View Full Version : PPL: how long?
Im 17 and starting university in September where, ill study computer science.
However, I finish school (A levels) in about June time giving me about 3 months in which ill be doing nothing. Over this time I would like to try to get my PPL but how realistic would it be to get a PPL in just 2/3 months?
What would be the best options: stay in the UK or go abroad. Head of people who go abroad to study for PPL but wouldn’t the cost of hotels/car rental just up the cost so much that it would have been cheaper to stay in UK?
Thanks for any help.
18th Apr 2001, 20:00
It would be very realistic to get a ppl in 2/3 months
If u looked around u could probably find a 3 or 4 week ppl course run in the USA for about £2500 including accommodation. If u got a cheap ticket there and dont spend too much u could probably come back with a ppl having spent less than £3000. I think lots of these courses are British run schools so u wouldnt have to convert ur license or anything(although i might be wrong)
If u chose to do it in Britain then u could probably do it for less than £4000 because there are quite a few places that offer cessna 150/152s at under £70 an hour but remember u have to add on other stuff like ground tuition costs(but some places do that free) and the cost of a medical but like i said u will probably be able to do it for less than £4000 and if ull be flying in the UK then this might be better as ud be more used to the weather and stuff
Something id recommend u try to get would be a magazine called "Learn to Fly Guide" which is a magazine produced by Flyer magazine once a year. It has a very useful listing of every flying school in the uk and tells u how much course and hourly rates are at each.
It will show u what the cheapest airfield near u is and also contains advertisements for several ppl course in America.
Hope ive been of some help
cool.. thanks for that.
18th Apr 2001, 20:34
Looking at my learn to fly guide(its two years old but prices couldnt have changed that much) I found that theres some place in California which offers a 4 week UK ppl (so u dont need to convert it) at £1945 which i think gives u 40 hours and a guaranteed ppl at £2495 which gives u 48-55 hours. It includes all tests and accommodation, all u have to pay for is ur flight there
the phone number ( in England ) is 01329 832139, e-mail is jimashore@<hidden>
I dont how close u r to these places but there are some very good deals in England too eg some place in bedfordshire : skyline school of flying offers a 40 hour ppl course at £2600
thanks for the help (wonder what strop had to say tho)
Im in North East England. i could drive to Teesside or Newcastle every day, i also have friends in the London area who could put me up for a few weeks.
I did my flying in CA, Anglo American..quite a good school. However saty clear of UKFT!!! Alot of hidden costs!!!!
Fast Jet Wannabe
18th Apr 2001, 23:50
I'd be wary of accepting any 40 hour PPL courses if I were you, considering you need a minimum of 45 hours to qualify.
How old did you say that guide was?
I've just completed my PPL in the UK, with a total time of just under 6 weeks. It was very reasonably priced, and I didn't have any of that namby pamby California weather to lull me into a force sense of security!
(I also had to adhere to correct radio procedures, etc)
In my opinion, the bottom line is, train in the country you intend to fly in, if you think about it, it makes a lot more sense!
19th Apr 2001, 00:31
STAY IN THE UK ! For the reasons the above post mentions. It works out at the same cost in the long-term, after conversion costs etc, with a lot less hasle.
I did mine in 4 weeks in the Uk, back in 95. You'll have to work hard though. Expect to be in the flying school full time.
What part of the Uk are you in, we might have some suggestions for schools ?
thanxs guys for the advice, yeh think the UK is easier (a holiday would have been nice tho) :)
im close to Newcastle upon Tyne. Newcastle aeroclub close by, and Teesside is only a 40min drive away.
(Edit to add this) i could also go to school around London area as i have a mate who lives in S london. this is also good as im moving that way in september, so if i didnt get finished it would be no hassle to continue at the same club.
[This message has been edited by KBaB (edited 18 April 2001).]
19th Apr 2001, 12:45
Email me, I have all the info you need. I'm in Newcastle, used to instruct in the locailty !
21st Apr 2001, 10:19
Piece of String : how long?
Depends how much you buy.
22nd Apr 2001, 01:08
No seriously though, it took me about a year or so (part time, with a few lapses in training due to weather,money etc) to get about half way through, then I did the second half in Portugal in one week!
Today is a good day for vanity and chasing after the wind.
22nd Apr 2001, 14:47
There are a lot of things to take into account here. First, check out any school thoroughly, and get a personal recommendation if at all possible. It's not uncommon for schools to go bust and disappear, taking students' money paid upfront with them. Happens far too often. Even if they don't do that, the fact that a school advertises, with glossy ads and cheap prices, doesn't mean it's any good. Stories of poor mainenance and safety records abound, and a high turnover of inexperienced instructors is even more common. Schools which have cheap rates are usually cutting costs somewhere; you don't get anything for nothing in aviation or in life. Even if such things don't cost you your savings, or even your life, they may well drastically increase the time it takes you to get your PPL.
