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PPL path- USA vs Aus, RAAus first, & what not to do


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Hi there, 

 

Long-time lurker, who's finally saved up the cash and time to start their journey to PPL. I've done plenty of reading, but looking for some up to date advice..

 

I'm certain I want to get to the PPL stage eventually, as my interest is in flying cross-country with wife and 2 kids. Eventually. That said, I suspect the majority of flying will be by myself.

 

I'm a technologist at heart, and the idea of learning to fly in a fully analog, carbureted aircraft that is older than I am is something of an anathema. However I understand that the digital farkles have nothing to do with airmanship, etc. But aircraft with modern construction techniques, digital interfaces and control systems definitely attract me. Its just hard to swallow that that my <$1000 drone has better "avionics" than the plane I might be learning on.

 

So to the questions!

-I'm aware of the route RAAus licence then to RPT and PPL. I'm finding it hard to get estimates of the actual cost savings here, and any downsides of this path. The cost savings don't seem that significant? Its somewhat attractive because the RAAus aircraft seem more modern and affordable to purchase, and I could imagine myself flying them more even with my full PPL, simply because of lower hourly rates and more modern aircraft. Then just rent a VH aircraft for when with the family. But am I better to just "bite the bullet" and go the GA route, get my PPL, then go to RAAus?

-This will only ever be a hobby for me. But I'm tempted by the "compressed" or "intensive" courses- there are schools in the USA that offer PPL in ~ 1 month full-time. Ignoring COVID dramas, they historically seem to be cost-competitive, and the aircraft are more modern. Has anyone gone this route? Do PPL in the USA, then transfer back to Australia?

-Is there any similar form of "compressed" or "intensive" learning available in Australia, for people only interested in amateur flying? Ive seen mention of multiple-day training in places like Cowra, but not necessarily for total beginners? The larger flying school full-time courses are more aimed at CPL, and that's not what I'm looking for..

-Home is the Newcastle area. So if there's recommendations of places to go (to learn), or not go, I'd love to hear them. And again, I'm quite open (indeed, attracted by) more intensive options where I travel somewhere and bunk down for a month to focus on learning to fly..

 

Thanks,

-C

 

 

 

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Welcome to the lifetime hobby/sport.

 

The licence is only a licence to learn and there are no shortcuts whether you learning in the US or in Oz.

 

It is competency based, some people achieve PPL after minimum legally required 40hours, majority after 60hours, some after 100+hours. That depends on how often you fly, how prepared you are for the lesson (theory, armchair/mental flying), your age, how keen you are, etc... A lesson per week is about an average, which brings you in range of ~60hrs.

 

You could theoretically fly 8 hours per day and achieve minimum 40 hours within a week, however learning is like a sponge. It can take limited amount of water (knowledge) no matter how much water you soak it in.

 

Also training for a licence, in my opinion  should be a year long, to experience all weather seasons, winds, because it is better to experience surprises with instructor than without..

 

The process goes:

- get your ARN

- get medical

- study and pass ppl theory

- go flying

 

and the best shortcut is if you do it in this order since the theory is an obstacle which many people postpone until the very last moment.

 

Training in the US will cost you significantly more $ than in Oz when you take into account other costs such as airline tickets, house/car rentals, cost of living, etc.. and I am yet to hear about an examiner (cfi, chief pilot) who would risk his/her career by signing off anyone not ready/competent for a licence.

 

Prepare for the lifetime journey and enjoy it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you want to go cross country with your wife and a reasonable amount of baggage, go PPL.

Don't get caught up in "technology" vacuum-gyro instruments are accurate and usually you have the added benefit of a Directional Gyroscope which makes it easier to follow a heading than a swinging compass, or follow an ATC Heading construction, and Vertical Speed Indicator which gives an earlier warning of the slightest deviation in altitude, good for crowded circuits.

If you want to go outback it's a smaller step to find an aircraft with HF etc.

If you must have electronics, find a flying school using new aircraft.

