View Full Version : Miami PPL dual hire
26th Apr 2012, 12:44
Looks like I will have a short business trip to Miami soon and should be able to spare a day for some local flying. I have a "piggyback 61.75" FAA PPL licence from my trip last year. It's technically valid (ie no need for a BFR), but I'm not fully familiar with US procedures and would want to fly with an instructor.
I was thinking of some dual time from Opa-Locka airport, perhaps to fly down to Key West or even the Bahamas. Can anyone recommend (or otherwise) the flight training organizations based there, or nearby (e.g. Fort Lauderdale) instead?
I see that Endeavour Flight Training have several G1000 equipped C172s, which would be something new to learn. Wayman Aviation also have a G1000 simulator. American Flight Training seem to be more of an ATPL commercial training organisation.
I'd be looking for a company that's more oriented towards casual/amateur PPL training/solo hire, perhaps give me a BFR that covers differences from UK/US, and incorporate a couple of interesting flights to show the possibilities of the area.
I won't have a TSA or M1 visa, just the normal short term visa waiver and ESTA, so am not looking for any qualifications or intensive training.
All suggestions and feedback welcome - PM me if you prefer - thanks in advance
26th Apr 2012, 13:36
It was too long ago that I last flew at opa locka to give a recommendation for a rental outfit, but I can recommend it as a place to fly. If you are flying in on visa waiver then look closely if you plan a Bahamas trip, I have just been researching a similar trip leaving the usa for canada. If one travels commercially to canada and then flies canada - usa privately one cannot get an entry using visa waiver - you must have a b2 visa instead actually in your passport. I have subsequently read that if I arrive in usa on scheduled carrier using VW/ESTA and leave on a trip of short duration (less than 30 days) I may re-enter privately and use the balance of the visa waiver previously obtained. Seems similar to your situation. Reference p20
I assume you actually did a BFR after you got your 61.75 in your hand - its not usable as issued until you do which some people don't catch on to. Given that you'll have to do a rental checkout (or dual) anyhow you might as well make that a BFR while you are at it, thats what I normally do on such a trip, or indeed you could combine your dual with differences training (tailwheel, complex etc) while you were there. Its also worth considering the opportunities to build a few night/long trip hours there esp. 60mile night / 300 nm day 2 stop x-country if you are considering CPL etc. I did the trip OpaLocka - Stuart and back to get night hours after I got my UK night rating (and 61.75 with out day only endorsement) - its a relatively easy night trip up the coast.
Hope this all helps. Be interested to know where you choose !
26th Apr 2012, 14:25
Pelican Aviation at North Perry have an extensive fleet, are English run and very friendly.
2nd May 2012, 12:27
Thanks for the suggestions. I did a bit of research on the web about the options available in Miami itself (there are 3 airports, but not surprisingly no GA training at Miami International).
I've been thinking that some familiarisation with G1000 panel would be pretty good - its more expensive than a basic C152 solo rental but still cheaper than here in the UK. There are a few schools that offer this with a ground simulator to learn the ropes first.
The G1000 option restricts the choice down to probably Wayman, Endeavour or Dean - there is almost too many to choose from especially if you look further afield.
I'm still thinking of a combination of a BFR (to familiarise with US rules and methods) plus a landaway or two somewhere in Florida. Technically I don't need a BFR because I got a seaplane rating on my 61.75 last year, although that's not enough experience for me to be confident of solo hire in a US land plane straight away. Bahamas does seem possible (with an instructor - most rental outfits demand an IR and lots of hours) and shouldn't invalidate my visa waiver if done with the right paperwork. Should be fun rather than hard work.
Has anyone experience of any of the schools below, especially for a somewhat "casual" customer like myself who's only there for a day or so? While there is a chance I may come back for more, either on a future business trip or a more extended holiday, I could imagine that priority would be given to the longer term students.
Mostly professional pilot training with many foreign students
17x C152s, 10 C172s and also 1x Arrow and 1x G1000 C172 plus simulators.
Competitive rates. Min 4 hour per day solo rental
G1000 C172 solo $140, dual $178
Approx 6 aircraft, mix of Cessna/Piper aircraft, VFR/IFR, one with G430
More open about rental including detailed rental policy
No published rates. Pictures of aircraft interiors canít view
One man outfit with Cessna C172 Skyhawk
PPL, Instrument, BFR, Tailwheel and Aerobatics
Trial lesson advertised 1 hour for $140
Professional flight training school
Full motion simulator + static simulators
Solo hire rates (wet without fuel!) $105-120
Cessna professional flight training school: Sport Pilot through ATPL
Solo hire rates: C172 $145, C182 G1000 $174 (plus fuel surcharge)
Instruction $55/hour: Dual rate on C182 G1000 is $210
Mostly professional pilot training
Range of simulators including large G1000
C172 G1000 solo $149, w/instructor $199 (2010 rates)
Cirrus fleet of 11 SR20/SR22 for rental across 3 airports
$200-250/hour dry + instructor
Thanks in advance
Editted once for formatting and to comment that I don't need a BFR to be legal.
2nd May 2012, 20:19
when you did your seaplane rating did your school insist on TSA? I had this problem, albeit before the rules were relaxed, and could train but not sit the checkride (bizarre indeed) at that time. It would seem that this is not a category 3 training event but there does still seem to be an insistence on TSA if the school is not sure so interested to know what the realities are?
Hope the trip goes well
2nd May 2012, 22:02
Wayman Aviation – Flight Training (http://wayman.net/)
A while ago, but pleasant peeps with well equiped fleet last time I flew there.
3rd May 2012, 07:40
when you did your seaplane rating did your school insist on TSA?
