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Astroguy

Why I went Ultralight after starting GA...in case anyone is interested...

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I'm 56 years old and I work in the medical field and I will routinely come into contact with people who assume that there is a tomorrow but learn that tomorrow is now in jepordy.

Every year I take a course to learn something ... last year I recieved my HAM radio license for instance.

I've wanted to fly all my life and with kids and money issues it's been a no go. But last year my wife purchased my ground school GA and a discovery flight on a Cessna 172.

I knew that I"d never be able to affort the often underestimated cost of getting my PPL for finacial reasons but I enjoyed the 45 hours of ground school like an excited kid and after flying the Cessna for my first 5 hours it became painfully apparent that I didn't have the money to complete a PPL but at the same time I was so addicted to the takeoff, the landing... the entire thing. I was obsessed.

The average Cdn PPL takes between 65 and 75 hours although only 45 hrs are required. I'd spoken with a few pilots and it seemed unofficially that the school quote price of PPL of $7500 Cdn was on average much closer to $17,000 to $18,000 Cdn to complete the basic PPL.

I knew that this would never work out for a guy who was old enough to know that I wasn't going to make money doing this.... I simply wanted to pilot and land an airplane before someone tells me that I don't have a 'tomorrow' as it were.

I was never going to make money flying so the outlay of that cost was frivolous. But I was hooked. I have a pilot friend who told me to not bother with a PPL because after all that I'd just have a license to do nothing!

Then one day one of my ground school GA instructors mentioned about Ultralights and the local company that had an LSA.

After one discovery flight on the Ikarus I was again .... wholeheartedly enthused because although it was much like a Cesssna 150 but smaller it was just so enjoyable to fly.

The Ultralight CFI and I clicked immediately and the rest was a no brainer. My new CFI had obtained his PPL by age 17 and had well over 1,000 hours..... so I immediately switched out of my unattainable GA toward my new path.

At the end of the day the Ultralight world was still every bit total freedom in the sky and my cost to fly myself into the skies like a god was a very relax $6,500 Cdn all in. Plus the added advantage of being able to get up in the air solo much earlier than GA.... I think I was solo at 13 hours including my Cessna time and although many will say that it is dangerous to get going too fast... I say that some risk is good. Again I work in a field where people wrap themselves in bubble wrap and eat right and excercise , look both ways before crossing the street... never would ride a motorcycle or smoke a cigarette.....and yet... there they are without a 'tomorrow'.

SO here I am.... a low hours pilot who can on any decent weather day text my flight school and the next thing be flying over my house or clipping the clouds (500' below of course) at 3,000 ft.

So the GA ground school was grand and much more involved than the ULPP groundschool. It was 45 hrs for the PPL groundschool and only 20 for the ULPP ground school ... I took both ground schools because I enjoyed this stuff so much.

I actually went to Oshkosh this year with one of my GA groundschool instructors.

Other cool things are...... that I can move up to 25 of my LSA hours towards a Rec Pilot permit with 5 more hours crosstraining.... I think also.... I can move up to 10 hours of my LSA hours into a PPL but that's very unlikely I would.

Anyways all I've ever said since my first Cessna flight....all I want to do is simply take off , cruise and look down at my world, and land the thing , and stay alive.... all solo, no one else in the cockpit. Once I'd done a solo, I considered this all I ever wanted to do and I would never be on my death bed regretting not attempting flight.

But again, here I am still addicted a putting evey penny i have selfeshly into a passion,( I"ve cut of my oldest for cash payouts to university in her 5th year)...Flying is better than a drug.... I am high for two whole days after a flight! I feel so successful and feel that I"ve again learned something and work my brains. What a confidence boost doing what all my co workers think is dangerous, fun, crazy etc.... but they'd never do it!

ULPP in the LSA world is the correct choice for anyone in my situation, age and financial wise.

One other interesting thing is the LSA that I fly is a Comco Ikarus C 42 but it is only considered an ultralight if a few parts of the world including Canada but in the USA and Europe Britain it is not considered an Ultralight .

