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

Moderator: AndyR

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#1672908
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.


Still waiting for you to explain why my advice doesnt make sense
KeithM liked this
By KeithM
#1672929
SimFlyer,

I don't blame you for shopping around before spending money but delving into minute detail seems a little unnecessary to me.

As I understand, from your posts, you have little choice of schools within reasonable distance of your home, so, unless you are prepared to move house, at great expense, travel a great distance, at additional expense or pay for accommodation, at additional expense, extremely detailed research would seem to be a little pointless. I sense that you are not exactly a millionaire either!

You have also suggested that your opportunities to take time off from work are also very limited.

Seems to me that, in your situation all you need to do, assuming that you have a reasonable level of funds available, is to just try out your local options and determine whether or not the school can give you some assurance (weather permitting) of regular bookings for lessons, preferably with a regular instructor.

I am also unclear as to what your goals are.

If you are merely seeking a PPL and taking up flying for purely recreational reasons then I would say take time to smell the flowers and just enjoy the whole process! It doesn't need to be a race to the finish!

If, on the other hand, you are seriously thinking of flying as a career then that is a whole different ball game!

For one thing, it is seriously expensive (typically six figures if you want to fly for the airlines) and requires a considerable amount of determination and a lot of hard work especially studying for the additional exams.

As you have already noted, some achieve the goal and then realise that it is not what they thought it would be and subsequently quit, probably with a very large debt still to pay off!

My old instructor waited a long time before he got his first commercial job having completed all training and on the day he left the flying club, he said to me that if he was asked if he would do it all again he would say no!
By SimFlyer
#1672948
@KeithM:
To be fair, the £130 for the app is nothing in the grand scheme of things with regards to flight training, but yes, that money would be best spent elsewhere at this point in time.

As for the details, well, knowing what to look for makes the shopping a more structured activity. As I mentioned before, I don't exactly know what to look for and I've had previous experience where schools "felt right" but a quick research online showed that they weren't, so that's the purpose of this thread. With regards to school choice, the local (under 1hr travel) selection is indeed very limited but travelling for 1.5hrs greatly expands the choices and it seems like there would be more reputable schools in that zone as well, so that's good. I don't think you're suggesting that I stick to a local school even if it doesn't feel right or I'm not enjoying it just because other schools are further out.

Don't worry about my search for details, I'm just naturally like that. Try researching a good CPU cooler for a certain price point, compare cooling results vs. temperatures vs. noise levels vs. reliability vs. ease of install vs. reputation of manufacturer vs. cost and you'll see the amount of details I'm used to looking at! Lots of details, but it also means I can give a good argument for one cooler over another when asked for advice by friends and family.


KeithM wrote:I am also unclear as to what your goals are.

If you are merely seeking a PPL and taking up flying for purely recreational reasons then I would say take time to smell the flowers and just enjoy the whole process! It doesn't need to be a race to the finish!

If, on the other hand, you are seriously thinking of flying as a career then that is a whole different ball game!

Not sure why you'd say this; it's on the 2nd and 6th paragraphs in my original post.


Anyway, the plan for now is to visit my two local schools again, get trial flights on both, and see where to go from there. Thanks to this thread, I've got a better idea of gauging if one school is better than another and again, thanks to this thread, I should not be pressured to stay with either school if none of them feel right. In fact, after the two local schools, I will be driving out to the other schools further afield. A couple of them seem interesting and at least two I think can train up to CPL/ME/IR.

As I mentioned earlier, this should be an interesting weekend! :thumleft: :mrgreen:
By KeithM
#1672954
Sim Flyer,

I think comparing computer components involves much greater choice and options than choosing flight schools! :(

I do, however, take your general point.

I wish you well in your search and good luck with your (eventual) training! :)
#1672963
Comparing different aspects, looking at the details is the idea, regardless of whether I'm comparing two components or twenty. Knowing exactly what I want also allows me to quickly narrow down those choices to just a few candidates.

Thank you for your well wishes! Fingers crossed I would like one of the local schools and then smooth sailing from there, but it always helps to have a Plan B! Or C. Or D!!
KeithM liked this
#1673058
You are obviously a canny shopper! As others have said, forget the apps and the gizmos.....IIRC, the Thoms are now AFE...scan the old forum threads and you'll see various alternatives.....Pooleys send out a super shiny annual catalogue in with Flyer mag full of wondrous gew-gaws to fritter the contents of your overweight wallet on....(or you could just visit their website) Likewise AFE and Harry Mendlesson-(spelling) other flight stores available, no personal experience. Iwould recommend you don't buy anything at all, unless you find something on Ebay (sometimes AFORS has stuff as well) and I'm pretty confident that you'll find the rest of the Thoms/AFE series on Amazon. With a bit of luck your chosen school will have the latest "air law" so, even if you get an old, secondhand one , you can cross-out obsolete bits and add notes of new/supercessions. These books are about £20 each....you'll likely absorb the info and rarely, if ever, read them again.....OK, in the big scheme it's only ~ £100 extra to buy new....but, add an 8.33hand-held transceiver radio and secondhand, you'll save probably another £100 (until last January, airband channels were 25 kHz spacing....steer clear!...If you then look at the nav- instruments and clipboard....you'll save another£50.........so, that's already 2 hours' free flying! A used "whizzwheel" will save another £20 -plus....a flight -bag? many students splash out on "all the gear"....then realise they had "no idea" and never will have, so sell off all their virtually unused "goodies"

Charts date, so , again , a castoff is fine for practising -on (and the area you use may well be up to date
although airfields do close and new controlled areas do emerge, hills, roads and rivers rarely do!

