you're not a member of AOPA, I'd encourage you to join. They have a first-rate medical certification staff that could give you a very detailed idea of what to expect, and how to get your class 3 medical with a minimum of red tape. There are also several AMEs (aviation medical examiners) that frequent their members-only forums and answer questions about things like this all the time. Wouldn't hurt to check into it.

Share this post


Link to post

I've done some checking. Without my reading glasses I wouldn't be able to pass the eye test in either eye, I don't think. My distance vision is perfect, but years of CRT use combined with my problem in my left eye have taken their toll. With reading glasses, my vision is better than 20/20 but everything I understand about vision requirements means I would require a waiver after I demonstrate proficiency. Sport Pilot is very clear--if you are failed for a FAA medical for any reason, you're grounded. Essentially that's what I am at this stage--getting to solo wasn't my goal--sharing the joy of flight with my family was. Honestly, I shouldn't be in the air. You have to "pay" to play. After a restless night thinking about this, I really think any further pursuit of it is a waste of my time and it's probably for the best.-John

Share this post


Link to post

Without my reading glasses I wouldn't be able to pass the eye test in either eye, I don't think.Don't see any problem there. You, me, and I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of other 40-years-old-plus pilots couldn't pass it without reading glasses either. Just take your reading glasses to the exam and use them. You'll have a limitation on your certificate that corrective lenses are required, but again that's so common it's a non-issue. No waiver required.When I first applied for a student medical certificate in the mid-70's, I needed a one-time "statement of demonstrated ability" (not quite the same as a waiver) because my uncorrected distant vision was worse than 20/200. This just required a simple letter and exam from my ophthalmologist, and I was good for life. In fact, around 10 years ago the FAA eliminated this as a requirement for a SODA, so I no longer need to carry the SODA with me. The FAA doesn't give a rip about your uncorrected vision as long as it's correctable with glasses or contacts. It doesn't even have to be corrected to 20/20 for 3rd class, I think it's 20/40.Again, AOPA can answer all of this very conclusively.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the feedback. One other bit of good news (possibly) is the EAA called back this AM and I asked them (since I couldn't get it to sink in to the AOPA rep) that if I have my SPL, how much is the premium. I didn't want them to write me up as a student pilot since I am learning in the Allegro. Anyway, they came back with a quote of $1800 which is much more reasonable than the $6000 that was shoved down my throat yesterday. So there's a glimmer of hope, I guess.-John

Share this post


Link to post

John: GO SOLO! My vision is worse than 20/400 in both eyes and I passed the PPLphysical. As long as its correctable to 20/40 your in. The partnership deal that Geofa suggested is a great idea if yousimply must have the feeling of ownership in an aircraft. And maybecheaper than renting from an FBO. If there are as many sport pilot trainees in the KPHX area as yousuggest, some FBO will offer rental aircraft soon; or you could teamup and buy one. I'm in Orlando Fl as I write this and just got done visiting an OLDfriend who lives in Jupiter. He has had an ATR/ATP since 1970 and currently flies a Gulfstream IV.He and 6 other guys purchased a used PA-28 in 1967 and formed an AeroClub. The way they worked it was this. The fixed cost was shared six ways ei; insurance,tie down,hangar,ect. If the plane's time was "Blocked" for a day or multidays, then that was figured in.Fuel and oil by user...full at finish. The variable cost...Dep and hourly scheduled Maintanence by Hrslogged. Aircraft scheduling was accomplished by bids left in the aircraftmaintainance log, first come first served. As to the fixed costs..if you reserved it and didn't use it, youstill owed that portion of the fixed cost. A friend of mine at home..back in Mo..got rid of his Cessna Cardinalcause he just couldn't justify the cost. Well it turned out that a flying buddy of his, who just happened toown a Mooney, developed a heart condition and could no longer pass aphysical, so Bob goes up with the gent and helps share the fixed costbut has the use of a way better plane than the one he had. Don't give up before you start. There are way too many options outthere ....IF you want it. NOW: Go FLY that SUCKER by yourself, and all the small stuff willwork itself out. Once you get airborne, SOLO, the rest will fall intoplace. DennyProfessional Tourist

Share this post


Link to post

Update...After going over this with my wife and getting helpful advice from my boss (an old Air Force pilot), I'm going to continue on for now. I have a couple more lessons scheduled for this month, and if I am as close to soloing as my CFI claims, will probably solo the weekend of the 22nd or the first weekend in May (I have to fly out of town the last weekend of the month, so someone else will be driving the "bus", or in my case a 737-700). Honestly I'd rather not solo until I have about a half dozen more landings under my belt, but I've gone through about everything else and am handling ATC comms now. I guess sooner or later I have to be thrown out of the nest, or in this case out of my CFI's watchful eye.-JohnEdit: Not to mention the valued advice here, that is!

Share this post


Link to post

John,I gave you my phone number, when you e-mailed me about this well over a month ago.Why don't you give me a call, and we'll chat about this.I got "thrown out of the nest" at KTEB when I was 15, so perhaps I can help. ;-)Trust me, it's not a "bunch of baloney".Regards,http://www.dreamfleet2000.com/gfx/images/F...R_FORUM_LOU.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

John,An aeroplane compatible with a Sport license need not be unatractive to a PPL pilot, I guess it depends what type of aircraft you go for. I bet there are plenty of PPLs who don't fly as much as they would like for financial reasons. I would investigate viability of the group option some more. FWIW, in my experience, one never manages to fly as often as one would like. For that reason, the aeroplane is costing you money just sitting there. If you were in a group of two or three, the aeroplane gets used regularly, ironically reducing maintenance costs, becuase used aeroplanes remain reliable. It is just great sharing the fun and burden of ownership with a couple of other enthusiastic pilots.

Share this post


Link to post

John,Be thankful for achieving the levels you have attained already.In the UK it's a different story and flying is a 'pursuit' only affordable by the rich and those who keep their family short of money.Many, many people would like to have achieved your goal but like me couldn't afford it. So we live in the simulation world.Dave T. .........On the Devon Riviera and active 'FlightSim User's Group' member at http://www.flightsimgrpuk.free-online.co.uk/http://www.captainsim.com/user/dl/c130/c130_captain.gif

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this