Training in the Northeast???

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tdubs
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:08 pm

Training in the Northeast???

Postby tdubs » Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:45 am

Well, my training has hit another road block and I was wondering if anyone could recommend any options in the northeast that were accelerated or semi accelerated.

I live in Central NJ and started taking lessons back in June, but I began self studying ground material back in February. I wasn't the best student growing up so I figured I would do the ground study first to make sure this is something I really wanted to invest my time and money in before I started opening my wallet taking flying lessons. For ground self study I've,


    -Read "The Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge"
    -Watched what is essentially a verbatim reading of it on YouTube (see Pilot Training System's channel)
    -Read "The Airplane Flying Handbook"
    -Read "Rod Machado's Private Pilot Handbook"
    -Read most of the applicable sections of the FAR/AIM
    -Watched a ton of videos on YouTube explaining concepts
    -Read "Weather Flying"
    -Read "Understanding Flight"

My original plan was to get a PPL. I was going to try to join a local flying club to learn to fly, have access to aircraft to rent at a great rate, and meet other people that share a common interest. I was next in line to be offered membership when I started exploring getting my third class medical. Everything I had read essential said "All you pretty much need is a pulse and you're good" so I figure OK, this should be easy. I started filling out the 8500-8 online and after reading some of the questions I began to wonder if mistakes I made when I was younger might come back to haunt me. After doing some research I learned that there may be some hoops to jump through to get a third class medical, I figured I wouldn't risk getting denied or told that I have to cut through reams of red tape and just go the SP route so I wouldn't have to worry about any of that.

So I found a place nearby that does SP training and took my first lesson in the beginning of June. To date I've only got 5 hours in a Skycatcher, and it just seems to be one setback after another. I first had to contend with a bunch of canceled lessons, then August 3-21 the airport was closed because of a TFR due to Trump's stay at his property in NJ. Shortly before the TFR my CFI had a family emergency, then after the TFR was lifted I called the airport and they told me that he would be back in September. I called again at the end of August and they informed me he wouldn't be coming back. There's one other CFI there that I've flown with that I get along with, but he is only available one day a week. I don't think that's going to work. My lesson yesterday got canceled, and I see rain predicted for next weekend. I looked at a place at another airport and scheduled a lesson with them during last week. I took a half day, left work early, and was all set to go. I called before leaving the house to make sure everything was good to go since the airport is a 45 min drive and the guy sounded like he had no idea what I was talking about. I was so pissed.

So, it seems that I'm out of options locally. I've seen accelerated courses at Blue Ridge Sport Flight in NC, or Lockwood in FL, but I'm hesitant to burn two weeks of vacation time and travel so far from home in the event that I hit an unforeseen wall and don't manage to get my certificate in the given amount of time. What I would like to find is something within a 4-5 hour drive and dedicate two consecutive days a week to train (drive out early morning, train for two days, drive home). I have no idea if this is even possible though, especially with how the weather can be in the northeast. I feel pretty lost at this point and don't really know what to do next.

3Dreaming
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Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby 3Dreaming » Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:24 pm

I'm not from out east, so I'm not much help. That said I think there is sport pilot training available at Lancaster, PA, and of course the good Dr. at Lock Haven.

On your youthful mistakes I don't know what they were, but you might also want to take a look at the sport pilot 8710-11. It also ask some similar questions as the medical. https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/med ... 710-11.pdf You might also talk to someone like AOPA on the medical issues, because it might not be a big deal if it is long in your past.

tdubs
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Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby tdubs » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:44 pm

Thanks for the heads up. From looking over that form I don't have any problems. I did speak to an HIMS AME off the record and confirmed what he told me with an email to the AOPA, and from what they told me I would have a lot of hoops to jump through. My case would be an automatic deferral, and I don't want to roll the dice with what the FAA might say. I've read of cases similar to mine where all they wanted where police records and written statements and told the application "don't do it again", but it's not a chance I want to take. If things turn out the way the AME told me, well, that's just too much and then I would be in the "denied a third class medical" camp. The fact that applying for a medical is literally me gambling with whether I can ever fly anything really bothers me, but oh well, it is what it is.

