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

Moderator: AndyR

  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 9
By SimFlyer
#1671547
@ChrisRowland:
Haha! Yes, I know that term very well! However, I do end up making a choice, but to get there, I pore over whatever detail I can look up. I prefer making a decision after selling the product to myself, that way I know that I've made the best decision I can at the time. I always do this, from picking PC parts, choosing which phone and phone plan to get, buying a car, etc. but like I said, I do end up making a choice!


@KeithM:
Does the tower not take note of aircraft take-off and landing time? That is of course assuming a tower-controlled airfield which is what my local airfield is.

As for costs, it seems like the cheapest is one of the nearer schools so that puts costs as a factor as a lower priority. It probably would've been a more important factor if there was a cheaper school but I had to go further out; that meant I'd have to calculate lesson costs plus fuel (and time) costs. At this stage, it would look like flight lesson pricing would only be a factor in the sense that whether I think a school offers good value for money so that means I don't mind paying more if I do think I'm getting more. So of course, I'd still like training to be done as cheaply as possible, but that does not mean I'm simply going forward based on cost. I hope that made some sense?

I've now arranged for a trial flight with one school and weather permitting, I'll be visiting the other school tomorrow and arranging a flight with them too. I like the idea of THEIR job interview! I doubt I have enough local schools that a significant part of the training will be covered by trial flights but I do like your strategy of combining the trial with a lesson. I think I have 4-6 schools in my list so far. I do agree with you regarding travelling and bad weather and if I do take that option, I'll have to weigh it against more options such as training abroad (Poland, Spain, etc.)! Analysis paralysis indeed!!

I am employed full time but can probably structure my schedule to work 4 days and be free for 3 and if I tie those together, I could work 8 days and have 6 days off. However, at this point in time, I have zero expectations regarding time to complete or hours to PPL. What I said earlier was just a rough guess and not tied to it at all. I think that way, I have no pressure on myself to meet certain targets and I'll take training as it goes. Of course if I get 60+ hours and nowhere near PPL, I'll have to re-assess, but I'll worry about that when I get there. For now, the short term is 45 hours and see where I am after that. The even shorter term is to commit to a flight school! Ha!

No real rush as I'd like to be as cautious as I can, but no real desire to drag it out either. As mentioned in my first post, I am considering moving forward after PPL and make this a career so the sooner the better, but again, I don't want to be jumping before I look.


@cockney steve:
To be honest, I'm hoping that this summer will be like the last one which I'm told had a good number of flying days, but yes, it is a gamble!

I am subscribed to the magazine but to be honest, I've spent more time on here than on the magazine! New subscriber too!

As for GASCO, I was not aware of them but will definitely look at attending a seminar or two! New info is always appreciated!

With regards to flight hours, I'm really not looking into that very much. I think I would be more bothered by whether I've learned something or not, or whether I've achieved something or not, rather than be worried about the hours racking up on my logbook. An hour in the air sucking eggs would be money wasted in my books but 20 minutes learning and mastering something new would be good value for me. I'll just take it as it goes and I'll be ready when I'm ready.
#1671660
KeithM wrote:You are permitted to log time in your log book either as brakes off to brakes on OR take-off time to landing time plus ten minutes so, yes, taxying and holding does count towards your total hours!


I don't think this is strictly the case. Legally you log from "when an aircraft moves under its own power for the purpose of flight and ends when the aircraft comes to rest after landing", so brakes to brakes. Most flight schools charge brakes to brakes time and it's usually noted by your instructor or yourself.

KeithM wrote:I should have mentioned that whilst most Hobbs meters only begin ticking over once the engine is started, I am led to believe that, whilst rare, some have been known to be wired to the electrical master switch. Not an issue in itself.

However, if Hobbs time is used for billing in such a case, you would be paying for the time taken to test the electrical items during the necessary pre-flight check!

I would certainly be more than a little suspicious of any organisation that did that!


That's not rare. That's how pretty much all Hobbs meters are wired in the US and subsequently any aircraft imported to the UK from a flight school in the US will be the same. Only one aircraft I flew in the US had a Hobbs meter connected to the oil pressure switch, and that was in addition to the one connected to the electrical master....billing was done by the one connected to the electrical master.

Charging tach time may be used post qualification by some clubs and groups but when you're learning it's usually brakes to brakes (or sometimes take off to landing + 10 mins if at a busy international airport where more time may be taken holding and taxying - but you log brakes to brakes anyway).

KeithM wrote:With Hobbs or Tacho, it is not possible to cheat on usage time, presumably another reason why these two methods might be preferred by the training organisations!


