Lot's of questions.

I have had the lifelong dream of flying and for one reason or another, it’s taken me to the age of 46 to be in postition to actually do it. I am not presently a pilot and have yet to begin any training. I recently became aware of the Cirrus aircraft with CAPS. Being a married man with a wife and young children, my personal safety is important, but to justify owning a plane, I would want and need to include my family. My wife has never been a small plane fan. CAPS might be my ticket becoming a pilot. I have the means to buy a plane, but have very little experience in small planes. I’ve been researching Cessna, Cirrus, Beech, and Piper. A 6 passenger single would be ideal, but nothing with this config. is available with a chute system. I will be relocating to the Florida Keys soon and would take my flight instruction in Florida. My use of the plane would entail trips from the Keys to other Florida locations as well as multiple trips from Florida to Minnesota annually. We will summer in Minnesota and use the plane as a commuter up here. I’m a real newbie, so I hope you can tolerate my ignorance. I am here to learn. The more I can be honest and open about my goals and situation, the better advise I can get, even if it’s not what I want to hear. Thanks in advance.

Tom Forsythe


I think it’s great that you are making the effort to get to know aviation better! As far as questions go, ask away. Don’t worry about your wife being less than enthusiastic because it is a common theme. The important thing is that she is OK with you doing this. Many pilots find that enthusiasm comes later when a spouse gets used to the idea and realizes the tremendously increased utility that flying provides. [:)]

U can always request a demo flight from cirrus. By flying in it , u could get a better feel for the airplane and for piloting in general

WARNING - if u do however, u might get hooked!!![:)]

I applaud your enthusiasm Tom! My suggestion at this point when you have not yet taken your first hour of pilot training is to devote your energy to Ground School and getting to solo.

You’ll have plenty of time to chose the perfect plane when experience has convinced you that flying and plane ownership is for you. Buying a plane is the easy part! There’s always someone willing to sell you one for somewhere between a quarter and half a million dollars. Go figure!

Best of luck on your journey.

You first need to take a ride in ANY plane to see if you like it. Most airports that rent plane have an AOPA sponsored “Be-a-Pilot” program for $49. You will fly with an instructor and find out right away if you think flying is for you. The rest will follow…


Sounds a lot like my story. We moved to South Florida a while back and frequent business trips to Indiana and the MidWest were a pain on commercial aircraft. Slightly less than a year ago, I got a demo ride from Charlie Hood with Cirrus. The smartest thing I ever did was convincing my wife to go on that ride. (She would rather drive than ride in a cessna.) Long story short, I started intensive training at Tamiami, ordered my SR-22, got my private just before delivery mid-November, and finished my instrument rating in the Cirrus.

We now have 360 hours on our SR-22 and my wife loves it. We even did a long cross country to LA and Napa, CA earlier this year. Anywhere in Florida is just a hop away. I get to Indiana 2 hours faster than a commercial flight and it is possible to make it there and back in the same day.

If you are locating in the upper keys, I would recommend the Pan Air Flying Club at TaMiami to rent your plane for private pilot training. You can rent a 172 for $35/hr and a 182 for $45/hr. My instructor, David Ward, took the UND delivery training with me (plus 5 extra days from UND) and I would recommend him. He also has incredibly low instructor rates for this region. There are several other excellent Cirrus instructors in the area.

Good luck and enjoy, Steve.

Good morning and thanks for the thoughtful responses.

I appreciate everyones’ input. I probably gave the impression that I’ve never been in a small plane in my original post. That’s not quite the case. I’ve taken many float-plane trips into Canada and flown a few private trips with friends. I don’t imagine my small plane hours exceed 20 in my lifetime though. Anyway, your input into my decision making process is invaluable and will be integral to the result.

Thanks again,


For my 47th birthday my wife gave me a flying lesson. When I got back she asked if I liked it. Of course I said I did but I explained that flying was too expensive. She replied that she had heard me say I wanted to fly from the first day we met and that with my attitude I would be too old before I did. She said I needed to change my attitude and just do it.

It was supposed to be my hobby. After getting my license I inflicted a 3.5 hour trip in a 172 down to Mobile (headwinds) on my family. My wife tolerated it ok but I could see this would be a once a year thing. It was faster than a car but with time to the airport, preflight etc. it wasn’t much faster in total trip time. It was also cramped and uncomfortable.

I did convince my wife that she needed to know how to land the plane if I had a heart attack. So, she started ground school and seemed to enjoy being away form the kids. However, she would always point out that she was doing it for me. She had about 10 hours of experience when I arranged for a Cirrus demo flight through AirShares. We had to go form Atlanta to Mobile to pick up a car and David (AirShares president) offered to fly us down as a demo flight. Sherri said that since I was the pilot in the family she would fly down and drive the car back so I could have more time in the plane with the instructor. When she made it back to Atlanta she walked in the door and said “I want a fast plane. I want a comfortable plane. I never want to do that again.”

My wife is now an instrument rated pilot and flies more than I do. I credit Cirrus and AirShares with generating a totally different flying experience than what I first showed the family in the 172. Tomorrow we will take the kids down to Mobile to stay with my sister. We will be back home that afternoon. We are thinking about taking a day trip to Amelia Island next Monday. The comfort, speed and safety convinced my wife. Airshares also helped by lowering the hassle factor. What was supposed to be my hobby has become our hobby.


