Recreational Permit first or Straight for Private?

Thunder-Robo

Well-Known Member
Kay.. well here's my story...

My name's Derek, 16 years old, senior in high school in the up coming year, from Toronto, Canada. Currently I have 23 hours in R22s and 2 hours in a B206.

I recently committed to making the change from Rotary to Fixed wing.

My short term goal is to complete the 25 hours needed for the RPL by late august, mid-term goal would be be complete my PPL by march of 09... Then maybe UND for aeronautical science or Ryerson for Aerospace Engineering while flying on the side to get my CPL, CFI, MEL ect... Ultimate goal is to one day fly for an major airliner like the many of you here :hiya:

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Here's my Questions.

Should i do my Recreational first then upgrade to PPL on my 17th birthday or should i go straight for my PPL??

I will need to take the PPL Ground School either way... and I assumed that the Flight Training costs would cost the same (planning on doing 20 dual
hours anyways), just more Solo Hours needed... The PSTAR and Radio Writtens have to be done before the solo either way too...

So the only price difference i was expecting besides the extra flight hours were the extra DFTE and PPAER tests required to upgrade to PPL After getting the Recreational.

-What do you guys think??
-What's the Price difference between upgrading and going straight for the PPL
-Pro and Cons of each way?

Thanks!
Derek.
 

drhunterr

Well-Known Member
I faced the same question when I was close to your age. My flight instructor recommended just going for the PPL, and felt like earning the Rec first with no intention of staying there for a few years was pretty much a waste of money. I think a lot of it is a matter of opinion, but you're gonna get some great advice.

My 2 cents though - make sure you're done before you start college. I was under the notion that it would be no problem finding a balance between school work and PPL work - man was I wrong! It's gotta be some scientific law that all major tests/studying/course work all comes at the same time. :panic:
 

Goldmember

Well-Known Member
My opinion, why spend the extra cash on two checkrides? You know, with plane rental and DPE, you're looking at $500 per checkride which would be a waste for me. Use that $500 to further your PPL training and when you want to fly in the interim, grab a CFI who is doing a ferry flight or something and go along and I'm sure they will let you take control for a while.

Oh, and while I am studying for my CFI I found out there are only 248 rec pilots in the country. I think everybody kind of figured out it was more of a hassle than anything else.

Cheers
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
Rec is a waste of time.
:yeahthat:

Welcome to the forum and best of luck to you in one of the most fun experiences you'll ever have, learning to fly! The Recreational certificate is a niche certificate aimed at a select few of weekend warriors and totally worthless for someone like you who wants to fly professionally; just get the private. I see it as more or less a glorified student certificate, whereas the student actually has more privileges in some cases. You can carry a passenger, but you're really not off the leash to fully develop as a pilot. Besides, I don't think it's become very popular even for the audience it was intended, mainly because AOPA sought it as a "driver's license" medical so that people who were otherwise unqualified for a 3rd class medical could fly; the FAA didn't buy it, not to mention it's not even an ICAO recognized license. Finally, you have to be 17 to take either checkride, and like others have said, you may as well wait and pay one examiner's fee and take one written test, etc. In any case, stay safe out there.
 

Nihon_Ni

Well-Known Member
You have a couple of assumptions that I think are wrong.

First of all, you have to be 17 to get either a RPL or a PPL, so upgrading to a PPL on your 17th birthday isn't really an option.

Secondly, a RPL will most likely take you more than 20 hrs of dual--that's just the minimum required by the FAR. It will take a little less instruction than a PPL (which also has a minimum requirement of 20 hrs of flight instruction), but the national average for private pilots is 50-60 hrs of dual and 10-20 hrs of solo.

The Recreational certificate doesn't have the benefit that was originally sought when the rules were proposed. If you long term plan is to become a professional pilot, then I would skip the RPL. If you're looking for something cheaper than a PPL, look into the sport rating. You can get a good amount of privileges for a lot less training than a RPL. (I have a SPL-Glider because the privileges of that certificate are all I want.) If money is an issue, the SPL might be a good solution for now. You can fly on it as a PIC and upgrade it to PPL later. If money isn't an issue, go straight for the PPL as your first step.

Hope this helps,
Rob
 

Thunder-Robo

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the input guys.

Hmm, Transport Canada states that you only have to be 16 to get the RPL, i guess it's 17 for US?

I'll go straight for the PPL tho, Thanks!
 

Ramsey

Well-Known Member
I misssed the Canada part - I thought you talking about the US FARs. I'd still skip to PPL.
 

moxiepilot

Well-Known Member
I'd go straight to PVT.

Money aside, to me it's a safety issue.

Flying a plane is flying a plane, no matter the size of the aircraft or the restrictions you need to follow due to certification.

If you line up the two certs side by side, and one enables you to go out on your own (certified) at xx hours, and the other at xx+ hours, who do you think is going to be a more well rounded pilot to deal with experiences (read: oh-no!)

