Hello all, this is my first post here. I am just about to finish Uni in the next two weeks, and I have been looking forward to doing my PPL when I finish. I live in Aberdeen, Scotland, and have been looking into three main schools for my PPL: Inverness, Moray at RAF Kinloss, and Dundee.
I am trying to decide between them and wondered if anyone had any comments on any of these schools, perhaps did training at any of them, or is currently training with them.
I don't drive at the moment, so it's probably train to Inv of Kinloss, Megabus to Dundee! Either way, the costs overall seem to be about the same after I add rail travel to go up North.
Any comments on this matter would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, I am trawling through previous posts relating to these areas.
Absolute agreement with Colin on that one. Learn to get yourself independantly mobile, because lets face it, with the public transport system in Northern Jockistan being what it is, there is a good chance your FTO will be placed in a situation of having to bill you for missed/late hours etc because you have been let down just getting there. Especially so as it sounds like you have a bit of a hike to get to the field.
I'd also be looking at doing a trial run - get an 'experience hour' in with whatever FTo takes your fancy, and see for yourself how easy it is to get there and back. Then multiply that hassle by 45+ hours. You might end up rethinking your priorities at that point.
I agree with the comments so far, personal transport is a must, (get a Harley) I am currently training with Tayside Aviation at Fife (Glenrothes) & can't fault them. A/G radio a/field, no traffic problems, free ground exams, free landings at Fife, Dundee & Perth etc. Dundee do the CPL side also. Most of our instructors were trained by the same company either here or Dundee. Don't know much about them up north! Have fun, which I'm sure you will & welcome to the forum & the land of the impoverished.
I say I don't drive, I'm sitting me final dirivng test in about a month, but wasn't thinking of owning a car-its either enough money for PPL of for car i figure, not both.
I am thinking of doing the package courses, Inverness offers a 45 hour package at ~£4500 in a Piper Tomahawk including books and bits and bobs such as flight computers and checklists. Kinloss offers package at same, in a Cessna 152, flying with RAF pilots as part-time instructors, but books and bits and bobs are to be bought seperate. Dundee offer package at ~£5500 in a C152/C172 and "£200 of Pooley's Flight equipment". Textbooks are seperate
I'm thinking of doing 2 hrs a time, once a week. I have £4500 saved up, and what to start in the next month or so. Approx travel expenses to Inv or Kin I've worked out to be about £800, and is 2 and half hours travel each way. Travel to Dundee i'm looking at £100 tops, with an hour or so travel. Alternatively, I could drive if I get a shot of my folks car....
I'm kinda stuck as to which way to go. So many pros and cons with each....any further comments are very welcome.
It's been said many times before - think very carefully before paying large sums of money up front to a flying school. They can (and do) go bust, leaving you as an unsecured creditor. Best to pay-as-you-go, after all you may not like the school once you start and want to take your business elsewhere. Also check that you are OK medical-wise before handing over large amounts of dosh. Besides that I can echo the comments made regarding Tayside, you could certainly do worse than go there.
Thanks for the comments all. As far as medical goes, I hold a class 1 commercial medical that i got back in november last year. i believe this also gives the class 2 clearance. (I figured as my overall aim is to work for airlines, might as well make sure i'm able to do it medically before starting!)
In regard to doing the PPL abroad, this would be nice, but I have read alot on the topics on this board about the UK-US pros and cons, and would rather do it locally. Aberdeen would be great to do it, but the price is ludicrous. I think i worked out that it would cost around £6500 for the 45 hours, plus around £20 landing fees-simply not viable for me.
The only reason I am looking at packages is because it works out cheaper. As with all things, it is a risk that they go bust, but the same risk is taken any time you book a package holiday-i figure its about calculated risk. Kinmloss sure aint going anywhere, the flying club is subbed by the RAF, as for Dundee its been there a while, as has Inverness.
I did look at Perth, but as they werent offering a package, I hadn't looked more into it. Do most people pay for it as they go, or do it in a package? Is the extra money you end up paying by doing it pay as you go worth it simply because you can change school and decide which books etc you will get instead of being given in the package?
Obviously there are opinions backing either side, my objective is simply to gather as much info as possible so i can make the best decision. I mean, even down to aircraft-any real reason why you would choose a P.Tomahawk over a C152 for example?
I did look at Perth, but as they werent offering a package, I hadn't looked more into it.
Leading Edge, at Perth and Cumbernauld, do not offer any packages for the simple reason that the best advise is never to pay up front! If you have the money, put it into an easy access bank account that will earn you interest, and pay as you go. If you doubt this advice, search on this forum for Flight Academy Scotland Ken (a student with Leading Edge)
I whole heartedly agree with muggins. anyone daft enough to give a large bundle of cash to a flying school almost deserves to see it disappear! (sorry to those of you it happened to but.....)
You're thinking far too simplistically about how much it will cost to learn. You will not get 2 lessons a week. You will be messed around by any number of factors - weather, transport, third parties, the 'school' losing your booking (or giving it to someone else, the a/c going tech (or not being available because of maintenance). Or the instructor not being availalbe or the 10th instructor you've had wants to repeate something. Just about everyone of these things will increase your costs.
