Sunday, August 22, 2010

How can I do this?

The decision to keep flying was an easy one. It has become such an important part of my life that I never really considered an alternative, but affordability was a real problem. The slow economy had severely reduced our family income, and my carer was also in transition having just started a new job at a different company. I needed a way to at least make flying 'cost neutral'.

An AOPA webinar on "The cost of Flying" provided some ideas, as well as volumes of information available on their website. They provided about a dozen ways to make money flying. The most obvious solution was to become an instructor. I have done that as a career before, while still in the Navy, and the thought at going back to teaching people to fly was appealing. However, I didn't want to commit to the training and loose control of my own schedule by working at a flight school. 

Again, the obvious answer was to buy my own plane and 'freelance' as an adjunct instructor. In this instance the economy actually helped me as the the price of planes in the used aircraft marketplace was considerably less then even a few years ago. Having flown and fallen in love with the Grumman Tiger, I started looking at them, as well as the Cheetah and Lynx models. They were all old.

I had once purchased a classic 1966 Ford Mustang. A great car, but already old at the time I bought it. I learned about cooling systems, fuel systems, rust and corrosion, exhaust systems, convertible tops and, etc, etc. I loved the car, but it was a LOT of maintenance. A 'fellow blogger' had detailed his problems owning a Grumman Cheetah and it seemed he had found that he had the same kind of  problems with his plane that I had had with my car. You love them but the up keep is a killer.

I couldn't afford a quarter of a million dollars to buy a new airplane. However, I might be able to buy something at half that price, which is why I began to consider an LSA.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why do I want to do this?

Once I realized that my current way of flying was unsustainable, I started thinking about what I could do to keep flying. It made me define what I really wanted to do as a pilot:
  1. Day trips and the $100 Hamburger. There are many attractions in the local area that we would like to visit. We both love the beach, but the traffic to and from is simply horrible. Museums,craft shows, occasional sporting events and the brief but important get-away are all on our list.
  2. Weekend trips and mini-vacations are also important. The ability leave the 'world' behind for just a bit and experience life as a tourist. 
  3. Trips to see the kids. One is 2.5 hours (no traffic) away, the other is about 13 hours (no construction) away. Traffic and construction are givens in today's world.
  4. The 'big events' are something I've always wanted to see. Oshkosh (of course), and Sebring, Sun 'n Fun and AOPA events are all on the list.
  5. Touch and Go's and the peaceful evening solo flights have always been something I cherish. That hour or so alone, just 'doin' my thing' is just simply priceless to me. I enjoy fling at night.
  6. The ability to share this freedom with others.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Realization

I had just completed a BFR in a Technically Advanced Aircraft and decided to take my bride for a ride. She was not impressed. While I was still in awe of the wonderful new toys, she felt restricted with the heavy airbag encased harness, the lack of adequate airflow and he inability to completely understand my enthusiasm. I thought this would be 'the next step' to get us really involved in General Aviation but to her, this was just another airplane.

It was just another expensive airplane. Our hour long trip around the local area cost over $200. If we wanted to take mini-vacations to the beach or New England attractions the cost of flying would put flying out of our financial reach. As my chief money manager she wasn't buying it and without her support we weren't going flying.

I needed another plan