Both are legally able to fly, but IMHO flying is flying and the more experience you have, the better.
 

flyguy

Well-Known Member
I guess I'm in the minority here, I'll recommend getting the recreational cert frist and then upgrading. Most people will recommend going straight for the PPL, but there's one thing they fail to consider. In order to get an instument rating, you need 50 hours of PIC cross country. As a student pilot, any training you get toward your private cannot be logged as PIC unless you are solo. So any cross country flying you do with your instructor as a student pilot will not count toward your 50 hours. However, as a recreational pilot, you are rated in the aircraft, and any time you are the sole manipulator of the controls, including time with your instructor training toward the PPL can be logged as PIC. Sure you may have to pay for another checkride, but you'll make up for that with getting that PIC time earlier, and it will be fewer hours you'll have to pay for when you go for your instrument rating. Plus you can take passengers earlier, and start having fun flying for yourself earlier. I look back and wich I'd have done it that way.
 

Thunder-Robo

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the replies guys. I'm really in a toss up here.

I guess I'm in the minority here, I'll recommend getting the recreational cert frist and then upgrading. Most people will recommend going straight for the PPL, but there's one thing they fail to consider. In order to get an instument rating, you need 50 hours of PIC cross country. As a student pilot, any training you get toward your private cannot be logged as PIC unless you are solo. So any cross country flying you do with your instructor as a student pilot will not count toward your 50 hours. However, as a recreational pilot, you are rated in the aircraft, and any time you are the sole manipulator of the controls, including time with your instructor training toward the PPL can be logged as PIC. Sure you may have to pay for another checkride, but you'll make up for that with getting that PIC time earlier, and it will be fewer hours you'll have to pay for when you go for your instrument rating. Plus you can take passengers earlier, and start having fun flying for yourself earlier. I look back and wich I'd have done it that way.
FlyGuy, hmm, that actually makes sense!! I'll run it by my dispatcher and see if it holds true in Canada too.
Thanks!
 

Goldmember

Well-Known Member
To count X-C time towards a rating it has to be at least 50NM. With a recreational license, you are restricted to 25NM unless you get an endorsement for longer cross countries in which case you would basically have the training required for a Private license. At $500 per checkride, that could get you 5 hours of X-C on your own when you get your license, and the extra $200-$300 you spent on X-C training endorsement of your Rec License would get you another 2-3.
 

Thunder-Robo

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the input.

There are no endorsements available for the rec permit other then Floats here in canada.

Just got off the phone with my CFI, and there are no restrictions on X-Country for Rec Holders as far as range goes.

Didn't really get to ask him in detail wither i would be able to log my Dual X-Countries as PIC C-Countries if i had my RecPermit, he was in a briefing.

Thanks to everyone for their input, I'll talk this over in detail with my CFI next week and go from there, if FlyGuy's Right, then i'll get my Rec first, but if i can't log them as PIC hours, then i'll go straight for PPL.
 

Nihon_Ni

Well-Known Member
Thunder, just a word of caution. Most guys here are giving you answers based on US FARs, and that may not apply to your situation up north. They've all brought up good points, but run them all by your CFI. He will be able to give you the best guidance.

Flyguy brings up a good point about being able to log PIC sooner with a RPL (or much sooner with a SPL). Just make sure you run the numbers to make sure it's really going to work out for you in the long run. Your PPL x/c training will be about 3-4 hrs of dual. (The solo x/c will be PIC, so that's not part of the debate.) If your examiner's fee is $500, then how much flight time can you get for that? How much more x/c time will you do if you hold a RPL vs. just waiting a few more weeks to get the training for a PPL? Do the math and that should help you make a decision.
 

Thunder-Robo

Well-Known Member
Thunder, just a word of caution. Most guys here are giving you answers based on US FARs, and that may not apply to your situation up north. They've all brought up good points, but run them all by your CFI. He will be able to give you the best guidance.

Flyguy brings up a good point about being able to log PIC sooner with a RPL (or much sooner with a SPL). Just make sure you run the numbers to make sure it's really going to work out for you in the long run. Your PPL x/c training will be about 3-4 hrs of dual. (The solo x/c will be PIC, so that's not part of the debate.) If your examiner's fee is $500, then how much flight time can you get for that? How much more x/c time will you do if you hold a RPL vs. just waiting a few more weeks to get the training for a PPL? Do the math and that should help you make a decision.
rgr that.

Thanks again guys, really appreciate the input.

Well, the cost of a checkride is $250 for the CFI and the price of the plane ranges from $130 - $150 per hour. so i'm ball parking around $400 in total if the checkride is only 1 hour long...

How long are the checkrides usually?
 

Nihon_Ni

Well-Known Member
A check ride for RPL (or PPL) will be about 4 hrs total. 30 mins of admin (hand over your logs, certificate, test score, and check for the examiner's fee) and hour or so of oral exam, preflight, about 1.2 hrs in flight, then debrief & celebrate.

