learning to fly ultralights, floatplanes, etc.

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I've been looking into flight schools in Ontario, Canada. I live in
Toronto and have found a couple of flight schools near me that I'm
going to visit soon.

My question concerns the type of certifications that I should be
getting. I'd like to own my own plane, and due to limited funds I
started becoming interested in ultralights because of their simplicity
and cost. (not to mention apparent low fuel consumption) Also, I'd
love to be able to fly to my cottage (130km north of Toronto) and land
on the lake.

So, I want to know, what is the right route to take for learning? A
licence that allows me to fly regular planes and carry passengers
seems like a good investment in time and money. Is learning on a
normal plane a good plan? If so, what extra training would be required
to fly an ultralight and land it on water?

-- Andrew Kilpatrick, May 23, 2005


If you want to fly anywhere near Toronto you'll need to be in a regular plane talking to air traffic control. So you might as well get your standard private pilot's license. All of the skills and knowledge of aerodynamics will transfer very easily to ultralights. You will probably need about 10 hours of additional training to learn how to fly a (certified) float plane. And then to learn to fly a particular ultralight on floats maybe 5-10 hours of transition training. The certified airplane world seems to more careful with safety and regulations so it is probably good to develop those habits in a Cessna 172 or Diamond Katana and then transition to the rough and ready world of ultralights. The Zenair quasi-kit planes on floats from the Czech Republic look like a lot of fun (see http://www.zenithair.com/stolch701/7-photo2-fl.html).

-- Philip Greenspun, May 23, 2005

Hello, did u know that homebuilts,basic ultralights and advanced ultralights if properly equipped are allowed in controlled airspace that is Toronto as well as City Center--Toronto Island??As of Dec 1/05 with an ultralight licence u can geta little more training to fly with a passenger..... and u should get some training but u don t have to have a float endorsement on an ultralight?? So now that gives u something else to think about and it can all be done at about1500 including ground school and flying time ...if u catch on quickly??? I researched the rec licence private licence etc and this was the easiest and most fun with less expence..U will find alot of pilots who own certified planes are changing over to homebuilts and ultralights..or self maintained!!!I fly a ch701 with a 912 rotax 4 stroke 80hp engine burning 13-15 litres per hr..fly at 80 mph and have a ball going everywhere a cessna can go plus.I also have floats and eventually attained my instructors certificate. THINK ABOUT IT!!

-- Ron Crook, October 24, 2005

Well, I must say that it was largely because of Philip's post on May 23 that I got the extra boost I needed to go for it! I am now happy to say that I am well on my way to getting my Private Pilot, and have just gone solo for the first time. I chose Canadian Flyers as my flight school, and they have an excellent atmosphere and great instructors. They have bases at Markham Ontario, Lake Simcoe, and at Toronto City Centre, where I am studying. I walk to the airport from my apartment in downtown Toronto in about 15 minutes, and back to work afterwards in about 20 minutes. The C172Rs that we fly are all modern (1999, 2000) and in great shape. The school includes all fuel costs and landing fees in the hourly rate. Although not inexpensive compared with, say, other types of lessons like music lessons, I feel that I'm getting a really good value for the money.

Thanks Philip, and thanks to Ron for telling me about the CH701... that's become one of my top dream machines actually! Although Philip has a lot of great writing on this site, I thought I'd share a few words about my experience so far in Canada. If there is anyone else out there living in Toronto and thinking of flying, do it! We're so lucky to have an airport within walking distance of streetcars. I've never owned a car, and it's my ultimate dream to own an airplane first. After all, I would really only use a car to go travelling anyway.

Anyway, many thanks for all the great info and everyone that I've met in the aviation community so far. You're all a very welcoming bunch.

-- Andrew Kilpatrick, October 24, 2005

where in toronto is the flying school my tel is 6478975821 kindly let me know. and possible cost. it had been my dream to fly. I have a little business of my own . www.maroli.ca and i live at yonge and davisville .

-- naveen p, March 12, 2006

Actually, this is a response to Naveen Polapady's question. Naveen, next time I am in Toronto I will have to pop by your restaurant (Maroli on Young) and try some of your authentic Indian cuisine. Now to the question: the City Center location is on Center Island in Toronto. You can see a picture of it from the air at this location: http://www.canadianflyers.com/Canadian_Flyers_International_Locations.htm

Good luck learning to fly. Its nice to see that so many pilots and pilots-2-be are so passionate about flying.

-- Mark Smith, July 16, 2006

Greetings everyone� I�m new to this form and just wanted to say hello and let you guys know that the info here is great� I have always thought about flying but because of the expenses I had always put it off� Just last long weekend everything changed� I had been vacationing at rice lake for a few days and enjoying my weekend with my new 1200cc Seadoo� it was an incredible machine topping 80KM easy on the water and I thought this is great that was until, I saw an ultra light coming in on approach and settle softly onto the lake� I immediately sped aback to my dock and hurried my but over to see this beauty up close� To my surprise it had 2 occupants back to back configuration with a 2 cylinder Rotex� I spent the next hour taking to the couple about the pros and cons (They were pro ultra light all the way) and learned a great deal� Now I have to admit I�m sold� As soon as I got back I�ve been looking to find where I can start and what kind of expenses I would encounter� So far I�ve found a kit called L�il buzzard made here in Ontario for $17,000 Canadian minus motor� I was wondering if anyone owns one or has heard good or bad things about it� Like I said I am new but am really eager to hear any input anyone may have� I want to be able to fly and land on water and land and from what I�ve seen with floats this is possible. Also I was told by the couple that it was better and cheaper to build first and then get lessons� Am I off or does that sound right??

Again thanks all Marvin Coburn

-- Marvin Coburn, July 3, 2007


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