I have no personal experience of short courses in the US, but I've heard too many stories of people getting ripped off because they didn't do enough research. Some people, on the other hand, do fine, so don't completely give up that idea. Short courses in the UK tend to be scuppered by the weather; I've known people who spent the three weeks they booked doing the ground exams and looking at the low clouds. Wherever you do it, a short course for a PPL will NOT be a holiday; it's bloody hard work and you'll be at it non-stop. I did both my PPL(A) and PPL(H) part time locally, but both schools had their quotas of fulltime students looking permanently shellshocked. If you do go that route, try to do at least some of the ground exams beforehand; that way you have some chance of enjoying the whole process.
Lastly, I should point out that Tiger_Moth hasn't even done his PPL yet, so while he wants to help, he really doesn't know any more than you do yourself.
To fly is human, to hover, divine.
22nd Apr 2001, 17:23
where did you do your courses? Did you do both the PPL(A) and the PPL(H) at the same school? Hope you don't mind me asking
22nd Apr 2001, 18:07
I did my PPL(A) at Welshpool and my PPL(H) at Tiger Helicopters at Shobdon. And I didn't take my own good advice on choosing a flying school. One lives and learns http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/frown.gif E-mail me if you want more details.
To fly is human, to hover, divine.
[This message has been edited by Whirlybird (edited 22 April 2001).]
The guy who taught me did his PPL in 6 weeks, in the UK, whilst at university (not in the UAS), but it took me 11 months (whilst working full time). If you were lucky with weather and not otherwise busy, you probably could do it in the UK in 2-3 months, aiming to fly several times a week, weather permitting.
I'm in the "learn in the UK camp" although I can see the attractions of the US option. Perhaps the biggest draw back there is the inability to check out the US schools properly without visiting. I binned my first (UK) flying school after one lesson and wouldn't have been in a position to do that in California or Florida.
If you decide to learn near London then WLAC at White Waltham draws regular plaudits in the Private Flying forum. I would strongly recommend Skysport, who I learned with, for the quality of the aircraft (Pups and Bulldog) and the instruction (enthusiasts) but they might not be ideal for you as their instructors are part-time and are not always available all week.
Another alternative, why not the UAS? Wish I'd done that....
thanks for advice. UAS was somthing i looked into but i think id rather fly in my own time, when and where i want. not sure if the UAS is like lessons ie.. be here when you are told to be. (any advice?)
could always do my PPl while at uni, just with so much time off before hand it would be a shame not to do anything constructive with it.
As a u.k. flying instructor who has also done quite a lot of flying in Florida (hour building)I would recommend that you do your training in the U.K. The guaranteed pass system that a lot of American flying schools offer does not mean that you will be trained to a very high standard. I have had to check out a few pilots who were trained in America and in most cases the standard of flying was not good.
Also I saw some dangerous sights in America, at some of the airfields the circuit was so busy (12 aircraft) at once, two aircraft trying to land on the same piece of runway at the same time, warbirds arriving in the circuit un-announced & doing beat ups & cutting up other circuit traffic. This sort of thing would not happen in the U.K.
Also i've heard horror stories from people who have gone to America for their ppl or cpl and after having handed over their money have come back without a licence as their was not enough aircraft available for them to complete the course in the time available.
The cost of getting a licence in the U.K. by the time that you have got your medical bought maps, crp1 computer & books etc, will probably be around £4500 - 5000 provided that you do it in the minimun 45 hours. Hope this has been of some help, if you do decide to go to the u.s, choose your training establishment carefully!!
25th Apr 2001, 02:58
4 weeks and 3 days at Welshpool
A BIT EXTRA FOR MUM.
25th Apr 2001, 14:26
Re: North American training. Why not consider Canada? Canada offers a full ICAO license (unlike America) whilst offering similar cost efficiency - about £50ph for aircraft and instructor. A Canadian license is "good" in the UK without conversion providing you meet the requirements of whichever establishment you hire aircraft from (I have flown here on it).
I currently live in Bournemouth and comparing a bill of well over £200 for 1.4 hours in a Warrior locally with somewhat less than a third that in Vancouver provides little contest in terms of training! And you get better scenery too :)
[This message has been edited by Golden Monkey (edited 25 April 2001).]
25th Apr 2001, 16:03
My son was trying for his PPL for several years - and never made it through sheer bad luck, not an inability to fly. He re-sat the exams several times (easily passed on each occasion) but was always thwarted by the QXC - either through bad weather at one or other destination, u/s aircraft, club wanting the plane for more profitable work, etc, etc. He was actually scheduled to do the QXC about a dozen times! About half-way through all this he almost made it.. flew to destination 1, landed got chit signed and took-off... at destination 2 the wind suddenly changed and the x-wind was above his limits so he continued back home. Understandably he's given up!!
