Ready To Fly - All Advice Appreciated

I’m really close to going for a lifelong dream. I’ve wanted to be a pilot since I first flew at age 10, I’ve been a passenger at various times and done a little bit of flying. I’ve always studied planes and planned what I would buy if the time was now. Well the time is here.

I’m trying to get my wife to be excited and comfortable about the whole idea. We demoed a Columbia 400 (my current #1 choice) 2 weeks ago and she went from being scared to death to OK with it. I flew the plane most of the demo and all I can say is wow compared to the 172’s and 182’s I’m used to. In a couple weeks, a friend of mine will take us in his Cessna 210 from NJ to Ann Arbor to see if she likes really traveling this way. If I get the thumbs up after that trip, I’m going into it full time to get my tickets.

I plan on typical missions of 200 to 500 nm, lots of trips to Michigan games during the season. 2-4 passengers. I want to train full time right thru IFR and take a CFI with me on plenty of planned IFR trips until I feel comfortable and proficient. My goal is to be in that position in a year. I can and will devote as much time to this as I have to. Am I being overly ambitious?

I plan to buy a plane after I get my Private Pilot, High Perf, Complex and Twin (if I go that route), then use it to accumulate hours and get my IFR. I like the Columbia 350 and 400 and the Diamond DA-42. Right now I’m leaning towards the 350, but I plan to do a lot more research between now and next spring. An integrated G1000 is a must in any case. Any thoughts on these planes?

I’m checking out all the local flight schools now, looking at the planes and meeting the instructors. I’m going to narrow it down to 2 or 3 and then do an hour or two with each before I decide. Any tips on picking the right one?

There are several local airports. Any tips on choosing a home field? My first choices are N51, N40 and SMQ.

Again, any and all advice greatly appreciated.


But to answer your questions, there have been several times when this topic has come up. Here is one

A thread a bit closer to the question asked would be Buying a plane to get your ratings. But even that thread, while outlining the total cost of ownership and weighing it against the cost of renting while getting hours for the certificate, doesn’t address his specific questions about specific planes.

Oh, and while he may support that school up north, I would like to welcome him to Flight Aware anyway (esp. since he may own an airplane some day!)

Let me also wish todd92 a warm welcome.
Really, welcome. :smiley:

On behalf of myself and my Seattle Seahawks, welcome to the forum Todd!

Todd, I’m pretty sure Sky Manor, Solberg and Somerset all have flight schools, check each one and see which one you like the best, not neccessarily which one can “promise” you the cheapest price. It’s never too early to get started with the ground/knowledge portion. If any of these schools are Cessna Pilot Centers they will try to sell you the private pilot CPC CD-ROMs. It’s well worth the ~$250 price tag, and you can start doing the first few lessons even before you start flying, it will help greatly.
As far as picking the right school/instructor, see this link from AOPA’s website. You can sign up for a free 6-month subscribtion to their “Flight Training” magazinehere. Much other info is available from the AOPA website.

0 Hours to IFR rating in a year is possible, but it will require a lot of work from you an your instructor(s). NJ weather is not exactly the best for flight training, especially as we head into the winter months, the flying days get shorter and the wind becomes more of an issue. You can work a deal with the school to pre-pay a certain amount of credit to your account, or lots of school can offer a pre-pay package.

Thats all I have time for now, but good luck in whatever you decide, feel free to ask any questions either here or in a Personal Message, there are a lot of helpful know-it-alls…I mean knowledgeable people here.

You can certainly get to IFR in a year if you have the time and money.

If you spend much time earning or managing money, it can be tough though. You can also spend money to save time by buying a plane to get your rating, and/or hiring an instructor full time. There are also schools in Florida where you get a rating in a fixed amount of time.

Nothing wrong with your choices of planes either, but I think you will find that in spite of its ease of use, the insurance folks want to treat the Twinstar like a traditional twin (which means they want hours, training, and dollars to be your friend).

I would suggest you look into training in a G1000 equipped Star if you can. It is the best step up trainer for either the 350 or the DA42. Yes, you can train in a 350, but I believe you will be more comfortable more quickly in the DA40. This will get you out and flying more because you won’t need an instructor nearly as much. You will be confident in the DA40 to go out VFR solo at any time. After you get to 200 hours and IFR, you can make an easy switch up, and have less hassle from the insurance gang because you will have the glass experience as well as the hours and ratings they want to see for the 350. Perhaps, by then, they will have a better attitude about the twin as well.

Welcome to the club!

The thread I suggested was to answer the “training” part of the question. And Ohio State and Michigan just don’t go to together.