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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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1230 Posts
Yes, you can, and yes, it would.  And I might suggest trying to find the instructor first, as they may be able to help you through the purchasing process, which is full of serious pitfalls for the unwary.  In addition, realize that using a complex, high performance aircraft for primary training is likely to substantially extend your training.
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I'm curious about your first sentence.  Are you saying that it's an RG and that makes it high performance or that it's RG and you know it's high performance due to the engine horsepower?  Those are two separate issues and would have a different response to each.  As far as the rest, if it is actually complex AND high performance, 100% concur with Ron. As a prior first time complex/HP aircraft owner, there is a huge learning and controlling curve, even for someone who has a decent amount of hours under their belt.  Things happen very quickly and there are a lot of procedural additions necessary.  A big thing to remember, which I think is what Ron was partially eluding to, is that for any check ride to earn a certificate or rating, EVERYTHING on/in the aircraft you're doing your check ride in is subject to evaluation of your knowledge, abilities, and skill; nothing is off the table to a DPE.  If looking at it from a building-block approach of obtaining basic skills first, then moving on to more advanced aircraft once the basics are solidified and come naturally, you're normally in a much better position to succeed....and more quickly.  If you have the means, capacity, and fortitude to push through it, then go for it, but make sure you're taking a very close look at all things ADM and be honest with those results.  If there is a question or second-thought about it, it's probably not the right time to use that aircraft for your primary training.  If finances allow and the aircraft ends up being a great deal, there's nothing stopping you from still purchasing it for later use to earn the endorsements; even an occasional ride w/your chosen CFI during your primary training would have benefit to keep it exercised and built Total Time.

Cheers!
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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.
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1230 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.
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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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1230 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.