View Full Version : SFT or not SFT
30th Jul 2001, 19:01
I am looking very closely at SFT for their integrated course and wanted to field some opinions as to where people see them in the league table of integrated course suppliers here in the UK. I know the league table only has four org's in it, but opinions would still be much appreciated. I know someone posted a piece about this but without the search option, I'm unable to track it down.
Scratch One Bandit
30th Jul 2001, 21:31
If you want to e-mail me, I'll send you my opinions of SFT. I don't really want to post them here, incase people who know me at the school get onto me for something I said. I'm not saying I only have bad things to say about SFT, far from it.
Note - For those of you who I have already mailed (about six people), I don't work for SFT!
30th Jul 2001, 22:08
Intergrated course. I think SFT are a 'modular training provider. Altough do the hole lot, just like OATS and Scabair.
I looked at them, as I live locally. But decided to do my ground at PPSc and the flying with PAT, both at Bournemouth.
Worth a thought ;)
30th Jul 2001, 22:22
SFT should soon be approved again for integrated courses. If anyone can tell me the point of one for self-sponsored students, I would be fascinated.
SydneyC already knows my high opinion of SFT, also not posted for good reasons. Anyone want to know, email.
30th Jul 2001, 22:26
i have looked at length into SFT and have visited them recently. I was impressed with the flying set up, though i get the feeling that planes and instructors can become scarce when they are busy!
However, it was my intention to do my groundschool at PPSC (save £900) based on info from other people who have been there.
However, for anyone who will have to find somewhere to live there i.e. a b+b, (for 12 months), dont under-estimate the additional cost! See 'the real cost of going modular' posted previously today.
Good luck with your training.
30th Jul 2001, 22:44
Why live in a B&B? It is rarely the cheapest option, and self catering can be much more comfortable for that timespan.
Having said that, I started living in cheap full-board lodgings intending to change, and like the people and the place so much I have stayed on. I am paying less than £4000 a year for accomodation, food and even some beer! Varied and cosmopolitan company (Czech, Colombian, Japanese, Polish and Russian at the moment) allows me to get away from aviation in the evening :eek: Cycling to SFT keeps me fit and keeps transport costs down.
Integrated course with accomodation (not all seem to include it, or did I miss something? The difference with an integrated course is you don't need to get a PPL before groundschool, not that accomodation is provided) may help if you have never been away from home, sounds like University halls to me, but if you have lived independently it might be less pleasant, and I can't see it as really necessaryt to have everything provided on a plate.
30th Jul 2001, 22:49
Oh, and by the way there is no lack of flying instructors at SFT that I know of, certainly was not when I was training.
Although when I did my CPL some people were affected by aircraft availability for complex single, at the time they negociated to borrow as required two extra Arrows so have solved the bottleneck. Also I suspect the problem exists everywhere - the new JAA requirement for complex type in training and test has made the types scarce, and SFT I understand had difficulty sourcing aircrarft.
[ 30 July 2001: Message edited by: Send Clowns ]
31st Jul 2001, 01:54
You ask what the value is to a self-funder of an integrated course. There is another thread running at this time on the Wannabe forum where many experienced pilots are detailing their experience of airlines opting for integrated pilots rather than modular. It seems the consensus is if you can pull the money together, you are best served tackling an integrated course. That said, someone else has worked out that the cost difference between the two is minimal. Am interested in your thoughts on this.
31st Jul 2001, 21:46
No problem, Sydney. The cheapest integrated CAA approved JAA ATPL available when I was looking was £47 000, from Cabair (that I could find - BAe and Multiflight did not have approval then). I was given to understand this did not include accomodation, though this could be provided at a competitive rate.
The cheapest modular I could find with groundschool and flying at one school (which I preferred) was SFT at (then, before the full impact of the JAA had been realised!) £38 000 all-inclusive except food and accomodation in the UK. This included exam fees (ground and air test), MCC, food and accom in the US, various bits such as log book and David Clarke headset.
Not sure if Cabair included MCC (does an integrated course?) but even if it did I saved £9 000! I did the course straight through as if it were integrated anyway.
BTW the course is no longer different from an integrated course, as the rules for the latter have been relaxed. Therefore I cannot see the airlines favouring one above the other in future!
