View Full Version : ATPL Progression
29th Dec 2011, 20:00
I am 17 years old and have aspired to be a commercial airline pilot from a very early age. I've looked into training and decided that I'm going to take the modular JAA route into training. I have a part time job which will fund my lessons as I am currently in college studying A Levels and I am a member of the Air Cadets which gives me a bit of flight experience. My first lesson for the PPL will be on the 9th January at Liverpool Airport (Really excited!!! :)) and I plan on having a lesson every two weeks.
I know I'm a long way from getting close to the ATPL at the moment, but I've been looking at the current job situation regarding pilots and a lot of UK airlines require a number of minimum hours as competition is fierce. I was wondering how exactly could I build up the 300 hrs you come out of flight school with, to a level that the airlines would deem 'acceptable'? Also, do A Levels have a large weighting whether the airlines hire you or not? I had very good passes at GCSE however, predicted D's and C's for the subjects I'm doing at A level, (Physics C, Geography C, and ICT D)
Many Thanks in advance for your answers!
29th Dec 2011, 22:34
Having lessons two weeks apart is going to cost you more in the long run than if you save your money for a while & then train full time or nearly full time, such as during your holidays, to reach one of the many milestones. More so in the initial stages when your skills are newly learnt, not yet consolidated and diminish quickly in a short period of time. You'll spend more time and money at the beginning of each new lesson refreshing your previously learnt but quickly forgotten skills from the last lesson.
Instead, work as much as you can and save toward training. When you've saved enough, time your holidays for a training-friendly time of year for weather and then train full time, or nearly full, time to reach one of the various milestones eg 1st solo/solo consolidation, navigation component or even straight to PPL. Then have another break to save before starting the next phase. Meanwhile, during the work breaks, study for the exams. There's plenty of theory that needs to be covered so may as well put the non-flying phase to use. It's not uncommon for people to get behind in the theory compononent in their enthusiasm to fly.
29th Dec 2011, 23:38
I agree with the above comments about doing it nearly full time. Everything I've done from driving lessons, boating and flying has been full time and the reason I think I picked it all up quickly was thanks to being full time (and young!). Having said that, I know how itching you are to learn to fly. If you can hold on, do. If you can't wait that long, we all understand why.
You could do all your theory exams for the PPL but I would have got completely bored and demotivated without flying or being in an aviation environment. When doing my PPL I flew at least 2 hours a day and after my lessons I was on such a buzz I studied hard.
As for answering your question, if you want to build experience to get hours under your belt there's a lot you can do but it's all very hard to get the opportunity to do it. There's instructing, bush flying, glider/banner towing and probably some others I can't think of right now.
Regarding qualifications, get as many as you can and do as well as you can. I wish I did. Most will only require 5 GCSEs A-C but don't rest at the thought that you've met their minimum requirements. I don't have any experience with qualifications and how airlines perceive them though.
Best of luck!
30th Dec 2011, 09:57
Firstly welcome to the world of aviators.
You post has just reminded me of my enthusiasm and excitement of embarking on the road to achieving my goal as a professional pilot. There are lots of questions to be asked and along the way, you will have them answered.
Firstly, and this will be contrary to what your teachers tell you, and it is easy for me to say, however, not everything rests of your exam results. If you dont achieve what you want to achieve it is not the end of the world. Dont get me wrong, having a good education is a good thing, but its not the be all and end all, especially later in life.
With regard to the airlines, impressive exam results will stand you in good stead for a sponsorship scheme. Of course the selection process is a filtering exercise, so your results get you over the first hurdle. Sadly, as I am sure you are aware sponsorship has died over the last decade or so due to the nature of the market. At the moment the only big player with such a scheme is BA, and competition is fierce.
Good advice from BillyWhu and Tinstaafl regarding your training. Continuity is key to getting through the courses in minimum time, however, one thing you have on your side is your age, you are an aviation sponge :).
One thing you have to appreciate, is all us guys have been in your shoes, and there are many ways to get into the job when you finish your professional pilot training and everyone has a different story to tell. Some people get jobs very quickly, some people it takes years, so it is very difficult to advise you, apart from share experience of course.
From my own experience, the mission took many years and I certainly had my ups and downs, but learnt a tremendous amount along the way, and am really enjoying the job now.
I wish you all the best with it mate.
Personally I think that having lessons every two weeks is completely fine! I used to have one per month! I went solo at around 11 hours flying time :ok: I've now started having them every two weeks :) in my opinion it just depends on the individual, age etc.