Not routinely but it's very easy to cheat a Hobbs by flying with the master switch off. You'll usually be found out though when there's a discrepancy between the Hobbs and Tach time! I had an alternator issue in a 172 once and flew half way down California with the master switched off. They still only charged me for the Hobbs time - it was quite a cheap flight! ;-) But I think they did it deliberately for having inconvenienced me in having to spend another night somewhere and arrange for the battery to be charged.

KeithM wrote:SSEP (Simple Single Engine Piston) being the basic one.


SEP for PPL or SSEA for NPPL. Think you're mixing up the two! :D

cockney steve wrote:As has been pointed out, Hobbs V Tacho "can" make a significant difference to your actual airborne time , Some students won't fly first thing, as they're paying to warm-up the engine and oil.!


Of course if you're paying brakes to brakes or airborne +x, this won't figure.
By KeithM
#1671677
Paul_Sengupta wrote:I don't think this is strictly the case. Legally you log from "when an aircraft moves under its own power for the purpose of flight and ends when the aircraft comes to rest after landing", so brakes to brakes. Most flight schools charge brakes to brakes time and it's usually noted by your instructor or yourself.


Sorry, I stand corrected on the logging issue. You may also know more about how students are billed, so will pass on that one!

That's not rare. That's how pretty much all Hobbs meters are wired in the US and subsequently any aircraft imported to the UK from a flight school in the US will be the same. Only one aircraft I flew in the US had a Hobbs meter connected to the oil pressure switch, and that was in addition to the one connected to the electrical master....billing was done by the one connected to the electrical master.


Something else I've learned!

Charging tach time may be used post qualification by some clubs and groups but when you're learning it's usually brakes to brakes (or sometimes take off to landing + 10 mins if at a busy international airport where more time may be taken holding and taxying - but you log brakes to brakes anyway)


And again!

.... it's very easy to cheat a Hobbs by flying with the master switch off. You'll usually be found out though when there's a discrepancy between the Hobbs and Tach time! I had an alternator issue in a 172 once and flew half way down California with the master switched off. They still only charged me for the Hobbs time - it was quite a cheap flight! ;-) But I think they did it deliberately for having inconvenienced me in having to spend another night somewhere and arrange for the battery to be charged.


Not a routine procedure though, eh? :)

KeithM wrote:SSEP (Simple Single Engine Piston) being the basic one.


SEP for PPL or SSEA for NPPL. Think you're mixing up the two! :D


No, wasn't even thinking about the latter two but you are, of course, technically correct! The license does, indeed, say SEP. I was merely differentiating between basic and complex where SSEP is also a commonly used abbreviation for the former.

Are you following all this SimFlyer? :D

You'll become accustomed to this stuff! :D

And thanks to Paul for enlightening me. One is always learning, as they say! :)
Last edited by KeithM on Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By KeithM
#1671703
SimFlyer wrote:
Does the tower not take note of aircraft take-off and landing time?

I doubt I have enough local schools that a significant part of the training will be covered by trial flights but I do like your strategy of combining the trial with a lesson.

As for GASCO, I was not aware of them but will definitely look at attending a seminar or two!



Point one. Yes, but they do not do that for the purpose of assisting flying schools with their billing processes!

Point two. Assuming that you have already decided to learn to fly, then remember that it's their trial and your lesson. Don't be afraid to say that you are checking a few schools out before deciding. It's no different to any other process when buying something!

Point three: I'm looking at the right hand ad column of this forum where I see a list of GASCO Seminar dates! :)
By SimFlyer
#1671708
Interesting to know how it's done in the US. I guess since that's the norm (Hobbs to electrical switch), then it's okay?


KeithM wrote:Point one. Yes, but they do not do that for the purpose of assisting flying schools with their billing processes!

I was in a flight school once when an instructor and student came in and I think they spent quite some time chatting after the flight and before coming into the school and had not logged their landing time so the school rang the tower to confirm landing time.
By KeithM
#1671715
SimFlyer wrote:Interesting to know how it's done in the US. I guess since that's the norm (Hobbs to electrical switch), then it's okay?


KeithM wrote:Point one. Yes, but they do not do that for the purpose of assisting flying schools with their billing processes!

I was in a flight school once when an instructor and student came in and I think they spent quite some time chatting after the flight and before coming into the school and had not logged their landing time so the school rang the tower to confirm landing time.


Well, yes, they will do that, of course if necessary, or are suspicious.

