This was Paul's original post:
I've heard from multiple sources that people are being told Lancair rates are horrible and pilots over-70 can't get insurance. That is 180-degrees from what we're seeing on the LancairTalk/Wings private forum. If you are working with a broker or know someone working with a broker who is getting scammed like that give a call or email or tell those people there are options. If they can't get training because they aren't using "approved CFIs" then give a call or email or join the private Wings LancairTalk forum.
Brokers like Sky Smith are not giving accurate Lancair information based on what we know at LancairTalk. Brokers like Sky Smith and others are actively using personal client data and circulating it without permission to other brokers and underwriters and that info is used to prevent competitive quotes, engage in illegal age discrimination and to warn other brokers not to give lower, better quotes. In the opinion of LancairTalk brokers like Sky, Gallagher, Ladd, Falcon, Rukavina, Avemco and others are to be avoided for Lancairs. They are not your friends. Remember, Sky is the guy who took a private call from an owner who was asking professional guidance on whether to make a claim or pay himself. He paid himself. Sky transmitted that call as a "no loss claim" to the industry resulting in the cancellation notice of the Lancair owner's policy. That notice came from Falcon who got it from Sky. Even the owner didn't know. This is first hand info from me, Paul Miller who dealt with those bums and the specific client and Lancair.
Anyone telling you that you must use an "approved" CFI or an approved syllabus or a specific broker is scamming you for the money.
If you're being told 70 is not possible then someone is giving you incomplete data or trying to scam you. Follow the money and you'll see what's going on.
Paul, I hear you. Let's discuss the actual nuts and bolts of the situation.
There are historical posts on Marv Kaye, LML, and this forum that show it has never been about costs to take good training. In fact there have been offers to give those people the training for free and they declined.
I had this very question the other day at Oshkosh about the cost of training and I had two answers:
- "So you are not willing to pay for good training which is no more than the cost of filling up your gas tanks for a week long cross country and back?"
- Or let's look at this way: By the time we get started for the day I am talking to you non-stop until we knock it off. That includes a briefing, preflight walk around, at least 2x2 hour flights, debrief, and if I am staying with you the conversations likely go into the evening. Figure that cost per hour out. The average CFI in the USA is making $70 per hour and by the time I log all of this time with you I am likely close or below that rate. Now, there's no doubt that we are not in it for the money but frankly our cadre of instructors are all highly experienced and most are taking time away from their actual jobs to perform this service. They deliver value for the rates they charge and the earnings offset the cost of taking that time away from their jobs/families.
You are absolutely right that any CFI can legally instruct in these planes. That doesn't mean they are the best choice especially if they are young instructors with low time experience in Lancair aircraft. The majority of our instructors come from a military background where we flew high performance aircraft day one. Most of us are also military trained instructors. You should ask "so how does that make them better than the average small town airport CFI?" Well, the training in the military is a formal 6 week long school to become a flight instructor where you not only learn safety, standardization, working with various personalities, instructional techniques, telling students that they are not cut out to fly airplanes, etc. Then you are only allowed to begin with basic instrument flights with students. Soon you move through advanced instruments, basic flight maneuvers, aerobatics, formation, out of control flight, etc. Our military jet instructor pilots also likely taught Air Combat Maneuvers, Bombing, tactics, and are graduates of Weapons/Tactics schools, etc. Some of us even ran our own training departments with standardization requirements. Bottom line our Military guys bring a lot to the table when it comes to flying in these high performance aircraft for GA pilots. Our GA instructors grew up flying these planes and earned their chops the hard way and we highly value them. They did not do the typical 'time building' to go to the airlines, rather they are professional instructors. They likely have flown more different types of aircraft than most of us ever will. They also have the advantage of working with a wide diversity of the population, have a much better understanding of the FARs and airspace. We can certainly learn a lot from them. It was not easy to become a 'certified' instructor for Lancair aircraft and it should not be as that certification actually holds value. There are many folks that are turned away until they can meet the minimum requirements. That being said, we are continually growing the instructor pool to meet the needs as it relates to both geography and airframes. We are in the process of adding two more just since OshKosh.
The certified training program has a great history of success by those that have taken the training. There are a couple of other training programs that differ somewhat but are also very good programs. I invite anyone to ask questions and make an educated decision before choosing the program you want to take as well an instructor.
I can't believe some of the calls I have received where the person is purchasing a LNC4 and mentions that his insurance only requires a 1 hour checkout. Background example: former F14 driver, test pilot, SWA captain with 30,000+ hours, hasn't really flown small GA aircraft in over ten years. That's an accident waiting to happen as that guy has all but forgotten what a rudder is as they just don't get that much hands on flying in the airlines. My next guy purchasing an ES that we were ferrying together. His insurance said he only needed 5 hours and when we climbed up to 10,500 he told me that was the first time he had ever been above 7,000' and he said the ES was really fast (right, the ES is the slowest and most docile plane in the fleet bar none [but we love ours])!!!
Yes the main syllabus requires 6 flights. 3 VFR flights that incorporate maneuvers and emergencies and the last three flights are more about instrument procedures with emergencies. You will leave with a BFR and an IPC. Why the IPC? There have been a number of mishaps where the student left the VFR only training and purposely flew IFR and became a statistic. Another very important facet to all of this is that all of these planes are 'one-offs' and that the airframe-engine-avionics-electrical systems can vary greatly from any of the same type-model plane on the ramp that day. We instructors have to quickly get up to speed on each individual plane so we can conduct effective training and not create our own real emergency.
Sorry for my rant but I will emphatically defend my 'approved instructors' and those who choose to take training. For me personally, I may not be the "budget instructor" that some people want to pay for, but you get value in every nickel you spend. I am 100% dedicated to ensuring that every pilot I train comes out of it confident, competent and ENJOYS flying their machine. It is for the benefit of their friends and family AND the benefit of our Lancair Community which should be drawn together in these forums and not splintered apart.
I sincerely hope that you leave this post up for discussion and don't blacklist me for presenting counterpoint as I subscribe to the reasonable man theory and welcome open discussion.