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Wild Idea

Discussion in 'Investment and Retirement Planning' started by spoolinup22, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. spoolinup22

    spoolinup22 Well-Known Member

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    I'm putting this in the investment area because the people that come here have more sense than the general forum. That said, I appreciate the good and bad advice here.

    Dilemna: I need 700 hours to upgrade at my current job. I understand that once I have the hour requirement, AND the company and myself feel ready, then I will get the call. However, I want to build time. I also want to become a better pilot. Just need to reiterate that this isn't about me just building time to build time, I want to learn a new skill, enjoy flying, and possible have my own airplane.

    My idea is to purchase a glider, get my rating, and really enjoy soaring. I want to also lease it to a club where they can use it for instruction / rentals. Obviously I have to find a club that is on board with this, but is the idea somewhat plausible?

    I feel my Pro's are:
    - Use the club to help pay the note on it
    - Have access to an aircraft to build flight time
    - become an aircraft owner ( i know, it it flies, floats or.....)

    Con's:
    - liability
    - student instruction will occur so it will get beat up

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  2. killbilly

    killbilly Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens

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  3. drunkenbeagle

    drunkenbeagle Gang Member

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    1) You aren't going to build much time in a glider. Certainly not 700 hours, unless your timeframe is 10 or 15 years. Or you will live at the field.
    2) Gliders are not the major expense in soaring operations. They don't burn fuel, have quick and cheap annuals, and don't cost much anyway.
    3) The gliders that you would want want to own (high performance single place sailplanes) are exactly the ones that a club would not want their general membership using. As they are expensive, and likely to get broken, resulting in insurance claims.

    My club has certainly used privately owned ships offered on attractive terms (usually free). Even then, they don't fly enough to be worth the cost to insure.

    I would just join the glider club, and fly there as an ordinary member. Spend all of the money you would have spent on the glider paying for tows, and buying the club members beers after the tug is parked. Maybe then get a glider CFI rating, you will end up flying more then.
     
  4. hammerhat

    hammerhat Well-Known Member

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    Some thoughts on your plan (you may already know this but I didn't until I started flying gliders).

    1. Most glider clubs operate as nonprofits. They asses fixed membership fees and often don't charge members for glider flight time. So a traditional leaseback is not going to work. Commercial glider ops are different but there is only a handful in the country. OTOH if you offer your ship to the club you may get something in return, for example if the club has member IA they may do your annuals and minor repairs for free etc.

    2. All gliders that exist on the market today can be divided in two broad classes: high performance competition glass ships and low performance trainers (the taxonomy here is more complicated, and exceptions exist but this is ok for our discussion). The former class is what you want for time building, with a little bit of skill you can keep them up for many hours, they're priced close to 6-figures for a 10 years old ship with thousands of hours on it. The latter are 1/10th of that price, still fun to fly but they often glide just a little bit better than a brick. On many days you'd be lucky to stay up for 45 minutes, unless the soaring conditions are really great (And yes exceptions exist, yes one can do some impressive XC in a 1-26, and one can buy a glass ship for 20k but as with everything else in life you get what you pay for)

    Also I disagree that clubs don't want nice ships in their fleet. I know my club would love to have some fancier ships. Yes they are expensive to insure, but club can restrict their use to more experienced members.

    I like your idea in general but I wouldn't call it "investment", as with other things in aviation you probably won't make any money, and likely end up spending more than you expect. But it's definitely going to make you a better pilot and you will certainly have more fun soaring than boring holes in the sky in a Skyhawk.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
    spoolinup22 likes this.
  5. drunkenbeagle

    drunkenbeagle Gang Member

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    Well, I wouldn't say that we wouldn't want to have fancier ships, but an older L-23 is going to do a lot more tows. Restricting access means it will do even fewer tows, and the experienced members that would be qualified are exactly the ones that already own high performance ships.
     
  6. alaskadrifter

    alaskadrifter Noob

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    I don't know much about gliders, but as an aircraft owner you would be lucky to fly 100-200 hours a year, unless you treat it like a full time job.
     
  7. drunkenbeagle

    drunkenbeagle Gang Member

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    I think the most I have ever done was something like 30 hours in one year. Though I end up towing much more than soaring most years. In 6 years of soaring, I have about 100 hours. So 700 would take me until my mid 70's at the current rate. My average glider flight is 0.6 hours (that is probably skewed lower by the large number of tows into the pattern with students at .1 each).

    30 hours might not sound like much, but a typical training flight is 0.1 to 0.3 hours. A soaring lesson might be 1 hour. Lots of days, the soaring conditions will be poor and you won't end up flying, or it will be a 10 minute sled ride. A trip to a glider club is typically an all-day activity.

    You can fly 200 hours/year in a glider, but you would be at the field about 200 days to do that. For comparison, our tow plane usually does around 200 tach hours / year, and that is spread across towing a dozen or so gliders. Flown by about 50 glider pilots.
     
  8. hammerhat

    hammerhat Well-Known Member

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    That's until you get access to a glass ship. Then on a good day your average flight can easily be 4-5 hours, and even that is largely bladder endurance limitation.

    Oh and to the OP, learn from my mistakes and don't sign up to be a tow pilot, unless of course you want to build some tailwheel time.
     
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  9. spoolinup22

    spoolinup22 Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the responses, very well said.
     

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