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Old 03-09-2008, 12:32 PM   #21
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I have done just about everything you can do in an airplane. I have gone real fast and real slow. I have dropped bombs, shot rockets, air refueled, and crossed the Pacific in a twin engine turbo prop that took 14 days to hop from island to island. I have been an instructor of both acrobatics and instruments. If I won the lottery I would own an air plane, maybe two. Short of that, the cost of staying safely current, for me, is just too high.
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Old 03-09-2008, 04:15 PM   #22
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My dad had his license, as well as instrument and instructor ratings.

I have something like 50 hours logged, mostly in a Cessna 152, but some in 172's and even a 182RG. I've soloed, done solo-cross country, got most of my instrument hours in. I think I needed a few more cross country hours and never took the written or the check ride.

I also flew a Varga Kachina with my instructor. Loved that plane, because I was in the front seat and it felt to me like what a Spitfire must have felt like. The instructor was just a voice in my headphones, so it was like I was flying by myself. Unfortunately someone -- not me -- wrecked that plane by landing it a few hundred feet short of the runway years later.

I was mostly a good pilot; I could set it down on the numbers so softly you didn't know that you had transitioned to the ground (my Dad and I used to have competitions that way). I could maintain altitudes and headings very well, and I could navigate very well also (that comes from starting to fly in the right seat of the 182RG when the top of my head was well below the top of the instrument panel. But I wasn't good at emergency proceedures -- I could do stalls and stuff, but if the engine ever quit or I put it into a spin -- both unlikely, of course -- I would have been in deep trouble. Also, I never really got the hang of the radio -- couldn't really hear what they were saying, so I'd do stupid stuff like respond to the tower's instructions that were actually for someone else.

I stopped when I realized that it was an extremely expensive hobby and I didn't really see myself paying the $50-an-hour back then to fly after I got my license. I did love those $100 hamburgers with my Dad, though.

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Old 03-10-2008, 04:01 PM   #23
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Yup - but don't fly anymore - Cessna 150, 152, 172, Piper Bonanza, Cherokee, T -(something or other, joystick and gear), have gone up in a glider, have gone up in an ultralight - got the Private and instrument rating. Am a 99 - love those gals *however* it is not a cheap hobby unless you build your own or somehow get paid to do it - also after 9-11 insurance is much higher as well as fuel lately.

Love the fact that I could land a plane if needed though!
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Old 03-11-2008, 04:30 PM   #24
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I was a student pilot for a while in 2003-04. Logged 27 hours in Cessna 150s and 172s and 6 hours solo. I just decided it was too expensive and impractical to continue, though I loved it.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:53 AM   #25
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Still a pilot

I'm still flying, a 3-way partnership in a Cherokee 140. I figure its about the cheapest way to fly and still be able to save for retirement.

We've been from California to Oshkosh, to Seattle area, to even the east coast and back over the years. It's really very special and worth it for me.

I used to think spending around 4K per year was expensive. But I talked to a lot of my coworkers with boats, horses, etc. I don't think this is any more expensive than a lot of other hobbies out there.
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:57 AM   #26
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One more expired VFR private pilot. Tomohawks, 152's, 172's. 25 hours solo time in a standard 3-axis ultralight (owned an Ultralight Flight Phantom for a few brief months many moons ago). About 10 hrs dual time in gliders and 4 hours jumping off a 200 ft hill in hang gliders.

Most memorable experience; dead stick landings in my high drag (think wires all over the place) ultralight. No smooth 8:1 glide ratio here. You just keep stickin that nose down into what feels like a serious dive just to keep airspeed around 40 (with your butt in a sling seat). Flare too early and you bleed speed and mush-stall before you know what hit you. Never happened to me but it is the reason many licensed pilots got hurt dealing with engine failures in high drag ultralights. Very different beast. I decided to quit playing the odds when I spotted numerous stress cracks in the main aluminum spar.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:29 AM   #27
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Got my Private many years ago and didn't fly any more until a few years ago. I am current now and have been flying a Decathlon lately. Going up int a Pitts Sunday. Lots of fun. Also have a kit on order.
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Old 03-14-2008, 08:49 AM   #28
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Also have a kit on order.
What are you planning to build?
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:43 AM   #29
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Ridge Runner II

Ridge Runner Ultralight - Rocky Mountain Wings, L.L.C.
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:21 PM   #30
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Only flew once when I was footing the bill and not getting paid. It wasn't nearly as much fun.
I disagree. IMHO, flying professionally would take all most of the fun out of it. While the view is nice, work is work: flying where, when and how someone else dictates is less than optimal enjoyment. I prefer to pay my own way, and enjoy the freedom that goes with it.