[ 31 July 2001: Message edited by: Send Clowns ]
Wee Weasley Welshman
31st Jul 2001, 22:11
Please, ease off the SFT promotion will you mate?
I understand you've been there and thus are speaking from personal experience. However, either a more balanced posting style, a frequent reminder that you work for them now or fewer posts would probably be appropriate.
Just a polite request - I'm not narked or anything.
31st Jul 2001, 22:17
Will do, WWW. Just get a little frustrated by propoganda from the 'big boys' saying 'integrated is best' or 'Come to us and put XXXXXX on your CV' when people often don't see the other side, then they unintentionally spread the propoganda ...
1st Aug 2001, 15:01
Well WWW we all know why you're so narked - cos nobody's blowing their trumpet about your ex-employer in Spain. Ha Ha!
[ 01 August 2001: Message edited by: seadog ]
1st Aug 2001, 17:29
Ouch! Handbags at 10 paces!
*Homer sits back and watches the fur fly*
:D :D :D :D
Nationalise the lot, and give us all considerably subsidised trainning, whilst making flying schools totally inefficient.
Saying that thought of being taught at SFT, by a bloke with bright red hair lots of white makeup on with tears down cheek, ridiculously large shoes, tartan clothes and a flower that squirts out water kinda scares me. :D, so the blatant appraisal has scarred me for life ;)
On a more serious note, I have never heard anything really bad about SFT, people from other large flight schools say they would have preferred to have gone there with hindsight.
Just look around and choose what is right for you, then rob a bank that is not yours to pay for the fees <g>
Wee Weasley Welshman
1st Aug 2001, 19:09
Seadog - when I posted stuff about Jerez when I worked there it was right there in my profile. More often than not I reminded people in the actualy post to balance my comments against being an employee.
Incidently my relationship with PPRuNe caused me a lot more grief with management than anything else. Indeed it was because of my involvement with PPRuNe that certain people chose to attack Jerez in a campaign on this forum just so it would make life for me awkward. Since leaving they seem to have completely lost interest in slagging the place off...
BAE never asked nor ever needed any PPRuNe publicity to help their business - they have been booked solid and turning people away as they exceeded their buid up planned numbers from month one.
I strongly value people from inside FTO's contributing here - you can get hold of some fantastic info. I do have a duty though to try and ensure some degree of transparency.
As I said - I'm not narked.
1st Aug 2001, 22:23
sagey, thanks for your input.
window seat, are you now sold on Jerez? I think I've seen a post of yours saying you were dismayed by the number of sponsored students arriving for their October course?
The SFT integrated course starts on November 19th. I'm still trying to field opinions on whether this is a better option with SFT than their continuous modular route? In other words, will a brand new integrated with SFT be worth it? WWW - any thoughts?
Wee Weasley Welshman
1st Aug 2001, 22:38
I don't think hanging around with the sponsored guys is necessarily a bad thing. As long as you aren't treated less favourably on the flying allocation side of things then there is no problem.
2nd Aug 2001, 03:14
I totally agree, being in a mixed group (sponsored & skint) has alot of advantages for both sides, and would hopefully minimise any special treatment given to the airline's eggs!
I was informed recently that the classes were around a 50:50 split, .....no probs! Then on application for the August class was informed that BA had taken the whole allocation, .....ok, no probs! Now on aiming for the October class, I along with around 6 other hopefuls on pprune have been informed that a 'mystery airline' has come out of the woodwork and will be claiming 10 of the 14 places avaliable.
This in it's self is not a major issue (provided the airline involved isn't outa-mongolia airways, forcing the groundschool to run for 25 years whilst they get to grips with the english language)! I would jump at the chance to join 10 students from BA or similar.
My worry now is that, whilst i wait for my class 1 cert. to drop through the door, and my bank to sort out the EURO deposit, the 4 places left for us self-funders will be gone, forcing me to work in my god-forsaken, boring as hell, nightmare (but reasonably well paid) office job for another month! :mad:
Still, all good things come to those who wait, and wait.........and wait! :D
[ 01 August 2001: Message edited by: window-seat ]
One major advantage with SFT is the weather. Bournemouth has a better climate than most UK Flight Schools. Obviously Jerez beats all hands down. Bournemouth International/Hurn whatever you want to call it is a lovely airport and is getting more and more popular as is running the odd charter flight.
