Back to GA flying
Hi all,

I’ve been flying for 24+ years... started out getting my PPL, got hired by the Air National Guard and then the airlines. I’ve dabbled in GA flying a little (always with an instructor) but am determined to make it a regular occurance now that the money obstacle isn’t an issue. My problem seems to be finding the time... I have a friend who is providing instruction in her airplane, but she’s an airline pilot too. Our schedules just don’t match up very often. There also don’t seem to be many flying clubs near me (a few, but not many... I live near Doylestown/Quakertown, PA). I’m considering an airplane purchase... I’m just not at all sure I’ll use it enough to justify the purchase (did I mention I was back flying for the Air national Guard, too?). My thought is that if I have it, I’ll use it.. and if I have to rent it/schedule it I won’t. Anyone in the eastern PA area have insight into flying clubs that I don’t have to drive over an hour to... or thoughts about how to get back into GA flying a little easier?
7 Replies
Ronald Levy
945 Posts
Ask around those airports and see if there are any partnerships either looking for an additional partner or with someone selling his/her share.  That might fit well if you're not going to fly it a lot.
I have had the same issue for the past 10 years. I always thought about buying an airplane but could never afford one and/or justify the cost. I would just rent occasionally but I was not flying as much as i wanted because it is difficult to adjust your schedule around flying school hours. Not to mention those airplanes are usually pretty rough around the edges. I finally bit the bullet and bought my own. So much better to just hop in and go whenever you feel like it and not have to worry about time contraints or schedules. Flying is enjoyable again. As far as not flying in the GA world for a while, it wont be a huge deal for you. Just find a friend or school to fly a couple hours with to get used to flying slower and lower than what you are used to. Re familiarize yourself with a sectional chart. Foreflight is an awesome tool.
Dan Smith
2 Posts
Dont buy unless you have a strong stomach and deep pockets.    This is from a pilot that bought a PA28-181 years ago.   Took in a partner.  Counting maint, storage, payments it ran over 14 K a year.. and that is if we did not start it up........   Find a flying club.!!!  Id none are  around  find others and create one!!  AOPA  will help you with all the details.    
Well, I can contribute my experience but no one can really address your situation but you. I learned to fly in college in an Air Force program called "FIP" (Flight Indoctrination Program". It was designed to weed out students in Air Force ROTC who had qualified for pilot training in the Air Force. I learned in a Piper Colt and then went on to fly an RC-130 5 years in the Air Force. I left the USAF for a 32 year career with Delta Air Lines. I never drifted away from GA during all that time. I stayed current most of the time. During the time I was in the FIP program, I was introduced to tail wheels and never looked back. Well, after about 10 or 11 years into retirement, I was finding that renting a tail wheel aircraft was next to impossible so I decided that the only way I was going to fly one was to buy one. So, I am now the proud owner of a 1952 Cessna 170B. As far as justifying the cost, you will never be able to do that. It's not a business, it's a way of life that we who fly have in our blood. We get (got) paid to do it and we pay to do it. My advice...Buy it. Also, check out tail wheels, they really do teach you how to fly all over again. Good Luck.
Ronald Levy
945 Posts

Daniel Jenkins:
As far as justifying the cost, you will never be able to do that. It's not a business, it's a way of life that we who fly have in our blood. We get (got) paid to do it and we pay to do it. My advice...Buy it. 

Amen, Brorher Daniel, Amen.
I guess the question is do the advantages outweigh the costs.  I'm in 2 local flying clubs now, so I usually have 1 plane or the other available.  For now that suits my needs; however, it's not perfect because there are occasionally scheduling issues.  It's not an issue now, but it could become one if I wanted the plane for a month or 2 at a time.  That is a plausible scenario in a few years when I'll be retired.  The hard part is finding a plane that will fit my needs down the road.  I mostly fly by myself and occasionally take a friend.  The only time I have fully loaded a 4 seater is flying Young Eagles.  I'd like something economical, reasonably fast with at least 500# useful load with full fuel.  What I am finding is about the only way that happens is to build.  Vans RV-14 maybe.  I think a 2 seater like that is all I really need for 90% of what I do.
I've owned a Cessna 182 RG for 10 years, the average annual runs from 900 to $1,100. Insurance cost for a million-dollar liability is $400 a year!