Some new or aspiring pilots know what they want: Big tires, a tailwheel and being “off airport” just as much as “on airport.” If you land on the water, or are a helicopter, you’ll get used to the tower saying “land at your own risk.” This is music to the ears of those who chose a slightly unconventional learning path.
What do you seek? (In your aviation dreams?)
The cookie cutter flight school program? Or do you value critical skills early on that are often not taught until you fly your first seaplane or gravel bar landing tundra tired Super Cub?
It wasn’t too long ago that we all learned to fly a tail dragger in a field somewhere near a bigger airport. Most also turned out to be really good pilots for the simple reason that they had to use their feet (i.e. rudder) and an intuitive connection and approach to much of their flying. Just ask Sully.
Flying out of a field also implies bigger tires (or floats or skis), more environmental awareness, and the ability to safely read landscapes quickly. At first I thought it a bit trite to drag Sully into this, but then realized 100% of my mentors have the same profile – learned on a taildragger, had a deep interdisciplinary approach (gliders, jets, etc.) and most importantly had the self effacing ego free approach to it all.
If this is the type of flying that interests you then you’ve come to the right place.
The title of this post is “Buy Learn Fly”, for the simple reason that taildraggers are darn near impossible to rent (or find as common aircraft) yet they aren’t terribly expensive to buy. An amphibious plane might be a bit more money, but in the case of those looking for a “buy and hold” investment of a smart acquisition, the money doesn’t melt away like it might with a boat – or a new equally priced sports car.
If you want something convenient to keep nearby, that doesn’t need a lot of runway, that you can someday pass on to your kids for more than you paid for it, then I strongly suggest considering an Aeronca Champ, Super Cub, Cessna 180 / 185 or anything similar that has utility while you learn.
To get started, click here.
The benefits of not going mainstream are many: Airmanship, diverse skills, interdisciplinary approach to flying, to name a few.