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Please don't make me learn to fly in a Cesspit!

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Please don't make me learn to fly in a Cesspit!

Old 18th Jun 2008, 10:43
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Please don't make me learn to fly in a Cesspit!

I blame cruddy old Cessnas and PA28's as the sole cause for me never getting a PPL. I've been a glider pilot for 12 years and thouroughly enjoy power flying when I'm with friends but every time I think about getting a PPL myself I go along to the flying school and out come these beaten up 40 year old heaps and it puts me right off. It's no wonder flying is a declining sport in the UK.

This year however I'm going to bite the bullet. Despite having hundreds of hours gliding experience and a 'Silver C' I can only be credited ten hours from the PPL syllabus so I'd need to do 35 hours total. On the other hand the NPPL only requires 10 hours total flying experience. I'd love to know exactly what it is in the PPL syllabus that takes an extra 20 hours to teach me? As it's such a no brainer I'll be going the NPPL route for now.

Anyway, to the point, it's time I went to the flying school and signed up. My nearest flying school has one club with a nice fleet of shiny modern DA40's. Now that's more like it. I was all ready to sign up but as soon as I tell anyone I'm going to learn to fly in the DA40's they tell me it's a bad idea. I even had one person tell me they'd rather fly a 150! This I do not understand. So aside from reliability and diesel engine problems what's the big deal with learning to fly a DA40 as apposed to a Cesspit? Is this just another case of the die-hard fans supporting the beloved flying school aircraft that introduced them to flying?

By the way, I would MUCH rather learn to fly a Cub or a Tiger Moth or something. I am used to taildraggers (Although I appreciate the characteristics of a powered taildragger and not the same as a glider) and I intend to fly these types of aircraft once I have the licence so for me I thought it made sense to learn on them but again all the advice I got was that it would be a bad idea. Not sure why? Apart from the cost!
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 11:01
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Hmm.

Don't like the "Cesspit" part mate.

There is a reason why so many schools still fly these venerable aircraft. They are cheap to buy, operate and take a licking and keep on ticking.

If they are not "sexy" enough for you, remember you only have to train in them.

If I want to haul a good load and some mates around, my school's 1977 XP is more than adequate and is fully IFR rated.

Flying a leather clad, glass paneled cockpit won't make you a better pilot.

Give them a fair go.

Best,

Sicknote
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 11:03
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Good luck with whatever route you choose... if you're keen on learning in a taildragger there are clubs that operate Cubs, I think there used to be a cub at Cambridge that operated solely Tiger Moths. Where in the UK are you?

If you'll be doing all your flying in the UK and have no further plans for any more ratings (CPL etc.) then the NPPL is the sensible choice. Not sure why people would tell you not to learn in the DA40... you are the one who's learning and paying so it should be your choice.

As for clapped-out 40-year-old PA28s/Cessnas, your judgment is partially correct in some cases but in many cases not. Aircraft have to be maintained to a high standard... my club has 2 PA28s and a Tomahawk (all 20-25 years old... OK not brand new but not ancient), all of which are in good condition, certainly not clapped-out or "cruddy".

P.S. If you're going to learn in a Moth or Cub then bear in mind most of those will be >60 Years old...

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Old 18th Jun 2008, 11:11
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Had you thought about doing a motor-glider PPL and then extending it to a normal SEP?

It sounds like you'd find a Grob 109 or similar more enjoyable to fly than a spiced-ham container. Other tailwheel PPLs are available - Moths at Cambridge for instance.
Where are you based?
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 11:11
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I blame cruddy old Cessnas and PA28's as the sole cause for me never getting a PPL.
Hmm, that sounds a bit much to me. I learnt to drive in a Rover Metro - bit of a heap, but reliable and did everything it needed to. I think if I said 'I blame Metros as the sole cause for never getting a driving license' you'd think I was mad. I drove it and thought 'I look forward to the day when I can afford to drive something more powerful and exciting'.

C150s and PA28s may not be the most glitzy or exciting things to train in, but they're for training.

I go along to the flying school and out come these beaten up 40 year old heaps and it puts me right off. It's no wonder flying is a declining sport in the UK.
I think if you want the PPL(A) enough then you'll get it. If training in a trainer is so much of a big deal to you then you'd be better not wasting your money.

--rob
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 11:13
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The "only 10 hours" is just analy retentive Euro-legislation, you don't need it, but you won't change it, so may as well live with the fact. It's possible to get your night qualification in the hours which gives you better value, or perhaps do some spinning or instrument training - if you've got to pay for it, you may as well get the maximum from it.

Why not learn in a taildragger? No reason, people did it for years with no other choice, and it prepared some excellent pilots - pretty much everybody who flew during WW2 for a start. The only problem is that relatively few flying instructors nowadays are that comfortable with an old taildragger - so your choice is limited of places you can learn. But, if you can find somewhere, it'll be a good experience.

As for the DA40 (or something else new) - it's latest technology, it has it's faults but with your existing gliding experience you'd be able to deal with that; it also is likely to have a glass cockpit quite different to what you're used to, but that's hardly a problem since you're already used to conventional instruments. If you go from that to, say, buying a share in a Chipmunk you'll have new things to learn. On the other hand, if you learned in a C150 the same would be true also. So, I'd say if it's the aeroplane that appeals to you, and it's available - get your licence on it.

Sadly you may get saddled with a C152 or equivalent, just because it's what most schools use and it's affordable. If you do, remember it's actually a pretty damned good training aeroplane that's successfully trained generations of pilots, and there's no rule that keeps you in one once you've got your license.

