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RCPackard

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All,

Just wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself. I am a soon to be retired Naval Officer (Explosive Ordnance Disposal - EOD type) living in San Diego, CA. Have had a lifelong passion for all things aviation. Started flying lessons some 20 years ago as a plebe at the Naval Academy but, not surprisingly, ran out of money after about 5-6 hours (plebe pay wasn't that much, only thing I had less of than money was free time). During the next twenty odd years, between deployments, marriage, 3 children, etc, never seemed to have enough time to follow my dream to learn how to fly.

An 11 month vacation to Iraq (not all places offering sun and sand are nice to visit) placed new emphasis on many things in my life... family, friends, and yes, the pursuit of one's dreams.

That said, I now find myself transitioning to civilian life (and a new career) and had hoped to take off a month or two to push through and concentrate on PPL. Once again, life has seem to conspire against me as there are a host of time-sensitive opportunities that may preclude me dedicating my full attention to earning PPL.

I decided early on I want to complete my PPL start to finish in taildraggers. I had planned on flying up to take lessons from Brian Thompson at Explore Aviation in Yakima and/or work in some time with Tony Markl and his Champ near Dover, Delaware around frequent business trips to DC area (both highly recommended instructors).

Chuck suggested via PM that I pulse the board membership to potentially find some quality tailwheel instruction closer to home (San Diego). I guess I assumed after an exhaustive search on Internet (clubs, flying schools, etc) that there just wasn't much hope for my neck of the woods. Hoping someone out there might have a suggestion.

My desires are simple: don't need to get anywhere fast (could rent for that). Just looking for low, slow pleasure and adventure I hope to share with my kids (10, 7 and 4) as they grow up with perhaps 10-14 day adventure trips up coast to Pacific Northwest. Based on what I have read on this board and others, I am hoping J-3 Cub or similiar classic would fit the bill. That said, I have not yet had the opportunity to experience a flight in a Cub (on my to do list). At present I live my life vicariously through others, to include the members of this board.

Sorry for the novel-like introduction and lead-in to question at hand - any suggestions for primary tailwheel instruction in San Diego?

Cheers and thanks for listening,

Randy

 

jimrice

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Do we allow USNA types in here? GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY. With that out of the way.......

Randy, welcome to the list. I am fairly new here myself, although I've been around Cubs all my life. I've flown a host of other a/c and nothing can beat a Cub for simple fun flying. Of course, you won't go anywhere fast.

Fortunately, there are Cubs for sale all over. Unfortunately, there aren't always good tailwheel instructors to go with them. The good news is a Cub is about as docile a taildragger as you will find. If you own a J-3, I am sure you will have no problem finding an instructor if you ask about a bit.

I was fortunate to grow up in a flying family. My dad was a B-24 pilot in ETO in WWII. My mom was a CFI. I learned to fly in high school but can definitely relate to the lack of money and time to fly while at USMA (Class of 1985). My brother owns the Cub we both learned to fly in and I own and am finishing a second one my dad started to restore. Both have been in the family since the late 1960s.

Good luck in your search for a Cub and instructor. Learning in a tailwheel is the only way to go!!!!! I have just over 1000 hours and 85% is in tailwheel planes. It provides a comfort factor in flying so many other planes.

Regards,

Jim Rice
Collierville, TN
N300S Starduster Too (Flying)
N7155H J-3 Cub (Restoration)

 

newcub

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Randy,

Good to have you on the forum. Since you are in the San Diego area, you may need an electrical system for radio and transponder. If so, you may want to consider a plane that I flew in the USMA flying club in the early 70's. I was a Chemistry Professor. The plane is an early SuperCub (PA-18-95). I also owned one until a few years ago, when I decided to go the Sport Pilot route.
 
N

NC92012

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Randy,
Welcome aboard to a website that is full of talented, well informed J-3 Cub enthusiasts. Just about any question you may have relating to Cubs will be answered in this forum. I'm sure that one of our members' can recommend an instructor in your area who will provide you with quality tailwheel instruction. I recommend that you join the Cub Club (cubclub.org), another excellent source for Cub related information. Again, welcome and thank you for your service to our Country. Gary
 

longwinglover

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Randy,

Welcome to the site!

There have been several postings similar to yours recently on "other" Cub sites like http://www.supercub.org/ and some good discussions by some knowledgable people. Here is a link to one of the threads: http://www.supercub.org/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=14037.

From my readings you will face two main problems in persuing your dream - insurance and finding a competent tailwheel instructor. Apparently both issues can be overcome, but you will have to work at it.

You have mentioned several locations around the US that you have looked into. I will throw several into the fray: in Prescott, Arizona you might try Tailwheels and More, in Hampton, New Hampshire you might try the Hampton Airport and in Andover, New Jersey try Andover Flight Academy.

Good luck with your flight training and keep us informed!

