Whether you have 100 hours in Cessnas or 10,000 hours as a Concorde captain, you should get a proper checkout in every new type of aircraft you fly.
The Challenger is more docile and easier to fly than most planes, however it does have its own personality. Thorough conversion training typically takes from one to ten hours depending on the pilot's adaptability as well as their past experience, not just in total hours but also in types of aircraft flown.
The most obvious difference between Challengers and Cessnas (and the Concorde) is the use of the rudder. Pilots of general aviation aircraft and airliners are accustomed to very little rudder usage. Their feet must be re-educated when they convert to ultralights, taildraggers, aerobatic airplanes, gliders and other aircraft with more dynamic handling characteristics.
One Challenger personality trait is the high thrust line which causes the nose to ease down when you apply power. This is identical to aircraft such as the Lake Amphibian and Republic SeaBee but opposite to Cessnas and Pipers. It is smarter to learn this during a checkout than on your first overshoot!
These are just a couple of examples of differences you'll find between types. There are lots of other factors - stick and rudder forces, power-to-weight ratio, inertia vs drag, speed envelope, to name a few - which result in differences in handling characteristics and in normal and emergency procedures.
Definitely! Floats and skis are no more difficult than wheels but there are situations unique to each environment. These are easy to deal with when you know the proper techniques but can be dangerous to encounter if you don't.
One example is when you are on short final to glassy water, or to snow on an overcast day, and realize you can't tell your height above the surface. Flare too high and you drop in like a stone. Flare too low and you go in nose first. The proper technique is not to flare at all! Hold a slightly nose high attitude and use power to maintain a small rate of descent until touchdown. Easy isn't it!
On floats you will learn to deal with glassy water, rough water, taxiing across the wind, docking and other issues which apply more to watercraft than aircraft. On skis you will learn to deal with surface conditions that include hard packed snow, deep powder, sticky slush, glare ice and rutted skidoo tracks.
In the air, floatplanes and skiplanes handle much like airplanes on wheels. Going back and forth between the air and the water or snow is a bit different but largely the same. Manoeuvring on the water or snow, especially the water, can be quite different! Operating away from the structure of an airport is also new for most pilots. There are no runways, taxiways and windsocks on lakes!
What makes sense for any given person depends upon their individual goals.
For the person seeking the pleasure and freedom
of ultralight aviation the pragmatic licence choices are the Ultralight
and Recreational permits.
The Private Pilot Licence was at one time the first rung on the ladder. If you wanted to fly, it was the starting point. Now however the Private licence is usually only pursued by those seeking utility travel or a career in aviation.
For serious business travelling on a fixed schedule the Private Licence is a starting point for adding night, instrument and possibly multiengine ratings.
If you seek a career as a professional pilot then you should start with a Private Licence since it is the prerequisite for Commercial and Airline Transport levels.
In essence, the Ultralight, Recreational and Private licences are like rungs on a ladder. You can start on a lower rung and work your way up, or you can go directly to a higher rung. As you go up the ladder your privileges expand, but only with the investment of additional time, energy and money.
Notice that we have provided two sets of figures for flight time and cost. The Legal Minimum number of flying hours is virtually never enough to reach the licence standard of proficiency. The Realistic Scenario is what most people take in actuality to reach the appropriate level of competency. Plan on the latter.
The Sport Pilot Permit only exists in the United States where it came into being in 2004 along with their new Light Sport Aircraft category. They are much like our Canadian Advanced Ultralight category and Ultralight Pilot Permit with Passenger Carrying Endorsement however neither are recognized here.
Challengers in the U.S. meet the definition of Light Sport Aircraft so they may be flown by holders of the Sport Pilot Permit.
If you train in your own Challenger you will
cut 50% off the cost of getting an Ultralight Pilot Permit and 65% off
the cost of a Recreational Pilot Permit.
The best way to minimize time and energy, as well as money, is to be realistic and get "just enough" licence for the type of flying you really will be doing.
One way to think of licence choices is that if you start on a lower rung than you really need you can always move up, but if you start on a higher rung than you ever use you can never recoup the time, energy and money you invested.
Another easy way to save time and money is to fly often. If you can average two or three lessons a week then you will take much less flight time in total than if you do a lesson every week or two. The reason of course is that you will retain much more of what you learn if it is reinforced within a short period of time.
You can also keep your costs down by flying at smaller airfields. At larger, busy airports you can easily spend 30 minutes taxiing out, doing run ups, waiting in line to takeoff and later taxiing back to the ramp. That's your money being spent to drive around on the ground! Plus, at a small airport you can fly tighter circuits, doubling the number of practice takeoffs and landings in an hour.
Realistically, by training in your own Challenger you will save about $1,500 on an Ultralight Pilot Permit and about $4,200 on a Recreational Pilot Permit.
Instead of paying $75-125 an hour to rent a flight school's plane, the largest cost element in getting a licence, you will pay only $5-10 an hour to put gas in your Challenger. Of course you will pay your instructor's fees in either case.
All Challenger flight time can be credited towards both the Ultralight and Recreational Pilot Permits. (The only exception is the flight test for the Rec permit which must be in a certified aircraft in the Aeroplane category.)
Challenger dealers usually have instructors. If not they will help you find one.
Not really! If you are planning to purchase a Challenger then you should do so before starting your licence training. This way you eliminate the aircraft rental charges discussed in the preceding question. Why not put that $1,500-$4,200 into the acquisition of your plane instead of into someone else's coffers?
You will have the additional advantages of learning the personality nuances of the airplane you will actually be operating and there will be no delay between the time you do your training and when you are off flying on your own.
People who get their licence first usually end up having to do conversion training to solo their Challenger. They also require additional training time to sweep away the cobwebs and rust which inevitably accumulate in the interval between getting their licence and getting their own Challenger airborne.
No. Aside from the cost and other reasons noted above, most people only have so much spare time. You are better off to stay focused on getting your own Challenger into the air soonest and then move on to the training phase in it.
No. You will dilute your savings efforts and delay the time when you are flying your own plane. You would be better off to purchase Challenger sub-kits, such as the tail or wings, so you can start right away and have a lasting investment.
Renter pilots will tell you that renting quickly becomes stale. When you have your own plane you go when and where you choose and return at your leisure. Also, in your own Challenger that famous "$100 hamburger" only costs $10!
You're not exactly applying to test fly the X-15 - it doesn't take Chuck Yeager to stickhandle a Challenger around the patch! It's virtually unheard of for a person between the ages of 17 and 70 to be incapable of learning to fly the Challenger.
If you're in decent health and reasonably active, drive a car for example, then you should do fine. If you have had any serious medical problems then you might want ensure that they are under control so they won't block your licence.
We assume flying has some significant appeal or you wouldn't be wading through this FAQ! The best way to see if you'll like flying the Challenger is to arrange a demo flight with a dealer. A demo flight will let you experience first hand the pleasure of recreational aviation Challenger style. It will also give you a good sense of the capabilities and performance of the airplane.
A demo flight is a better test than a sample flying lesson. While learning to fly is satisfying, it is inherently a structured experience. You only really get to taste the freedom of flight when you leave the nest and head out on your own.
Another way to get a sense of whether or not you'll like flying the Challenger is to order the video. The video is a great way to witness the versatility and performance of the Challenger. Tour the Thousand Islands on floats, wander over gorgeous Florida greenery, skim along a snow-covered river with friends, ride a thermal upwards with the engine off. See why we fly the Challenger!
To learn and see more order our comprehensive information package and video!