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

Moderator: AndyR

By KevR
Hi there,
At the grand old age of 50, I'm shortly going to retire from my 25-year career in the fire service.

My long term ambition was to learn to fly, but unfortunately, Kids and family commitments have been my main priority at the expense of my dream.

I will, however, be in the position to take up my new hobby of obtaining my PPL on a full-time basis. I know it's a relatively big financial outlay, which I'm prepared for. I also understand that it will most likely be a maximum couple of hours flying time per day due to the strain on my body/brain and the 45 hours is only a guide.

As I'm based in Scotland my choices of training schools are limited for a daily commute, plus the fact the weather will play a big factor in flyable days, Should I be considering going for training abroad? in for example 2 week blocks? Then consolidate my learning with local hourly flights back home?

If I did my PPL in for example Spain, what implications are there likely to be if I can't get PPL completed prior to the Brexit on Dec 31st?

Thanks in advance for any advice
T6Harvard liked this
User avatar
By Wicksay
Hi Kev,

I started my ppl at 50 too and 30hrs into it. Just get started. Get up, get going. Get to solo.. Then start thinking about how quickly you want to take to get it done, the impact of weather, holidays etc. Landing a great instructor who you can learn from is a big bonus. In your non flying hours study for the exams, read books and sofa and list after planes for sale or rent.

Wish you every happiness and success. Keep us posted.
JAFO, T6Harvard, KevR liked this
User avatar
By Rob P
Doing a block abroad is generally the preserve of those trying to get the basic stuff out of the way before tackling commercial training

Two reasons.

1) PPL training is hugely enjoyable in itself and isn't something to be got out of the way speedily before the "real stuff". It's a significant part of your flying life and to be savoured. Would you fast-neck a glass of Château Laffite?

2) It makes your Year One spend enormous as you'll qualify in a month (say) and then have eleven months of aeroplane hire to fund.

But neither reason is a deal breaker. Some have deep pockets, some like the total immersion.

Your call... and welcome.

Rob P
KevR, T6Harvard liked this
User avatar
By PeteSpencer
There are those that say that if you train somewhere where the skies are 'big' and weather's good, (Spain, USA) and polish off the PPL in supposedly fewer hours, the fact that you will not, in your training have encountered any cr ap weather , you may well require considerable numbers of extra hours when you get back to get used to UK weather and cramped airspace .

Do your training where you intend to do most of your flying.....

Whatever you choose, good luck and keep posting: There is a ton of support for studes on the studes forum and there is no such thing as a daft question.

Above all no flaming or taking the p155 is tolerated.

Peter :wink:
edit: clarity
Last edited by PeteSpencer on Wed Jul 29, 2020 7:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
KevR, T6Harvard liked this
By SimonMcC
Hi Kev,

Having just finished and gained my PPL at the 'almost grand old age' of 49 and 3/4, I'd echo what @Rob P and @PeteSpencer have said about not trying to rush through your training, and staying local.

I found that the whole experience of getting to know the school, the instructors, the planes and just enjoying the experience of being taught a new skill was hugely rewarding. I took roughly 50 hours over the course of a year (with a 3-month COVID enforced pause) and used the time to study and enjoy the process of immersing myself in the world of general aviation. I also think that having time to reflect between lessons, plus learning good weather judgement has been (for me at least) a key part of my learning experience. You'll clearly have more freedom to choose when to fly given your new found flexibility (congratulations BTW!) and I'm sure you'll get things done in relatively short order.

I've also found that getting to know my chosen club/school has meant that I've emerged, with not just a licence, but a bunch of friends who I can go flying with and continue to learn from.

Do post what you decide to do and let everyone know how you are getting on!

G-BLEW, Rob P, JAFO and 3 others liked this
User avatar
By skydriller
My view is that as you are retired, you have the flexibility to fly as much or as little as you want.

If immersion is your thing and you fancy a flying "holiday" abroad then by all means go away for your PPL. The only problem with this idea right now and I suspect for the forseeable future will be the ongoing global pandemic...

However it appears you have already decided that a more liesurely way might be better for you. In Scotland, bank on half your lesson bookings being cancelled for weather/instructor/tech reasons, so book twice as often as you would like to fly and enjoy the process. If it was me I would be booking lessons every other day, expecting to fly 2 or 3 times a week. The commute to fly is something to consider when choosing where to learn, though I would suggest trying a couple of places if you can.

Regards, SD..
JAFO, T6Harvard liked this
User avatar
By GeorgeJLA
My experience may not be standard but I started flying training at 48 and I'm now 51 and I've not finished yet. Mix of reasons, some to do with changing clubs, instructors, weather, aircraft availability etc. Thanks to COVID I've not started flying again yet this year, and "my" aeroplane has extended Annual so not back yet. By the time I get to the Skills test I suspect I will double the 45 hour minimum.

If I had my time again I'd go and take a month long holiday and learn to fly in an immersive environment then do some time with an instructor in the UK after, but that's a personal view. I would have saved money on training which could have been used for other adventures
KevR liked this
By MarkOlding
Oi ! Less of the grand old age of 50 ! A lot of people take up flying at 50 ish (me included) and I had a fantastic time going through the whole process. It might take a bit longer - or not - but who cares, its down to you and you get out what you put in.

I never went abroad to do blocks of time so can't comment if its a good idea or not, however, having experienced 2 years worth of the British weather and learning to fly in the south east has left me with a healthy respect for rain, wind and controlled airspace :)

To be honest - and I'm not being unkind - I am pretty sure the average age for contributors here is late 40's early 50's so you're in good company. Have a great time learning to fly wherever you do it and enjoy the experience.
KevR liked this
User avatar
By Rob P
MarkOlding wrote:To be honest - and I'm not being unkind - I am pretty sure the average age for contributors here is late 40's early 50's

Bless you! I think you are a fine fellow no matter what anyone says :lol:

Rob P
cotterpot, skydriller liked this
User avatar
By WelshRichy
Welcome and I’m sure we all wish you well with your training.

May I ask where you live in Scotland? There are plenty of schools located around Scotland, especially the central belt.

I’m based at Prestwick, have also flown out of Fife and Cumbernauld. All recommended.
KevR liked this
Another agreed with Pete Spencer--learn where you intend to fly
I"ve come across a few who"ve learnt in great weather--quite often they get worried when they see a cloud.
The advantages of learning to fly where you live are obvious--and if you"re available (retired) shouldn"t be a problem to get your licence in a reasonable time.
KevR liked this
By KevR
Thanks for all the replies with advice there.

I've decided that I'll stick to learning to fly in Scotland, as much as learning in the sun sounds good, The UK government COVID response with extra self-isolation doesn't appeal to me, So, as I'm close to Dundee, I'll have a look at Tayside Aviation first and see what they offer. Hopefully, I'll get started on the PPL by the end of September.
Yes--Mark"s right. 50 is the new 30.
The oldest on the EASA list is ,I believe---97', so you"ve got another 47 years of aviating in front of you.
Quite a few in are in their seventies, and some incredibly competent pilots in their eighties.
The only problem they have is with the caps button on their computers.
Rob P liked this