The following is a reprint from 2010 of my most popular article ever so far. I thought it might help those interested in flying like I have always been if I reprinted it here in the present here almost 2 years later.
Friday, June 11, 2010
In 1987 I first soloed in one that looked almost exactly like the one pictured above. I had waited a long time to solo because I had promised my father that I wouldn't solo until he passed on. So since my father was gone in 1985 I soloed in 1987. However, since I had teenagers still to get through high school and college I didn't take it any further than soloing.
There is a well known flying joke which is: "What does a plane fly on? You might say gasoline or even aviation fuel but the answer to those in the know is: Money!
In otherwords any way you look at it planes aren't cheap to fly, to own or even to rent.
I found this answer that was given 4 years ago to the question how long does it take to get a ppl (Private Pilot's licence)
You are required to have at least 40 hours to get your PPL, 20 hours of which is duel instruction. The average is higher than 40 hrs, depending on how much material you retain between lessons and how often you fly. I think that the average total time when you get your license is closer to 60 hrs half of which is instruction.
Around here flight instructors are about $30.00 an hour.
A Cherokee or Cessna 172 runs about $90/hour
30 hrs X $30 for instructor = $900.00
60 hrs X $90 for aircraft = $5400.00
Medical = $100
Books = $225
Written Exam = $50
Examiners Fee = $250 varies
Airplane Rental = $180 figure around 2 hours, depending if you have to fly to the exam.
Grand Total $7,105
So likely it is much more now than then in the U.S. but you get the general idea.
When I was a boy growing up I always wanted to be an Airline Pilot or a Bush Pilot in Alaska. Since my Dad's brother died when his plane crashed in 1942 in Seattle I had to give that up so I wouldn't worry my Dad. He made me promise not to get my pilot's license until he died.
I had had a flight book that chronicled all my time piloting a plane as an adult since I was in my 20s. So I had had already 10 or more hours piloting (take-off and landings) before I seriously tried to solo at age 39. I remember when I went up at I believe it was Van Nuys Airport Danny Kaye had flown around the world in his jet I think and was standing by his plane there when we took off. Unfortunately, we had a 20 mph crosswind and since I was flying for the first time with a world War II fighter pilot as a flight instructor and I was all of 20 he wanted to out macho me. So taking off in a 20 mph crosswind the first time you ever take off as an adult had already used up my macho for the day as I watched my wing almost touch the ground several times as I took off the plane. So then the instructor wanted to show me "hammerheads" or stalls to show me what I would have to go through to get my license. For a novice pilot it is a lot like being on the scariest ride you have ever been on at an amusement park only you aren't touching the ground. You simply pull back on the yoke(wheel) or stick until you lose lift and fall 500 to 1000 feet in altitude out of the sky. Most of the time, (depending upon the plane) you can recover either easily or difficultly from this advanced training maneuver. (Although one of my best friend's had a neighbor who was trying to scare him while flying and forced the plane to fall about 7000 feet before recovering and scared the hell out of my friend. But this was an exception. I think they were flying in a Cessna 172 which is known to be the most forgiving of stalls. It is said that if you can't pull out of a stall you just have to let go of the yoke(wheel) and the plane will right itself and be okay. A met a man who was taking his final flying test who almost died until he remembered to let go of the yoke. He recovered only within about 1500 feet or less of hitting the ground. He said he was so traumatized that he could only crawl out of the plane and along the ground because he was so deeply in shock from the experience. But he later recovered and bought a plane and now flies all the time.
I also found this following site with the below questions. If you click on the green checkmarks before the question the answer opens up. http://www.cessna150152.com/faqs/performance.htm
Click the green check mark on the left to see the answer