John Scott

 

JimC

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Hi, Randy. Back in '65, my brother and I bought a J3 and learned to fly in it. I highly recommend going that route. If you look around the grass strips in the San Diego area and locate some Cubs, I would imagine their pilots could direct you to local instructors. For example, at the 3 strips near Memphis where I hang out, I know of four CFI's who fly J3's.

Learning in a 65 will make you a better pilot, learning in an 85, 90, or O-200 is more fun. I have roughly about 1300 hours in J3's, maybe 200 hours in other taildraggers, and another 200 in nosedraggers. Flying J3's is more fun than watermelon on a hot summer day. Get a J3 and enjoy !
JimC
 

RCPackard

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All,

Thanks for warm welcome and, as always, great advice.

Jim, I find myself wondering is there no corner of the world where the good ol' Army-Navy rivalry does not exist. As you are not only a former cadet, but an upperclassman (I was Class of 87), I will no doubt wonder if you have my best interests in mind or are just in it to harrass me ;D

Growing up in Alaska I probably missed a golden opportunity to get started in aviation early. Lots of flights in Beavers, Supercubs, etc owned by family friends. All the girls were into downhill skiiing, so I went that route to fill my spare time. Sure I am glad I have matured since then and got my priorities straight.

I have considered purchasing a Cub (would love to go Supercub route if I could find one that is reasonably priced). Potentially have access to free hangar spot and mechanic (works on to two Twin Otters) for maintenance through friend (would reduce cost of ownership to some degree).

John, thanks for additional recommendations on potential sites for instruction. My sister lives in Phoenix so that might be a possible option (could bunk with here to reduce costs). I have read Andover is tough to beat for quality of instruction. Also looked into Amelia Reid in San Jose area and they look top notch.

Would it be realistic to to start out in tailwheel (with say 10-15 hours overs a 7-10 day period) at one of the out of area locations to initially develop good stick and rudder skills and then come back to San Diego to continue in, dare I speak the words, a tricycle aircraft? I could probably manage a couple of 7-10 day out of area trips over the course of a couple months to keep up tailwheel skills, just not sure of effect of bouncing between instructors.

Once again, thanks to all for advice and feedback, I will no doubt need a lot of both over the coming months -

On another note, would anyone be interested in joining an offshoot J-3 Cub Club - USNA CubFlyers. All USMA types, would of course, have to find a Naval Academy sponsor to vouch for you... ;)

Cheers,

Randy
 

JimC

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couleeone

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If we are going to play that game, how about go "Coast Guard"! Except I wasn't upper or lower classmate just a sailor guarding the coast of Vietnam back in 60s! That was only about a 100 years ago! I was offered the chance to go to CG flight school and I blew it and turned it down as I just wanted ouuut!!!!

As you can see cub fliers are from all walks of life including non sailors like ground pounders! Hey, this was just all in fun. Seriously cub drivers come from across the board on vocation and professions but have the common bond of the love of low and slow!!!

San Diego has the greatest weather for cub flying, enjoy!!!

Geo
 

chuck2shaw

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Randy,
In the good old days, 1961 for me, when grass strips were everywhere, it was common to learn basic flying in a low rental cost conventional gear aircraft such as an Aeronca 7AC, or Piper J3 or PA-11. Solo, fly some solo time and then start paying much more for instruction in a tricycle gear aircraft such as a Piper TriPacer. That gave you the ability to do the required cross country flights without taking all day, and to have radios for talking to control towers and Flight Service Stations.

I soloed in a 7AC at Cimarron Field west of Oklahoma City, which was a mile square with grass runways in several directions, in about 4.5 hours. Then it was into the TriPacers at Tinker AFB Aero Club for the rest of my private pilot training.

It should still work that way, but there are a lot of mandatory items that must be covered and logged now before solo so I doubt many folks solo that fast now.

It also would work well, in my opinion, to take your basic flight training in a high wing trainer such as a Cessna 150 or 152, including solo flights, before the tail wheel time. It should be easier to schedule plenty of 152 time close to where you live, than make arrangements for the tailwheel aircraft later. That way, perhaps you can make the most of enjoying the tailwheel time at the more distant location, and will understand a lot more about what is going on. You might find it difficult to get 10 to 15 hours in during a few days, however.

Either way, don't agonize, just do it. Start the ground school training immediately! Buy CDs and books.

Regarding multiple flight instructors: The most efficient way is to have one good flight instructor that you get along with well, that is calm and knowledgeable, and can teach everything you need to know. Unfortunately, there are very few of us left. (Ha...old joke...). Remember the instructor works for you, and if it is not going well, find another one. Instruction is a very personal one-on-one activity in confined, noisy quarters, and the student has to be at ease with the instructor and also the other way around. There should be no problem with having a good 152 instructor and a good J3 instructor. Make sure they both know what you are doing. If you do use some old timer that makes up his own rules and shortcuts in the tailwheel aircraft, and has lots of his own theories about the Feds and regulations and everything else, it might be entertaining but not a good situation.
Chuck Shaw


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