A handheld radio will help you listen in to the jargon and get a better understanding....licence is, IIRC £15 for 3 years, but you won't need it if the aeroplane already has a licensed set(and, until you have passed your FRTOL *, you can only transmit under your instructor's direction.
You do not need an operator's licence to own a set, but it needs a licence to be legal. you can get an airband receiver-only but it's of very limited use, you can always carry a tx/rx as a spare in case the fixed set goes on strike -indeed, that's where you'd probably get a second-hand one- from a retiring pilot! Again, school will provide a headset and eventually, you may buy your own....but do not buy in haste. After some experience you may decide you "must" have a £600 -noise-cancelling set.

*Flight Radio Telephone Operator's Licence . It's all a bit overwhelming at first, but in 6 month's time, you'll suddenly realise how familiar things have become!
Ebay hides "aircraft for sale" under "cars, motorcycles and other vehicles" which can be found on the dropdown "see all categories" menu---Lo and behold, first is "aircraft and Aviation." but aviation accessories or aircraft parts is a different area! also Airband radio can find stuff.

Can't remember if anybody has mentioned the LAA (formerly Popular Flying Association, now Light Aircraft Association) is what they do, and issue "Permit to fly"....grass-roots, home built and factory built where the manufacturer has gone and nobody supports it . all a lot cheaper and easier than a Certificate of Airworthiness issued by the CAA (and, yes, you can learn in a Permit aircraft and save a lot of money, provided you follow the right path! )

There's also the BMAA which, again , administer Microlights on authority of the CAA(possibly not a viable route if you plan on going commercial, but otherwise, quiteamazing what sleek, economical sophisticated "proper" aeroplanes come into that category!

sorry, long random post , hope it helps and keep fingers crossed for a good weather window! :thumright:
By cotterpot
#1673110
And when you have made your choice of school, next week it may get taken over/sold. The instructor(s) move to take up work elsewhere etc.

There were 2 establishments close to where I used to live, one a very nice club with tidy facilities, long hard runway and good aircraft. the other not so flash, short grass runways (with trees and powerlines) and no facilities to speak of but reasonably good aircraft. I visited both and was virtually ignored by the first, just given a bit of paper with rates. The second one gave me the bit of paper but also a coffee, introduced to instructors that were there, plus another student. Shown the aircraft.

Guess which one I chose? And as a result I think I fly better, particularly in respect of shorter fields which I now fly from.
I also had about 4 instructors, all brought something different to the learning experience.

Good on yer for trying to sort out what suits you but just be aware things can and do change, but not always for the worst.
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By PaulB
#1673115
cotterpot wrote:And when you have made your choice of school, next week it may get taken over/sold. The instructor(s) move to take up work elsewhere etc.

There were 2 establishments close to where I used to live, one a very nice club with tidy facilities, long hard runway and good aircraft. the other not so flash, short grass runways (with trees and powerlines) and no facilities to speak of but reasonably good aircraft. I visited both and was virtually ignored by the first, just given a bit of paper with rates. The second one gave me the bit of paper but also a coffee, introduced to instructors that were there, plus another student. Shown the aircraft.

Guess which one I chose? And as a result I think I fly better, particularly in respect of shorter fields which I now fly from.
I also had about 4 instructors, all brought something different to the learning experience.

Good on yer for trying to sort out what suits you but just be aware things can and do change, but not always for the worst.


I'd ignore the preceding 9 pages (sorry to those who contributed) and re-read the above.

In addition, is the airfield relatively close to you, do you like the instructor that you'll be flying with and if poss try to find out how easy or hard it is to book lessons (ie are they booked up weeks ahead at the weekend which may be an issue if you can only fly at the weekend.)
lobstaboy liked this
By KeithM
#1673145
PaulB wrote:
I'd ignore the preceding 9 pages (sorry to those who contributed) and re-read the above.

In addition, is the airfield relatively close to you, do you like the instructor that you'll be flying with and if poss try to find out how easy or hard it is to book lessons (ie are they booked up weeks ahead at the weekend which may be an issue if you can only fly at the weekend.)


That's a bit strong, old chap! The man was seeking a number of opinions and I didn't see anything that was inaccurate or misleading in those opinions.

With respect, your second paragraph is, in fact, precisely what I have said to him so, therefore, should he ignore you as well? :)
PaulB, cockney steve liked this
By SimFlyer
#1673409
@cockney steve:
Just don't like the buyers remorse of an impuslive buy! By being able to justify to myself that X is the best choice given a good period of research, I can be more comfortable with my decision. Thanks for the tips on getting stuff!

I'm not really looking into light aircraft and microlights as I'm hoping to progress further after my PPL. I have had glider flights as it was mentioned way back when that it was a good, cheap way to fly.


cotterpot wrote:And when you have made your choice of school, next week it may get taken over/sold.

@cotterpot:
Based on my history with two schools, that just might be true! Haha! Fingers crossed third time's the charm!


@PaulB:
Durham Tees is about 20 minutes or so away from me so with luck I'll go for one of the schools there. Newcastle is about 45-55 minutes away but not really keen on flying out of that busy airport and the next choices are more than 1 hour away.


Excellent advice and all noted from everyone here! Now to do the legwork and get some flights!
By KeithM
#1673439
SimFlyer wrote:
I'm not really looking into light aircraft and microlights.....


Call me pedantic but flying school Cessna 152s, 172s, 182s, PA28s etc. are still commonly referred to as light aircraft.

Just another example of the complexities and confusion that you will discover in due course!
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