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

Moderator: AndyR

#1779582
Stapleford is in bad shape and a weird half paved half grass monstrosity. I would go to North Weald for the runway alone.


Not a recommendation for either but when you have a PPL and fly on your own do remember that airfields are many - well not so many now - and various.

Half grass/half hard not unusual, not sure why it was termed a monstrosity. Short ish (lengthwise) grass runways are normal. Slopes are a feature. And there are a few where there is over a mile of hard runway.

You hopefully will get experience of all types in your flying adventure.
#1779809
Lots of good advice in the previous posts. Another airfield to consider is Andrewsfield, which won't be too far from you (it's between Great Dunmow and Braintree). Excellent instructors and a friendly environment. I chose them even though they were further away from where I live (they were very helpful when I called them, and I knew from being an aviation enthusiast that they were very welcoming).
Rob P liked this
#1780119
Im intrigued as to the cost differential of £7600 vs £10600, and that the flying schools quote such numbers. Id ask are you comparing like with like? Are they quoting minimum flying time only (45hrs), and in what kind of aeroplane? What about landing fees, exam charges, ground study classes etc.

And 9300 quid for 30hrs, thats 310/hr!! Presumably that is a total spend so far on everything? I must be way out of touch. I had thought that you would be able to get a PPL for about £10k if you did it in no more than 50hrs? I know I try not to calculate how much I spend on flying a year, maybe I should....

Regatds, SD..
#1780153
skydriller wrote:
And 9300 quid for 30hrs, thats 310/hr!! Presumably that is a total spend so far on everything? I must be way out of touch. I had thought that you would be able to get a PPL for about £10k if you did it in no more than 50hrs? I know I try not to calculate how much I spend on flying a year, maybe I should....

Regatds, SD..


This is my breakdown:

Flight Time £7,562.00
Landing £792.00
Touch/Go £885.00

It all adds up - in my case that's nearly £1700 just on landing fees (circuits cost easily run into £500 per session!)

From the positive side, I know my costs are fixed - there are no extras like fuel surcharge, extra fees for instructor's time on the ground, and an hour is an hour, not 0.whatever taco hours. I also understand that exam fees at £20 on pass only (nothing if you fail) is cheaper than some schools.

All that said, and taking cost away, the most important thing to me is that my school is a nice place to learn, always made welcome and I keep the same instructor, who has no plans to disappear the moment an airline job comes up
#1780154
The above highlights the difference between those schools were landings and T&Gs are charged, and where they are included.

Caveat emptor

skydriller wrote: I know I try not to calculate how much I spend on flying a year, maybe I should....


Stupid boy! NEVER calculate how much you are spending or your better half will have you down to Ikea before you can say "headset"

Rob P
skydriller liked this
#1780196
Not that it's constructive to drift the thread, but just for comparison I wanted to highlight the costs for the NPPL route (just in case it remains an interesting option for you).

I got my NPPL Microlights at probably one of the most expensive microlight schools in the South East. Looking through my own notes, total cost was £6,201 in lessons (39 hours x £160), £580 in exams and £315 in additional landing fees, so coming in at £7,096. I'm pretty confident you'd save 15% - 20% at a different flying school, so there's clear savings to be had.

Reading through the above, my jaw dropped when I saw how much you're paying on circuit or landing fees. Most of mine were included at my home strip, or were £15 - £20 for airfields further away. Had I done my circuits at Shoreham I'm sure I would have burnt through the cash faster!

All of which is to say: think carefully before closing the door on the NPPL option or the microlight route. I'm just about to do my SSEA upgrade, so depending on what you want to fly in the future, you might be sat in a cockpit with an additional £4k - £5k in your bank account depending on your choices.
#1780214
Rob P wrote:The above highlights the difference between those schools were landings and T&Gs are charged, and where they are included.

Caveat emptor

skydriller wrote: I know I try not to calculate how much I spend on flying a year, maybe I should....


Stupid boy! NEVER calculate how much you are spending or your better half will have you down to Ikea before you can say "headset"

Rob P


My current favourite forum post ever, supplanting SetveM's (when trying to arrange a day for a fly-in) 'FRIDAY??!!?? He's not coming in my aircraft with those sandy feet.
skydriller liked this
#1780346
Personally, I would choose neither of those two options, unless their location or other factors makes a choice from one of those two compelling.

I am not in favour of 'rushed learning', because it should be pleasurable. But the reality is that a student in the UK will have many wasted journeys to/from the flight school during the course of his training. Delays, expense, traffic: aircraft goes tech; instructor takes a job with an airline; instructor goes tech; the forecast; the weather; the jetstream etc.

The more intervals there are between training flights, the more dragged out and frustrating the training can be: much time wasted that could be better used learning, rather than sitting around.

I would do it differently:
(1) Go and see an AME. Hear the unvarnished truth.
(2) Buy the theory books. Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest. Learning on the ground (especially if self-tuition) is great. Trying to learn in a noisy, bumpy cockpit with an instructor who cannot enunciate his words clearly is not easy.

Be ready for the exams before you start lessons in the cockpit. Not difficult. Just needs application & determination. Better than the classroom.

If I were starting from Ground Zero, I would learn on a Motor Glider (e.g. Enstone). Much lower cost/hr. Everything happens much more s l o w l y so it is not hard to stay abreast of events. Otherwise the aeroplane will be ahead of you. Take three weeks and live in a local B&B. Be at the airfield from morning till night to watch what goes right, and what goes wrong. Sponge up everything you see and hear. Talk to anyone who will give you the time of day and drink tea/coffee with them. At the end of motor glider training, there will be sufficient cash left in your pocket to switch to Group A (or whatever they call it now).

Alternatively: learn on a taildragger. Not difficult. Until about 1950 everybody did it, and we are no more stupid than our forbears. Clacton. PA-18. Quiet airspace. Nice green fields. Cheap local B&B. That's what our illustrious editor did when he was a boy. Wise beyond his years.
#1784133
Have you considered Southend.
Exellent facilities---fly all year round. Proper ATC--if you learn at a "major " airfield you"ll have no problem going to ""lesser" fields. On the other hand a lot of people who learn at strips A/G are very apprehensive ref flying into fields like southend.
If you really want somewhere like Stapleford or N weald----I would go to one of my favourite fields---Andrewsfield. Another one to have a look at --excellent instructors and a great cafe.--should get a free tea now on my next visit.--thanks PETE.


I would budget for £10000 to get a PPL,
I would suggest you visit SND --have a look for yourself---there are 2 clubs there. .One is much friendlier . less costly --and owned by the members --overall i prefer it to the other--but visit both and make up your own mind . They"ve both got websites--have a peak.
StuartW liked this