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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:49 pm
Posts: 1
Today I picked up flight lessons after a year long break. It was my first time up with the independent CFI. I was impressed with the instruction, but the 1972 cessna 172 was MUCH older equipment than I'm used to. There were issues with the alternator, so the battery was charged manually prior to our lesson. I raised my concerns with the CFI. He said the equipment is subject to the same inspections/maintenance as the newest models flown in the flight schools. He considers the 37 year old equipment a good learning opportunity for when things aren't always working. He has been flying the 172 for years and trusts the aircraft.

Does the "mature" equipment significantly impact safety? I can deal with the aged glass, carb heat, and old plane smell, but I'm not comfortable taking unnecessary risks. Is this a learning opportunity or a warning sign?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:39 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2006 10:32 am
Posts: 301
Location: Wichita, KS
ive done 1300 hrs of instruction. then newest airplane that i've regularly taught in was built in 1986. There is no reason that an old airplane cant be maintained to be safe and reliable. airplanes are not like cars, newer is not always better.

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Everyone must believe in something, I believe that I will go flying.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2006 9:35 am
Posts: 20
Location: Austin, TX
I agree with Tony. Good for you to question the condition of the plane.. You always want to do that, even for a newer model.

However, it is not uncommon for me to seek out older planes to fly a student in if they mainly fly new(er) planes. This allows them to get the experience with older avionics and like your instructor said, see what its like when things aren't working 100%.

All planes used for instruction will need a 50 hour inspection and a 100 hour inspection. This holds all planes to the exact same standard regardless of age or hours on the airframe.

Keep in mind that just because the plane is say, a 2000 model 172SP, does not mean that it is "low time". That is to say you may be able to find a 2000 model and a 1990 model that have the same total time on the airframe.

Being required to have those inspections keeps the playing field level for all and keeps you safe when you rent or get instruction.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:42 pm
Posts: 466
Location: San Francisco, California
I have to agree with both responses. You are absolutely in the right frame of mind to question these things for safety and hence why the inspections are required to create a standard. Be alert with every plane but know that there are safety programs in place. Another thing to consider, is that this CFI probably doesn't want to have any problems either, it's his life up there too. :D


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