 

We've been through the RA to RPC then PPL route on this site many times, and sometimes, in theory, it shows a lower cost than PPL from day 1.

However, people don't usually factor in the extra hours of training you will need to get up to speed because RA training right from the start has less in it, so in effect you'll have to "double fly" some of the course.

 

Most importantly, you will spend more flying hours becoming proficient in RA than you would to the equivalent point in PPL. The low inertia/low wing load aircraft are blown around much more that the higher inertia GA aircraft, and while the throwaway line is "if you can fly a XXX, you can fly anything", you don't want to be spending $10,000.00 perfecting landings in an RA aircraft when you are never going to experience the same handling challenges in a GA aircraft; for cross country flying the three  things you really want to be on top of are P&O (Performance and Operations), MET (Meteorology) and NAV (Navigation) and that's the best place to spend that $10,000.00.

 

 

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Don't get hooked in high tech unless you're flying in the services. You are learning to FLY and you are only ab-initio once and that is where the foundation is laid. Conceptual errors will be an ongoing weakness ready to cause you to react incorrectly when under stress.. Value for money is more important than total cost. Nev

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I might be wrong, but I thought that an RPL with endorsements and a medical would be enough to fly with three passengers? 

 

My two bob is as follows. Starting RAAus is cheaper. Starting in a VH aircraft can give you more time in type, which will be safer. If you have the extra training for the PPL, it will be safer.

 

GA aircraft have a fatal accident once in 100 000 hours. Fifty hours a year gives a risk of death of 1 in 2000. That is the annual death rate for kids in Australia. (1 in 1000 per year for adults.) So, I would not transport my family in a GA aircraft, especially if I had less than 400 hours. Below 200 hours, pilots are *much* more dangerous. 

 

Disclaimer: I have 150 hrs, and have flown my kids one at a time, from a familiar class D (controlled-ish) aerodrome.   

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8 hours ago, APenNameAndThatA said:

I might be wrong, but I thought that an RPL with endorsements and a medical would be enough to fly with three passengers? 

 

My two bob is as follows. Starting RAAus is cheaper. Starting in a VH aircraft can give you more time in type, which will be safer. If you have the extra training for the PPL, it will be safer.

 

GA aircraft have a fatal accident once in 100 000 hours. Fifty hours a year gives a risk of death of 1 in 2000. That is the annual death rate for kids in Australia. (1 in 1000 per year for adults.) So, I would not transport my family in a GA aircraft, especially if I had less than 400 hours. Below 200 hours, pilots are *much* more dangerous. 

 

Disclaimer: I have 150 hrs, and have flown my kids one at a time, from a familiar class D (controlled-ish) aerodrome.   

I agree the GA accident rate is appalling. 

If private day VFR pilots dont do these four things the accident rate would drop by about 95%.

 

Stall the aircraft 

Fly in cloud 

Exceed airspeed or performance limits of the aircraft 

Run out of fuel.

 

Not difficult to avoid those things. Looking through this list of all VH accidents in Australia there are not many that fall outside those four items.

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/safety-investigation-reports.aspx?mode=Aviation&sort=OccurrenceReleaseDate&sortDecending=decending&printAll=true

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With Flying , the risk factor is very much in your hands if you are operating the aircraft. If you own it, even more so. It's not automatic, but you have an ability to eliminate the adverse effects of others carelessness and error. Nev

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Below was my initial cost before flying and I believe the price has gone slightly up over the past 2 years:

 

class2 medical dame 200
casa medical 65
asic card aviation id 257
bob tait vol 1&2 312.34
david clark h10-13.4  630
skylines shop vtc map 13
skylines shop wac map 13
skylines shop nav equip 34
skylines shop pilot logbook 23.5
bob tait exam prep 57
bob tait exam prep extra 25
aip, ersa, canprint 144.35
ppl theory casa exam 220
vnc melbourne 13
  2007.19

 

You can cut the costs by by buying e.g. 2nd hand Chinese headsets, books from ebay/gumtree/fb market,.. however items such as charts, aip, ersa must be current.