If you only have to pay $250 for the examiner's fee (not to be confused with "the CFI" as you stated above) then a RPL may be worth it. Don't forget you'll need another written test (~$100) and another examiner's fee when you're ready for your PPL, but it may be money well spent if it gets you some extra value. You will have to determine what that value is and how much it's worth.
 

flyguy

Well-Known Member
To count X-C time towards a rating it has to be at least 50NM. With a recreational license, you are restricted to 25NM unless you get an endorsement for longer cross countries in which case you would basically have the training required for a Private license. At $500 per checkride, that could get you 5 hours of X-C on your own when you get your license, and the extra $200-$300 you spent on X-C training endorsement of your Rec License would get you another 2-3.
My point was, if he gets the recreational, then all dual flights can be logged as PIC and if he and his instructor simply land somewhere more than 50nm away on each lesson, then pretty much all of the flying he does toward the PPL upgrade can also be counted toward the 50 PIC XC for his instrument rating. I'd think that would save him more than $500 in the long run, especiallywhen you consider the increasing cost of fuel might make it more expensive to pay for that time when he's working on the inst. rating. And are checkrides really $500 nowadays? Only a year ago my students were paying $300.
 

Nihon_Ni

Well-Known Member
My point was, if he gets the recreational, then all dual flights can be logged as PIC and if he and his instructor simply land somewhere more than 50nm away on each lesson, then pretty much all of the flying he does toward the PPL upgrade can also be counted toward the 50 PIC XC for his instrument rating. I'd think that would save him more than $500 in the long run, especiallywhen you consider the increasing cost of fuel might make it more expensive to pay for that time when he's working on the inst. rating. And are checkrides really $500 nowadays? Only a year ago my students were paying $300.
I do follow your line of thinking, I just don't think it will end up being that much better to get the RPL first based soley on additional PIC x/c time. Look at the difference in required aeronautical experience:

.....................RPL......PPL
Instruction......15 hrs...20 hrs
of which:

Test Prep..........3 hrs....3 hrs
Cross-country....2 hrs....3 hrs
Night................N/A......3 hrs
Instrument........N/A......3 hrs

Note that the "cross-country" time for RPL only requires flights beyond 25 nm and isn't true cross-country (and the regs don't call it that, I've just used the term for ease), whereas PPL requires flights beyond 50 nm and is true cross-country experience. In the OP's case, I would recommend he do his RPL "x/c" to 50 nms so that it would count towards his PPL since he intends to upgrade it shortly after getting the RPL. His 3 hrs of simulated time* and 3 hrs of night time can all be done in a cross-country fashion as you suggest, and the 1 hr of additional x/c training must be the night x/c. My point is there's only a total of 6 hrs of additional training one needs to upgrade a RPL to a PPL (if the RPL "cross country" flights are done 50+ nm). He also has to do 7 more hours of solo (including 5 hrs cross-country), but that's already PIC time.

(* In reality, you wouldn't give a pilot 3 hrs of simulated time all at once. You could do it all x/c, but I think it's more likely to chip away at it 10-15 minutes at a time like we do for PPL training. But, to make the comparison fair, I've followed flyguy's line of thinking to do this all x/c in the final 6 hrs of training.)

I figure the total cost for a written test and a check ride for the RPL is about $518 (Using the OP's figures: 1.3 hrs a/c rental at $140/hr=$168, DPE $250, written test $100) By spending $518 to get a RPL, he then would be able to log the remaining 6 hrs of PPL training as PIC. (In my experience, most folks don't need more than the minimum time for instrument or night, so I think 6 hrs is a fair comparison.)

Let's say it takes 40 hrs to get a RPL and an additional 6 hrs dual and 7 hrs solo to upgrade it to a PPL. Let's also assume he gets the same amount of flight training & experience in going straight to a PPL as he does by going RPL > PPL, save one check ride of 1.3 hrs, which will end up being 51.7 hrs.

In the Student > RPL > PPL method, he ends up with 53 hrs of total time with 11 hrs PIC x/c (6 additional training + 5 solo x/c).

In the Student > PPL method, he will have 51.7 hrs of flight time with 5 hrs PIC x/c. With the $518 he saved from not doing the RPL, he can then buy 3.7 hrs of additional rental time (avg of $140/hr) and fly PIC x/c with it. He'll have less PIC x/c time but more total time for the same amount of money he spent in the first scenario. (55.4 TT, 8.7 PIC x/c) If he takes three friends with him after he gets his PPL, he could parlay that $518 into 14.8 hrs PIC x/c and be in the best case scenario. (66.5 TT, 19.8 PIC x/c)

So what would you rather have for the same amount of money?

53 TT, 11 PIC x/c

-or-

55.4 TT, 8.7 PIC x/c (which could be as much as 66.5 TT, 19.8 PIC x/c if you drag 3 friends along)

In the end, you're essentially trading 2.4 hrs of TT for 2.3 hrs of PIC x/c time by getting the RPL first. For my money, I'd rather have the TT. I think a better way to work on the PIC x/c time is to make sure you maximize the value of your instrument training by making those flights x/c as well. Those 40 hrs of instrument time could easily be done during x/c flights.

Just my 2 yen.

Again, this is based on US FARs, so Thunder you will want to look at your regs closely and do a comparison.
 
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