So basicallly I can fly a 1,200 lb max TOW machine with a 4.5 hr range, side by side seating, fully VFR instrument, full control surfaces and trims, with an 80 hp 4 cycle 4 cyl liquid cooled engine.

It was a great trade off and if I never fly another single minute in my life, I can call it well spent time and money and will never have the regret of not attemping it. Such a huge boost to my little ego it is!

Anyhow...sorry for the long winded response but you got me thinking with your question.

Great and thanks

DaveP

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welcome Dave. It doesn'r matter what you fly, so long as you fly. Plus enjoy it.

You don't say where you are but I assume Canada from your reference to Cdn.

In Auistralia we fly Recreational aircraft with RAAus. LSA I think requires a GA licence, although the same planes can be RAAus registered and flown on a certificate, ultralights don't really exist as such.

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welcome Dave. It doesn'r matter what you fly, so long as you fly. Plus enjoy it.

You don't say where you are but I assume Canada from your reference to Cdn.

In Auistralia we fly Recreational aircraft with RAAus. LSA I think requires a GA licence, although the same planes can be RAAus registered and flown on a certificate, ultralights don't really exist as such. Turning ultralight

Correct sir... I am from Eastern Ontario Canada. Yes the ikarus c42 ultralight is considered LSA under GA in most of the world but for some reason in Canada it is still falling under Advanced ultralight category. Making it and easier to achieve goal. Would love to go to Australia someday. Thanks for the feedback

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Hi Dave,

Again welcome, I fit into the same situation as you when it comes to age and money and having had an aviation background some years back I only took to the air not far off three years ago.

So a very similar pattern minus the GA start. I have to ask though, you mentioned you liked to learn something different each year if possible and I noticed your handle for this site is Astroguy, now that wouldn’t relate to one of your other learning experiences would it? Astronomy was, is one of my other passions but was forced to park the telescope due to shift work and that’s how the flying came to be.

Enjoy your flying and welcome again.

Nico.

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everything is much more expensive in Australia. my GA school charges about AUD500 per hour (200 plane, 100 instructor, 70-80 fuel, landing fee, gst) and it takes sooooo looong for me to progress (about 50h now, and still in the middle of the process)... but finally this is not the biggest problem, once a week flight - 25K PA - is not cheap, but affordable. But this is fun! Flying circus as it is.

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G,day astroguy thanks for sharing your experience and reasoning, it very much reflects the circumstances of lots of us latter days pilots who simply could not afford flying as well as working jobs, kids, family and all the other day to day stuff that came befor flying could be achieved. I am 67 and have only been flying for 8 years. For the cost of a PPL here you can have your RAA pilots certificate and buy a used entry level ultralight aircraft to achieve your dream. So if you just want to fly and not pose around like your someone special, thats the way to go. I also believe in your basic philosophy of, do it now because their is no absolute guarantee of tomorrow, it may be an age and experience thing i guess eh. Nice to hear from you sir, cheers hargraves

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Hi Dave,

Again welcome, I fit into the same situation as you when it comes to age and money and having had an aviation background some years back I only took to the air not far off three years ago.

So a very similar pattern minus the GA start. I have to ask though, you mentioned you liked to learn something different each year if possible and I noticed your handle for this site is Astroguy, now that wouldn’t relate to one of your other learning experiences would it? Astronomy was, is one of my other passions but was forced to park the telescope due to shift work and that’s how the flying came to be.

Enjoy your flying and welcome again.

Nico.