Alternativey, you can double the cost by buying e.g. Bose A20 and please your ears.. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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50 minutes ago, facthunter said:

With Flying , the risk factor is very much in your hands if you are operating the aircraft.

That really sums it up.

If you want to be part of the high risk profile that both GA and RA have, just approach flying as you do car driving or most other things.

On the other hand there are thousands of pilots who grasp what FH has said have flown all their lives and never damaged an aircraft.

If you prepare for the flight, check the aircraft, fly the aircraft avoiding all the repetitive causes of accidents, flying goes from dangerous to safe.

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The more care you take the luckier YOU get. Another person may GET you but it's not as likely as on the road. I see riding a pushbike on a road as extremely dangerous. Far more dangerous than flying.. Try to develop your "situational awareness" when flying so you are more prepared in/for a demanding situation. As an example We all know executing a go around is a good idea if things go pear shaped but a "mucked up" go around is where you don't want to be. It's often a bit of "milk the mouse " flying where you might have to fly in ground effect for a little while to fly at all. IF you aren't at all prepared for it you won't do it well. Nev

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Hi as someone who recently went down this path I'd recommend the compressed approach, especially if you have other commitments, ie work, family etc. After a few weeks of sick kids, work commitments, bad weather, instructors changing, aircraft issues you're so far behind that you're paying money just tread water.

Unless you're old or have significant problems you can leave the medical until you're actually doing your in training. If you're overweight or have some other risk factors do it early.

I can't comment on the US pathway however someone I used to work with went down this path and it was economical at the time and might be the way to go.

I went straight to PPL in two relatively short intensive bursts space not far apart, you learn faster and build upon what you know quickly. In hindsight it would have probably been better to do it in the one run however it is quite stressful as you're never as good as you'd like to be.

From a business perspective flight schools prefer the once/twice a week fliers spread over 12 months as it makes for a more predictable cash flow.

If you're negotiating with a flight school ask for all the costs up front, hourly rates for training, costs of practical exams, etc. Also discuss who will be your main instructor and meet them, often you do the introductory flight with a senior person and then are handballed to a fledgling instructor or passed around between a few.

 

As for your comments in relation to the technology, it is a bit of a farce. I suspect I was one of the last people to use a slide rule in the general education system, I came across them again learning to fly, some folk still think their whiz wheel is a good thing however that view won't be shared by anyone under 50. I'm not saying that they can't be useful however they're inaccurate, error prone and out of date and shouldn't be at the core of a flying theory course. You can't even take in a calculator that does trig let along something programmable. When I fly I have two tablets plus a phone with an electronic flight book, yes there's a risk that they may fail however it's unlikely and they're more accurate.

1950s technology is bad, the engines burn oil, you can overheat the engine, carburetors ice up etc vacuum pump fail, magnetos burn fuel inefficiently and don't advance or retard the spark, engine detonation can destroy the engine, engine don't have roller tappets. None of these things happen with automotive engines built since the late 1980s, they have fuel injection, electronic ignition, higher tolerances, better alloys, detonation detection, fully computerized engine management and the engines last longer with less care.

I'd like to see all planes with ADSB out, entry into controlled airspace being managed digitally and less of a focus on certification and more focus on capability.

 

But that being said I find that flying is an absolution joy.

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If you do airwork of a high concentration level your performance will go off at around an hour or even less. if you continue you won't get value for your plane rental dollar. Most of the talk talk should be before and after the flight. Your studies must be ahead of where you are at in your training.  Some skills may require consolidation/ reinforcing. What you do next is predicated on understanding fully what you have already done.  You may experience periods of less than what you'd like from yourself performance in your training . That's not uncommon.. Nev

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11 hours ago, Thruster88 said:

I agree the GA accident rate is appalling. 

If private day VFR pilots dont do these four things the accident rate would drop by about 95%.

 

Stall the aircraft 

Fly in cloud 

Exceed airspeed or performance limits of the aircraft 

Run out of fuel.

