Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

By RobW
Hi All,

I'm guessing like many, I have reached that point in life (kids left home, mortgage paid, done motorbikes) that I am seriously considering turning a lifelong dream into reality.

I have been in love with aviation from childhood but the closest I have been to doing anything myself was a day in gliders back when I was in the ATC and many years on Flight sims.

So here I am, keen to take my share of disposable income from the wife and really just introducing myself, I live 5 minutes away from Norwich airport and I know they have a flight school there so my plan was to give them a call soon and see what they are all about , any feedback on that would be welcome, especially regarding learning from a bigger airport like Norwich rather than a smaller airfield like Old Buckenham, which is a 45 minute drive for me.

Many thanks for taking the time,

By Crash one
Welcome Rob.
Plenty of help and advice on here, I know nothing about Norwich airport, I’m too far north but don’t get too concerned about airfield proximity. The school, instructors, commercial air traffic operations etc are more important.
Also very important, don’t pay large sums up front, flying schools do go bust occasionally!
So much for the discouragement.
Once you catch the bug you will enjoy the whole experience.
Good luck
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By Rob P
Good to have you here Rob. Historically there have been three Robs here, S, L and P, though Rob S gave up flying so is an infrequent visitor these days

All three of us are bewildered so you will fit in just fine

Norwich or Old Buckenham? Buy a logbook book a trial lesson with each then make your mind up. Nobody can do that for you.

Rob P - Norfolk based flying from Tibenham
Last edited by Rob P on Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By johnm
45 mins is doable so go and meet up with both groups.

Size up the people and see if you feel comfortable with them.

Take a look at the aircraft and how they are looked after, tired upholstery isn't important but most of the kit should be working and the aircraft should be reasonably clean and tidy.

Briefing rooms should be available and reasonably tidy

Then make a start with the one that makes you feel more confident and comfortable, you can always change your mind later.

As above NEVER pay substantial sums up front and be suspicious if that option is pushed.
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By Fellsteruk
Welcome to the community and back to flying, as mentioned dont part with lumps of cash for the most part you don’t save much vs pay as you go anyway and the peace of mind of knowing you won’t lose is priceless.

Load of knowledgeable peeps on here who will help you out and offer advice I found it very useful during my ppl

Take care
By Highland Park
Welcome to the forum Rob. I mention up front that I learned to fly at Old Buckenham and I’m also one of the volunteer Air Ground radio operators there, but I have no connection or interest in Old Buckenham Aero Club.

My advice is not just to visit Norwich because it’s close. Visit Old Buck, but also I believe Shipdham has a training outfit there, so don’t discount anywhere yet. Before you decide where to fly, find out what is included and what isn’t included in the prices and as has been mentioned, don’t pay for anything up front.

Once you’ve made your choice and before committing to anything however, I would strongly advise you to make sure you meet the requirements for the issue of a medical. There is an examiner based in the Saxonair building, Dr Peter Breugemann and it would be sensible to get the medical sorted before you do anything else (http://www.examinair-norwich.co.uk/)

If you’d like to meet for a chat over a coffee (Old Buck has a nice café), PM me and good luck!


PS If you want to get into the air again to confirm that you’d still enjoy it, happy to take you for a trip in The Shiny Colt, a machine that @Rob P above is familiar with…
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By T6Harvard
Welcome @RobW . Lots of really helpful advice and encouragement here, as you will have seen.

I can only speak from limited experience (low hours, definitely bewildered after today's dog's dinner of a lesson!), but check what extras you may have to pay, landing fees*, etc. My school is pay as you go (pay AFTER each lesson), no landing fees unless landing away, no extra fees at all for flying. There is some ground school available but no-one has pushed that. They do sell the books and equipment but again, never pushy. * may be significant sum at a larger field.

Don't rule in or out any options atm. You may find an instructor you get on with at a different airfield, after taking a couple of trial lessons. Get a logbook because proper trial lessons count towards your hours! Check how easy it is to book lessons, which aircraft they have, what instructors they have (ie, can they teach PPL or LAPL).

From my experience, as a latecomer to the hobby, it is an amazing thing to do! I love it, the whole thing, the theory, the practice, the learning experience that is very different than anything I've done before. It does bring it's frustrations, when something simple just won't click! But the good stuff is brilliant :mrgreen:
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By tr7v8
We pay when booking, so if you book 6 lessons you pay for the 6 hours (currently £240 ph) straight away. I do use a credit card just for this as it gives me Section 75 protection if it all goes ti... pear shaped. I tend to book 4-6 weeks chunks, 2 lessons a week, currently Tuesdays & Saturdays.
One of the things I looked at when choosing a school was distance. Rochester is 10 mins in the car for me & cyclable in 30-40. The next nearest was Headcorn, but that is a pain to drive. It's at least 40 minutes and on a bad day could be an hour. My boss is flexible so I skip out for the 3hour window for a lesson & don't need to take any leave for it. Headcorn would be a much more painful journey. This is the problem of living in the congested south east but needs considering wherever you learn.
By RobW
Hello everyone,

Thank you for some really great advice, lots of tips there and it certainly gives me some direction for my next steps. The advice to get a medical is a gem, its something I have been thinking about doing anyway as im 47 now and starting to get the odd ailment that's telling me my body is not what it once was (which was never much to write home about tbh) but hopefully nothing that would keep me grounded! I'll look to get that booked before going too much further.

I will get myself a logbook, seems daft to waste those trial flights if im to take a few at different sites, great tip!

and as for
Highland Park wrote:
If you’d like to meet for a chat over a coffee (Old Buck has a nice café), PM me and good luck!


PS If you want to get into the air again to confirm that you’d still enjoy it, happy to take you for a trip in The Shiny Colt, a machine that @Rob P above is familiar with…

Well that's such a kind offer I would be a fool to turn it down! please let me know when you will be there and I will tie it in with a visit to the club to have a chat about the lessons, the coffee would be on me obviously :)

I still work but like many people have an abundance of Holiday days to take as I had to close most of my business down over the past year (I run a car dealership) so I can be pretty available.

Thank you all again for such a kind welcome and great advice.

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By Rob P
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:
What aeroplane does one get to fly for that?

A Cirrus I'd guess. After all, five take offs, five chute deployments :D

Rob P
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By Rob P
Old Buckenham under the slightly bizarre 'supervision' of its 'manager' is an entirely separate entity from the flying school there.

My experience of the school has always been positive.

Rob P
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By AndyR
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:
tr7v8 wrote:We pay when booking, so if you book 6 lessons you pay for the 6 hours (currently £240 ph) straight away.

I have watering eyes now! 2-4-0 per hour.

What aeroplane does one get to fly for that?

A PA28 in the south east. Plus landing fees at some/most places.
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