I've been doing more searching today and while my Google-Fu is strong, it's so hard to find places that do training in an LSA. I did come across a place in Allentown PA that's only 90min away, it's good to have Lancaster as a backup, I had not see them in my searching. If those fall through I might have to give Lock Haven some thought.

tdubs
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Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby tdubs » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:35 pm

So I called up AB Flight in Allentown a few days ago and set up a lesson for Sunday. It looks like they do their training in an Evektor Sportstar. I'm excited. The weather looks promising and I'm looking forward to getting back into the air.I haven't been up since July

There's just one thing...

I got home yesterday and learned that my wife is pregnant :o :o :o !!! This was semi planed, but I didn't think it would happen so soon as we just started trying 3 weeks ago. The last time we tried (7 years ago) it took almost two years, and in the end we lost it. We didn't try again because it hit her pretty hard, but after talking last month we kinda figured that we're only getting older and maybe we should try again.

So, it looks like my priorities are about to change in a big way. So here's my question. If I were to get my license now (as in within the next 4 months), how hard would it be to pick flying back up if in 8 months I find that I have to give it up for a little while? Is this something that I can do 2-3 dual hours and knock off the rust, or would it be a situation that due to me having so little time behind the stick I would essentially be starting from scratch? Would I be able to stay proficient only flying every now and then (10-20h/year) for the next few years? I fear that if I don't do this now, I might never find the time/money/motivation to do this because there will always be someone else that takes precedence, but at the same time if I would just be starting all over from the beginning if I had to ground myself for a while then there really isn't much point in continuing this journey at this time. If I want it bad enough maybe I'll have to revisit it in a couple of decades. I'm so anxious and not sure what to do. I've dreamed of this my entire life (flying) and I'm scared of making an irrational decision due to my blinding emotions.

TimTaylor
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Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby TimTaylor » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:17 pm

I recommend you look at your long-term on-going budget and decide if flying fits in there somewhere. If you haven't already, make a budget with your income and your wife's income and your expected expenses including saving for retirement, college fund for kid, medical expenses and insurance, life insurance, etc. Having kids puts a different perspective on things. If you can afford to fly without making your wife and/or kid sacrifice, then go for it. If not, forget it and don't waste time and money now.
Commercial Pilot Airplane Single & Multiengine Land; Instrument Airplane; Sport Endorsement Airplane Single Engine Sea; Flight Instructor Airplane Single And Multiengine; Ground Instructor Advanced Instrument

Warmi
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Location: Frankfort, IL

Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby Warmi » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:44 pm

Well, congratulations are in order :)

You will still have a good few months to get your license finished and I would think that coming back to flying with a license in your pocket a few ( or more than a few ) years from now would be much easier than restarting your training from scratch but ... like Tim said ... you really need to look at your financial situation - if you , like most of us were/are at that point in our lives, and are not exactly bursting with spare cash then having a kid ( or two ) will only make it more challenging to find spare funds for what is essentially a hobby.
Flying Sting S4 ( N184WA ) out of Illinois

chicagorandy
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Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby chicagorandy » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:45 pm

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Last edited by chicagorandy on Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

chicagorandy
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Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby chicagorandy » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:49 pm

+1000 on calculating an honest, realistic budget.

Submitted for your perusal:

https://hellogiggles.com/lifestyle/mone ... cost-2035/

Now add in the 12 years of education prior to college.

My wife and I raised three - back starting in 1974 - Schooling is the LEAST of the costs. Food/clothing/shelter/medical/.... and the list goes on and on.

tdubs
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Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby tdubs » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:52 pm

We've had a budget for quite a while. It was one of the first things I did 5 years ago when we were expecting, and even though things didn't work out, the budget was one of the best things that came out of that for us. It's probably the only reason we were able to save up to buy a house a few years ago. I have a spreadsheet where I guesstimate our monthly expenses and project our annual savings, then use a web app called Mint to track the actual spending. We are currently insured and both of us are saving for retirement (she's 30, I'm 35), and we have a healthy emergency fund. (hahaha I feel like I'm calling in to the Dave Ramsey show)

I have no idea what a kid costs though. I was just playing with some numbers and I'm taking a shot in the dark at $1500/month. I figure at this rate I can manage to spare $200-$400 a month to fly without neglecting other areas and still socking away savings. There are a few placed in the area with LSA rentals so I'm not going to be buying anything and dealing with the expenses that come with that. I figure this will get me 2-3 hours a month of flying. My big fear is if I have to step away from flying for whatever reason, would I be able to pick it back up in a year or two easily, or would it be back to square one.