 

Not difficult to avoid those things. Looking through this list of all VH accidents in Australia there are not many that fall outside those four items.

https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/safety-investigation-reports.aspx?mode=Aviation&sort=OccurrenceReleaseDate&sortDecending=decending&printAll=true

It’s not difficult. That’s why it only happen one in a 100 000 per hour…

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36 minutes ago, facthunter said:

Is THAT the incidence of it.?  I have no references. Nev

Statistics (approx.) at 17/7/18

1200 fatalities in 1 billion road missions  =  1 in 833,333 missions

 3500 RA aircraft 200,000 hours per year (Source RAA)

Average 10 fatalities in 200,000 hours/yr = 1 in 20,000 missions

 

RA:  1 in 20,000 vs 1 in 933,333 = 40 times the risk compared to cars.

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6 hours ago, facthunter said:

If you do airwork of a high concentration level your performance will go off at around an hour or even less. if you continue you won't get value for your plane rental dollar. Most of the talk talk should be before and after the flight. Your studies must be ahead of where you are at in your training.  Some skills may require consolidation/ reinforcing. What you do next is predicated on understanding fully what you have already done.  You may experience periods of less than what you'd like from yourself performance in your training . That's not uncommon.. Nev

You can do a number of hours each day and yes your rate of learning may decline but it's not extinguished, from my perspective the decline is significantly lower than that associated with intermittent training over a longer period so from a value perspective it's significantly better. We expect school students to learn for longer periods than an hour so I don't think that there's a fundamental issue with the process. Staggering actual flying and briefings with higher and lower intensity tasks can work well. More study in the evenings, it actually helps if you're not at home. 

Another advantage is that when you fly you will encounter situations when you aren't at your best and have already done several hours of flight. It helps if you have been through a training situation when you are tired and someone is picking up on your faults and errors. Yes you're not at good when you're tired, what techniques help to counter this. In the military world this is a standard part of their training as they know operations can have a high tempo.

Theory first is a good idea, which the practical reinforcing and broadening the theoretical base.

It is a hard slog bringing back memories of some weird hybrid cramming for exams and pre-season training, but rewarding none the less as your progress is a tangible thing.

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Thanks for the comments. Ian, your recent experience is particularly helpful.

 

Can you give me any specifics on the compressed approach you took? How long were the two periods, how many hrs/day, and who'd you do it with? I'm unsure if there will be many Australian flight schools open to the idea, or who run such courses with a private focus (as opposed to a CPL-aimed route).

 

Also nice to read your thoughts on the level of technology, which I agree strongly with. Once again, I understand the value and importance of airmanship and fundamental skills & experience. And the distraction risk provided by some tech farkles. But. Heck, my lawnmower is fuel injected now! Technology can further reduce risk, and make things significantly safer.

 

I appreciate I likely have little choice with the type and age of aircraft I'll learn in. But its a bit like my daughter signing up for driving lessons, and an instructor turning up in a 1960s Holden with a three-speed non-synchro manual transmission, choke, and single-speed wipers.  "You gotta learn how to handle a real gearbox and engine, and drive to the conditions".. Well, no. We reduced task loading and made things safer with the tech. If I wanted to learn on a vintage aircraft, and enjoy that experience for what it is, awesome. I like old cars. But to reduce the risk issues discussed in this thread, I'd prefer to take advantage of technology for most of my time. If it was possible.

 

-C 

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6 hours ago, Clark01 said:

Can you give me any specifics on the compressed approach you took? How long were the two periods, how many hrs/day, and who'd you do it with? I'm unsure if there will be many Australian flight schools open to the idea, or who run such courses with a private focus (as opposed to a CPL-aimed route).

The advantage of a compressed class is if it's at a city airport you will come out red hot on radio procedures, will be able to seamlessly enter and fit into any circuit traffic, and will know a lot of theory (90% of which you've never tried to do in real life yet).

 

This can lead later to an example like this one. 

