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

Moderator: AndyR

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By SimFlyer
#1672578
Just combed through the thread again and bumping up some questions:
  • Is there an ideal ratio of instructors to students? Or of aircraft to students?
  • What's the cost for sitting the exams? Is it the same everywhere or school-dependent? I think this stems from looking at Class 1 and Class 2 medicals where prices can differ quite a bit.
  • What exactly does "signed off" on the logbook mean? How can one have flights that aren't "signed off"?
  • What can I expect to find at a flight school (not a one-man outfit) if I visit them on a non-flying day? Will there be students and instructors to talk to?


I've looked at the SkyDemon app and unfortunately, it requires a sign in and a subscription to use. Does everyone use SkyDemon? Are there other alternatives? Just hesitant to plunk down some cash for something I may not use until well into my training. Are there other apps I should be looking at? I already have a PPL Tutor app for Q&As for the exams; anything else?

Thanks! This should be an interesting weekend.
#1672580
SimFlyer wrote:What exactly does "signed off" on the logbook mean? How can one have flights that aren't "signed off"?


It means the instructor enters his/her signature and licence number in your logbook.

SimFlyer wrote:What can I expect to find at a flight school (not a one-man outfit) if I visit them on a non-flying day? Will there be students and instructors to talk to?


Usually a very bored looking person sitting behind a desk.

Sometimes there will be groundschool.

Sometimes, if the weather has the possibility of clearing up, you'll see people sitting around occasionally peering out of the windows looking forlornly at the sky.

SimFlyer wrote:I've looked at the SkyDemon app and unfortunately, it requires a sign in and a subscription to use. Does everyone use SkyDemon?


It's very popular but other mapping apps are available. If you want to try a free one, check out:

https://www.pocketfms.com/easyvfrbasic/

Of course it doesn't have all the functionality of the paid-for brethren.
By KeithM
#1672583
SimFlyer,

I’m not an Instructor but I would advise not getting too far ahead of yourself!

Save Sky Demon until you have your PPL would be my advice and, yes, for the full GPS nav version, an annual subscription is required. I would spend my money on the initial essentials first, books and exam fees, for example!

That said, Sky Demon Light is a free app for flight planning but, again, you will probably be expected to use old fashioned methods during training. It’s not just about learning manual skills but mental skills as well! And, again, proving that you can fly safely without relying on, or being seduced by, portable electronic gadgets and apps.
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By mattrm
#1672769
SimFlyer wrote:Just combed through the thread again and bumping up some questions:
  • Is there an ideal ratio of instructors to students? Or of aircraft to students?
  • What's the cost for sitting the exams? Is it the same everywhere or school-dependent? I think this stems from looking at Class 1 and Class 2 medicals where prices can differ quite a bit.
  • What exactly does "signed off" on the logbook mean? How can one have flights that aren't "signed off"?
  • What can I expect to find at a flight school (not a one-man outfit) if I visit them on a non-flying day? Will there be students and instructors to talk to?


1 - I'd suggest that it's ideal if they have at least 2 full time instructors. I doubt you'll get a good answer to how many students they currently have. WRT aircraft, ask them how far they have to go to get them serviced. Cause if they have a mechanic on site, it's a lot quicker than having to send them half way across the country to have them repaired.

2 - It does seem to vary a bit, but it'll be a fairly small cost, so in the grand scheme of things, I wouldn't worry too much about it.

3 - Just means that an instructor has signed the flight off.

4 - If you visit during the week it'll probably be dead. If it's a 'club' type place, then it will probably be a lot busier at the weekend.

Don't worry about apps for now. Some schools hate them and won't use them. Some love them and use them all the time. Varies. So just wait till you've picked a school.

This brings me on to the main bit of advice I can offer/reiterate. Make sure you go to more than one flight school. I just went with the first one I visited. After a bunch of lessons I just didn't get on with most of the people there. After my solo, I just gave up and haven't restarted anywhere else. It's easy to get caught up in the early excitement, so try and make a rational choice based on information.
#1672791
Thanks CS for that

An alternator needs at least two volts from the battery to"excite" the alternator to start charging. Hence tbe major problem of not spotting that low voltage light early in flight.

Both the high and low voltages lights both fitted by Cessna on the 152s were on tbe right side of the IP which meant the out of the pilots direct vision.
The best way to prolong battery life is by trickle charging which isnt provided by an alternator to a battery with just over two volts capacity remaining.

In the case I described the battery was boiling while under charge and that was becuse it was at the end of its useful life. The battery was replaced and tbe problem has never reoocured
By SimFlyer
#1672806
As always, thanks for the responses!

I wasn't really looking at SkyDemon to help in the flying but only to record "where" I've flown. I was under the assumption that it tracks the flight path along the sky and also tracks altitude? Just for that feature for now, really, so the plan was to just turn it on the phone and keep it in the bag/pocket. That's why I was hesitant to pay for a full subscription just for a cool feature.


@mattrm:
Thanks for the insight! Why do you doubt I'll get a good answer regarding number of students?
User avatar
By lobstaboy
#1672824
SimFlyer wrote:Why do you doubt I'll get a good answer regarding number of students?


Because you are asking a business about it's customer base and it's business model - most businesses are rightly sensitive about such information.

Anyway if a school told you how many instructors it had and how many students, you wouldn't really be any the wiser.
- instructors can be full time, part time, or work when needed
- students may want lessons at varying time intervals depending on their finances and other commitments.

So finding out how well your needs will be met is not an exact science. More a feeling. You want to come away thinking " They were a good bunch. They listened to me and asked about what I wanted. I met my instructor and he/she seemed to be someone I can get on with. The aircraft seemed a bit old, but they were clean and tidy and didn't smell of damp carpets."
By KeithM
#1672827
SimFlyer wrote:That's why I was hesitant to pay for a full subscription just for a cool feature.


