Heading over to Florida next month to do some hour building with sunstate based in Kissimmee. After taking a read at some of the topics regarding hour building decided to go with sunstate as most of the reviews of them were pretty positive. Have about a week and a half to do about 30 hours, not sure if this is pushing myself abit.
Anyone recommend some decent trips away from kissimmee, was planning about 4 to 5 hours a day if I can. Looking at the map, there's plenty of airports within a reasonably short distance of Kissimmee which I'm hoping are worth checking out but I also plan to do a fair few longer journeys.
Any advice on hour building in general while I'm there?
I did about 80 hours in the states around this time last year. Cant recommend it highly enough.
I was based in Daytona Beach which is north of sunstate as far as i remember.
If you are looking for recommendations here are a couple of places which are most certainly worth a visit.
1) Key West (KEYW) - The southern most point in the US, usually 5-10 degrees warmer than most other places in Florida. Round trip from Daytona took me over 7 hours so that'll suit for filling the log book.
2) Everglades city (KEGC) - There can often be a bit of a cross wind, nothing to be put off by, but just to be aware of it. On the west coast, great for tracking the coast line.
3) St. Augustines (KSGJ) - Lovely FBO that looked after me really well.
4) Tallahasse (KTLH) - If you go here the FBO will give you the use of a car for free ( I got a bmw 5 series). Usually some nice military stuff u can get a look at it.
Some useful websites for planning, weather and seeing facilities etc..
1) http://www.airnav.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
2) http://www.skyvector.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
3) http://www.aviationweather.gov" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
There is also a class aviation museum you should try check out if you have time. Its called fantasy of flight and there is usually a daily display by a p51 or spitfire. (http://www.fantasyofflight.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)
I could go on and on and write a book on what to do, but thats a bit to get you started.
If you need any other info at all (ive got lots more) let me know.
I agree with Glenn, you can't beat flying around America at this time of year!
I didn't personally fly with Sunstate, but a friend of mine did while I was there. Their setup and planes all looked pretty good and well spec'ed. We rented off Palm Beach Flight Training in West Palm Beach.
I flew a bit further a field out of Florida and I'd recommend you do the same. Again, I agree with Glenn about Tallahassee (KTLH), but we got a people carrier not a 5 series (feeling a little hard done by ) Saw some really nice military stuff there too. It is only about an hour maybe 1:30 out of Kissimmee, and from there we went to New Orleans! Granted the flight from there to New Orleans is a busy one with a lot of military airspace to contend with, its well worth a look.
When we were looking into our trip we spoke with Sunstate and they would only let us take their plane as far west as Texas, so presuming they're still working to the same rules, with the same insurance, they'll let you all the way to Texas. Wasn't far enough for us, but my point is don’t feel that you're confined to Florida! Make the most of it, cos chances are you'll never get to do it again! Get someone else to come along with you and push yourself as far as you can go!
Again, agreeing with Glenn, the websites he recommended are invaluable, particularly if you're renting the plane wet, and you can get the fuel cheaper than the rebate you'll get when you get back!!! Use airnav to find the cheapest FBO at your destination! And cheap doesn't always mean bad. Its a very competitive Market and you'll be very surprised how you get treated when you rock up in your 172!!!
http://www.airnav.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.skyvector.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.aviationweather.gov" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I will differ from Glenn and tell you to have a look at warbird adventures in Kissimmee! They have 3 old WW2 T6 Texans. Great fun doing formation flying and then aerobatics. Its expensive, but logable tail wheel time!!!
Myself and Pete kept a blog of our trip. You can check it out f you want!
http://www.n117pr.blogspot.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Oh, and if you are heading down south in Florida, check out Palm Beach County Park Airport, (KLNA). Class little place.
Sun State get my vote everytime. Any flight time I have done there has been for fun and the experience as opposed to hour building. I regularly do a three or four airport trip taking in places such Leesburg, Crystal River, Zeypherhills, Lakeland Linder, Bartow. A trip around these is about 2 or 3 hours in the summer months when one is trying to avoid afternoon thunderstorms.
Some advice. Keep your eyes peeled. I have had a couple of incidents at non towered airports where traffic calls indicate everyone is using a particular runway only to find some other pilot either non radio or on another frequency doing something on a different runway. Once I had a guy do a take-off on a cross wind runway just as I was about to do a touch and go on the active runway. I spotted him in time to abort the take-off run.
Go the to Air Safety Foundation web site and do some of their online courses on airspace, runways and radio calls. Sun State require them as part of the check out process anyway. Basically make sure you use the recommended joining procedure (45 degree angle to the downwind) at non-towered fields and still keep the eyes open.
Have fun and be safe
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