There are (and remain) significant differences between integrated and modular courses - the rules have not been changed. that is a different point from your employability as a graduate. My opinion is that it does make a difference as a fresh graduate, ie without any post-graduate experience. However, the difference dissapears when experience is added.
As to the original question about league tables, there is no published evidence to support the many and colourful opinions you'll get here, but historic reputation would make the top league BAE, WMU and OAT, with SFT joining Cabair in the second league. There are modular schools which do not offer the full range who would warrant a top league place for the modules they supply, eg Bristol Groundschool.
Do the top league deserve their placings? Should the second league be promoted? I hear the noise of that can being opened again!
2nd Aug 2001, 16:43
I took a long time to decide on which flight training school i would go to. I decided on SFT, because the seemed like the only school who would give you that personal touch!!! The ground instructors are very friendly and helpfull and know you by your first name!! Unlike some of the bigger schools where you are just a cog in a big wheel!!!
I have just finished my ATPL's there, so I can't comment on what the flying side is like at the moment, but from talking to other students, it seems to be ok!!!
If you want anymore info from someone who is studying there and not an instructor then drop me an email!!!!
2nd Aug 2001, 17:21
thanks for your post - I'm dropping you a line privately.
2nd Aug 2001, 17:28
When you finally get that airline job, you will be an even smaller cog in an even bigger wheel!! May as well get used to it now! :cool:
2nd Aug 2001, 19:07
I, like Lightning Ace used PPSC, PAT, and finally Bristol Ground School for Perf 'A'.
Whilst none were perfect, it worked fine for me, and at what appears to me a middle of the road price, as far as professional pilot training is concerned. However getting a job afterwards is an entirely different matter!
2nd Aug 2001, 19:30
How is your job search going and when did you complete your training?
2nd Aug 2001, 22:09
My employer is not in my profile as most of my posts are in Jet Blast, and not associated with SFT! There are enough clues in my profile for those that see me post about SFT and look at my profile to guess, and any who email me I reply and state very clearly.
I am also posting along exactly the same lines I have done since I joined PPRuNe (as a_random) when I was a student at SFT. I have no interest in SFT's success - I will not be there for long, I hope, as I am not flying :( .
2nd Aug 2001, 22:16
At the moment most integrated graduates are from courses basically CAA or JAA courses run the same way. I really cannot see the airlines continuing to favour integrated courses as they change to become exactly the same in structure as the modular course.
Wee Weasley Welshman
3rd Aug 2001, 08:48
Send Clowns makes a very very valid point.
The modular route if conducted at a well established FTO's is no different to the fully intregrated course.
Over time Chief Pilots will come to realise this.
At the moment we are in a hangover phase because for 20 years you either had CAP509 or Self Improver 700hr CPL'ers.
The association between integrated and modular with the old two routes is fundamentally flawed. It will take several years though before that registers in the airlines.
When that does indeed happen it would be far more useful to see the following advert rather than the usual Fully Integrated, or, 1000hrs+ TT minmum requirements for application:
"Applicants should hold a JAA CPL with Current IR <note no MCC required> and have passed either their CPL or IR skill test at the first attempt whilst achieving an ATPL examination average pass mark of 85%"
Same syllabi, same training standards, same tests so therefore select on results rather than which system best suited your purse/lifestyle commitments at the time.
ps things will be alright once I am the Chairman of the CAA.
pps I am not joking.
3rd Aug 2001, 12:52
Send Clowns - do you ever check your e-mail ?
4th Aug 2001, 00:35
Ooops, sorry Brian. Am having problems changing to AOL. They are unmetered, but the email does not use smtp :confused: so is incompatible with other ISPs' email accounts. A bit of a struggle to sort things :o and I'll reply tonight or tomorrow.
4th Aug 2001, 14:51
WWW it wasn't so long ago that you were renowned for having a personal "advertising" crusade for PAT. Pot calling the kettle me thinks..........
Wee Weasley Welshman
6th Aug 2001, 01:11
Kiltie - Yep. I hope I still am renowned for that trait.
I was speaking from personal experience having done a Multi rating and IR with them in 15 days for less than £7k and a 1st time pass.
They were excellent in both my personal and flying instructor professional judgement.
