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Thursday, December 12, 2013


**UPDATE**  Folks, Comms and flying are two areas where I don't know what I don't know - so if my questions will bring .fed down on you, let me know.  So, please look at the below where you can.  Also, re: Comms - what is the burst software you use on your computer that I should consider for WRoL/SHTF/my ass is dead if I am discovered moments.


Question:  For a guy who wants to get from X to Y in CONUS, what are the logistics for using private pilots and private planes.  I'm not talking about hiring a service, I'm talking about a guy/gal who owns a Cessna and can get a passenger from X to Y, and if needed, another hook-up to get from Y to Z.

What are fuel costs these days?

How many miles /day hours of fly time/day on average? 

Where does TSA and .gov fit into this mode of transportation?  Do you have to go through typical groping, anal searches for mini-Kel-Tecs?

Do pilots have a general hourly rate over & above costs?

Along these lines, for the guy looking to stay away from .gov prying eyes, how useful is a license and how easy it is to find re-fueling stations?

Oh - and any reason I shouldn't look at the Seawind if I get serious about buying my own rig?



  1. Planning a trip, a lot will depend on the plane. Assume you are using a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Pilot pay is $20-$30 per hour of flying time. The plane alone rents for about $150 per hour, plus renter's insurance. Avgas (LL-100 octane) is at about $6 per gallon, so a fill-up is about $325. With normal winds aloft, this gives a cruising airspeed of 120 knots, or 100 mph over the ground, and a range of about 600 miles. Payload is 600 lbs - you, the pilot, a toy or two and a small dirt bike.
    Small airports are a dime a dozen, and great for discreet travel. TSA is not a factor unless you are a commercial passenger, and even then screening is spotty. Privately owned/rented aircraft on flight plans originating and ending within CONUS are not screened. That is why small flight schools are so popular with terrorists from Finland! I may be out of date on this, so someone please correct me if I'm wrong here.
    Some small strips close down at night, and operate in "unattended" mode - after hours, the pilot activates the runway lights via radio. Most will have gas if you get there when they're open. You can always land and re-fuel, then hop to another strip and tie the plane down. When avoiding OPFOR - fly VFR (visual flight rules) without flight plan OR file a flight plan, then divert without notification. Civilian air traffic control radar is dependent upon transponders - turn it off, you disappear from their screens. Military is another matter . . . As for flying low - a small craft can fly between the ridgetops and go as low as your pucker factor allows. I have been at eye level with a second-story farmhouse window. The trick here is to NOT pull a John Denver! Maintain your focus and KEEP FLYING THE D*&#$D PLANE!

    1. Thank you! I can see my best option is to get my own license - or at least get a friendly Patriot to teach me to fly. ;)

      Have there been any rumblings in Pilot circles regarding the Finlandian Terrorists and how soon FAA/DHS/TSA may be moving in to ruin your current status of leaving you alone, especially on non-commercial/pilot owned CONUS trips?

    2. Get ready to pay up - a VFR license will gig you over $6K-$8K for ground school, instructor time and plane rentals. You COULD take ground school alone for a couple hundred, then go the buddy route for air time. If so, then focus on critical air speeds (VSPEEDS) and touch-and-go's. A trained monkey can fly straight and level. Anyone can take off. It takes a PILOT to land. No idea on the TSA issue, though.

  2. I agree with what hillbilly says. As far as your choice of airframe that is no different then your choice in sidearm, personal preferences. Things to consider when looking at a sizable purchase like that is cargo, instrumentation, visibility from cockpit, and maintenance. In Idaho weather will also be a consideration so you may want to consider de-icing capabilities. To fly through or during bad weather you will have to go to Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and those require a flight plan for flight following, unless you don't want to be followed then you really up the danger level as you will have to stay away from areas with radar because then they can get a radar paint on you which will cause all kinds of alarms bells.

    I don't see a need for pressurization of the cabin since 99.9% of the travel you are planning on doing will be below 10,000 feet in altitude. Besides, anything traveling that high is sure to be noticed by radar and again all kinds of alarms bells will go off.

    My recommendation for the flights I think you have in mind will be a small aircraft to avoid a large radar cross section and limit chances of being detected. Single engine simply because of maintenance factor and better MPG, not to mention capability to land at smaller airfields or just a farmer field. High visibility from the cockpit in all directions and GPS for navigation.

    Personally I am not a fan of the amphibious aircraft because a large body of water usually means you sacrifice having that capability over a sturdier landing gear capable of landing in more 'out of the way' locations. This is a topic that could and should take weeks to months to make a decision upon. My choice, if $$$ was not a limiting factor, would be the Bell 412 helicopter.

  3. Be advised that there have been instances of what are termed pad checks by feds lately. Mostly gerneal aviation flights originating from the Southwest and flying into near-by states. They are using the cover of "drug profiles" to justify these checks but basically the feds trail you to the air field and call in local law enforcement to meet you on the pad. They then try and convince you to let them search your plane and cargo. A number of pilots have refused this search without a warrant and while they have been held up for a number of hours they have not been searched. Its mostly intimidation and bluster but your mileage may vary so its better to try not to look suspicious but dont look like you are trying not to look suspicious...


    1. That's good to know. I guess it isn't time to kill all the lawyers - just yet. ;)


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