Airplane purchase for flight training
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I plan to purchase an airplane with RG (retractable gears) which is considered a high performance aircraft. Can I hire an independent CFI (not a ground /flight school) to teach me flight training lessons for the purpose to acquire my PPL (private pilot license)? This would probably fall under Part 61.
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1147 Posts
An independent flight instructor who does not maintain an office on the airport and does not "hold out" on that airport and is brought in from outside by a tenant to train that tenant in that tenant's aircraft is not a "commercial aeronautical activity" operating on that airport, and thus is not subject to that paragraph in FAAA Order 5190.6B or the standards for commercial operators in that AC.  This is well-established in law.  That's something important to the company for which I instruct (Professional Instrument Courses) as we've been doing just that for more than 40 years, so we are well-familiar with the applicable FAA rules.  They can't apply any local business, tax, educational, or other local requirements on us.  It was also a factor in the finding that New York State laws which attempted to regulate flight training (including out-of-state flight school operations which just happened to land in New York) were preempted by Federal law and unconstitutional under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution.
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Ronald Levy:
Charlie Smith:
You can pick any instructor you would like under FAA Part 61 regulations.  However, your airport may have a different say in the matter.  If the airport has rules for commercial operators then your "independent" instructor may fall under the rules.

Per FAA Order 5190.6B, if you are a tenant in the airport and the airport receives Federal funding, airport management cannot prevent you from bringing in your own instructor from off-field.

Who said anything about prevent?  An airport can and often do implement minimum standards which must be uniformly applied for all commercial operators on the airport.  From your own document you cited:

e. Minimum Standards. To aid in establishing uniform rates and charges applied to aeronautical activities on the airport, the sponsor should establish minimum standards to be met as a condition for the right to conduct an aeronautical activity on the airport. (See Appendix O of this Order, Sample Minimum Standards for Commercial Aeronautical Activities. See also Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5190-7, Minimum Standards for Commercial Aeronautical Activities.)

All commercial operators must comply with the applicable airport minimum standards.
 

Votes
1147 Posts
Charlie Smith:
You can pick any instructor you would like under FAA Part 61 regulations.  However, your airport may have a different say in the matter.  If the airport has rules for commercial operators then your "independent" instructor may fall under the rules.

Per FAA Order 5190.6B, if you are a tenant in the airport and the airport receives Federal funding, airport management cannot prevent you from bringing in your own instructor from off-field.

Votes
You can pick any instructor you would like under FAA Part 61 regulations.  However, your airport may have a different say in the matter.  If the airport has rules for commercial operators then your "independent" instructor may fall under the rules.  If you are a tenant of the airport you should check with the airport authority for their specific requirements and they will usually have a list of approved operators if they have specific requirements.
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1147 Posts
I would point out that for the purpose of Commercial Pilot and CFI certification, the Cirrus and Columbia/Cessna are considered "complex" even though they are not retractable.  But since they are not RG, insurance rates and requirements are significantly lower than for something like a Bonanza. Of course, since their wheels are fixed in position, that time wouldn't help you with the retractable hours insurance requirements for a Bonanza or the like.  And you still want an instructor with appropriate experience in type.
Votes
I have known several people who bought a high performance, retractable gear airplane to get their PPL. However, picking out the right instructor is will be foundational to your success. Remember, the PPL check ride examiner will put you through a much more rigorous PPL check ride reflecting all of the much more demanding parameters that are part of flying a high performance, complex airplane. Secondly, your PPL check ride will include usage, mastery, and proficiency of all the avionics on board. This means, your flight instructor needs to be extremely knowledgeable of all characteristics the specific make. model, and year of airplane you are purchasing including teaching mastery of all the on-board avionics. Lastly, when you find a good candidate instructor, can you get along with him or her? Just because someone has CFI credentials does not mean they are capable of teaching you all that you need to know learning how to safely fly a specific type/make/model, complex, high performance airplane.

I own a first generation Bonanza. It was built in 1953. But very few instructors have experience in a first generation Bonanza. They are unfamiliar with the operation and understanding of the electric prop, wobble pump operation, ever changing weight and balance, and the procedures regarding the pressure carb including how the fuel system works. Plus, this airplane has considerably lighter, faster responding flight controls compared to second and third generation Bonanzas. My airplane is IFR certified but using 20-40+ year old "steam gage" avionics including my "newest" avionic... a Garmin 250XL GPS. Far from a glass panel. So, it makes it considerably difficult to find an instructor that has experience in my airplane for a flight review. An instructor familiar with an A-36 equipped with a GTN 650 would not necessarily be knowledgeable on my V-tail D-35 with its Garmin 250XL.  

I would also join a type club that supports the airplane you are considering for purchase. In my case, the American Bonanza Society is the gold standard of type clubs. They will direct you to a qualified CFI, if what you are considering is a Bonanza. But there are many excellent type clubs supporting various makes and models of airplanes. They are also invaluable when it comes to getting a pre-purchase inspection. Just because someone has an A&P license does not make them qualified to look over whatever you are considering. Once again, a type club will be your best friend when evaluating an airplane and/or instructor.

High performance, complex airplanes are easy to fly. But any in-attention to details can rapidly build into a series of events that can quickly become deadly. And there are many details. Airplanes are lousy classrooms. And no GA simulator can replicate the confines of a the cockpit nor the feel of heat, sweat, and being bounced around as one learns the art of flying.

High performance, complex airplanes have a different nature depending on how they are configured. Gear up they fly one way. gear down, they fly another way. Gear up, flaps down, they behave another way. Gear down, flaps down to full, they behave differently than gear down and only 10 degrees of flaps. So, one has much more to learn than just getting used to flying the airplane once it is up in cruise configuration. A first generation Bonanza has a very benign stall with gear down flaps up, flaps down and gear up, or clean with both flaps and gear up. But it has quite a pronounced stall and left wing drop with gear down and full down flaps. One has to make provision for those nuances of that particular type of airplane. Your instructor would need to be aware of all those characteristics. 

Good luck in the learning curve to make good decisions regarding aircraft purchase and securing a qualified instructor you can personally work with. It can be done be done but make sure you get the knowledge you need to safely become both an aircraft owner and a safe pilot capable of using and enjoying all of the components that make up flying high performance, complex, retractable gear airplanes.