I fear if I don't do this now, will I find time for it later. And if I do this now, and have to take a break, it all have been for naught.

Guess the ideal solution is to do it now, and keep current :-) What would you guys say the minimum would be to stay current and be a safe pilot?

TimTaylor
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Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby TimTaylor » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:11 pm

If your long-term budget looks like flying makes sense, I would go for it. If you have to quit for a while, it won't take long to get back into it. I quit for 7 years and got current with a one hour flight review about 5 years ago. Granted, I had lots of hours and almost 50 years flying experience at the time.
Commercial Pilot Airplane Single & Multiengine Land; Instrument Airplane; Sport Endorsement Airplane Single Engine Sea; Flight Instructor Airplane Single And Multiengine; Ground Instructor Advanced Instrument

tdubs
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby tdubs » Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:23 pm

Thanks for the congrats and advice everyone. I have no idea what I just got myself into :-)

I think I'm gonna go for it. I guess we'll see how this goes on Sunday at AB Flight. XLL is just outside of this dreaded TFR that seems to be a weekly occurrence so I'm hopeful for that. I think maybe I'll try to turn this thread into a saga on my training similar to what rcpilot had put up. I spent days reading that thread and it was very encouraging to see him stick with it even with all the setbacks encountered.

rcpilot
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Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby rcpilot » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:58 pm

Congrats on your pregnancy! Sorry I didn't see this thread sooner. Don't know how close you are but Lakewood in NJ also has sport pilot training. As for having a layoff from training, I had 6 months after my motorcycle accident before I got back to it and didn't find myself all that rusty. Being that your family responsibilities will be changing soon, be sure to involve the wife in any decisions. Good luck and let me know if there is anything I can do.

tdubs
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Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby tdubs » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:51 pm

Thanks rcpilot, I did check out Lakewood, but I'm not sure if they have time in their schedule for me right now. I had my initial lesson scheduled and when the day came I called before heading out I was forgotten about and no one was available for the lesson. He said he would call back the next day to set something up, but no call, so that left a bad taste in my mouth. When I initially spoke with them they mentioned they were looking for an instructor, and they had a few people finishing up, so I don't know if things will improve with them.

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joey4420
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Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby joey4420 » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:46 am

Joey
Cincinnati OH
Sport Pilot
Ercoupe N99773

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drseti
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Re: Training in the Northeast???

Postby drseti » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:40 pm

tdubs wrote:My big fear is if I have to step away from flying for whatever reason, would I be able to pick it back up in a year or two easily, or would it be back to square one.


First off, congrats on the upcoming expansion of your family! I'm very happy for you and your wife. If it ever comes to deciding between family and flying, it should be a no-brainer -- ground yourself with no regrets!

I've had quite a few rusty pilots come to me after not just months, but years (in fact, sometimes decades) on the ground. Most had no problem getting back in the groove with a three-day refresher course. Mine is pretty intensive, and does cost a kilobuck, but satisfies the flight review requirement, and more important, makes you a safe pilot. Most of my refresher students have been flying in their heads every day anyway, so it's just a matter of reactivating their muscle memory.

I have had students from farther away than you are (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, upstate NY, Albany, Boston, Ohio) do just what you touched upon in an earlier post: come out and fly with me two days a week. We even have a camping trailer available on the airport for cheap quarters. It works for those who are willing and able to do some studying on the days between lessons. For those who only want to fly, and not do their homework, results have been less positive.

I can recommend both AB Flight at Queen City and SportFlying in Lancaster as good programs, and they're both closer for you than Lock Haven. That said, if you ever want to come out here and put in a couple of hours seeing how things run at my school, an intro lesson is an affordable $150.

One thing to remember: if you find a way to get that Sport Pilot ticket, it's yours forever. You can take as long a hiatus as necessary, but you will remain a pilot, and can always get yourself back up to speed with a bit of effort (and investment).

Best of luck to you and your wife!

Safe Skies,
Paul
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