September 2016 Monthly Flight Hacking Report

flight training costs

It feels like just last week that I was writing to announce that I was starting this thing tentatively named “Flight Hacking”.

Maybe that’s because it was exactly one week ago.

For those of you unaware of what all this flight hacking is, in brief it is a challenge I have created towards finding ways to dramatically save money in the pursuit of finishing three of my needed pilot licenses and ratings. You can read more here if interested.

I promised however, that at the top of every month you would get a comprehensive outlook on how I achieved what I achieved in hacking my flight training for the previous month. So here I am, it’s the top of October and lets review September for what it’s worth.

Unlike future months, this past month was less about cost breakdowns and experiences and more about strategizing and figuring out how the hell I’m going to do what I have set out to do.

September Wins

Just like in business, small wins deserve to be celebrated in an effort to stay motivated and keep progressing down the path of success. Which in this case is my flight training.

In September my wins or win rather really boiled down to one thing:

— I set a good mindset for this adventure.

That’s right, no aviation wins per se, just the simple fact that I took the time to make a decision to start executing on my goals. Starting anything, in most cases, is typically one of the largest hurdles to any achievement.

September Flight Training Expenses Breakdown

As mentioned above I did no real flying in September, so this section will be pretty short and sweet but expect this to be more robust in future months as the variables start to come into play.

Category Total Amount
Rental Aircraft $0.00
Flight Instructor $0.00
Total Expenses $0.00
Budget Remaining $13,000.00

If you would like access in real-time to my expense report, logbook strategizing and flight school research Google Sheet, click here.

Experience & Logbook Breakdown

Also mentioned earlier, my experiences in aviation were non-existent last month. September was filled with a lot of work related tasks, but no excuse for the lack of aviation in my life last month. One of my Wilbur team members took a flight lesson however, which was just as exciting for me as it was for him.

His logbook is now growing a bit, mine however is still stagnant. But let’s dive into my logbook a bit to set the stage for this adventure.

Thanks to ForeFlight Logbook, you can see below how I am quite a ways away from achieving my instrument rating which is the next logical step in my pursuit towards checking off the remaining ratings I need in this quest.

foreflight logbook instrument rating feature

Well, it looks like I have the 15 hours of actual or simulated instrument flight training time. However, I still need over 30 hours of cross country flight time, 15 more hours of actual or simulated instrument time, one (1) 250 nautical mile instrument cross country, and then 3 training hours before I take my checkride.

Okay so that’s a good amount of stuff still needed for me to check off the list.

I got this, I can do this. Right?

But where do I even begin?! oompf.

Game Plan for October

I can’t and won’t accomplish anything if I don’t plan it out a bit first. Just like I’m sure your month is a busy one, so is mine. So first let’s take to Asana (my task management software of choice) to plan out my October goals for this adventure.

flight hacking october goals

1. Create a detailed spreadsheet of needed hours and how they could overlap

I will develop a working spreadsheet to begin trying to digest how best to spend every hour in the air. This is a critical aspect of the whole endeavor. Not being a math guy, it will likely test my math logic a bit.

2. Create spreadsheet of all plausible local flight school options

I will draft up a document of all of the possible local flight training schools around the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. However, if things happen or I am unable to find a school that will accommodate my needs I am open to traveling (if budget allows) to save money.

3. Reach out to the flight schools

Once I have crafted a thorough research of my flight training options, I will then do all the reach out to field who could be potential fits for my needs. I imagine this could be a difficult portion of the month, since I have never had the best of luck with flight schools responding to me. Hope for the best here!

4. Schedule and take a flight review

It has been a very long time (more than a year) since I logged any flight time in my logbook. I am in the train of thought that safer is always better than sorry. So I think since my BFR is coming due in December that this could be as good of time as any to knock that out.

5. Finish Sporty’s Instrument ground school course

This will take some doing, because I hate studying. It’s just a fundamental truth for me. I have started and stopped Sporty’s instrument dvd ground school course at least 5 times in the past few years. This month is the month I become fluent in that knowledge. No excuses.

To Wrap Up September

Rome wasn’t built in a month and neither will my logbook.

It’s tempting for me to set goals like “log 10 hours of flight time” or “take my Instrument written test” but jumping to those goals right away would mean I am skipping the most fundamental step of the “hacking” way. I have to first figure out how to hack those hours and tests, before wasting thousands in flight costs.

I’m patient, plus we all have other stuff going on during the month anyway. This is more than enough for my plate.

I hope you gleaned value from this report. I look forward to having more to show next month! Until then, go out there and hack your flying.

You joining me? Share what your aviation goals are this month below!