At Jack Brown's Seaplanes they are also a designated Foreign Pilot Examiner, so I didn't need to go to the FSDO at all - they issued me with a temporary airman's certificate and included the ASES (Seaplane) rating after completing the exam. After a couple of days training and the skill test, I walked away with a valid "piggyback" temporary airman's certificate that could be used to hire a land or seaplane immediately.
There have been many threads on pprune about this, but the general consensus seems to be that for additional ratings such as the ASES (ie not the initial standalone PPL or major ratings like an IR) then no TSA or M1 visa are required. Bluntly put, the original reasons for TSA checks being 9/11 and the unsuitability of a seaplane for a similar purpose. At no time did I solo the seaplane - I think you'd find it hard to find somewhere that will let you do this in the US.
But you absolutely MUST have a valid and in-date verification letter from the UK CAA, together with your UK/EASA PPL licence and medical certificate.
@<hidden> Driver: Thanks for that - any and all insights/recommendations are helpful.
3rd May 2012, 07:43
I did my Commercial Seaplane at Jack Brwns. No TSA or Visa required as it was being added to existing FAA Commercial.
I have flown with them many times and a couple of other places. Its easy enough to be allowed solo when you are known.
3rd May 2012, 22:28
Thanks SDIW - I'm aware of the rules re TSA and as you suggest, Initial licence , Multi and IR are in theory the only things requiring TSA but some schools have been known to interpret the rules and i was interested to know the actual view, especially at Jack Browns which is where I first became aware of the problem. Didn't know they are designated Foreign pilot examiners, thats good to know, thanks. Solo float time - yes hard to get, in Canada you have to do 5 t/o & landing solo as part of the rating, its the only solo float time I still have :(
4th May 2012, 07:49
What's a designated foreign pilot examiner then.....
4th May 2012, 08:30
In the US, a DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner) is authorized by the FAA to conduct certain types of flight tests.
Additionally, some DPEs are also authorised to certify Foreign pilots. This means they can issue of a Temporary Airman's Certificate directly, without the need for the foreigner to visit a FSDO. This is termed a "Foreign Pilot Examiner".
It's quite difficult to trawl through the various published lists of DPEs to find them out - there seems to be no central searchable list of Foreign Pilot Examiners.
While there may be an additional fee charged for the paperwork (I paid about $25), the fact that you don't need to visit the FSDO can same time and money.
This is all done online, using the IACRA (Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application) computer system run by the FAA. You receive a plastic licence in the post directly from the FAA some weeks later.
19th May 2012, 13:38
I went to Wayman Aviation and can highly recommend them. Nice people, well equipped aircraft, G1000 ground trainer, flexible to accomodate my needs. Call them rather than email for first contact though - for some reason, I didn't get a reply to my emails. They are a Part 141 school and also a notary for TSA fingerprints, Lasorgrade ground exams etc. I don't think they get a whole load of UK PPLs dropping by and they aren't a JAA (or should that be EASA) outfit. They also have an extensive pilot supplies shop similar to a Transair UK outlet.
It seems they get a few tourists just asking for a trial lesson to fly around the area, typically down Miami beach (between the beach and the mainland), which is quite dramatic scenery. If you only had an hour or two to spare, you could do far worse.
I was able to get ground instruction, G1000 simulator time, and Cessna 172 dual hire around the area. There was a lot to learn - this type of flying is quite different from the UK - but in many ways it's easier.
Some surprises/unusual things I noticed:
- Nobody seems to have heard of EASA yet much. They know of JAR and the heavy theory exam requirements for our IR. It was suggested that JAR follows ICAO more closely than the FAA has done.
- You can file a VFR flight plan (e.g by phone through the 1-800-WXBRIEF briefing service), but it is activated on a different frequency (i.e. not from the tower or flight following). You must activate within 1 hour of filing and close within 30 mins of landing
- Airspace layout is quite different. Class E typically above 700 or 1200 feet, Class A above 18,000 feet. You can enter any Class C or D if you are talking to a controller (so they will respond "aircraft calling...standby" if they don't want you to enter, if they reply with your callsign you can enter). Class B, of course you must hear the magic words "Cleared to enter...". Having said that, access to Class Bravo around Miami didn't seem much of a problem. We got a unique squawk code prior to take off which we kept as we changed frequencies/controllers - none of the disjointed LARS free for all found in the UK.
- No overhead joins. Instead join downwind at 45 degree angle. It seems pretty odd to have to cross midfield at 1500 feet then turn the opposite direction to the traffic pattern so you can then make this 45 degree join.
- No landing charges. We landed at a non-towered airport and I was pointed out a courtesy car that we could borrow for free (just refill with fuel) if we refuelled our aircraft there.
- The G1000 gave us not just GPS guidance, but also showed other (transponding) traffic in the area and weather/rain.
- We were allocated a squawk code when under Flight Following Service, but squawked the 1200 VFR code otherwise. When talking to Opa Locka tower when inbound, they asked us to squawk ident to verify who were were. I would have expected the Mode S transponder to show our tail number on their screen - perhaps this isn't yet in place for towers although I thought it was widespread for approach control/flight following throughout Florida.
As many have said before on this forum, the whole setup of private aviation in the US is much more amenable and accessible (and lower cost) than the UK but there are a few aspects which aren't. For example, the need to have all documentation onboard (especially a written Weight and Balance form for every flight); needing to talk on a different frequency to activate a flight plan; no overhead joins. I saw several online flight planning tools, including free sectional chart views, but haven't seen anything with the horizontal "vertical radar" feature of SkyDemon yet.
Can't wait to go again, but whether that will be in six months or two years, who knows - it all depends on business travel. This was a great taster session, and I think I'll try for a formal BFR and checkout next time.
Thanks again for the referral to Wayman. There may be other equally good outfits in the area, but I was very happy with them.