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Old 11-23-2015, 04:35 PM
neonbjb neonbjb is offline
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Tehachapi, CA
Posts: 47

I commute regularly from my home in the mountains east of Bakersfield to LA often. When I compound driving to the airport, pre-flight checks, tying down at the destination, and then getting to work, the "flight" still generally takes me around 1.5 hours. The drive is generally around 2.5-3. I'd be surprised if you would be able to get a net time savings on a 1.5hr by-car commute and still do your due-diligence in pre-flighting.

That being said, the sanity boost I get from flying OVER the traffic rather than sitting in it is priceless.
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Old 11-23-2015, 04:39 PM
crpv22 crpv22 is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Peoria, AZ
Posts: 31
Default I do it...

I commute from Phoenix, AZ to Camarillo, CA weekly. I've done the drive more times than I'd like to admit and flying sure is the way to go. The comments made earlier about back up plans, weather considerations and alternative travel modes are spot on. I typically depart from Phoenix on Sunday and the flight time is ~2.5 hours vice the 7.5-8.0 drive time. After the work week I can typically get home early Thursday evening or late Friday afternoon depending on my day job. When doing the math I average 21mpg flying and a round trip with todays 100LL cost is $200, so a month of commuting costs me $800 at the pump. I pay $80 per month for a tie down at Camarillo and $205 for my hangar in Phoenix, which I don't factor in to the commute because I'd have my hangar (man-cave) anyway. For maintenance and planning purposes I figure 25 hours per month to stay conservative.

I personally would own this airplane regardless of the commute but the airplane has made "live where you want, work where you have to" a reality for me. I love Arizona, our home, the school my kids go to, Cabella's, Bass Pro Shops and Shooters World which allows me to enjoy the other perks of living in AZ! All of that along with a significant portion of our family that live here makes this the place for us. I know these are several indirect details but my RV-6A has made the rest of the US more accessible for me and it has given me options that I would have never had if I were stuck commuting on the concrete beasts. By flying I save a full day every week that I get to spend with my family so that makes it a no-brainer for me!

Hope that helps!
Chris Phillips
Peoria, AZ (KDVT)

RV6-A / O-320/160hp / Catto 2-blade / EFII Ignition
Dues are gladly current.
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Old 11-23-2015, 04:45 PM
vic syracuse vic syracuse is offline
Super Moderator
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Locust Grove, GA
Posts: 2,739
Default Yep!

I did it for a number of years form our home on the South side of Atlanta (fly in community) to the North side of Atlanta. It's so wonderful to start and end the day with a 15 minute flight, sometimes seeing the same moon at both ends of the day. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and avoiding the hassle of mixing with the the drivers/accidents on the roads. I especially tried to make it work on Fridays because the Friday commute in Atlanta could approach 3 hours.

As for the ramp fees, go try to negotiate. I agreed to buy 5 gallons of fuel everyday (earned the nickname Mr. 5 gallons!), and I avoided the ramp fee. It must have cost them more to pump my fuel, but everyone was happy.
As mentioned by others, either be sharp on instruments unless committed to VFR only, and be prepared to be disappointed on some days. But REALLY enjoy the days it works!

Vic Syracuse

Built RV-4, RV-6, 2-RV-10's, RV-7A, RV-8, Prescott Pusher, Kitfox Model II, Kitfox Speedster, Kitfox 7 Super Sport, Just Superstol, DAR, A&P/IA, EAA Tech Counselor/Flight Advisor, CFII-ASMEL/ASES/RW
Kitplanes "Unairworthy" "Diagnostics" monthly feature
EAA Sport Aviation "Checkpoints" monthly column
Author "Pre-Buy Guide for Amateur-Built Aircraft" & "Are your Nuts Tight?"
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Old 11-23-2015, 04:46 PM
Johnnybgoode Johnnybgoode is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: NC
Posts: 112
Default 5 hours, or 1.5?

A few times a month I take either the RV-4 or the Mooney (whichever one needs exercised) from south of Charlotte to my Guard squadron in WV.
Only in good weather - too much like real work otherwise
Only for stays there of one week or less
I have an airport car there to get home in a pinch

The tax benefit is significant, though not all commuters in the civilian world get to take advantage of that. I don't do alot of joyride flying - two employers pay for my flight hours, and pay me to boot - so this qualifies as my "fun flying".
Privileged to explore the world in the venerable Lockheed C-130 and the regions around NC in a work-in-progress RV-4, kit #2614, while paying the bills aboard an Airbus A-330.
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Old 11-23-2015, 07:10 PM
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gbitzer gbitzer is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 16

I've used my RV6 to ease my business travel quite a bit over 15 years. My primary advice is get an instrument ticket, a good auto pilot, XM weather, and always file. My long range tanks have also made this type of travel much easier. I think this is very difficult and much more dangerous with out an Instrument ticket.
These rules have provided many years of safe XC on a schedule.
Greg Bitzer
RV-6 / 180 CS
BE36 Bonanza
DragonFly Tug
Airwave Pulse Hang Glider
PW-5 Glider
STEM RV-12is Building Mentor
Stoney Point Field - 6GA0 Atlanta, GA

2022 VAF Dues Paid
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Old 11-23-2015, 08:10 PM
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Weasel Weasel is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Collins, MS
Posts: 761

I fly to work on the average about 3 times a week. Sometimes its everyday, sometimes it will be a whole week without flying.

