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.
One of our members pointed out this post. I will firstly clarify that I operate the flight training at Perth and Cumbernauld so the advice from BigGrecian is correct, especially in my post!
I am guessing you have an interest in Commercial Training....otherwise the first question is why not look at a more local school!? If this is correct you will find the main Commercial Training is done during the week and with weekends being so busy for PPL training you will get a better introduction by arranging a visit during the week if possible; otherwise arrange a time at the weekend to ensure you get a proper meeting with those involved.
Cumbernauld is tied into Perth for the initial training if required so there are options.
As BigGrecian says, speak to students (both PPL and Commercial), speak to the instructors, and if you get the chance while at Perth speak to the resident CAA Examiner.
Look at the websites of anywhere you are considering and 'look for the hidden costs!' if there are any. Ferry flights for exams, ground school, landing fees, approach fees, etc are often not quoted.
Get a back seat BEFORE committing to anywhere. DO NOT pay up front. Speak to as many ex-students as possible; INSIST they tell you any of the bad points - they may be trivial but you need to make the right choice.
Look at any additional support available (e.g. AST at Perth provide engineering training onsite and are happy to help directly with the current commercial students as well as offering the ATPL ground school onsite.
But of a sales pitch but hopefully you also pick up one good points to consider,
Also the quality of the toilets should be looked at and the quality of the Loo roll.
Now you might treat this as a joke comment but your going to live in the place. And drafty hanger toilets in the middle of winter with tracing paper bog roll doesn't set you up for a good training flight.
I don't have a clue what the current status of the toilets of the places you are visiting but its worth bearing in mind. It was an issue at the school I used to instruct at. Hyperthermia was a risk along with going through the floor if you stood in the middle of the trap.
I would want to know whether or not the school employees its own students as flight instructors following graduation? Your first challenge will be to master the material and gain the coveted professional licenses, but that is only the beginning (If you plan on flying professionally). You will need to build flight time, a great place to do that is instructing.
Does the school you are considering employ their own graduates for this very important step? What kind of placement services do the various schools offer? Few places have the ability to put you in the flight deck of an airliner following graduation, but a good school should have some sort of network in place to assist their students with landing that very important first job following training.
Last edited by Northbeach; 22nd Sep 2012 at 19:37.
The C150's and PA38 are more than good enough to teach the PPL and having a plastic fantastic EFIS machine is a waste of money.
In fact one of the schools did have a plastic fleet then got shot of them because they were rubbish.
As for the commercial side of training they all have the pretty much standard complex and the twins are standard steam instrument aircraft.
The training fleet up north isn't that bad actually. Both Perth and Dundee have resident 145 engineering onsite. And although they have there fair share of tech issues as any school does they are looked after.
You are again correct! An important factor is hat the aircraft involved with any FTO have been "approved" for training as part of the approval on an ongoing basis.
Things happen to aircraft and need to be put right. It is almost a necessity to have a part 145 on site to deal with the issue; not because the aircraft and no good but with high usage there is a requirement for a fair bit of maintenance.
We have just replaced the panels in 2 Cessna 152; it is frustrating (and no reflection on the school) when normal wear and tear requires cosmetic replacement in addition the the normal maintenance. However, that is th norm with all flying schools.
RTN11, you are also correct. If aircraft are neglected then it is obviously detrimental to customers. I do not know your background but if you have recent knowledge of GA you will know that the required standards for maintenance in GA have been increasing in recent years.....and most recently with the Cessna fleet.
While I must admit to preferring low wing aircraft, I acknowledge the strong background and reasoning which makes the Cessna 152 such an ideal training aircraft for initial training; any of our instructors (past and present) will be smiling while reading this as it has always been a popular topic of conversation!
To the main point, I would suggest that the MOST important part of he organisation is the people. Primarily the instructor, but also the attitude of operations and the general approach of all involved. Aircraft are a choice matter, they almost certainly will be airworthy, they will almost certainly have some issue at some point. Each airfield will have its own 'pros and cons'. So the important point is how the individuals involved can take you through the process to become a safe and competent pilot AND pass the tests!
Almost everything else is a 'sales ploy'.....but something to consider. Happy to discuss this part more!!!