You'll end up having months when you haven't flown and then having to re-learn those skills - and hopefully you'll have weeks when the sky is blue etc.
You would be much better advised to visit the places you are talking about and take a trial lesson with each of them - an 'expensive' lesson with a good instructor is going to teach you an enourmous amount more than someone simply hours building before they get the job they want.
It seems a very long time ago I went through some of this and ended up at Tayside alternating between 2 very good instructors. This is not a plug for Tayside, it is just that at the time they had the instructors I got on best with. It is very interesting to calculate the totals but what you really want is an environment that really teaches and you get on with. After half a dozen wasted trips or days the money will become much less important.
Got to go with the sentiments expressed by the other respondants.
For what it is worth, I have had some training at Inverness, and find the school and club there to be excellent. There is a mad bloke called Peter on the desk, who is most welcoming and helpful. The scenery is spectacular and there are currently few airspace restrictions. I would get there quick, though as HIAL, like many, are getting 'international spaceportitis' now that sleezyjet & co have moved in.
And for gawd's sake Dont pay for anything in aviation training, upfront - anywhere!!!!
Its great you have managed to save up the cash to learn to fly. But when you finally have that shiny poo coloured folder from the CAA.......Have you allowed for how you are going to afford to keep current? Not as much as the initial outlay I know, but its not a cheap exercise.
As for flying schools, I used to live in the NE and figured from where I lived it would take me 5 mins longer to drive to Dundee than Dyce due appalling traffic in Aberdeen, and they were closest places I could fly from. To this day I endevour to fly from the closest place to where I live, as I want to enjoy the flying, not spend hours getting to the aerodrome.
I visited both Aberdeen and Dundee before choosing Tayside. Dont dismiss hour builders, my instructor was wanting to get into the airlines, but loved flying. We hit it off and his instruction style suited me - which I believe is more important - plus he didnt just stick rigidly to the sylabus, he wanted my experience to be more than just "pass the Skills Test".
I also go along with all that's been said. I can only relate my own experience at Tayside, I pay "up front" in 10hr blocks, £1290 per bang, usually an hour or so in arrears. I have seen their record from way back, flew here in '87 but didn't finish it. Cash out is a risk but cheaper, depends how much research you can do ref past / guess future of organisation. If you read up threads on Flight academy Scotland it will make your eyes water. So unless you know someone in Government office with a fair idea of the state of the flying school, as I do, be careful. As for total costs, at your age probably close to minimum req, but don't bet your life on it. As has been said, weather, a/c & instructor serviceability, admin cockups etc all help to screw up your calculated schedule. It will not work out as, 45hrs that's it, gimme the ticket. Take it as it comes is all you can do in this weather beaten country.
Stewartflyer, is this the Stewart we all know so well? How does the Dornier compare to the 152? Trevor
Thanks all, certainly there is lots to consider. My preference at the moment is Dundee, with Tayside Av. Its easiest to get to, and only about an hour and a half away.
Crash One, are you flying with Dundee at the moment did you say? What is the situation like for booking lessons? Easy enough to get two lessons at a time, two weeks or so in advance, or would I need to book farther ahead than that?
I must admit, Dundee is my preference, simply for the fact that they do more advanced training too. As i want to do flying commercially, perhaps doing PPL with Dundee is a good idea, as when I do night ratings, IMC, CPL etc I will know the set up and perhaps know the instructors a bit better.
The more I think it through, the more i'm convincing myself it is worth the extra money, and certainly worth the ease of travel (thankyou Megabus...lol) One thing maybe a current PPL student could give me an idea on-how much do books and flight equipment come in at?
Dundee's package includes "£200 of Pooleys flight equipment", paying hour by hour I would need to buy this stuff myself, how much do the essentials tend to cost?
Robbo, I'm currently with Tayside at Fife (Glenrothes) booking requires about a week in advance due to popularity, but you can book several slots at the time, good idea cos weather has a say in things, I usually book about 4-6 in advance then keep a check on when your last one will be & book some more a week or so before your last one, you only pay as you fly them unless you are on "account". Books are about <£20 each, 7 off total buy as you need them, start with Air Law you need to pass that exam before they will send you solo. Get the "Confuser" invaluable ~£20. Buy nav kit as you need it, you won't need it in the circuit to start with. Scotland chart 500mil £13, good to look at & learn about early. £200 total is probably close but less painful if you buy as required. Get a decent pair of sunglasses, take-off & landings at Dundee 28 are into sun in the afternoon. Anything else just ask. Trevor.
Thanks Trevor, I had a look for those books online, and happened across the full set of 7 "Air Pilots Manuals" by Trevor Thom for various prices. The whole set is on eBay just now for ~£70, but they are the 2004/2005 editions. Does this matter? I'm guessing most of the stuff will be the same as brand new editions, maybe minor changes to law etc?
As for nav equipment, do you buy stuff from the school or from websites etc?
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions, its such a great help being a newbie to flying training. I feel like i did when i started university-excited but daunted...lol!