You need to have a plan B.

Sometimes its beautiful and makes your day

On the other hand some days is not so easy

Some days its a challenge

Occasionally it doesn't work at all. Weather forecasted to be good enough for the approach. Never got above less than 1/4 mile viz and 100ft. didn't even fly the approach. Got in the holding pattern for about 20 min it didn't look like it was going to improve so I went home.

Luckily I can schedule the work to some extent and part of my front yard is some of the runway.

Does it save time? I doubt it. I usually have to move a work vehicle into the work area with tools and then move it somewhere else for the next job.

Does it save money? no way.

I would not have it any other way.

If you can make it work GO FOR IT !!!! its not always convenient.

Hopefully some of this can help you make the correct decision.
RV-4 715hr Sold
RV-10 "School Bus" - +1800hr counting
RV-10 N7631T 820hr Sold
RV-8 700+hr
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Old 11-23-2015, 09:20 PM
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bret bret is offline
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Gardnerville Nv.
Posts: 2,827

Some say I fly past them.....on the Ducati! But if I could fly, I would, So jealous. will these things depart a 1000 ft runway at 7K ele?
7A Slider, EFII Angle 360, CS, SJ.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:03 PM
TomW-66TE TomW-66TE is offline
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: The Landings (66TE) at Pecan Plantation, Granbury TX
Posts: 6

I commute from The Landings Airpark (second Airpark in Pecan Plantation subdivision, Granbury TX) to my business in Midland TX each week. Tomorrow I will be driving the trip, second time I've had to drive this year, due to anticipated weather later this week plus scheduled Thanksgiving dinner. I make the flight in my RV10 in 1.5 hours typical or 4.5 hours driving.

I have a flexible schedule which allows me to plan around weather or unexpected issues. I also file IFR for 98% of time. I keep a truck in Midland and rent a hangar. I have tools etc on each end and carry spare tubes, plugs and any thing else I can stuff in the 10. Cost me about $60 round trip over a diesel truck fuel cost. Fuel is quite a bit more expensive in West Texas. I fly some single day trips but most times I stay over, I have a home there also.

Been doing this now for three years. Enjoy every minute of the commute, when flying.

Tom Woodruff
66TE - Landings Airpark
Pecan Plantation, Granbury TX
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Old 11-23-2015, 11:57 PM
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jeffk jeffk is offline
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Northern California
Posts: 82

I spent more than a year commuting from Marina, KOAR to Palo Alto, KPAO. ~22 minute flight time and an hour door to door. I was able to fly three or more days a week (when I wasn't traveling farther afield). Some weeks, I couldn't fly at all. Having a backup plan was essential (be it a friend's place to spend the night, work bus, train, extra airport car). I did find myself caught out with the marina layer and used Salinas, KSNS as a backup. I agree that completing my IFR rating would have helped, but often the marine layer was too low for the GPS approach into KOAR (if I had been rated - I kept track every day of go / no go decision vs forecast and actual). The ILS for KSNS was often cross as the approach is aligned for terrain, not the prevailing wind (as you would expect).

I had the flexibility to work remote and take a meeting from wherever I might be (on the ground). For critical - have to be there - meetings, I would always drive.

Bottom line, it's possible to do, but there's an increased cost and personal rules that need to be followed. However, your time has worth. I have wonderful memories of sunsets and night flights from that time. I was told that I was *much* happier when I had flown than when I had to drive.
RV-7 - N771KM
Cozy IV - N175PT
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Old 11-24-2015, 06:28 AM
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daddyman daddyman is offline
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Posts: 341

Originally Posted by Ironflight View Post
Louise used to commute from our airpark home on the south side of Houston to College Station, about 100 nm away. Flying was about 40 minutes block to block, driving was 2:30 through Houston downton. Flying was a huge "win"!

However, she had a flexible schedule, could work from home when needed, and had a crash-pad condo in College Station where she frequently overnighted. Weather frequently drove her schedule. I don't think I'd have been very comfortable if she HAD to be there every day with the dynamic weather and a simple IFR single. It was a great benefit, but you couldn't depend on it.

I'd say you could do it when it worked out - but expect to drive a lot!
slight variation on this theme;
I've been occasionally commuting for work this year. Since I'm VFR only, IFR is not an option (although I'm working on it/me). Also no autopilot increases my cockpit workload. Been using Flight following on every flight.
I use my RV-4 to fly when the time is >3.5 hours by car.
Yes, it is a huge win to fly.
I flight plan carefully, and mentally prepare to sleep in a hotel.
I have have not tried the class B airports yet, an instead look for a small field outside or under the B ring.
There are more frequent oil changes.
I'm not sure that I'm accounting the cost correctly for the IRS either.
For years I dreamed of flying in MY PLANE (instead of commercial) and now it can happen.
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