I have an SR22 in S FL. I’ve owned 5 planes prior to this one.

If you want to get together and chat, email me @ FastEddieB@aol.com

Ok, Tom,

I’ve been where you are not that long ago. And when I was there, I found this website. I joined, and now I am excitedly awaiting the pick up in Duluth of my SR20.

I had always wanted to fly. I remember my first toy airplane at the age of five. Over time starting at age 26, I experienced flight in a Cessna taildragger. Later, a 172 and a decade later in a friends twin Seneca. While I still had the desire to fly, I lacked the confidence to go for it…not to mention the money. At age 50, I realized if I ever was going to realize this dream, I had better get to it. Basically, at the spur of the moment with some encouragement from my wife, I took a discovery flight. It was only a while after landing that I realized I was not intimidated at all…must have been the left seat. Soon thereafter, I enrolled in lessons and after a convoluted progress that would fill another book, I finally got my ticket about 18 months ago. My wife was so supportive ( or stupid) depending on how you look at it that she jumped in with me seven days after my checkride. We had a great flight and after lots of discussion, decided we needed our own plane. Cirrus flew down a demo, we took a ride, and she was OK until I put her in the front seat ( I sacrificed flying to sit in the back). She loved the view and the ride in the front and agreed to attend M2 in Duluth with me this past July. We had a blast, met lots of nice and supportive people, including Steve who has offered suggestions on this thread. When we returned home she offered more encouragement and so here we are, hanger, insurance, and transition instruction arranged waiting on delivery.

Cirrus has produced an awesome aircraft. They have paid attention to what common sense would say the aviating public would want. As an architect, I was, from the beginning of training, befuddled as to why new airplanes looked like old airplanes. Where was the innovation? Where was the technology? Where was common sense design?

Call Cirrus, get a demo flight, bring your wife. If that doesn’t ignite a fire in you to go for it, nothing will. And if your wife has the slightest interest in at least being your passenger, she will become your ally. But first, make sure you get her in a Cessna. She needs the comparison. (not knocking Cessna, they are great planes). But the Cirrus is, well, more for today.

Sorry to be so wordy, but when I asked similar questions on this site a while back, I found stories from others thought provoking and encouraging. I hope in some small way this helps. I wish you all the best in your future decisions regarding aviation and look forward to hearing of your progress. Keep us all posted! And as others have offered, if you want to chat just email me for my phone numbers and I would be happy to share experiences and answer any questions you may have.


That’s encouraging. My wife is tolerant of flight in small planes at best. We’ve discussed the Cirrus and she seemed interested in learning more with me.

We’ll be living on Summerland Key, lower Keys. Marathon is the closest airport. There are a few small, private instructors down there with Cessna’s. I haven’t dug too deeply yet. I’d go north if necessary to get what I really need. I am not opposed to a strict regimen for awhile to get my private and then additional to progress. No pain, no gain. I can see this will be a rewarding challenge of a lifetime.

Even thought the Cirrus is a much smoother ride than the 172/182, I was very conscious of every little bump we hit while my wife was in the airplane. Until, she made the comment that the Cirrus is smoother than my truck on the Western Kentucky Parkway. She now loves quick trips to Key West, Marco Island, etc. for lunch.

I am sure David Ward would consider meeting you at Marathon with a club plane for initial training if that were more cost effective than your local rental options. Really not trying to push anything, just making you aware of options that might be worthwhile.


Has your wife considered lessons or taken enough training to fly the plane if necessary? My wife is a mechanical engineer and would be challenged by the whole thing. I think her involvement in the cockpit would take her mind off of the other stuff.


Carolyn does not have a desire to officially learn to fly, but plans to take landing lessons from my instructor some day. She wants to be prepared in case of an emergency. She can already run the Garmin 430’s as good or better than me and is learning more about the autopilot operation on every flight. I am sure she could keep the plane airborne right now and could get by talking to ATC.

While she did not go to it, I heard great things about the spouse (pinch-hitter) training that was offered at Migration-2 and would encourage her to do that in the future.

Good luck on your quest. If you decide to push on, there will only be a few days that you really wonder what you got yourself into. The rest of the time is pure enjoyment.


Thanks Steve,

I appreciate the dialogue.

Thanks for the invite Eddie!

We’ll be relocating to Summerland Key the 1st of October. I’ll get something set up sometime that month. I welcome the opportunity.


Great story Michael. I can only hope for a similar reaction from my wife. I’m not sure when I’m going to pop the “demo flight” idea to her, but probably after I’ve got it booked so we have to go. It’s encouraging to read and get response from so many that have been down the path on this site. If I go for it, I will be prepared. Thanks again.


I just want to say that I’ve honestly never had more confident about moving forward with something in my life and I’ll tell you why… the support available from people like you is the difference. I’ve done plenty of things on my own in my life, but this is one that needs a team. Thanks to all for giving me a sense that when I get started, I won’t be out there without a place to turn for support and encouragement. It means a great deal. Whoever is running this site, great job! I’ll probably join to just further my research. $50.00 seems like cheap due diligence.

Well, I did it. I started lessons one week ago. I’m the same guy that started this thread. I have since joined COPA (I intend to buy a Cirrus as some point), changed my username (because thomasfxlt was too long), and will share my eperiences with you (the purpose of which is yet to be determined). I will use the members section from this point foward.


Welcome, Tom! [:)]