25th Apr 2001, 17:56
I managed to get my PPL in the UK a few years ago. It took 21 days, but was via an RAF flying scholarship (ie full time course). It should certainly be possible to get your PPL in a similar timeframe, dependant on the weather. I actually completed my training in the north of England and my QXC took 2 weather diversions to complete!! In comparison, I have also flown in the USA (Arizona) and loved it out there. No weather problems, although a totally different setup to the UK. I'm not sure how easy it would be to come back to the UK with just that experience to draw on without a certain amount of further training. Having said all that, the laws of aerodynamics work just as well in the USA as over here!! As regards flying in the UAS (University Air Squadron -not a USA misstype) I would highly recommend it if you are serously considering a career in the RAF, the training is excellent and the social side is brilliant. However, it does require (and deserve) a certain level of committment and you certainly get a lot more out of it that way!!!
For me, training in this country worked and I think it's easier to go and fly in the USA after having trained here than vice-versa.
Enjoy your flying!!!
25th Apr 2001, 18:46
Were you at Teesside or Carlisle ? When ??
26th Apr 2001, 02:10
expedite_climb, I've e-mailed you the info...
26th Apr 2001, 18:29
I'm with callthe ball here, got the ppl thru a RN flying scholarship in Southend in 1990(3 1/2 weeks). At the end of training was positively dangerous but lucky, then went to Oz (they accepted UK ppl as equivalent for fee of AU$37.00) and got cpl/IR, intructor and Atpl subjects, Came back and converted to UK professional licences in 1998/99 at the Bristol Flying Centre, I can't recommend them enough, they are absolutely brilliant for professional licences and not to bad for ppl's, they also arrange cheap accomodation.
talk to Wally Fitch there I think their number is 01275 474601
26th Apr 2001, 21:55
Wait three months, read up on the RAF and join the UAS where you will get some damn fine flying training for free. If you aren't sure that you want to join the RAF then think about it. You will have to show some kind of interest to be accepted assuming you pass the aptitudes etc.
In response to your earlier post, the UAS doesn't lay great emphasis on the more mundane side of all things military (ie marching etc.) but they obviously try and look for officer qualities of some sort. The syllabus is well structured and is a little more exciting than the PPL course.
30th May 2001, 17:42
I have just read the posting and would like to add my 2 pennies worth, some of the comments on flying in the US I agree with - some I don't !!
Definitely do your homework!
Dont, as was quite rightly stated, fall for the guarenteed pass malarky - check they are what they say they are!!!
Check also that it is a genuine JAA course and that no conversion is required in the UK.
I complete the new JAA PPL in 62 hours at Longbeach, California. Not only that but I was also issued a CAA PPL - so I have two licences for the price of one(although you must carry you JAA PPL with it as it is subject to the restrictions placed on it - ie. no night lfying until you get your NR, in the US the NR is part of the PPL). The course took 4 weeks having already completed all my exams in the UK with the exception of the RT. The trip was done in 2 x 2 week stints so two lots of LHW->LAX airfares and a months (quite nice) hotel accomdation, also required are food, beer and spending money!! The whole lot cost me in the region of £4,500. You can vary the costs depending what sort of plane you want to use, prices here per hours in USD.
Warrior II $67
Archer III $96
Arrow II(Retract) $84
Twins(for those interested)
Cessna 310N $184
Instructor $30-$35 Hour (Hope this llist gives you some sort of idea to build upon)
OK, now the good bit http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/redface.gif)
Radio - I undertook a UK RT written and oral exam with a UK instructor whilst out there, no getting away from it even out there :O)
The radio can be just as stringent over in the US depending on where you are flying, Towers, MATZ, UNICOM etc. Radio over there is very intense around busy airfields so by the end of the course you will find yourself very confident with it and in stating your requests (unlike the first time you fire it up and start think 'What the hell !!!' )
Airspace - I can only assume that the gent watching planes almost colliding was present in a UNICOM zone if it was that disorganised. I dare say there are areas in the UK where students are fighting for positions. LGB is a tower controlled airport with 5 active runways, I was sharing them with not only other GA aircraft but with Citations, Learjets, MD-80s, rotor traffic and even the USAF C-17 - which if you have never seen one, they are big and have a huge wake!!