Three Indian students celebrated their compressed PPL course success by deciding to fly to Sydney.

A property owner noticed their Cessna 172 in a paddock and drive down to see if any help was needed.

The students said they didn't need any help, they'd become lost (all electronic gear) and had just landed to work out where they were, and were about to depart.

The property owner, who was also a pilot said "You're going nowhere, hop in and I'll take you into town and book you into a Motel"

The Indian dignity kicked in and they asked why.

He said "You hit my fence when you were landing, and there's about a hundred metres of wire wrapped around the landing gear."

 

The disadvantages are that  your compressed training will be throughout a common weather pattern, usually calm and cool weather.

You may be warned not to take the aircraft up on days over 35 degrees, and you may remember it, but nothing beats a demonstration about how saggy the aircraft handling has become on a hot day, what the thermals do to your self confidence, and as a result how well you comply with that Instructor warning for the rest of your life.

 

The only way I got to do crosswind practice was to request clearance to use a non-duty runway in heavy traffic (which was most of the lesson value) and handle a strong, but steady crosswind. Since the crosswind was a couple of knots above the aircraft maximum and I handled three circuits of touch and goes, that's all the crosswind landing instruction I received.  A few years later on a narrow coastal strip with gusts buffetting sideways with the strength to throw me out of the seat into the harness I actually learnt about crosswind landing.

 

With the non-compressed standard training, with luck you will arrive early one morning to find the wings iced up and be given a rag and a lecture on how the aircraft is not going to lift off properly until the ice has gone.

 

Or days when there is fog around, and you are taught to wait for it to burn off, and not be like the guy who waited until they could see all round the airport then took off, up through the fog layer which extended to the horizon, except for a tiny section of freeway under construction which he used to land on.

 

And you miss all the different nuances from different Instructor's experience, from finding that the last one which you just did 30 hours with had taught you a lot of bad habits, to that lifetime experience where a good one taught you how to convert a potential emergency into a sigh of relief.

 

So there are pluses and minuses - compressed will cost you less.

 

However, you said you were taking your wife with you on cross-country trips, and the extra cost of lessons spread out is not as great as re-learning after starting on RA.

 

6 hours ago, Clark01 said:

I appreciate I likely have little choice with the type and age of aircraft I'll learn in. But its a bit like my daughter signing up for driving lessons, and an instructor turning up in a 1960s Holden with a three-speed non-synchro manual transmission, choke, and single-speed wipers.  "You gotta learn how to handle a real gearbox and engine, and drive to the conditions".. Well, no. We reduced task loading and made things safer with the tech. If I wanted to learn on a vintage aircraft, and enjoy that experience for what it is, awesome. I like old cars.

But to reduce the risk issues discussed in this thread, I'd prefer to take advantage of technology for most of my time. If it was possible. 

Interesting that this subject continues to roll on and on when the majority of training aircraft in Australia may well be less than five years old.

Certainly that may not be true for country airstrips where there may be an old faithful 172 with another decade still left in it.

However, you make your own decision these days. It's been a few years since I bothered to do a financial analysis, but on the last one I did when a brand new Cessna Skyhawk with electronics cost $330,000.00, the trailing cost per hour vs the income level compared to about 1979 were roughly about the same - out of the reach of wage earners, just nose above water for people on a higher salary.

Having said that - you've gone away from your original goal of taking the wife on cross-country flights with that line of thinking, because your training should be on the cross-country aircraft types you will need to hire for cross country and there won't be any toys in that lot

 

In terms of risk reduction, cross country flying is a lot different to cruising around your home strip, going for a short haul to a breakfast, going to a fly in in your State.

I'd suggest technology, given two well-maintained aircraft being compared is not the primary rish measure for cross-country flying.

Of far greater importance is P&O because that decides if you're going to have a fuel exhaustion four hours later, and that included W&B which decides whether you're going to dump the aircraft on its tail shortly after take off. It includes the ability of the radios to communicate clearly when you need to do an airborne amendment to flight plan to get between two storm cells neither of which you were aware of in your home State when you took off. This sort of realisation of what flying is all about comes with your training experience.

