Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies)A forum for those on the steep path to that coveted professional licence. Whether studying for the written exams, training for the flight tests or building experience here's where you can hang out.
I will soon be starting my IR. The problem I have is getting the time off work so I will be looking at part time. I would be interested to hear of anyone experiences with this such as how long it took and whether they were treated any different by the varous schools etc.
The schools that seem to be more geared towards part time training and are accessible for me are Bonus and PAT.
Alternatively what is the quickest time you could realistically complete the ME/IR course full time assuming minimum required hours at the start and no IR experience? I have been told 4- 6 weeks which is too much for me to take off in one go.
Bonus are good and can be quite flexible but can be busy at times so you'll need to book ahead to get the slots you want.
If you're looking in the Cranfield area can I suggest you have a chat with David Coulson at Cranfield Flight Training (I think thats the right name...) - they are based near Bonus (just past the cafe pacific and CATS).
David is probably the best instructor I have ever flown with and has a massive wealth of experience to share. He was absolutely great when I did my FI rating with him many years ago and even cured my fear of spinning in the PA38. He and his team are very flexible, most helpful and possible a little less expensive than most other schools. I believe they currently use Seneca for MEP/IR but also have access to a Twin Star if you might prefer a 'glass cockpit'.
As an alternate, there is always Stapleford - used to be a great school when I started out (about 12 years ago) and I've only heard good things since.
Has anyone any experience of part time IRs, is it possible to pass one weekend flying only and how long did it take, 10-12 weeks? My work does give the option of a career break which I am considering, as the better continuity of training should mean a greater chance of passing IR first time and within a reasonable budget.
How about the CPL, is that within most people's capabilities to complete on a weekend only basis?
I did my training as far as CPL/MEp part time almost entirely at weekends (at Stapleford for the CPL and Wycombe for the MEP) - seemed to go well despite some breaks in training of a few weeks at a time.
For the IR I would suggest you try to get it done as quickly as possible - even short breaks in training can leave you feeling rusty when you get back in the air. It may be possible to do part time IR training if you can dedicate weekends and perhaps the odd afternoon or evening during the week but you would need a very understanding school - Cranfield Flight Training, Bonus or Stapleford would be my choices, mainly because of their flexibility.
With delays, not having my mind properly on the flying when I came over after work, and conflicting priorities requiring me to cancel the odd lesson, it cost me a lot of time due to the slower learning curve of less intensive learning, which certainly cost me money. I'd guess doing it part time cost me around £3k.
Most of my other licences and ratings I did as intensively as possible, and certainly the more intensively I've done training, the closer I've been to minimum hours.
If I did something as big as that again, such as an IR, I'd do my best to do it full time. Time may or may not be an issue, but money certainly always is !
Bonus is good, although hampered inevitably by British weather on occasins. I've personally had poor experiences with David Coulson and wouldn't use him, but understand that many other people do like him and his teaching. I have always been very impressed with Wycombe Air Centre. So far as I know, WAC and Bonus both will teach you part time if you ask them to.
I would agree with Ian the Aviator. Mine for a variety of reasons went part-time - I wouldn't recommend it at all. It needs a determined, consistent, focussed push. Although going into the FNPT2 is a fraction of the cost of the aeroplane, it saps confidence to take 2 steps forward only to discover on your next lesson a week later that you've gone 1 step back.
Over 5 months I did manage to complete with just over the syllabus 20 hours in the aeroplane to test - but 45 in the 'box' instead of 30. Largely because of the effects of doing it part-time - although I was a pretty crap student too
God bless my instructor - and that's another thing. You'll need a patient instructor too!
I think you're being hard on yourself india mike, I was doing my CPL at tayside when you started your IR, from what I heard, you were far from a "crap" student, quite the opposite!
I think though, it emphasizes the point that an experienced pilot and aeronautical expert like yourself added hours and money by having a disjointed learning process.
like you say, every time you have a break you lose some recently gained skills that have to be refreshed when you return, as opposed to having everything fresh from day to day.
When I did my IR I sometimes felt rusty after a weekend never mind a couple of weeks away.
It can, of course, be done, but I would definitely budget for a 15-25% increase in cost, the question is, which is cheaper, a months unpaid leave combined with holidays to study full-time or going part time and paying the extra costs involved?
I have done all of my flight training part time due to the fact that I work a four on four off job and I saw little point in leaving a well paid job which provided a comftable lifestyle in a recession.
Everything including the CPL went well and I completed everything on minimum hours, then came the disaster of the IR course. This course is very intensive and demanding, if you want to ensure that you pass first time then you need to give this module of your flight training your attention on a full time basis at a high quality school such as stapleford. I have so far taken and failed three IR flight tests at an estimated cost of £20,000, I believe that a siginificant factor in this has been the four day gaps that I have taken in my training to go back to work. I am now rebolstering my finances and looking to retake the IR in feb/march at a better school using my annual leave for the retake.
I would strongly advise against part time study for the IR, this needs your full attention.