There are more useful and important things to focus on when learning to fly and indeed, thereafter, than "cool" features and especially if you are budget conscious! :)
Harry Brown liked this
#1672830
Its a good idea to have trial flying lesson at one school and then do Ex 4 at another school, or even better read the exercise in the book I recommended to you and make your first lesson your trial lesson. The only prob with swapping schools is they may try and charge you membership which can cost more that a lesson, much more in some schools. Membership is one of the big cons in flying training, its not necessary but its a great money spinner!
User avatar
By lobstaboy
#1672834
Harry Brown wrote:Its a good idea to have trial flying lesson at one school and then do Ex 4 at another school, or even better read the exercise in the book I recommended to you and make your first lesson your trial lesson. The only prob with swapping schools is they may try and charge you membership which can cost more that a lesson, much more in some schools. Membership is one of the big cons in flying training, its not necessary but its a great money spinner!


Harry, there's a "rule" that we always are polite and helpful on the students forum. This prevents me responding to what you've just said in the way that I wish.
So I'll just say to Simpilot that he should ignore your "advice" because it doesn't make sense.
By SimFlyer
#1672842
I don't understand why a flight school would hide the number of students? Do they also hide the size of their fleet or the number of their instructors? Or do they hide the number of students so that they can pretend to be busier than they actually are? I don't see how revealing the number of students also reveals the business model. Is a school with 20 students going to have a different business model than a school with 40 students?

@lobstaboy:
I disagree, unless you're saying I cannot also ask how many of X instructors are full time or part time? So knowing if a school has 20 students with 2 full time instructors and 1 part time instructor will give me a good idea of availability (roughly) vs. a school with 50 students and 2 part time instructors. While not an exact science, it is better than no knowledge of the situation, don't you think?

I do see your point re: students and variations in activity during the week dependent on schedule/weather/work/etc.

As before, I've always come away thinking "good bunch, good listeners, tidy school, old but decent aircraft" and then find out later on that something is wrong with the school or owner.

@KeithM:
So many stuff to buy, so many hours to pay for! If it was probably like £30, I'd have taken a subscription but I think it was £130 for a year? Then again, it's just over a tenner per month so maybe I'll pony up once flying weather is well and truly here.

@Harry Brown:
Sorry, I must've missed the exercise book you mentioned? But I do have the Trevor Thom book 1 Flying Training.

I did notice some schools charge membership and it will be something that'll probably factor into my decision-making.
#1672851
lobstaboy wrote:
Harry Brown wrote:Its a good idea to have trial flying lesson at one school and then do Ex 4 at another school, or even better read the exercise in the book I recommended to you and make your first lesson your trial lesson. The only prob with swapping schools is they may try and charge you membership which can cost more that a lesson, much more in some schools. Membership is one of the big cons in flying training, its not necessary but its a great money spinner!


Harry, there's a "rule" that we always are polite and helpful on the students forum. This prevents me responding to what you've just said in the way that I wish.
So I'll just say to Simpilot that he should ignore your "advice" because it doesn't make sense.


Thank you, what a shame you need a rule to enable you to behave like a reasonable person. Perhaps you would like to share with me why SP should should ignore my advice
#1672853
SimFlyer wrote:
@Harry Brown:
Sorry, I must've missed the exercise book you mentioned? But I do have the Trevor Thom book 1 Flying Training.

I did notice some schools charge membership and it will be something that'll probably factor into my decision-making.


Sorry Sim Flyer it seems that you should ignore my advice because according to Lobstaboy " it doesnt make sense" so I shalll decline to give you any more advice, good luck with your training
By KeithM
#1672871
SimFlyer wrote:
@KeithM:
So many stuff to buy, so many hours to pay for! If it was probably like £30, I'd have taken a subscription but I think it was £130 for a year? Then again, it's just over a tenner per month so maybe I'll pony up once flying weather is well and truly here.

@Harry Brown:
Sorry, I must've missed the exercise book you mentioned? But I do have the Trevor Thom book 1 Flying Training.



SimFlyer, I can only repeat what I’ve already said. If money is a concern forget about apps. You don’t need any for flight training.

You WILL need, however, other items which are all identified in the “Student Training Packs” or as individual items sold by Transair, Pooleys, Flightstore etc. If buying new this little lot will cost you a minimum of between £200 -£300 for the basic items. On top of that you will probably need your own checklist for the aircraft that you will be flying. For exam preparation you might also want to consider a set of Q&A books, another £50 or so. At some point you will also find it more convenient to have your own headset, another £150 upwards. Bear in mind that most of this stuff will be permanently useful

Also, bear in mind that your PPL flight training will probably cost a minimum of £6000 (@£150/hr) or considerably more, depending on your ability and speed of progress!

And don’t be put off by the idea of part-time instructors the vast majority are. Few schools can afford to operate with more than one or two full timers and if they do it will be reflected in the cost of lessons in order to pay their wages on bad weather days!
By KeithM
#1672902
lobstaboy wrote:
Harry Brown wrote:Its a good idea to have trial flying lesson at one school and then do Ex 4 at another school, or even better read the exercise in the book I recommended to you and make your first lesson your trial lesson. The only prob with swapping schools is they may try and charge you membership which can cost more that a lesson, much more in some schools. Membership is one of the big cons in flying training, its not necessary but its a great money spinner!


Harry, there's a "rule" that we always are polite and helpful on the students forum. This prevents me responding to what you've just said in the way that I wish.
So I'll just say to Simpilot that he should ignore your "advice" because it doesn't make sense.


I'm struggling to find what was rude in the comments. Maybe somebody knows something that I don't.
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