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JohnClark

Does Have a Sports Pilot License Help? Or is it PPL Or Nothing?

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After years of struggling financially, I took my first few consistent flying lessons beginning in March after being able to land a better paying job. COVID happened, the country went on lockdown and couldn't resume until recently. I started flying again and have just under 20 hours now. But my job today just announced layoffs are coming. Business has been slow due to COVID, hours for a large number of us have already been cut. I saved up a bunch of money to hopefully solo. The problem is the area I live in, the cost of living is very high. To get a PPL through a flight school it's anywhere from $12K to $18K. For a Private instructor it's around $10k to $12K. I'm flying with a private instructor right now he solos most students around 30 hours and average hours to get PPL is 65 (flight schools told me 80). His rates aren't any cheaper than a flight school either, just easier scheduling. Sadly he's the only active independent instructor in my area.

The only alternative I found is there is a Sport Pilot school that flys Cessna 162s in my area. The rental price is far cheaper than any of the 172 but the instructor fee is the same. Would it be worth it to get my Sport Pilots license and simply rent a 162 to build time? Would units view this as a good thing or do they view as simply having flight time and no PPL?

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Not sure how a sport license looks compared to a PPL. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to have especially if the alternative was not having either. I will say that something sounds off about a flight school telling you to expect 80 hours to complete the PPL. Everyone learns at a different rate but from a guy who is nearing completion of a PPL, if you put the effort in and have an instructor who is on the same page as you then you should be able to get the check ride scheduled well before you approach 80 hours. Not sure if that changes things as it’s still an incredible investment. Best of luck with whatever route you choose

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Mind if I ask what region this is? Flight schools quoting you 80 hours on average for a PPL is predatory, in my opinion. I work at a big flight school, and if we have kids going over 55-60 hours then we start to examine what went wrong in the process. 80 hours feels extortionate, but I'm willing to admit it's closer to the national average than 40. 

As for your question, I don't know that all units that are looking for flying experience are looking strictly for a PPL. A sport certificate or LSA experience certainly is a conversation starter! But I would mention that from my (limited) understanding it's going to be easier for you to transition from PPL to Sport than vice versa. 

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I hate that for ya man, tough times and this aviation shit is outrageously expensive. I can't speak to other units, and I've since stopped sitting on our interview boards, but we dropped our PPL requirement years ago for this very reason.  We still require you to have soloed, but that's more to ensure someone has at least as some idea of what they're getting into.  For us, as long as you've met the solo requirement, that's all we care about.  Anything after that is cool, but doesn't mean much to me...this from a guy who interviewed with 600+ hours and a CFII.  If it were me, I'd go the cheapest route to meet board requirements.  

FYI, I soloed with less than 10 hours and soloed most of my students at the 10-12 hour point (mainly because of the 141 syllabus).  Unless his students are flying once every other week, 30 hours to solo and 80 for a PPL is A LOT!  I get that many part 61 students can have long times between flights and start/stop training often, but those numbers seem high. 

Best of luck!

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8 minutes ago, goodflightcowboy said:

Mind if I ask what region this is? Flight schools quoting you 80 hours on average for a PPL is predatory, in my opinion. I work at a big flight school, and if we have kids going over 55-60 hours then we start to examine what went wrong in the process. 80 hours feels extortionate, but I'm willing to admit it's closer to the national average than 40. 

As for your question, I don't know that all units that are looking for flying experience are looking strictly for a PPL. A sport certificate or LSA experience certainly is a conversation starter! But I would mention that from my (limited) understanding it's going to be easier for you to transition from PPL to Sport than vice versa. 

I'm in Florida. The cost of living is high down here. I think part of it too is due to lack of instructors, so it's hard to sometimes fly more than one day a week.

