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

Moderator: AndyR

User avatar
By ZeenoTheInventor
#1773335
Hi everyone, I'm new to flying. I'm just at the general interest stage however I'd like to learn how to fly soon. I'm not exactly sure what the roadmap would be to start learning however I'd ideally like to meet up at some aviation societies here in England if there are any.

I guess first my question is, are there any aviation communities in England where I could visit and learn more about flying in person?

Secondly, what roadmap do you recommend for a first time flyer to get their private pilot's licence? :-)

Many thanks in advance
User avatar
By Morten
#1773350
Hi Zeeno and welcome to the forum.

Actual flying communities would be clubs and schools. They are dotted all over the country. But it may be difficult to meet anyone in person at the moment.
However, you can probably give them a ring and speak to someone.

If you tell us where you actually are in England you may get more specific suggestions.

Not sure about roadmaps. Most of us use aeronautical charts or an app on our devices... ;)
Seriously, your school will give you details of how they do things and most if not all of them will also have a website which spells out the various stages and requirements...
However as a starter for 10:
- get your class 2 medical
- take lessons
- self study for the theory and take exams (search this forum for discussions on the best order to take them in)
- go solo after 12-25 hours
- consolidate your circuits
- fly more and more cross country
- pass your qualifying cross country
- at some stage during all this, do your RT (radio) exam and pass all your theory exams
- pass your general skills test after at least 45 hours
- send off the paperwork to the CAA and wait to receive your licence on the post
- go flying with passengers

And, of course, let us all know how you're doing en route :)
#1773358
Thank you so much for the comprehensive info! Yeah you're right I can't meet anyone now, I was thinking more after the lockdown is lifted.

As for location I live in Clapham, London. So South West. Perhaps you have a recommendation for this area?

Also one question. What do you mean consolidate circuits?
User avatar
By Morten
#1773388
Consolidate circuits : you fly lots of circus to consolidate your ability to fly them with various weather types before you start flying more and more away from base.

From Clapham, I'd suggest that either Fairoaks or Redhill would be useful aerodromes to look at for clubs and schools. You could also get to White Waltham or Blackbushe. Maybe even Popham.

Check out their websites for schools operating there. Go to a couple and, when things ease up, try a trial flight with a couple. Choose based on who you get on with, not on price. It may be worth to travel more to get to a good one than to go to the closest one.
(White Waltham is a great place with a great club ;) )

Search this forum for past threads on choosing instructors, schools etc...

Have fun :thumright:
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By skydriller
#1773390
There are various flying clubs at aerodromes on the outskirts of London, White Waltham, Blackbush, Fairoaks, Denham & Elstree are the ones that spring to mind - Start by looking on their websites and give them a call.

This is a circuit: Take off, fly around the aerodrome and land again. Learning how to do this and making sure that you can do it well, is one of the key parts of learing to fly, you will spend hours doing this... :mrgreen:
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ZeenoTheInventor liked this
#1773431
Morten wrote:Consolidate circuits : you fly lots of circus to consolidate your ability to fly them with various weather types before you start flying more and more away from base.

From Clapham, I'd suggest that either Fairoaks or Redhill would be useful aerodromes to look at for clubs and schools. You could also get to White Waltham or Blackbushe. Maybe even Popham.

Check out their websites for schools operating there. Go to a couple and, when things ease up, try a trial flight with a couple. Choose based on who you get on with, not on price. It may be worth to travel more to get to a good one than to go to the closest one.
(White Waltham is a great place with a great club ;) )

Search this forum for past threads on choosing instructors, schools etc...

Have fun :thumright:

Thank you for all the suggestions! I found this school called EFG Flying School. I don't know anything about it though however you didn't mention it in your list. You wouldn't happen to know anything about them would you?
#1773432
skydriller wrote:There are various flying clubs at aerodromes on the outskirts of London, White Waltham, Blackbush, Fairoaks, Denham & Elstree are the ones that spring to mind - Start by looking on their websites and give them a call.

This is a circuit: Take off, fly around the aerodrome and land again. Learning how to do this and making sure that you can do it well, is one of the key parts of learing to fly, you will spend hours doing this... :mrgreen:
Image

Aha! this looks like the touch and go flying that I saw in YouTube Videos. Yup seems there will be hours of this.

Regarding places to learn, in your experience, what questions should a new comer ask to know if a flight school/club is for them?
User avatar
By Iceman
#1773434
ZeenoTheInventor wrote:Thank you for all the suggestions! I found this school called EFG Flying School. I don't know anything about it though however you didn't mention it in your list. You wouldn't happen to know anything about them would you?


Biggin Hill Airport has become a very busy business jet hub in recent years and has made active steps to get rid of GA and flying schools. It may not be the ideal place at which to learn these days, particularly when it comes to circuit training, of which you will do much. Both Redhill and Fairoaks are good training bases. I learnt at Redhill which is a full tower controlled field but suffers in the winter from waterlogging. Fairoaks is FISO based but a good training base. Blackbushe is similar but a bit further out. By all means, give EFG a call so as to compare costs, but also get information on how much time in your training is lost to jet traffic and where circuits will be done.

Iceman 8)
#1774428
Morten wrote:try a trial flight with a couple. Choose based on who you get on with, not on price.
Have fun :thumright:


This is oddly specific. Why do you suggest this? Does quality/experience vary greatly between schools?
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By Morten
#1774436
Hi Zeeno.
Wasn't meant to be specific in a specific sense.

But you will be sitting in very close proximity to some stranger for at least 30+ hours in a noisy and uncomfortable environment whilst being mentally (and physically) challenged by her/him. Key to getting as much as possible out of that means that you will need to get on with your instructor (and the school, for that matter).
We have heard some stories of students here who struggled with one instructor but then get on really well (and much quicker) with another one.

Personally, I had trial flights with 3 different schools and ended up with the last one. It was a combination of the type of aircraft they instructed on and had available for hire after I passed as well as getting on well with the CFI and my own instructor. And the promise to have only the one instructor, not any one from a roster of many. Price was secondary. Also, when all is said and done, I think that different schools may dress up the price differently but it often comes out as almost the same anyway.

FTAOD: I am not at all saying that more expensive = better. But I would suggest you try a couple and see which one floats your boat. Or flies your aeroplane.

But (and I repeat myself :)) the most important thing is to remember to have fun :thumleft:
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By skydriller
#1774488
Its like anything else you are going to spend a fair chunk of your money on. You want to make sure that you are happy with what you will be paying for, after all it is supposed to be fun...not a chore...

How easy is it to get to the flying school?
What aeroplane types do they have?
Full ATC or AG radio?
Whos going to be your instructor?
Hourly cost?
Landing fees included?
Groundschool costs?
Grass or hard runways?
Alot of waiting on Commercial/Biz traffic?
Aircraft availability?
Instructor availability?

Oh, and use a credit card or only pay up in front what you can afford to lose.

Regards, SD..
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By Charles Hunt
#1774495
ZeenoTheInventor wrote:
Morten wrote:try a trial flight with a couple. Choose based on who you get on with, not on price.
Have fun :thumright:


This is oddly specific. Why do you suggest this? Does quality/experience vary greatly between schools?

Oh yes.

My first school was always rushed, had an airprox on my third lesson which we completely failed to manage/report, and I left over maintenance issues that breached even my adjustable standards.

Second school and instructor totally different.

Before the 1 hour flying of the lesson was a 15-30 minute briefing of what we were going to do, then the flying itself, then a 10-15 minute debrief.