G
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 11:13
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I do not like the old stuff much either (ex glider pilot). Do not start on a DA40 as they will all be grounded due to lack of bits within the next month or so and there is no definite plan to get them back in the air.

Have you looked at doing a NPPL (M) on a Eurostar and then convert it to a type (A). The Eurostar is a very good trainer and will feel ok after gliding.

Another option is an AT3 which is a group (A) aircraft but modern and with proper handling.

Clacton might train you on a Cub as a residential course

Buy an LAA machine, do the licence and then sell it or sell shares. This could be a Jodel for about £10k which would sell for about £10k at the end of the course.

Hope this helps

Rod1
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 11:21
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There is nothing wrong with a DA40 although there has been plenty of concern expressed on here regarding the Theilert engine. Many schools using the aircraft are finding that their fleet are becoming unflyable as parts are required for the engine but are not available or too expensive. You may therefore want to be caution about whether you find you are unable to continue your training in the 40 part way through and have to change to another aircraft. If this is a concern you should read the various threads on the subject which will give you a better understanding of the current and possibly the future state of play.

Some 40s are fitted with glass screens. There is a different mind setup between glass and traditional cockpits so you may wish to think about that aspect if you intend to fly a traditional cockpit after your PPL or NPL.

There are some operating differences between a 40 and the more typical Cessnas and Pipers most of which stem from the use of a diesel engine in the 40s. The differences are relatively small but if you were to fly a Piper or Cessna in due course you would find an hour or two might be necessary to become comfortable with these differences.

All that said the 40 handles much like any of the common training aircraft and is a good enough for the purpose for which it was designed.
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 11:28
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PA28s aren't clapped out heaps...most schools operate them...if you're that worried about something going wrong, you should know that they do glide...you should be good at that!
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 11:48
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There's no justice. The Cessnas look so bad but fly so well. Just like me!
DO.
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 12:01
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My Fairy tale.....

Once upon a time there was a JAA flight school in USA that operated a lot of really tired 150/152's . They decided the time was right to replace them with brand new Liberty XL's ..... sad to say the new planes were always ploughing the fields or the runways.... needless to say all the Libertys' are gone and all the same 150/152's are back on line
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 12:21
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all the PA28's & 152's at the school I use are in good shape, one has even been newly refurbed & another one on the way.

I love flying the P28
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 12:46
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“I love flying the P28 ”

I am sure the bicycle menders enjoyed flying the Wright flyer. Question is have you flown any of the modern stuff?

Rod1
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 13:00
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I had a wedge of glider flying expierience, and started my ppl in a C150, and didn't enjoy flying it at all. I then changed to a CAP10b, despite being told it couldn't be done, and by the time I'd finished the 35 hrs, had been checked out in PA28 and R2160 as well as the cap. Instrument flying was fun for the skills test, with no AI, but I passed.
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 13:29
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I have had this problem twice:

When I learnt to drive, I simply didnt want to learn in a clapped out old Ford Cortina. For me, i wanted to drive a Ferrari... Why should I put up with sub-standard cars when the all the toffs are driving the best there is?

And when I learnt to glide, I was really fed up when the club said "We use the humble old K13". Well it was pretty clapped out, made of rag and tube and all I wanted to do was fly one of those fantastic glass gliders like the ASH25. All the senior members had them, and they just turned up and flew, and didnt have to spend all day pushing gliders around in return for a quick 10 mins at the end of the day!

The reason the PA28 and Cessna 150/152 are used is that they are cheap to operate (bigger profit for the club!), easy to fly (even the man in the street can hack it eventually) and therefore get used a lot (hence the 'clapped out' look). They are perfectly adequate for flying training. Lets face it, would you let a student loose in your pride and joy?

You CAN learn on sexier machines, but you'll find that even for a glider pilot, it will probably take longer and cost more..
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 13:47
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A quick look at the Sywell web site indicated you can pay £185 per hour to learn on a C172, which was never designed for training. Alternatively you could learn in a brand new, purpose designed AT3 at £136 per hour. As an ex glider pilot I think I know which I would find the easiest / most fun to fly…

http://www.sywellaerodrome.co.uk/brooklands/charges.php

Rod1
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 16:34
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Do it in a motor glider. It is fun and cheap. Differences can be done later.
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 16:52
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I learned in C150s back in the late '70s. Any spamcan is awful to fly, with poor control response (especially ailerons). They seem to be designed for Americans to cruise on instruments, straight and level, for hour on hour. They are not 'pilot's aeroplanes'. But they do the job... sort of.

Soon as I'd got the licence, I joined a Chipmunk group and discovered what I'd been looking for and hadn't found up 'till then. Once you've flown an aeroplane that handles like an aeroplane should, you won't want to fly a spamcan ever again.

If I were you I'd go straight for the taildragger if you can find a school that uses them. With today's 'hours building' instructors, only a few are enthusiastic enough to have tailwheel experience. But such instructors are worth seeking out. They'll probably be able to teach you aeros as well.

Worst case, just grit your teeth and do the PPL (or NPPL) in a spamcan, then ditch it and buy a share in a taildragger.

SSD
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 18:23
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AT3's??

Glorified microlights!

C152 all the way for me - I may be an instructor but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. You learn about FLYING in a C152 and as stated it is very forgiving. Stop being such a poncey snob!

VFE.
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Old 18th Jun 2008, 18:32
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Playing devils advocate here slightly, the C152 has one of the best safety records of any light aeroplane - it is virtually impossible to kill yourself in it. Given it is so forgiving, does that really make it the best training aeroplane?

Or would be be better training people in something a little less straightforward? - such as a PA38 for example which is underpowered, drops a wing entertainingly at the stall, and handles like it's out of forward CG limits.

G
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