I'm 56 years old and I work in the medical field and I will routinely come into contact with people who assume that there is a tomorrow but learn that tomorrow is now in jepordy.
Every year I take a course to learn something ... last year I recieved my HAM radio license for instance.
I've wanted to fly all my life and with kids and money issues it's been a no go. But last year my wife purchased my ground school GA and a discovery flight on a Cessna 172.
I knew that I"d never be able to affort the often underestimated cost of getting my PPL for finacial reasons but I enjoyed the 45 hours of ground school like an excited kid and after flying the Cessna for my first 5 hours it became painfully apparent that I didn't have the money to complete a PPL but at the same time I was so addicted to the takeoff, the landing... the entire thing. I was obsessed.
The average Cdn PPL takes between 65 and 75 hours although only 45 hrs are required. I'd spoken with a few pilots and it seemed unofficially that the school quote price of PPL of $7500 Cdn was on average much closer to $17,000 to $18,000 Cdn to complete the basic PPL.
I knew that this would never work out for a guy who was old enough to know that I wasn't going to make money doing this.... I simply wanted to pilot and land an airplane before someone tells me that I don't have a 'tomorrow' as it were.
I was never going to make money flying so the outlay of that cost was frivolous. But I was hooked. I have a pilot friend who told me to not bother with a PPL because after all that I'd just have a license to do nothing!
Then one day one of my ground school GA instructors mentioned about Ultralights and the local company that had an LSA.
After one discovery flight on the Ikarus I was again .... wholeheartedly enthused because although it was much like a Cesssna 150 but smaller it was just so enjoyable to fly.
The Ultralight CFI and I clicked immediately and the rest was a no brainer. My new CFI had obtained his PPL by age 17 and had well over 1,000 hours..... so I immediately switched out of my unattainable GA toward my new path.
At the end of the day the Ultralight world was still every bit total freedom in the sky and my cost to fly myself into the skies like a god was a very relax $6,500 Cdn all in. Plus the added advantage of being able to get up in the air solo much earlier than GA.... I think I was solo at 13 hours including my Cessna time and although many will say that it is dangerous to get going too fast... I say that some risk is good. Again I work in a field where people wrap themselves in bubble wrap and eat right and excercise , look both ways before crossing the street... never would ride a motorcycle or smoke a cigarette.....and yet... there they are without a 'tomorrow'.
SO here I am.... a low hours pilot who can on any decent weather day text my flight school and the next thing be flying over my house or clipping the clouds (500' below of course) at 3,000 ft.
So the GA ground school was grand and much more involved than the ULPP groundschool. It was 45 hrs for the PPL groundschool and only 20 for the ULPP ground school ... I took both ground schools because I enjoyed this stuff so much.
I actually went to Oshkosh this year with one of my GA groundschool instructors.
Other cool things are...... that I can move up to 25 of my LSA hours towards a Rec Pilot permit with 5 more hours crosstraining.... I think also.... I can move up to 10 hours of my LSA hours into a PPL but that's very unlikely I would.
Anyways all I've ever said since my first Cessna flight....all I want to do is simply take off , cruise and look down at my world, and land the thing , and stay alive.... all solo, no one else in the cockpit. Once I'd done a solo, I considered this all I ever wanted to do and I would never be on my death bed regretting not attempting flight.
But again, here I am still addicted a putting evey penny i have selfeshly into a passion,( I"ve cut of my oldest for cash payouts to university in her 5th year)...Flying is better than a drug.... I am high for two whole days after a flight! I feel so successful and feel that I"ve again learned something and work my brains. What a confidence boost doing what all my co workers think is dangerous, fun, crazy etc.... but they'd never do it!
ULPP in the LSA world is the correct choice for anyone in my situation, age and financial wise.
One other interesting thing is the LSA that I fly is a Comco Ikarus C 42 but it is only considered an ultralight if a few parts of the world including Canada but in the USA and Europe Britain it is not considered an Ultralight .
So basicallly I can fly a 1,200 lb max TOW machine with a 4.5 hr range, side by side seating, fully VFR instrument, full control surfaces and trims, with an 80 hp 4 cycle 4 cyl liquid cooled engine.
It was a great trade off and if I never fly another single minute in my life, I can call it well spent time and money and will never have the regret of not attemping it. Such a huge boost to my little ego it is!
Anyhow...sorry for the long winded response but you got me thinking with your question.
Great and thanks