As an ex CPL/IR instructor, I would definitely advise completing your IR as quickly as possible, due to the reasons mentioned by previous posters. I have come accross guys who have attempted to complete it either part-time or more usually with long breaks in between and the result generally isnt pretty!! ....not to mention the higher costs due to the one-step forward,one-step back scenario. You dont have to complete it 100% full-time but "weekends only" or "one day a week" aint gonna be in your best interests. There will always be whizz kid pilots who can manage it but i assure you they are in the minority. Remember too thats its a 50/55 hour course so it can take a while to complete..even full-time. Good luck whatever and whereever you choose
I can see that it really would be beneficial to do it full time, I cannot however fly evenings so weekends only with 2 weeks at the end would be the best I can do.
I am seriously thinking of going to the USA and getting my FAA/IR over 2 weeks, this would then leave me with a JAR conversion to do later over another 2 week break. If I can get access to an N reg aircraft in between to keep my instrument flying up to scratch then maybe this would be the best option for me.
It will take you a minimum of three weeks to do an FAA to JAA conversion, you cannot book a flight test until you have a signed 170a, this can often lead to a week or maybe two between the 170a and the test.
Also I think that an FAA IR in two weeks would be unlikely, when I was hour building in the states I spoke to many FAA students who had to wait for a week or two for the flight test. More than 10 hours of IR when on the course per week will be too much, your brain needs time to take in all the new information!
Set yourself a realistic target, maybe work a three day week instead......
I completed both my CPl and MEIR part time due mainly to work commitments and am living proof that it can be done in minimum hours on both.
As your question highlights the IR I will limit myself to that.
Can it be done part time? Yes Can it be done part time in minimum hours? Yes
I cannot over emphasize the following.
I worked to a point where I was making myself ill. I was working a full time shift work job and for the 6 months it took to complete the course I estimate I was working a further 20-25 hours per week on top of my day job.
Instrument flying is a perishable skill and learning instrument flying is at least 10 times more perishable.
It doesn't matter how much you read your books, every day you sit on the ground your scan, knowledge, RT, spacial awareness, hand eye co-ordination and spare capacity will start to fade. Most full time students may go a day or so without flying, you may end up going 4,5 or even 6 days without getting a sim ride or airbourne.
The fact that days at work get in the way means that you can end up with very long flying days with 2 or even 3 sim trips in one day.
You can also end up in a position where you get few backseat rides. The back seat ride is a highly understated learning tool and believe me every little helps.
A guy who did his IR alongside me ended up struggling due to lack of consistancy and changes of instructor. 6 months in flying training is long enough to see staff changes as instructors move on! Extra hours in a twin are very very expensive. A fail or partial at the IR could easily cost £1000 because you may not be free to have another go tomorrow, thus losing currency at a crucial time and therefore needing an extra pre re-test trip just so you are up to speed going into a test.
An average full time IR takes roughly 6 weeks, part time I would look at closer to 5 or 6 months.
Budget wise I would add at least 10% flying hours and money from what I saw of my colleagues and possibly as high as 20% extra.
As I say, yes it can be done, and in minimum hours, but please consider the challenges you add to an already demanding course. Look at how easy or difficult you found previous training, consider what you will do if you aren't ready for test come the 50 hours of training, or if you have the capacity financially if you go over budget.
My job is such that I could be called upon to work late at a moments notice. I would not be able to book training on an evening as it would not be fair on the school due to the fact that I would end up cancelling so many times on an evening.
I have decided that it will just not be possible to do this part time in my case. I also have a young family and I dont want to drag it out over months and months.
I think I will look at spreading it out over 2 or 3 sets of 2 weeks full time if I can with the odd weekend.
I have done all my training part time so far and am about to start my CPL.
I have had concerns about doing it part time as well as the IR. My question is if you practise on a flight sim will it help with the CPL/IR?
I ask this because before I started my training 2 years ago I used to play X-Plane a lot, when I went to an Oxford open day they let me use there simulator (C172) once in VFR then once with the cloud base set down at 500 ft and both times I landed with no real dramas. The instructor was very impressed and asked if I had done it before for which I just told him only on a flight sim. When I started my PPL we did one lesson and at the end my instructor debriefed me and asked if I have played a lot of flight sim, I told him I had and he said to stop using it as I had picked up too many habbits not needed for PPL he didn`t say bad habbits just habbits. I haven`t used a flight sim since.
Sorry for a bit of a drift on the thread but would very much appreciate ppls opinions.
Part time or not ? FAA conversion ? Glass or not ?
Only the smaller schools (Wycombe, Stapleford etc.) will welcome you as a part timer - the Oxfords of this world are suited to catering for large numbers of full time trainees rather than caring for individuals.
If your part time is "weekends only" it's going to take a long time - three or four days a week would be much better. The IR really needs your full attention and effort. Many people need a lot of concentration at the end of the course to get that last step up to "exam pass level".
I would NOT recommend getting a FAA IR and then converting. Supposedly the conversion is 15 hours. You'll probably find that 25 is more like it - and possibly more - so how much would you save really ?. The folks I've trained with FAA licences have learnt in a very different environment. The things they struggled with were - NDB holds and approaches (almost extinct in the USA) ; Procedural approaches (lots of places in Europe have no radar so can't vector you - so fly the plate !) ; radio - VERY different in the US.
Timing - if full time - the quickest IR I ever taught was 5 weeks. Allow 7 or 8, more in winter.
Glass or analogue ? - Depends what you're going to do with your IR - if you're "straight to jets" glass is great. If your first post IR job is air taxy in a 30 year old Seneca and all you've done is glass - then you're probably going to suffer !. Flying glass is easier - as long as you can manage the technology !