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I soloed in a glider, then gave up gliding. I earned a private pilot's license, then gave up flying. I enjoyed the learning more than the doing.
Going solo, or acquiring a license, is only scratching the surface of learning to fly.

Aerobatic competition, cross-country soaring, wave soaring, float flying, ski flying, instrument flying, 'warbirds', etc. ... the challenges and opportunities of aviation are virtually endless.
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:24 PM   #31
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I disagree. IMHO, flying professionally would take all most of the fun out of it. While the view is nice, work is work: flying where, when and how someone else dictates is less than optimal enjoyment. I prefer to pay my own way, and enjoy the freedom that goes with it.
Have you done both?
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:02 PM   #32
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That's great that you fly. I've always been scared of heights so I'm jealous.
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:15 PM   #33
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Yet another "retired" VFR private pilot here. I got my license in the early-mid '80's when I was single and newly employed. Then I got a wife, house, kids, more responsibility at work (can I use those words here?) and flying dropped down too low on the priority list to maintain currency. I also read the fine print on my life insurance policy. It wouldn't pay out if I died as pilot in command of a private plane. So I moved on to cheaper and less time-consuming hobbies.
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:19 PM   #34
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Have you done both?
The great majority of my flying has been recreational, but I have also hopped sightseeing flights, towed gliders, and done a little flight instructing.
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Old 03-25-2008, 05:36 PM   #35
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Never worked for an airline.
Nor have I, all my professional flying was in the military. That's the basis for my "not as much fun" comment, since nothing I could afford to fly as a private pilot could measure up to what I was paid to fly in the military.
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:07 PM   #36
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ReWahoo - I concur!
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:23 PM   #37
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But what about the freedom that comes from being VFR? You've got to admit, there's not much of that flying in the military (at least in the fixed-wing world). Just flying about-- climb when you want, go where you want, see what you want, land where you want. No flight plan, no schedule--and nobody on the ATC freq telling you where to go and how fast to go there.

It's kinda like being ERed.
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Old 03-25-2008, 07:40 PM   #38
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It's kinda like being ERed.
True. However, I would compare it to being ER'd and having to drive an old VW bug after driving almost nothing other than sports cars or luxury sedans. For me the big step down in equipment wasn't offset by the freedoms you mention.

And when you throw in the fact I had to pay to rent the bug, well....
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:08 PM   #39
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I flew for 20 years. I would say over 80% of my flying was VFR. In a three hour mission in the F-111 the climb out was IFR, about 5 min, then cancel and hit the deck. 2.5 hours of low level at 480K + to the bombing range, and recover IFR to base, another 5 to 10 min. As a Forward Air Controller, almost all VFR, except for those days where we practiced instruments, or actual instruments. In Germany we gave 2nd Lt.s an aircraft and told them to plan their own mission and come back two hours later. In the air to air realm, sure it is somewhat controlled, but here, take these two air craft and see which one of you can shoot down the other. There are not many civilian pilots that get to shoot rockets, strafe, drop bombs or fly formation.

I'm not knocking civilian flying. There are somethings I would like to try, Gliders, Ultra-Light float plane, Helicopter, hot air balloon to name a few. Just not willing to pay for them.
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:18 PM   #40
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I also read the fine print on my life insurance policy. It wouldn't pay out if I died as pilot in command of a private plane. So I moved on to cheaper and less time-consuming hobbies.
When I shopped around term life, I ended up with AIG, because flying rider was significantly cheaper than competition.

sailor (part owner of Pacer PA-20, also flying gliders)
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