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9 minutes ago, SocialD said:

I hate that for ya man, tough times and this aviation shit is outrageously expensive. I can't speak to other units, and I've since stopped sitting on our interview boards, but we dropped our PPL requirement years ago for this very reason.  We still require you to have soloed, but that's more to ensure someone has at least as some idea of what they're getting into.  For us, as long as you've met the solo requirement, that's all we care about.  Anything after that is cool, but doesn't mean much to me...this from a guy who interviewed with 600+ hours and a CFII.  If it were me, I'd go the cheapest route to meet board requirements.  

FYI, I soloed with less than 10 hours and soloed most of my students at the 10-12 hour point (mainly because of the 141 syllabus).  Unless his students are flying once every other week, 30 hours to solo and 80 for a PPL is A LOT!  I get that many part 61 students can have long times between flights and start/stop training often, but those numbers seem high. 

Best of luck!

I'll try to see if I can solo soon. Me and my instructor just started working on stalls and pattern work. Hopefully I can solo soon.

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Soloing at 30 is crap and 65 is a rip off! This of course is all based on how well you’re doing. Go to a local airport and start networking. The GA community is very welcoming and there’s always a person(s) who are willing to trade labor for flight hours. I.e. clean the plane, hangar, etc

The best way of doing this in the cheapest manner is to get into the FAR/AIM Part 61 and see what you can combine into training to help eliminate unnecessary hours. An example would be doing your night flights as XC rides, so you can accomplish 2 things at once. A lot of instructors are good at doing this, but there are some out there that are more interested in building hours then your training. 

Edited by Hopefulflyer389

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Soloing at 30 is crap and 65 is a rip off! This of course is all based on how well you’re doing.


And the instructor's risk tolerance. A CFI using their only plane as an instructional rental is probably going to be more risk adverse than a larger school with several aircraft.

Though 30 hours to solo does seem excessive... Either they are really risk adverse, or not a great instructor
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19 hours ago, goodflightcowboy said:

Mind if I ask what region this is? Flight schools quoting you 80 hours on average for a PPL is predatory, in my opinion. I work at a big flight school, and if we have kids going over 55-60 hours then we start to examine what went wrong in the process. 80 hours feels extortionate, but I'm willing to admit it's closer to the national average than 40.

As I understand it, the national average is in the upper 60s. Here in Los Angeles, I was told by my (independent) CFI that the average hours to PPL locally is in the 80s. I have 50 and have been waiting a long time for the checkride (thanks COVID), but my CFI said that was exceptionally unusual and I progressed "blazing fast" (not so humble brag).

I guess my point is for the readers that it can vary a LOT between locations and individuals.

Edited by Jester203
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48 minutes ago, Jester203 said:

As I understand it, the national average is in the upper 60s. Here in Los Angeles, I was told by my (independent) CFI that the average hours to PPL locally is in the 80s. I have 50 and have been waiting a long time for the checkride (thanks COVID), but my CFI said that was exceptionally unusual and I progressed "blazing fast" (not so humble brag).

I guess my point is for the readers that it can vary a LOT between locations and individuals.

+1

Bay Area flying also tends to be in the 60-70 hours range for PPLs. I'm post-solo and at about ~45 hours total in a Diamond DA40 (btw, I solo'ed after ~30 hours. FWIW, for some folks, it all just "clicks" later than others. It took awhile for it all to click, but when it did, it felt almost as second nature as driving. While I still need to polish and fine tune some things, I feel incredibly confident in the air now. I used to feel embarrassed by it, but now? Whatever, I'm where I need to be with a strong grasp of the concepts, so it was all worth it). I think I'll be hitting my checkride and completing my PPL in that 60-70 range, and honestly, due to weather/fires (5 flights cancelled to start September), instructor availability, crazy busy airspaces/local rules to learn/etc., and only being able to fly in the early evenings due to a full-time job, it's just taken longer. I feel about 80% ready for my checkride--I just need to brush up on the weather and cross-country stuff and I'll feel good heading into that...whenever it can actually be scheduled, like @Jester203 noted.

I think if I could have quit my day job and just flown and studied for 2 months straight, weather and checkride availability permitting, I could have been done in 40 hours, but everyone is different, and every location can be different, too.

Edited by GreenArc

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