Weather/Flying - All I can say to this 'Namby Pamby Weather' comment is absolute rubbish. I have flown in good and bad weather, sun, rain, had to contend with the 'ocean layer', high density altitudes, mountain ranges, ski-resorts(Big Bear), massive temperature variants altitudes upto 10,500ft instead of messing about at 1.500ft and small Island strips - check out Catalina Island in 'Flyer', I did it!! Mess this one up and you park the aircraft in a cliff face. I also got clearance through a MATZ whilst the US Marines were undertaking a beach assault beneath me and Apache Gunships flying alongside - how many can say they have experinced that??? http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/redface.gif) I came back from my PPL to find I had flownin a greater varity of conditions than my UK counterparts.
Obviously UK instructors will want students to stay within the UK as its their livelyhood, but if you can get the same quality of training elsewhere and cheaper then why not! Another attraction of the US was I only paid a landing fees once during my XC to Palm Springs (another student had a slight hold up there when asked to halt his taxi back to make way for AirForce 1 !!!), with UK airports charing per landing and also insisting you join the club at the airport you are flying from it all adds up.
I have since returned to the US and undertaken the JAA NR ($450) and have also flownin the UK. I can honestly say that learning over there did not in any way hamper my flying in the UK and I think anyone who trys to put you off by saying you will not be as good a pilot as a UK trained one is either narrow minded or scared. All of us that passed had no problems with the clubs we have since flown with, just have the usual checkout flight and off you go - so dont be put off by stories of 'clubs wont let you fly with them if you learnt abroad' or 'you will have to fly XXX hours with an instructor first'. If you are compentent pilot then you will be fine and yes they do fail you over there, the CFI is a Brit and if he doesnt think you are upto scratch then its another GFT. Some students didnt have time to resit and retook the GFT in the UK and passed so the training can't be that bad!!! http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/redface.gif)
I am off again in October to undertake the FAA IR giving me UK IMC priveldges in the UK. The attraction being that I will have a better idea than just doing the UK IMC rating, and with the UK IR at £10,000 and the FAA IR at $3,000 - I think its plain to anyone!
So my parting words are to maintain an open outlook on the UK/US options. Look in the back of Flyer & Pilot and see what offers are around - wherever you learn try and do an intensice course if possibly or you will waste hours re-capping on skills you have forgotton since you last flew. Both the UK and US have their pros and cons but the days of writing off US trained pilots are long gone - perpetuated by people who are unwilling to adapt to change or dont like to see someone moving in on their territory - which is understandable.
Whereever you end up - have fun!!
1st Jun 2001, 15:15
Golden Monkey: Re Canadian training, do you know if a Canadian IR is readily convertible to a JAR IR?. I'm considering this route as an alternative to a FAA IR.
1st Jun 2001, 18:48
agree with you 100%. I learned at LGB and now am a member of a club in the South of England at a 'busy' airport and I had a standard 1½ hr dual check on my return from the US and was set free in a 172. If learning somewhere like LGB then you'll have no problems flying in the UK, or with UK RT / airspace. While over there I overflew LAX at 4500 feet with 747's landing and departing below me, I'd like to see someone overfly LHR in a 172 (or even get near it !)...good experience all round, go for the US option if I were you.......
I got back from Florida about a month ago having done my PPL in 3 weeks. This was the exception rather than the norm. There were no guarenteed passes and it was up to you to meet the required standard.
From this side of the water there look to be a number of pitfalls to doing it in the US but believe me, it was worth it.
I went to the Cabair affiliate school Orlando Flight Training (www.flyorlandoflorida.com) at Kissimmee Municipal airport. The facilities and aircraft as well as the field itself were far superior to anything I've seen since i've been back here, the aircraft in particular (brand new cessna 172's and warrior III's all with GPS). Since i've been back here all the clubs I have seen so far have old dingy planes that are certainly not worth the £100+/hr it costs to rent them.
By going to the States you get continuity which you just cannot get here. I've tried to fly since I have got back and have had to cancel twice due to the weather. In the US we were flying at least twice a day. It was sunny the whole time and studying for the ground exams was made far easier by being able to sit next to the pool and do it in the sunshine with other people on the course.
The instructers are all very good and the staff at the school very helpful and accomodating. The majority of students are Brits and tend to be between 16-17 to their 40-50's. It was a good mix and everyone learnt from each other.
People say that the airspace isn't as complicated out there and you will be out of your depth back here. That is true to some extent but i've now flown twice since I have been back and feel perfectly comfortable flying in the UK. You get used to it fairly quickly and believe me, being right next to Orlando International means you learn your airspace restrictions and do not break them.
Lastly, if you do think about going to the US and Florida in particular go sooner rather than later because the further into the summer season you go the more chance of being grounded in the afternoon for a couple of hours due to thunderstorms.
It was certainly an experience I will not forget and I am very glad I went to the US to do it.
[This message has been edited by bow5 (edited 01 June 2001).]