I am simply saying that it is not the job of a Tower to keep records for that specific reason nor is it that helpful if a school uses something other than take-off to landing for billing. And the Tower will certainly not be using binoculars to check every aeroplane's brakes-off to brakes-on times unless the airfield was so quiet as for them to have nothing else to do!

And, again, that is why many aircraft operators probably prefer to bill on the basis of a tacho or Hobbs rather than rely on reported information. Picking up on Paul's previous point, they might treat training flights differently because they trust the Instructor!
By SimFlyer
#1671726
I see. Just mentioned that in relation to a take-off and landing plus 10 minutes situation where the pilots probably forgot to log landing time. I'm sure that was just a backup plan or check and would not be the norm! :)
By KeithM
#1671729
SimFlyer wrote:I see. Just mentioned that in relation to a take-off and landing plus 10 minutes situation where the pilots probably forgot to log landing time. I'm sure that was just a backup plan or check and would not be the norm! :)


Yes, indeed, and of course not all airfields have towers and some have towers that have no staff in them!

A lot of stuff relies on honesty.
#1671738
The first thing to do is to decide which airfield you would like to fly from. Some pilots will tell you its an advantage to learn at a busy airfield, some, including me, will tell you its not.

The other thing that very few students ever do is do a search on the internet via companies house to see how much money a school has made in the past 12 months accounting period. These basic searches are free on the internet. On one particular airfield I visit there are four schools, three of them are not ones I would recommend for learning anything useful, only one is what I would call acceptable and guess what that is the only one that shows a yearly profit, the other three trade at a loss, according to companies house records.

When you have found out the director(s) of that school, search the list of directors (co house - still free) to find out if they hold/have held any other directorships. The results can be very revealing. Finally put all the results, companies and directors on the internet and see what you come up with, believe me the results can be very illuminating!.

Finally when you have found your perfect school remember that most schools have at least one dickhead instructor, look for the dickhead, identify him and either change instructor, change school or change airfield but do it sooner rather than later.

Danger signs at dubious flying schools are:

Instructors who turn up a 5 to 9 in the morning for a 9am booking
General mismanagement of reception and poor customer skills, especially acknowledgement and welfare. Do you feel welcome every time you go to the school or do they only smile wjhen you pay the bill.
Current Wx & Notams not to hand or easily available each day
Scruffy premises and staff
Training programme that continually runs late.
Bookings cancelled at short notice after you have left home
Scruffy aircraft with loose articles in the cabin
Poor aircraft serviceability record
Having more than 3 instructors during a PPL course
No standardisation between instructors.
Hovering Hand Nervous instructors always grabbing the CC.
Incompetent instructors who make speeches while you are trying to land and take off. The best instructors say the least and teach the most (in the aircraft)
Not following the syllabus (when appropriate) as in the book they sell you (AFE or Pooleys)
Selling you a book but teaching you different procedures from that book.
Lack of pre flight briefings,-virtually every lesson should have a minimum 10-15 minute PFB
No regular ground school provided for the 9 exams
Relying on Aviation Law as a pre first solo exam. What good is knowing about the Chicago Convention when you have an engine failure downwind?
No written progress tests throughout the course
Not revising Loss of Control (Aerodynamic Stall), PF and go around throughout the course.
Tick in the Box instruction-doing something once is not effective teaching. Some instructors understand teaching but not learning.
CFI or HOT(or deputy) who doesn't personally discuss your progress and the course with you at various stages throughout the course . This discussion should include your progress and tell you where you are on the course, whats next and what you need to do to finish (when appropriate).
By KeithM
#1671740
HarryBrown.

Sounds like a good check list.

Can’t fault it.

I wonder, however, how few schools would meet all those criteria?

And how much time would it take for the ab-initio student to complete that check list to his/her satisfaction?
Harry Brown liked this
#1671752
KeithM wrote:HarryBrown.

Sounds like a good check list.

Can’t fault it.

I wonder, however, how few schools would meet all those criteria?

And how much time would it take for the ab-initio student to complete that check list to his/her satisfaction?


Thanks Keith

Like any businesses there are good and bad and I admire anyone who starts and runs a flying school its a tough industry whose importance isnt truly appreciated by many further up the ladder!

But over a very long career Ive seen some awful examples of poor instruction and customer service both from schools and instructors.
KeithM liked this
#1671755
SimFlyer wrote:I see. Just mentioned that in relation to a take-off and landing plus 10 minutes situation where the pilots probably forgot to log landing time. I'm sure that was just a backup plan or check and would not be the norm! :)


Some bits of software such as Sky Demon will record your take off and landing times for you based on your ground speed.
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 9