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

Moderator: AndyR

By Zahra_88
Hi guys I’m 16 yrs old and have just finished my gcse, and I was wondering the best route to become a commercial airline pilot. My family and I aren’t that well off so I have been able to have any flying lessons or anything of that sort but I was hoping someone on here would know some cheap flying course around London area
Thank you
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By Lerk
Unfortunately there's no such thing as cheap flying (well not if your aim is to go into commercial aviation anyway!).

If you are serious about becoming a commercial airline pilot, then the first thing to do would be to talk to an AME (Aero-Medical-Examiner).
If you're lucky they might be able to give you a pre-assessment of whether you have any medical issues or history that would prevent you from obtaining a Class 1 medical without shelling out for an actual medical assessment.

Do you know about the training pathway to ATPL yet?
By cockney steve
@Zahra_88 wrote
so I have been able to have any flying lessons or anything of that sort

Given the context, you obviously meant to write "unable" or " not been able"

Not checking your accuracy of posting is not a good sign! For a Pilot , that sort of sloppiness could result in the death of all aboard . -sounds dramatic, but ....
You are 16,- IIRC, children are allowed to start work at 13 ,with restrictions on duration and time of work. Paper-rounds are apparently a fairly good -paying example and you may only be able to pay for 4 hours' flying in a year, though at 16, a Saturday/Sunday job is a possibility. Showing initiative and a real commitment may well help you if you find a flying bursary or sponsorship.

Please don't be discouraged by this apparent criticism, it's meant to help you realise that it's not a "glamour-job" The road is long and hard -not to mention costly
As @Lerk advised, If you cannot get the required medical, your flying-career will be very limited! It won't stop you flying for pleasure, but, how do you know you won't be airsick / panic / not be able to navigate / accurately calculate the weight and balance of your loaded aircraft is within the safe range and you load the right amount of fuel to safely complete your mission.

For the avoidance of doubt, no, I don't have a pilot's licence!
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By Paul_Sengupta
If you don't have the bank of mum and dad to finance it, then the best route would be to get into the most decent career that you can first. As you go along you can then start having lessons for your PPL, and if you then want to take it further, you can then start training for higher qualifications maybe as you get higher up the salary chain in your existing job.

It'll all take time and money, but there are some bursaries which can perhaps help you along the way, but to find out about them and qualify for them, you will probably have to be in the game first, and even then you probably won't get an airline wanting to train you from zero to hero, you'll still have to put in a good chunk yourself.

There are two routes to commercial, integrated or modular. Integrated means having a big chunk of money up front and getting on a specific course. Modular means doing different bits separately as you go along, as and when you can afford to do so.

London is an expensive place to train. It can be cheaper in other areas of the country, and even abroad, though then that tends to be for specific courses, so you'd have to save a few tens of thousands of pounds first before embarking on such a course.

The airline industry is notoriously like a rollercoaster, so having a backup career is probably a good idea anyway. With the current crisis there are a lot of pilots who are sitting at home gardening or the like.
scd975 liked this
By Cessna571
Flyer have a site all about becoming a pilot;


Have a read of these links and do come back and ask questions.

Well done for registering and posting on the forum, that’s more than a lot of 16 year olds would do.

Also, google the Aim High program, they run free courses for youths who may want a career in aviation. When all this covid stuff is over, they’ll be starting again.
By Skylaunch2
Ditto with the above. Go Gliding. Learn to fly from £10 a flight and get a scholarship soon after for some powered hours. Depending on where you are, Booker, Dunstable or Lasham will be your closest bets.
Most good clubs usually have sociable membership.
Join as a social member--offer to help fueling planes, moving planes. Highly probable that once members see that you"re helpful and keen you"ll be offered a seat in the back or even in the front.
Do you know any adult who flys. Ask if you can go up with them for a trip. Offer to pay something towards it--chances they"ll say that"s ok keep your cash -but it"s the gesture.
I took a friend of mine"s grandson up at 16 . He flew with me for around a 100 hours--at 21 did PPL then commercial-now works for Ryan air..--doing very well.
You will need to arrange finance--not easy--but if you REALLY WANT TO DO IT--then you will probably get there. " It aint easy "
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By skydriller
WaxMax45 wrote:potentially consider raf

Sorry, but I would suggest that is not a good idea unless you actually want to joint the RAF...
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By PeteSpencer
Don't neglect your education: Aim to complete your A levels and go on to university/apprenticeship.

With the present climate where airlines are making their pilots work as cabin crew or binning them altogether you will need another string to your bow: this situation will take many years to resolve and there will be a long queue of fully qualified pilots ahead of you.

And don't dismiss the RAF out of hand: Joining your local Air Cadets will give you access to aircraft like no other with the potential of a few freebie hours flying, though I'm not sure if Flying Scholarships exist any more.

You might even like it so much you want to join the RAF:

Or for a cheap introduction to the principles of flight, seek out your local gliding club/

Whatever you choose, good luck.

But get yer medical done early and if you go the civvy route keep yer money in yer bank account till it's needed.

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By skydriller
PeteSpencer wrote:Joining your local Air Cadets will give you access to aircraft like no other with the potential of a few freebie hours flying

Absolutely, dont get me wrong, if you havent thought about the RAF this is a good way to find out if you might like it and sample some flying too. (Sorry, I had understood the OP had wanted to be a commercial airline pilot though).

I would also second "get A Levels", but unless going to University is something you want to do, then I wouldnt spend the time/money/debt.

Regards, SD..
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By PeteSpencer
My son, who was in school cadet force RAF section got a Flying Scholarship which paid for 30 hours towards his PPL. at Wellesbourne.

We paid the rest and he got his PPL before his car driving licence.

I don't think Flying scholarships exist any more: last time I looked they paid for 10 hours only :(

He off his own bat walked into a RAF recruiting office in Cambridge age 17.

The upshot was he went to University of Edinburgh, was accepted for RAF officer training and attending his passing out parade at RAF Cranwell as Nav was one of the proudest moments of my life:

Following his grandpas footsteps (WW2 Navigator/Instructor).

He held at Leeming with 100sqdn Reds and flew out backseat to Cyprus for their pre-season training.

Peter :wink:
skydriller liked this
Hi Pete--there are still flying scholarships and bursarys.-see google-there"s a list.or two on there and I beleive that there was recently as list in flyer mag( MIGHT HAVE BEEN ON ANOTHER MAG)
I fact a friend of mine--well known (won"t give his name) pays for a full PPL Scholarship every year. .Applications are judged by a panel.
He told me last week that some of the winners of his scholarship--flying for Ryan and EASYJET
keep in touch with him. Others are PPL who just fly for a hobby.