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The advantage of the training was that with the compressed training virtually all weather types were encountered with temporal continuity, because it was done in early spring and early summer. Training was done in two stints, in September and in November. A number of different weather types were encountered ranging from Southerlies blowing in, low cloud, hot and high conditions, unstable air masses with lots of energy, very dynamic weather conditions etc. A key advantage was that the continuity allowed you to participate in predictions a number of days ahead as you tried to schedule sessions across variable weather. For example starting at 6 or 7 am flying in OK weather, then having a briefing session and the weather deteriorating to an extent where I wasn't comfortable flying. Even during circuits over the period of an hour the conditions going from good to challenging and making a risk based decision to call it a day (I could still fly however it was the trajectory that concerned me and that was a good lesson as I was briefed on this possiblity).

From a business model perspective spread out lessons can make it easier for the instructing business, however this shouldn't be conflated with what is best for the student which I suspect is often the case. What is the better model for students is debatable, I think based upon my experience is that the compressed training can be significantly better both in terms of cost and experience. As stated I flew in a season with extremely variable weather, this caused some delays and days lost however it was great experience and this cost was definitely worthwhile . Compressed training in Summer with day after day of clear skies may lead to a different outcome.

Similarly with different instructors there are another set of pro's and cons, when teaching/instructing a set of students over a long timeframe a lack of continuity is very apparent. Each time you change instructors there is a loss, each time there a delay of a few weeks there's a loss as they struggle to grasp where you fit in their mental model of training. Compounding this is the fact that as you spend time away from the controls is that technique atrophies as well.

It well known and accepted that changing a school teacher mid stream during a course has a negative impact on students, and that some teachers are better than others. This doesn't mean that schools randomly change instructors to make up for this variation on quality so I'd take the 'multiple instructors' piece with a grain of salt. This isn't saying that there isn't value in specialist training just as there's value in a science teacher teaching science and a maths teacher teaching maths however doing your basis pilots licence you're really in primary school with a generalist instructor.

Of course there may be value in spending 100 hours of instruction with multiple different instructors to average out the lack of quality with some instructors, however most people contemplating getting their license don't have the luxury of time or budget so they need to compromise. 

 

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Even when you have found that ideal instructor! ,to suit your own mentally. 

You still have to front the senior instructor for your final exam.

spacesailor

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On 22/10/2021 at 8:00 AM, turboplanner said:

Interesting that this subject continues to roll on and on when the majority of training aircraft in Australia may well be less than five years old.

Certainly that may not be true for country airstrips where there may be an old faithful 172 with another decade still left in it.

I can't comment on the average age of the GA training fleet in Australia with any degree of rigour,  however the average age of the GA fleet in Australia is 40 years. Guys this is average age, so for every new plane there's an 80 year old one. A significant percentage of these planes are used for training purposes so I find it very unlikely that the GA training fleet is anywhere near the 5 years figure. You may be able to cherry pick an individual flying school which meets those figure but only by excluding complex training requirements like twin engines etc.

Also the average aircraft age has been increasing for a number of years, so the situation is getting worse.

The average age of the regional turboprop fleet is over 23 years. Yes the average age puts them into the previous century.

 

From an engineering perspective the situation is even worse, the technologies which can make flying safer by relieving pilot workload are missing in action even on new planes. For example lets choose a situation which led to an accident 20 years ago. From the ATSB reports a mechanical failure due to leaded fuel cause detonation causing bearing failure and engine loss. The second engine was lost due to high power settings and detonation.

Fast forwarding to today and the same failure modes are likely to occur for the following reasons.

