Long time reader, first time poster. Please bear with me!
I'm 22 and currently working full-time in another field. I'm wanting to have a go at starting from scratch and going for a GFPT and would like to seek some second opinions on good flight training providers around Bankstown Airport. As I essentially live up the road from the airport, I've done the rounds there to various places and made enquiries, and still yet undecided.
Basically, I'm preferrably after a small and experienced outfit with dedicated instructors. Something about big flying schools and casual instructors I don't feel would provide me the quality I'm after. I've stopped by at Basair and Proflite and I just got that impression, but have also stopped at other joints like Schofields and Whitworth on the otherside of the airport, and the latter seemed to suit me, though I'm not sure what to choose between, Schofields had a pretty friendly social atmosphere to it.
Also, I'm well aware of how much this will hurt the bank balance, but I've waited since high school to do this so now's my chance. Would anyone be able to give me a decent ballpark figure on how much I'm looking at to get to the GFPT level? I wouldn't mind over the next few weeks just building up on things I need like the Theory Books, and headsets and stuff before I actually jump into a plane.
Finally, what's the best BAK/SPL theory books you blokes can recommend? Stopping by Concept Supplies, I noted the red student pilot kits going for $150, and wondered if they were worth it, compared to other 'complete' student kits on sale going for $95.
I want to make the most of this, and have desires in future to one day a career out of it, if I become disenchanted with my current career path
There are a few good small schools at BK. Pacific Flight Services (Crane Air), and Clamback & Hennessy spring to mind - they regularly get good feedback on this forum. They both have a decent fleet of aircraft and decent rates. I did my training at Crane Air.
I think you will find that most will agree with you - my brief experience with Basair 10 years back left me unimpressed, it's much the same situation with most of the big pilot-factories - unless you are cashed up and enrolled in a course (and even then...), they don't want to know you .
Allow about $5000 for GFPT: Allow about 20 hours at 200 an hour (probably out of date...), plus an extra 1000 for the various test fees, documents, odds and ends. You don't need to buy a headset straight away. As they say, time is money - invest the spare cash and buy a nice one later when you go commercial - you can usually borrow them for free from the school.
Don't get too carried away with all the gear, you wont need much gear until after the GFPT anyway (e.g. fuel testers are rather expensive for what they are, mine broke after a couple of years of intermittent use. I never bothered buying a new one since most school aircraft have one in the glove compartment... ). Until then a BAK text and logbook should suffice.
I have used a couple of Trevor Thom's books (BAK, Nav/Met) and one of Bob Tait's books (PPL Theory). Bob Tait's book seemed a bit better. There are a lot good (free) educational websites too.
Try to go once a week, or once a fortnight minimum. That way you will make progress.
I echo the thoughts of the previous posters. Schofields, PFS and Whitworth are worth the look. Stay away from the sausage factory (only 1 left).
My suggestion would be, look into the instructors rather than the schools. The girls/guys at Concept Aviation will usually point you in the right direction in terms of instructors as will other students of course.
I'd suggest Clamback and Henessy - they're a real mom and pop outfit, with a garden centre attached to their school. Cynical Pilot's right about Aminta - she IS scary, but she means well - just don't fly with her! Dan McGowan and Lyn Gray are both lovely. And the school has a barbie every Sunday which is great for meeting other students.
If you can, use the Bob Tait books. I used the ATC books for BAK and PPL, then discovered the Bob books, which I think are more user friendly - although a quick poke around this site will come up with plenty of other opinions. I'd be quite happy to loan you mine.
Best tip I can give to you is talk to everyone: the folks at Concept, Eddie and Aspa at the coffee shop, the students you meet. Take a trial at each school - it may seem like an unnecessary expense, but (take it from me having been through five schools and twelve instructors) it'll save grief down the line.
Make sure you fly every week, and if you can get any block time, go for it!
I've flown with just about all of 'em over the years - mainly hiring - including quite a few that are no more.
Agree with comments about C&H. Lyn checked me out on the aircraft and was a pleasure to fly with. But, as a pilot with 30 years' experience, I was a bit annoyed when the boss told me off for putting a litre of oil in an aircraft I'd hired - I was away at another aerodrome with a 2 hour plus flight to get back (a good portion of it in IMC) - because they like to use their own brand (but don't keep a spare litre of it in the aircraft)! Maybe my ego is too fragile.
I reckon Schoies are worth a go for PPL training. Do your instrument rating (if you keep going) with Bill Whitworth .
Firstly, many thanks to all of you for your responses, and please pardon me girl with a stick for my assumption of the genders on this forum!
Did the rounds again at the airport, spoke to a few people and schools, got some great advice and opinions, and have decided to go with Whitworth Aviation on Tower Rd, as I was pretty comfortable with the small outfit they operate, their instructors, and I have a soft spot for Pipers.
I've also been put onto the Student Pilot Kit books, the ones in the red boxes, so that shall occupy me at work during the slow periods. Nick2007, could you recommend any websites out there for learner pilots that could supplement my learning?
LeadShed, having lived in the bush for the past few years, I wish I had the opportunity to spend a block period of a fortnight for my GFPT, however the time and the funds just wasn't there, unlike now. As well, I'm only down the road from Bankstown, so might take the opportunity while it's still there (Dare I say it!). I do appreciate the suggestion nonetheless.
Also, following up from my previous enquiry, would you folks suggest if any DVDs for flight training are worth getting to supplement the textbook study? It doesn't seem many are avaliable locally, but over in the US, ones like the Sportys one seem alright.
can we just sticky one of these bi weekly threads and be done with it?
And the Morrabbin one; And the SE QLD one; And the "whats the best head set fecking thread"; And the "I'm off up north again" thread; And the "I have a CPL now what" thread; And the...............................
but suggest Bankstown is a seriously lousy place to learn to fly, the GAAP circuit restrictions have only made it even worse.
You don't want to be paying big $$$ to sit at holding points or "outside the zone".
Don't be so quick to talk YSBK down. In the last 12 months the volume of traffic has dramatically declined with the departure of a few of the larger flying schools and much of the overseas flight training. Listening to ground you will hear that people are being approved for circuits immediately and I have not heard someone denied start for circuits since last year. Furthermore things have been rather empty of late even on the weekends. Where once the training area was a target rich environment it is easy to stay out there for an hour and not see another aircraft.
Regardless, Flying Kites I would suggest that you try and fly as early as possible in the morning. The skies are usually at their nicest and YSBK is deserted so you can do whatever lesson you need without being pestered or being compromised by someone else and their flying.
You could always go gliding on the weekends-GFPT should be a piece of p*ss for you once you are solo in gliders and get your BAK done....you could then put the $$$ you saved into starting navs for your PPL...just a thought!