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Do I save money by obtaining PPL in LSA but still have to check out in C172 later?

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Student Pilot

I'm considering pursuing a private pilot certificate in a LSA aircraft primarily to save cost - $90 per hr vs $115-$130 in a C172. However I would like to fly C172s or similar category and would most likely have to be checked out on the C172 etc later. Would my savings by obtaining the PPL in the LSA be lost by having to get checked out in a C172? What's typically involved in getting checked out in another aircraft? Should I just pursue the PPL in the C172 to begin with?

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4 Answers



  1. Jim Foley on Jan 30, 2012

    It really would all depend.  The costs for an FBO near me are similar to what you have mentioned.  About $90 for a Skycatcher, and $140 for a Skyhawk.  Now, I have had my private for several years, but I find the Skycatcher LSA more difficult to fly.  Not by much, but it did feel a bit squirly.  Let’s assume it takes you 50 hours to obtain your PPL, that’s a total aircraft cost of $4,500 for the Skycatcher, and $7,000 for the Skyhawk; A pretty large difference.  Even if it took you 10 hours of dual instruction to transistion (probably less time than that), you still would have saved a respectable amount of money.  Of course, it’s different for everyone, but Skyhawks are extremely easy to fly, IMO.

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  2. Gary Moore on Jan 30, 2012

    I have to agree with Jim – learn to fly in the cheapest thing available to you.

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  3. Curtis Ide on Jan 31, 2012

    Your checkout in the 172 should take less than 5 hours once you get your PPL.  Using your local aircraft cost that’s a difference of atleast $25.00 per hour over about 50-60 hours or a difference in total cost of 1250.00.  Five hours of aircraft and instructor time in the 172 should run you less than $1000.00 with the instructor.  So you save 250 dollars and have more total hours to show for your money.  So just as Jim stated you would be well ahead of the game using the $90.00 per hour aircraft.
    Just keep in mind when you switch to the C172 ask if you can take a passenger in the back for your second or third flight just to get a feel for the airplane in both configurations.  Good luck on the training!

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  4. Curtis Ide on Jan 31, 2012

    Forgot to mention – you may want to consider how many of each aircraft they have.  If they only have one skycatcher you may want to consider the 172 so that you don’t end up having extensive downtime for maintainence.

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