  • Leaded fuel is still in use leading to buildups and hot spots. The majority of engines in common use removed this fuel type > 40 years ago
  • Poor engine design, fuel mixture control is still a manual process. The majority of engines in common use automated this > 20 years ago
  • Poor engine design, Engine instrumentation is still poor due to lead in the fuel. The majority of engines in common use oxygen sensors etc. > 20 years ago
  • Poor engine design, Detonation detection is not used. The majority of engines in common use detonation sensors etc. > 20 years ago

All of the above should have been resolved 20 years ago, leaded fuel should have been phased out as it's a neurotoxin. Engine control should be automated, it not expensive as the components which do this cost less than a pack of cigarettes.

 

For example some people will say that you can't use sensors to detect detonation in an airplane engine because they're too noisy being aircooled. However detonation can be detected electronically by running a current through the sparkplug post ignition, it's how Mazda, Saab, BMW etc detect preignition. It's an old technology and it's introduction would make the GA fleet safer.

 

There is currently a debate about whether helicopter cylinder failures is being caused by low lead petrol in hot inland areas. This is not an issue with fuel it's an issue with defective products, poor instrumentation and controls allow the manufacturer to squirm out of the accountability issues. There are design solutions to all of these problems however there is no incentive to include them by default.

Fuel injection replaced carburetors because of emissions targets, prior to this it was seen as a "premium" product which you would pay more for. Now you can't buy a carburetted car, cylinders all get an accurate amount of fuel. Compare this to the aircraft industry, you have to pay more to buy "matched injectors" if you're lucky enough to have injection in the first place.

 

 

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If you go to USA and get a quick PPL you will be able to convert it to Aussie PPL with air legislation and possibly other things to consider. You will be OK flying whatever you learnt in, but you will not be ready to fly some of the RAAus fleet of lightweight, fairly high performance, Rotax engined aircraft.

If you go the other way and learn with RAAus type aircraft, you will be pretty well equipped to step into the ageing GA fleet. You may not enjoy suddenly finding yourself in what feels like a heavy truck type of vehicle, but it will not be really dangerous.

The other difference between GA and RAAus is when it comes to cross country work. It is my belief that RAAus does not equip you for cross country flying. Just noting on this site that others have said they have several electronic means of navigation and they trust them to never break down.

I have experienced a GPS telling me to turn 45 deg when I could see my destination directly ahead, not once, but twice. High tech is great, but we need to know the basics.

Whichever way you go. Enjoy it.

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On 21/10/2021 at 11:31 AM, Ian said:

Hi as someone who recently went down this path I'd recommend the compressed approach, especially if you have other commitments, ie work, family etc. After a few weeks of sick kids, work commitments, bad weather, instructors changing, aircraft issues you're so far behind that you're paying money just tread water.

 

Can you please provide more details, i.e. how many hours per day/week/total in  compressed course. I understand the figures fluctuate, only interested in averages.

 

The Op has mentioned compressed PPL course in the US over 1 month, curious how does it compare with locally.

Thanks

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About 3 weeks in total. I had some prior lessons however that just wasn't working for me and I did the theory by myself as I prefer learning from books and I'm good at maths/chem/physics. Of course the instructors did ask theory based questions however that was more applying theory in practice type instruction and briefings.

Flying 2-3 times a day generally in 1-1.5 hour blocks depending upon the weather and no real weekends 7 days a week to trying to fit in the necessary hours. Stressful but a thoroughly enjoyable experience especially if your work is reasonably high stress as you can't think about work when you're trying to fit in checks, calls etc.

Doing the Navigation work tended to clock up hours faster as the trips were longer and more complex with detours etc. Lots of work in different environments, airspaces etc.

The other key was that my instructors agreed to be a bit flexible, early starts etc, and I was too working in and around their normal students.

I think that in many cases its good to fly when you're not at your best. It highlights where you're weak and need to compensation. The first flight of the day you're always pretty good, by the third flight no so much. It made the navigation and final exams easier because I had become somewhat used to a demanding schedule over a longer timeframe.

It could have been done in a slightly shorter period with better weather but the experience gained was good.

 

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12 hours ago, Ian said:

About 3 weeks in total...

It could have been done in a slightly shorter period with better weather but the experience gained was good

Wow that's even shorter than US.. 

 

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