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

Moderator: AndyR

By Chard
Hi Everyone,

I had a 30 min trial flight a week ago, and absolutely loved it. I have always been into Avaition, and the closest i have got before actual flying was Microsoft Flight Sim. So over the past week i have been trying to find as much information as I can about training for the LAPL/PPL. My question to you all, is it a good approach to start off with the Pooleys Fixed Wing Starter Kit to learn the theory, and then just book 1hr tutition slots with my local Aero Club (twice a month for example) ? is this a typical start that a "student" pilot would undertake ? Or would i have to go to some sort of class for the theory learning ?

By dc3guy
Hi Richard,

I’d start with discussing with your local flight school how they operate - I bought the whole Pooley’s pack and didn’t use it for some time - and even then it was very hard reading! Also the map is been sold was out of date by the time I started navigation exercises.

Ask the school what their initial lessons will be like and what you’d need to learn beforehand.

http://studentpilotguide.co.uk/ has some good links for beginners

Good luck with it all! :)

Hi Richard,

Welcome! You will probably have seen several enthusiastic students post regular reports on this thread.

The short answer is 'No, you don't need all the Pooleys (or indeed AFE) books and a bag of other bits to start with'.

I did a short experience flight, read most of Pooley's 'Principles of Flight' book and booked a one-off lesson while I was on holiday abroad.
On return I did a bit of research to find flying schools within a sensible distance, read lots of posts on this thread, waited till the first covid lockdown ended and booked just one lesson with my preferred school. I absolutely loved that proper lesson and so I booked 4 more slots and now I often have 2 lessons a week (I am very fortunate to have the time and the money to do this).

Many others will, no doubt, echo my next sentence - DO NOT PAY UP FRONT (or if you want to pay for a handful of lessons to get a discount, make sure you pay by credit card for financial protection!!).
At my school you can book up to 2 months in advance but you only pay for each lesson after you land.

When you choose a school they will offer you the Pooley's Flight Training book, containing the lessons, also available online, and by lesson 2 you will probably be buying a fuel testing kit (a dipstraw and test tube, approx £16, can't remember!?) and the checklist for whichever aircraft you sill be learning in (approx £7).

In the current situ you will probably prefer to buy your own headset rather than share a school one! Lookout for a secondhand set on here or at the school or flying club noticeboard, or on eBay. A decent David Clark set (AKA 'DC's') will last for years and even new they are only about £350 for the basic model. Prob no need for ANR yet.

Have you thought about your which aircraft you may prefer, albeit you should perhaps try both high and low wing before you decide?

Keep asking questions. There are some extremely helpful folk here, supporting us Students.
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By Rob P
If there is more than one school within (say) forty minutes of home then taking a trial lesson with two or three schools is a wise investment. You'll be spending a lot of money with them so it's best to find one you are really comfortable with.

Get a logbook first, then each flight is recorded and counts towards your ppl hours.

Once you've settled then a medical comes next, if you can't get the medical you can't qualify at PPL/NPPL level.

Welcome :D

Rob P
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By johnm
Good advice above, if you can get a class 2 medical then PPL is best as it leaves all the doors open for future additional ratings and allows international flying without complications.
By Chard
Hi Guys,

Thank you all for the responses :)

I have done some looking around at flight schools and i have a couple not far from me (Sherburn, and Leeds/Bradford Heilds) My initial 30 min flight was over at Hull Aero Club, but this is a good 1hr 30min drive each way for me, with Sherburn and Hields are within an hour each way.

I think my current plan at the moment, is to book a trial flight with both Sherburn and Hields and have a chat with them both and see how they operate their lessons. As T6Harvard suggested in his post, i will get the Pooley's 'Principles of Flight' book and give that a read, and also get a log book as both the trial flights can be logged against the PPL.

As for a headset, it has been suggested that the Spider Wireless is a very good starter headset, has anyone had any issues with these ?

Any other suggestions are very much welcomed.

Flyin'Dutch', T6Harvard liked this
Budget for single slots initially for basic training, circuits etc, but when you start your Nav you'll need to book double slots or even treble if you do landaways.

Best of luck and welcome to the forum:

I , like you, absolutely loved my trial flight, signed up for the PPL course the minute I landed from the trial flight and had my PPL within six months.

Like others have said, get the medical out of the way PDQ.

Best of luck and welcome to the Forum. :wink:
Flyin'Dutch', T6Harvard liked this
On headsets, you'll find as many opinions as you'll find pilots (perhaps more opinions).

Generally you get what you pay for. I don't know about Spider Wireless. There are lots of headsets of a similar quality about that price point, coming out of China with various re-brands. They generally are just about OK, will last a year or two before something breaks and they can't be repaired.
I would recommend to get an excellent headset initially, as it will not give you headaches (lower clamping force onto your head), make audio clearer (so less effort to hear everything) and reduce your fatigue during training, which might then reduce the amount of training you need as you can better concentrate on it. However they get very expensive (best on the market are Bose A20 and Lightspeed Zulu 3).
Lots of reviews of different headsets on this website:
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By Rob P
Harry Mendelssohn are suppliers of headsets and other kit with legendary customer service. For a starter set with peace of mind you can do far worse than look at their own-branded, HM Series, low-cost units.

https://www.gps.co.uk/product-category/ ... -headsets/

Rob P
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By Rob P
Indeed they do. My point was that the backing of "Harry" is worth having.

Rob P
By tcc1000
Your current map will be more than adequate for now - you don't need an up to date one until you do nav. If you want to look at a current one, go to http://www.skydemonlight.com/ (needs silverlight, so Internet Explorer (not edge/chrome/firefox) under windows works for me). Things don't change that fast and understanding what is written on it is more than you need right now.

On headsets, I'd recommend either getting a cheap/secondhand one which you may wish to upgrade later or if you are sure you will continue (and have money to do so ) get an active noise reduction (ANR) one with Bluetooth. Once you gain your PPL - or even during these days - you are going to be using a phone/tablet based navigation like SkyDemon and the Bluetooth is to get audible warnings from that.
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By lobstaboy
Lots of good advice above, but don't overthink things before you get started. The one ESSENTIAL thing to do now is to make sure you choose the best flying school for you and to get a few lessons done.
Best for you might include things like do you like the people you meet when you visit, is the travelling to and fro ok, does the way they handle bookings work for you - and so on. These things that feel a bit mundane now will have a strong effect on how much you enjoy yourself and how well you progress.
Go into it thinking that you're really going to enjoy the learning experience - then you won't mind how much it's costing ;)
T6Harvard wrote:A decent David Clark set (AKA 'DC's') will last for years and even new they are only about £350 for the basic model. Prob no need for ANR yet.

Though you can get a decent ANR set, the SEHT 75s, for just a little more than £350.


You can get a passive set almost as good as the DCs for £100-£120 but they won't be painted green or come with DC's reputation for customer service.
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