 

Hey Nico 13..... right about the astronomy bug.... I've ground and polished a couple of mirrors and probably had at least a dozen nice scope from Dobs to GEM newtonians... I always loved the Newtonian. I did emulsion based astrophotography in the early '90's and have built two roll off roof observatories in my time... but alas like you.... I got too tired of trying to stay up late enough with work, kids, and last minute socked in overcast sky!!! So I started doing other things..... and I really do still do 'astronomy'... I go to starparties and the like and still have a large social life in my local astronomy club. What kind of telescopes are your choice or what do you have? Now that I have completed a lifelong goal of mastering a flying machine and staying alive.....before I die, I've also had the life long goal of getting my carcass to Australia.... ever since the age of 15 years after I'd read a National Geographic major story about an Australian woman called Robyn Davidson who had crossed the Gibson desert west from Alice Springs to Carnarvon solo, with camels.... After that Australia became an obsession. So now that I've completed my ' fly before I die" life quota... Australia is my next thing and then I will have completed two of my highest priority life obsessions.

Where abouts are you in the land? are you city or rural....concerning light pollution and sky quality for astronomy. I actually managed to witness that second comet impact of Jupiter which was observed by an Austrailian in 2010.... Anthony Wesley.... so between that and the Comet ShoeMaker Levy impact on Jupiter in 1994, I"ve now witness two live action events in the heavens.

It's wonderful to just be able to contact the world so easily... maybe I'll see you around some time eh?

DaveP

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G,day astroguy thanks for sharing your experience and reasoning, it very much reflects the circumstances of lots of us latter days pilots who simply could not afford flying as well as working jobs, kids, family and all the other day to day stuff that came befor flying could be achieved. I am 67 and have only been flying for 8 years. For the cost of a PPL here you can have your RAA pilots certificate and buy a used entry level ultralight aircraft to achieve your dream. So if you just want to fly and not pose around like your someone special, thats the way to go. I also believe in your basic philosophy of, do it now because their is no absolute guarantee of tomorrow, it may be an age and experience thing i guess eh. Nice to hear from you sir, cheers hargraves

 

Hargraves.... well thanks sir. It's very affirming to hear from folks with similar stories and I love the fact that you pushed yourself at your age which was almost identical to mine at your startup in aviation..... I was 56 when I started this and I really sort of figured that I might be out of the game due to my age but I feel that I've become more of a force now than when I was younger....... I have to admit that more than a few people at work and such sort of consider me a bit daft as to waste so much time and money on a "license to do nothing" as one chap told me. It took alot of resolve and a great family to keep my pushing through even though it might have scared them a wee bit. I'm really proud of them!

Thanks again.... I'll be in Australia myself one day god willing.

DaveP

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everything is much more expensive in Australia. my GA school charges about AUD500 per hour (200 plane, 100 instructor, 70-80 fuel, landing fee, gst) and it takes sooooo looong for me to progress (about 50h now, and still in the middle of the process)... but finally this is not the biggest problem, once a week flight - 25K PA - is not cheap, but affordable. But this is fun! Flying circus as it is.

 

Yes I do understand for sure that I was able to pull this off cheaper than most other locations on this earth... I regularly meet folks who've purchase a $25,000 motorcycle or snowmachine toy and think that I"m crazy for my expense... so I've been able to rationalize my spending that way.

Thanks for the feed back antonts

DaveP

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welcome Dave. It doesn'r matter what you fly, so long as you fly. Plus enjoy it.

You don't say where you are but I assume Canada from your reference to Cdn.

In Auistralia we fly Recreational aircraft with RAAus. LSA I think requires a GA licence, although the same planes can be RAAus registered and flown on a certificate, ultralights don't really exist as such.

 

Thanks Yenn....

absolutely.... when I climb out with my little Ikarus.... it feels every bit the same as the Cessna 150 but I can climb faster!! Yes the rules with ultralights are highly varied around the world for sure..... Here in Canada we have an "Advanced Ultralight" catagory which allows this LSA to fly under it's rules. Advanced Ultralights here in Canada are company manufactured... must follow manufacturer prescribed maintenance..... and must be under 1,230 lbs Max TOW.

Thanks for the contact sir.

DaveP

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The Ikarus C42 is a microlight/ultralight (max TOW 450kg) in the UK and the whole of Europe and is extensively used for training here.

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