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Learning To Fly
(No, not a Tom Petty song.)

I think I'm going to try to pull enough money out of my ass to take a first flying lesson later this month. I did some Googling last night, and I can get an introductory flying lesson from Horizon Aviation, about 30 minutes away, for $150, which includes one hour of loggable-flight time.

I've been wanting to do this for years. It's always the money that's the problem. Hopefully we can make it happen soon, before I lose the determination.

Edit: Talked to a friend who recently got his license. He says that it's probably best to do a couple discovery flights at different places first, to get an idea of the instructor/instruction style/etc. before signing up a single place. So, I'm going to make it a goal to do a discovery flight at Horizon before the month is up -- that'll only be ~$60, and then I can figure out what I'm going to do beyond that afterwards.

It's likely that I should wait on this, if I actually want to make it cheaper, so I can do a bunch of the pre-solo stuff close together. (Or so I'm told.) I don't know if I have the patience. We'll see.

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Doooooo it! I've wanted to since I was fifteen. Let me live vicariously through you!

Wow, that sounds totally awesome!

Super good luck with finding a place and instructor you like and have fun!

My husband took his first flying lesson recently and loved it. he would agree that it would be good to try a few places before commiting. He is off to try another school in the next few weeks.

It's fun - I've had a go in a Cessna and also twenty minutes flying a Tiger Moth (old biplane), which was fun.


My advice: Don't start lessons until you know how you are going to pay for at least five years of regular flying after you've got your certificate.

I did this wrong: I started flying, made it to solo, and then ran out of money. Even if I'd had enough to keep going to get my license, I wouldn't have had the money to stay current after that, let alone get night and VFR-OTT and instrument ratings and so on that would make flying actually useful. (And even then, it's never cost-effective to fly for travel; an airliner or a car is always a cheaper bet.)

If you don't do that, then you'll struggle to keep current on the other side, and there's a very good chance you'll end up where I am right now: having to essentially start over, either because of licenses you didn't quite make it to or because you can't fly safely after so much time out of the cockpit. Figure $6,000 or so to get your PPL; after that, figure out the rental or fractional cost plus gas for whatever level of flying you consider sufficient for currency. IIRC the FAA minimum requirement is three landings in 90 days but I wouldn't personally consider that "staying current" for safe actual cross-country flying. And remember that gas prices are not going down.

There's a reason my aborted flying blog was entitled "Converting Money Into Lift" -- that's what an airplane does! It's an awesome experience (for most; you might find after a discovery flight that small planes are not your thing, so do get that out of the way quickly), but it's a very expensive hobby and lack of preparation for the total commitment during and after training regularly turns into disappointed, grounded pilots.

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