Cheers and good luck! :ok:
Due to lack of money and other factors, it took me four years from trial lesson to skills test, and 46 hours total time. The time I between lessons was spent re-flying the lessons in my head, as well as practicing RT while driving my car, and anything else I could do to stay immersed in aviation.
If you can't afford to go full time just yet, don't worry, do what you can when you can and keep on hunting for whatever funding you can find for the next chunk.
2nd Jan 2012, 17:03
I took 18 months to do my PPL and tested at 46 hours. One of the surprise advantages to spreading it out was that I realised very quickly which aspects I remembered and which bits I forgot. By the time I was approaching "test ready" I was able to still have 2 to 3 weeks between lessons and was quite good at knowing what I was going to forget and therefore address it beforehand. I think the largest gap I had between lessons during PPL training was about 4 months (rubbish weather, less daylight and instructor availability during the winter months).
I then had almost a year between finishing my PPL and going hour building and even with that amount of gap between flying I knew which areas I was likely to be rusty at as I had already been exposed to the situation of not flying for a while.
Swings and roundabouts of course, do whatever works best for you financially.
2nd Jan 2012, 19:44
Best of luck with the PPL! One thing that springs to mind is the fact that you are doing at Liverpool Airport, I don't know how the school will charge you but you may find and be frustrated by delays due to the easys and ryans around? I don't know how much this impacts the GA scene at Liverpool though...
I'm saving all the cash first then doing my PPL over the summer (if I have saved enough :P)
17th Jan 2012, 16:21
Thanks for the feedback! Really appreciate it!
I had my first lesson last monday, and I really enjoyed it! Especially flying from an international airport when you could hear jets nearby! Yes, we did get delayed for 5 minutes due to a "Bird Scaring" excersice! But no extra charges! But it was great fun and I cant wait for next monday now! I came out of the plane with a great big grin on my face! Parents could tell I enjoyed it! :) First hour in my logbook so I'm really pleased!
Yes, that really is different to what my teachers are saying! They do speak some rubbish sometimes, telling us if we fail then were gonna be on low paid jobs! I'm not bothered about the money really, as long as I can get by, and I'm doing something I enjoy, I'll be happy! I've got my first lot of AS exams this week so hopefully they'll give a good indication as to how well I'll do throughout the course!
With the hour building to ATPL, what did you guys do? Or did you get straight into the job? Personally, I like the "bush flying" idea! Sounds like right fun! :D I've also been watching that "Ice Pilots" on TV, that looks good! I know they dont do anything like that in the UK, but If I went abroad and did something like that, would the hours still count as it's in a different country?
Hope to hear off you again soon guys, thanks for the input!
Hi, with regards to flying at Liverpool
Aslong as you can afford the the landing fee's and the occasional hold then flying amongst the Ezy's and Ryr's is all great for experience and the RT practise is second to none.
The disadvantages of Liverpool is you always get to land on a huge runway making the likes of Sleap & Welshpool a bit of a challenge during training.
Hope you have as much fun as i did :)
17th Jan 2012, 22:13
Well done on the first lesson, first small mile stone under your belt and no doubt many more to come!
I took 18 months to do my PPL whilst earning the cash doing bar work, I used to try and have one lesson per week but in reality it was more like once per fortnight by the time the weather has taken it's toll. I still passed on 45.5 hours despite having it spread out, and so I think the key thing is your attitude towards training. If you turn up once a fortnight, expect your instructor to tell you all you need to know and then finish your lesson and head to the pub, you're going to struggle to pass anywhere near the minimum hours. The key thing is to make sure you have all the PPL training books, and after each lesson ask your instructor what's coming up next. Read all about it, do some further online research in to particular subjects if necessary, and don't forget to think through your previous lesson in your head to ensure that you remember what you were taught. If anything didn't make sense, go look it up.
Once you've passed, you need to combine ATPL theory exams with hour building (you need 150 hours total time and to have passed all 14 ATPL subjects before commencing CPL training). Hour building options are fairly limited, I joined a private flying group which offered roughly the same rates as the flying schools but much nicer aircraft (I flew an auto-pilot equipped C172 for what the flying school charge for a C152). Some people go to the US for hour building, but you can find plenty more information about that on here. If you're going modular then most people study for their ATPL exams by Distance Learning through a ground school such as Bristol GS, or a cheaper alternative currently is CATS Aviation. The ATPL's are hard work, despite what some may say. Yes it is possible to pass the ATPL exams by hammering the question bank over and over, but it's not going to look very good when it comes to an airline interview one day and they ask you a technical question to which you don't have a clue how to reach the answer. Best tip, if you're going to study for the ATPL's then make the most of your time and do them properly, after all you are paying for it so you might as well make them count and learn the stuff as best as you can.