Have you ever had a dream to fly yourself? Many people do have such a dream but never get to try the dream. Reasons why the dream may not be tried are many but often involve things like the assumed expense, assumed difficulty, self-doubt and family matters.
Today learning to fly may not be as expensive as is often assumed because of the existence of Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). Legislation requires that this type of aeroplane can never have more than 2 seats and cannot have a Maximum All Up Weight (MAUW) of 600kg (unless it is an amphibious type in which case the MAUW is 650kg). Within that weight limit is the aeroplane, its fuel, the pilot and passenger and baggage.
Modern LSA are easy to fly and in many cases surprisingly fast. As an excellent example consider the Australian designed and manufactured Jabiru J170-D. This little aeroplane carries two in comfort. It cruises at 100 knots (185 km/h). It burns about 16-19 litres of motor spirit per hour depending on throttle setting. The aeroplane has sufficient fuel tank capacity to fly 850 nautical miles (nm) on full tanks. This means that it would be possible to fly direct from Bankstown Airport to the aerodrome near Wilpena Pound in South Australia (641 nm) in a single flight of about 6 and 3/4 hours. To drive from Sydney to the Wilpena Pound resort would take around 16 hours! Fuel used by the aeroplane would be about 117 litres. How much fuel a motor car might use would depend on the type of car but it would inevitably require refuelling at least twice on the drive which would likely mean burning something in the order of 150+ litres of fuel. It should be noted that travel flights are not usually flown in a straight line but this need not add a lot of miles to any given flight.
It is not all that uncommon for LSA to be flown from Australia to New Zealand and there is no in principal reason why you could not fly all the way from Australia (Darwin) to London in the UK. What an adventure that would be!
You don’t have to own a LSA to be able to do all the flying you may wish to do. Flying schools will generally have them available for private hire (at the solo rate). If you are interested in buying a J170-D the list price is $91,950 for a factory built version. Jabiru aircraft are built in Bundaberg, Qld. There are other models of Jabiru aircraft, some cheaper, some more expensive. And some models can be bought substantially cheaper as kits which you assemble yourself. Some people take years to assemble such kits but in principle it can be done in a month or thereabouts. Australia has quite a few different LSA manufacturers and there is plenty of choice in the kinds of aeroplanes available. And there are many foreign imports available in Australia as well.
Another source for those who may wish to own an LSA is the 2nd hand market. Here you can find new and used LSA at prices from around $30,000 to around $120,000. RAAus has an excellent Aviation Classifieds section where you can find aircraft and other aviation-related items.
Hopefully this page may do something to getting you actually started in realising a dream to fly. If you do perhaps you would let me know? I would be really interested to hear from you and to correspond through and about your flying.
2 thoughts on “A Dream of Flying”
What an adventure that would be. My husband used to tell me that he dreamed of being able to fly. Wonderfully inspiring post.
Perhaps your husband and you could consider Trial Instructional Flights (TIF) with a nearby LSA flying school? They can easily be found on the RAAus website. A TIF is a great way to find our what flying is all about.