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Hello, I am not a pilot, but have considered becoming one for some time. I am just not sure if I can get out of personal aviation what I am looking for; please let me know what you think. I am in my late twenties, and am looking for a way to get to more places without having to miss a lot of work (I love my job). I am looking at aviation as a way to be able to travel to farther away places than is convenient in an automobile. I want to be able to hop in a plane with my wife and fly to Virginia Beach (live in Columbus, OH) to see our niece, and return 4 or 5 days later without the hassle and inconvenience of commercial travel. I would like to take weekend trips to different surrounding states. That kind of thing, more than local recreational flying. I would also love to be able to take my dog, but I don't know how well that works out in a small aircraft with a new pilot. I don't really understand how rentals work (do you pay for the time the plane is on the ground?), and my purchasing power would top out at around $150,000, while still having enough left for annual expenses. So do you think I could realistically meet my needs, or am I dreaming? I get the feeling that I could make these longer trips work with a higher level single piston, but I am not sure that I could stay in my budget and get the speed or payload I would need to travel long distances in a short time with wife and luggage. I would appreciate any suggestions you all may have. Thanks for your time.
Something you might want to look into would be a "discovery flight" offered by many flight schools around the nation. I know the flight school that I typically rent from offers this flight for a flat fee of $49, which is quite nice considering the hour long flight would run closer to $200 after a plane, instructor, etc. This is a good chance to experience general aviation in all it's glory and actually getting a little time to feel out the plane, the enviroment, etc.Frankly, to be perfectly up front, $150,000 isn't nearly enough to buy a "higher level" single piston in any kind of good shape, in my opinion. You'd be much better off devoting the money to getting your PPL and instrument rating, and then renting.Renting can be done one of two ways, wet or dry. Around my local area, wet is truly all that is available. Both methods are monitored via the time on the airplane's clock. When renting "wet", you fly the airplane and as needed, top off the gas. When you return the airplane, you are re-imbursed for the fuel cost. When renting "dry", you pay less per hour to rent the plane, but you are covering your own fuel cost, similar to a rental car. Many FBOs and flight schools also have minimum rental times (the one I choose to use is minimum 2 hr/day weekdays, 3hr/day weekends). The airplane does NOT accumulate time just sitting on the ground, unless of course there's a minimum per day rate as I mentioned, then when the clock rolls over to the next day, you're stuck paying for those minimum hours.In my opinion, and merely my opinion, you'd be best off putting forth the money to get your Private Pilot's License, your Instrument rating, and then renting as necessary. This way, you can truly gauge your need or desire for a plane without delving into purchasing, insurance for the plane, annuals, and other expenses, only to find out that your plane spends most of the time sitting on the ramp.Hope it helps.
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