Accelerated PPL and advice on an Experimental vs. Certified as a first plane

14 Replies

Accelerated PPL and advice on an Experimental vs. Certified as a first plane

Posted by Bob Peters on May 5, 2018 7:24 pm

I am 56, with flexibility for PPL training.  I live in the Seattle area where expedited training may not be as easily done in a short period of time.  I am considering arranging an accelerated PPL training course in the Phoenix or Tucson area where I could fly every day over a 30 +/- day period to obtain my certificate (Feb-Mar timeframe)My mission would be to generally fly missions between 300-550 nm with longer trips up to 1200 nm a couple of times per year.  I am considering purchasing an aircraft and have  prioritized current avionics and stability of aircraft over speed.  Ideally up to four adults for shorter trips and would consider up to $350,000 in purchase.  A couple of questions:

1) I’m considering an Experimental (I.e. RV-10) or Certified.  Given new pilot skills, do folks have an opinion about the safety aspect of purchasing an already built RV-10/Experimental for a new pilot? Is this absurd...reasonable or somewhere in between?
2) If I did decide to go forward with the intention of purchasing an experimental do members have a suggestion on how to find flight training that would use this same aircraft?  I would appreciate your opinion on the benefit of the Accelerated PPL.
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Re: Accelerated PPL and advice on an Experimental vs. Certified as a first plane

Posted by Mark Mitchell on May 14, 2018 3:29 pm

I earned my PPL while in my 50's. I'm intelligent and absorb things quickly. My private training was in a cherokee. After I had my private I immediately moved into a Columbia 350 (similar to SR22) and earned my instrument rating. I did home study for both private pilot and instrument tests and aced them.

My private pilot instructor was retired and we flew in his plane. Since we both had flexiable schedules we were able to fly several times per week. That was about right for me, as it was helpful to think over things between flights. Much of private pilot training is stick and rudder skills everyone learns at a different pace.  I think I would have been frustrated with an accelerated course because I might be making the same mistakes over and over again without the time to let them soak in.

My instrument training was an accelerated 10 day course 1500 miles from home and in my plane. I stayed in a local hotel and all I did was fly and study. For instrument training this worked fine for me as it is far more mental work, I didn't feel I needed a lot of time to absorb things.


Re: Accelerated PPL and advice on an Experimental vs. Certified as a first plane

Posted by Ronald Levy on May 14, 2018 5:56 pm

Frank Obrien:
A  plug for the Cessna 400:  it has a much better safety record than the Cirrus until recently when Cirrus started its safety training  program.

Frank’s post contains a number of factual errors about the Cirrs.  First, Cirrus’ safety training programs date from at least 2002, not 2008.

Stalls at a lower speed, has speed brakes, has a utility catagory (means the wings are about twice as strong as Cirrus’)

No, it doesn’t.  The difference in g-load is only 4.4 vs 3.8, and then only at significantly reduced gross weight.  At max gross, both are rated Normal at 3.8 max g-load.

my 2008 came with G1000W when the same year Cirrus has dual G430s that are close to being unsupported by Garmin.

Cirrus went to the G1000 in 2003, not 2008.  That’s a year before the Cessna 400 was rolled out.

My vote is to train in the plane you will be flying.  God bless and God speed.

On that we agree.

Re: Accelerated PPL and advice on an Experimental vs. Certified as a first plane

Posted by Evan Robinson on May 14, 2018 7:39 pm

I'll chime in with the advice of somebody close to being in your own shoes, rather than a guy with decades of experience - I did my PPL in 40 days last year (July-August). I knew after having three flights cancelled in a row because of squawks the previous rental pilot hadn't reported (knick in prop, deflated oleo strut, landing lights out before night training) that I didn't want to continue renting after getting my license. I had a more modest budget, so my aircraft budget also lined up with a trainer - I bought a Tri Pacer because I prefer tube an rag, it has better payload than most 172s, and it's easier to find one in great shape for lower $$ than 172s. So, there are two things I can speak to - training in the aircraft you own vs. not, and acelerated training. 

Everybody learns differently. I know my style of learning - intensive is best for me. The DPE who took me up for my PPL told my instructor, the chief pilot at our flight school, after we finished that I could've passed as a CFI instead of as a private license holder that day. Of course, this wasn't close to true - I was a green pilot, and just happy to have gotten my certificate - but the sentiment was kind and I'm certain that training twice a day, day in and day out, then taking a one week break, followed by trying different CFIs in prep for the check ride to make sure I wasn't getting complacent, was a killer combo. 

Now, onto the train in what you own thing. During PPL training, you do so many stalls, steep turns, approaches to land, it all starts to become second nature. So, after passing my check ride at 41 hours, I was in for a surprise as I switched from C172s and C152s to my Tri Pacer. New sight picture, new speeds, new feel. It took another 65 hours or so to get as comfy in the Tri Pacer as I'd gotten in a 152....because after getting the license, I didn't have months of additional time to block from work, to train every day.  I started flying for the reason we all get into it - to take trips with my wife and friends, mostly 300nm for a weekend, but up to 1200nm too.

But that type of fun flying doesn't train you like doing 10 laps in the circuit, than an XC, then another 15 laps in the circuit, will train you as I was doing during PPL training. I try to go out at least once every 6 days to train and continue to improve in my aircraft, to get to know it better, every time going to the airport with a clear objective, and debriefing with GPS tracks in cloud ahoy and go pro footage. I'm less than 7 months into owning my plane, and already have nearly 100 hours in it....but what I would've given to have owned my plane from day 5 instead of day 95 in my time as a pilot - with the caveat that relearning on a new plane did help remind me that an airplane, is an airplane, is an airplane, they all fly the same and it's good to learn to adapt as well. But earlier on in training, consistency is nice, and I don't think we all become pilots because we like to relinquish control - you realize how many small (and big) choices there are about "sufficient" maintance after owning, and I feel much more comfortable taking myself, and my family, up in a plane for which I've made those choices. 

At the end of the day don't overthink it. Just go out and fly, and see what you enjoy about it, then get a plane that helps you live out those joys. Maybe you own a J3 Cub and rent the plane for the 1200NM journeys. Maybe you buy a partnership in a Bonanza, or hey even a Pilatus, for the family trips and rent C182s to stay current and for solo trips. Many ways to break up the own/partner/rent/equation. 

Re: Accelerated PPL and advice on an Experimental vs. Certified as a first plane

Posted by Joel Hamm on May 14, 2018 8:33 pm

If you're comsidering training in the PHX area, I might recommend Chandler Air Service at Chandler Field.  They have a stick-and-rudder rather than button-pushing  philosophy, teach tail wheel, acrobatics, upset recovery; and are generally accomodating, flexible, and friendly.