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

Moderator: AndyR

By Dave999
Hi everyone,

I have been in many light aircraft, Microlights and helicopters over the years and have a real passion and love for flying that won't go away, so now is the time to do something about it.

I am looking to either do a LAPL (A) or NPPL (M) .

Currently have 10k saved for flying and can commit 2 days per week to learning. Have my own GA headset.

The closest airfields to me are Denham, White Waltham and Wycombe airfield.

Looking for suggestions on light aircraft and microlights. I'm looking to fly for fun, explore new places, day trips ect.

Any suggestions on decent flying schools that will get me where I want to be and achieve my goals.

Thankyou for your time. Happy new year to you all.
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By Rob P
Hello Dave and welcome.

The stock response to someone in your position is.

1) Buy logbook
2) Book trial lessons (not joyrides) at a number of the candidate schools.
3) Find the one you are most comfortable with
4) Don't worry about the type you train on
5) Enjoy every single minute of your training. It is a thing itself, not a hurdle to be got over.

There will be other responses, we are always happy to see newbies joining the fold.

Rob P

Read Leia Fee's guide, viewtopic.php?f=5&t=34287
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By FlyingBoot

have a good think about what you might want to do in the future with your flying. If you are happy with just daytime VFR and only one passenger then NPPL(m) might be the best choice. Microlights tend to be cheaper to maintain and the new weight limits mean there will soon be some quite high performance aircraft to choose from.

If you really want to fly with three passengers and possibly add night then maybe LAPL is better. There is a but though. Due to the UK not being part of EASA, you might not be able to fly to Europe with an LAPL and PtF aircraft. This seems to keep changing, but usually for the better. Also the CAA might be rationalising the different licences soon. I am sure there are a few threads on other parts of the forum regarding this.

Personally, I chose NPPL(m) and there are a few people who I know started with a PPL but so rarely used it to the full that they have 'downgraded' to a NPPL(m) and haven't regretted it. Hopefully I will have passed all the exams ASAP this year but you never know. Just have a good think what your motives for flying are.

Regarding which school, visit them all, find one with an instructor who you feel comfortable with and go with them if the airfield and availability is convenient for you.
By Dave999
Thankyou for the replys so far. I wouldn't mind doing a NPPL M course as I do only plan on day VFR flights. The only problem is there's not many microlight schools around here and traffic is a nightmare on M25 so travelling would eat my free time up.

By TopCat
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
You've got one big advantage already - your name's not Rob (nearly everyone here is called Rob, and it gets very confusing).

Welcome! If you want to take a look round at White Waltham, let me know - I'm based there and I usually fly most weekends at some point if the weather's flyable so if you fancy a coffee sometime and an insider's look at the place, give me a shout.

I should say I'm very biased towards Waltham as I've been there a long time and like it very much, and I don't know Wycombe or Denham at all.

It may be a few posts before you can send PMs, but no rush.

There's also @Lefty of this parish, who's a CRI at Waltham, and also runs the Saturday Brunch Club which does weekly flyouts, sometimes including students and I expect you'd be welcome too.
By Cessna571
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member

If you have £10k saved be very careful if offered a whole course paid up front deal.

DON’T buy a “starter kit”, you don’t need all the bits in it.

1) buy a logbook.
2) visit all 3 schools by booking a trial lesson, (that goes in your logbook) and plan to spend at least half a day there.
3) Have fun, it’s ALL flying.
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By MattL
Welcome and great advice above. Just don’t forget the two most important golden rules: 1) don’t pay up front and 2) don’t pay up front. Not only is there a long history of people losing money, you may want to move schools for any number of reasons once you get going, it’s often a matter of what feels right to you. Enjoy and good luck!
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By skydriller
Agree with 95% of everything said by those above. A couple of things though:
MattL wrote:Just don’t forget the two most important golden rules: 1) don’t pay up front and 2) don’t pay up front. Not only is there a long history of people losing money, you may want to move schools for any number of reasons once you get going, it’s often a matter of what feels right to you.

I agree in principle, but once happy you have the right school/instructor, I cant see a problem with buying say 10/15/20hrs in one go for a discount if you pay using a credit card to protect your payment. I fly at a French aeroclub where everyone has an account which must be in positive credit to fly - I stress this is not a school, but a true club operated by members for members.
Rob P wrote:4) Don't worry about the type you train on

I agree in principle, but certain aeroplane types have W&B/space issues such that if you and your instructor are largish, you may find it easier to fly one type over another.

Regards, SD..
By Cessna571
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
My school did do a “pay for 10, get 5% off” or some such, which I used at the end of my training with them.

Wouldn’t have used it in the early days.

There are stories of “I have given the school £8k up front for my PPL, they say I’m not ready and I need to pay another £2k, I thought I had bought the course already”.

(Though those are maybe student naivety)

This is what you need to be careful with too.

Do let us know how the trial lessons go!
By johnm
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
Some people seem to have moved to PPL rather than Microlight training which must be confusing. Read @leiafee advice in the student forum as she is a microlight pilot....
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By leiafee
FLYER Club Member  FLYER Club Member
I did do it that way round yep.

And the doc was written long before the currently muddle of license variations too! I had no interested then or now in the paperwork choices!

Irv Lee’s your man for that.

I keep meaning to update the learning side of the doc with atuff I’ve learned since though.

In one of those mythical spare times perhaps I will.