It gives me great pleasure to read both the posts and personal email from subsequent very satisfied customers.
My favourable comments were patently made in a spirit of passing on hot gen to fellow Wannabes as I had nothing personally to gain from promoting a company with which I had only a 3 week customer relationship.
This is exactly the sort of info which I wish to see conveyed on this forum.
It is/was also completely in line with 'policy' here.
6th Aug 2001, 02:11
I have pretty much got as much fedback as I could hope on whether people view SFT as a good school. The answer seems to be a strong "yes" which tallies with my research from other sources - thanks to all those who posted their opinion and offered me their experience. What is interesting is the belief, from Send CLowns and WWW that in the next 12 months or so, good, continuous modular courses will converge with integrated with respect to the view of airlines. As a modular route would suit me better on a personal level, I'd be grateful if anyone could post any other info they feel valid on this issue.
6th Aug 2001, 16:19
Take a look at PPSC for the ground-school! ;)
7th Aug 2001, 04:09
I was at SFT and had some bad experiences with them but that said, I would still recommend them. Whilst other people on my course moaned constantly, I decided to put up and shut up (ok so I got an upgrade to the Aztec instead of the Seminole) and as a result I landed a jet job within 6 days of finishing my training. Ok so I was incredibly lucky and that isn't typical, but just goes to prove that ultimately it doesn't actually matter which school you trained with- I'm not sure all airlines place any importance on that anyway. A license is still a license and regardless of who paid for your course, to get one requires a lot of hard work, I think airlines realise that. Once you have completed your first year in your first job, It matters not where you trained, hours and types qualify you, whether you took two or three attempts to pass your morse code does not. Training in my opinion is all about jumping through hoops to get into a great club, most of your training will be provided online with your employer.
So get jumping and forget the school snobbery 'cos a tick in the box is still a tick in the box!
7th Aug 2001, 10:06
Althought I've not yet met PAT, from the numerous phone calls I've had with them I can back up your recomendation of them. I was originaly going to someone closer top home, but after phoning and leaving numerous unreturned messages, deceided to look else where.
Many moons ago, I had an unsatisfactory experience from SFT, and it prompted me to go else where to finish off. But, as it was nearly 10 years ago, I would not hold it against them unless I hear of someone with a more recent experience.
Tell me something, if I read your post correctly, why do you think flying a PA23 helped you get a job? Just curious.
7th Aug 2001, 13:41
Would you care to expand on your bad experience with SFT? Anything you say that could help me make a more informed choice would be very useful - email me privately if you feel that would be better. Plus did SFT offer you any guidance at all when looking for a job?
9th Aug 2001, 21:26
Polar_stereographic - I don't mean that as a result of being put on the Aztec helped me get a job, I mean as a result of not moaning too much and asking for refunds etc. I think it may have helped. My instructor also happend to be the chief pilot at the time and very occasionally was approached by airlines for suitable F/O's. I feel that if I had been whinging constantly I may not have been put forward for my RH seat job Im in now.
Just like to say that my experience of SFT was generally very good except for OBA wtih whom they no longer associate with. Decent ground school, some excellent instructors. I would recommend anyone going to SFT should request to fly with instructor callsigned SIMFLIGHT 04 he is an excellent instructor and well thought of by the CAA examiners I have spoken to.
10th Aug 2001, 01:42
I am curious to know when you had a bad experience. I know they had a poor reputation about 2 1/2 - 3 years ago now, but they have worked hard on the problems. I certainly haven't seen any flying-side problems (bar the now sorted (I think) Arrow bottleneck) in the year-and-a-half I've been there.
Glad to hear you got a job straight out. Any pilots needed where you are? :D (of course I am only at SFT until airborne!)
10th Aug 2001, 05:48
as they say in this part of the world, "fair Call".
You never fail to let me down with a legitimate, intensive & extensive response, & I respect you for that; however I really don't assume Send Clown's comments are commercially biased despite the fact he works for the aforementioned company; he seems to be commenting from his days as a client. Nothing OTT I could see about his comments.
PS nice to see argument can be excercised politely & on an agree to disagree basis; this seems to be sadly lacking these days on this website. It invariably reduces to personal slander when one has lack of a valid point.
[ 10 August 2001: Message edited by: Kiltie ]