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.
ILS27R, if you're worried, get a credit check done. There are numberous online ones now.
If you're still no satified that you're getting the full picture, ask Bristol Goundschool for some supplier credit references. These will be a list of suppliers which you can contact and ask about their trading relationship with Bristol, i.e. do they pay their clear their invoices on time. If they do so within 60 days, there is a fairly low chance that they are in financial difficulties.
Whatever you do, the golden rule in business - and this is a business - is not to hand over too much cash before you see some results.
I'll save you the trouble. We pay invoices on 30 days (or less in the case of sole traders). I have given the advice elsewhere, pay by credit card wherever you go, don't pay cash up front in return for a discount. If a deal looks too good to be true it probably is!
Alex Whittingham is one of the people in aviation that is actually interested in helping people through their studies to ATPL. Not one of the many companies that rips off students at the drop of a hat.
Points to Note.
1. If Alex doesn't know anything about it, its not worth knowing. 2. Bristol is one of the best schools in the UK for ground school training - the other is ATA at Coventry. 3. If you dont believe whats been written above, ask all those who have been through Alexs courses and they will tell you first hand. 4. Im one of those that have been there. A First Class operation.
Please don't think I was having a 'dig' at Bristol. It was just a question I wanted and have been provided an answer to. Bristol was my first choice even before the above happened with 4 forces and PPSC.
I understand about paying by credit card for such as computers and furniture. However, once I had the actual course notes in my hands would the credit card company still refund my money if something happened to the course provider and I couldn't attend the pre-exam 2 weeks study session/brush up or gain feedback on tests etc? Or would the credit card company just cover from payment to delivery of course notes to my house??
Another question that I have regarding Bristol is that PPSC had very detailed notes almost designed for anoraks! On comparison how does Bristols compare? Does Bristol offer a 4 weeks brush up pre-exam course included in the price??
I don't think you were having a dig at all, it is a perfectly correct question to ask given my wife's spending habits. The sad truth is that company accounts and credit checks show very little for small companies.
If you have a bit of time you can get a feeling for companies on a dodgy financial footing by coarsely assessing their income against their operating costs. No customers = no business.
If you pay by credit card, not debit card, the credit card company becomes jointly liable in the event of a failure. This would mean that they should refund for all goods or services not properly supplied. They don't like paying up but usually do.
I think you are right to ask questions before spending your money.I think everyone was shocked when a company like PPSC goes to the wall. A business expert I certainly am not....ATPL notes cause me enough headaches.For what it`s worth I signed up with Bristol in March.I was expecting to pay the £1800 for the course straight off...I was told by Bristol to pay for the first module ....pay for the second after I have passed the first set of exams.I would have thought if they needed the cash they would have asked for it all. The course costs include 4 weeks full time classroom study at Bristol.I believe that this is a JAA requirement. If you are worried,do as Alex as said and pay by credit card.You may recieve the books,but half the course costs is for the classroom element....if your training provider goes to the wall you should still get back the classroom costs. I for one hope that we have seen the end of good quality training providers going to the wall.
Alex, you pay thirty days? I am impressed! 60 is more the norm in my (soon to be previous) trade.
I do [sort of] agree with you about credit checks, but one thing they can tell is a bit about the directors of the company in question. In my experience [servicing the precision engineering trade ], you'll often find the directors of companies that do go belly up, often have a history of this sort of thing 'happening' to them before.
Regarding supplier credit references, these are a very good way of assessing whether or not a business - particularly a relatively small one - has a cash flow problem.
If cash is short, the first thing that happens is you hold off paying your suppliers. It's a fact of life.
If they're reluctant to give you references, it probably means there is a problem.
Credit cards are great if you're talking about smallish amounts of money (<£2000), but if we're talking 10/15 grand - maybe for an intreged course - must people don't have that sort of buying power with their credit card.
In the end, I think the best idea is to use a credit card wherever possible, but if circumstances don't allow, research your chosen training provider carefully, weighing up all the data that is avalible.
PS I wasn't trying cast any aspersions on Bristol Groundschool, just trying to pass on my experience of doing business with small companies.
Delta Wun-Wun, what I meant with the full time classroom study is that can you opt for 4 weeks classroom study instead of the 2 weeks study- when you are preparing for your first set of exams with no extra cost- sorry I didnt make it clear!
Also do the Bristol notes give you much more knowledge needed to pass the ATPLs. This was one good thing I heard about PPSC notes being in increadable depth! How do Bristol's compare?
For those who of you who have had the misfortune to sit through one of my fireside chats at the Flight Training Exhibitions, the advice given above by Alex Whittingham will come as no surprise.
Payment by credit card is a MUST for those able to do it, even if it does p**s the training organisation off. Credit card commission is a big drain on profitability (but let's not get into that one) and of course the credit card companies are very slow at pointing out this little heard of aspect of english law known as vicarious liability.
Payments of large amounts of cash up front is also a big big no no.
You've heard it from Alex Whittingham, you've heard it from Clive Hughes, now you've heard it from Malcolm Dean
DON'T DO IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In reply to the point of the post, many of you will know that we at Multiflight have for the past 12 months recommended BGS for distance learning. This is not based on cosy commercial relationships with divvying up of huge sums of money. It is simply a recognition of the fact that the work put in by Alex and his colleagues has resulted in probably THE most comprehensive set of study material one could wish to obtain. There is absolutely no point in a training provider like ourselves going to incredible expense to design and produce material like that available only to then have to compete with the BGS for business. It is much simpler and effective to investigat the options available and then make the appropriate recommendation, which is exactly what we do.
I am sad to say of the three sets of notes that I looked at BGS are the only ones still on the market!
On the financial front, I am sure that the addition of "Oliver David" to the Whittingham clan will curtail the retail therapy and make BGS even more secure !!
Malcolm Dean Head of Training Multiflight
p.s. Do I have the honour of first mention of Captain "Ollie" on the esteemed pages of PPRuNe
[ 22 August 2001: Message edited by: MALCOLM_DEAN ]
I don`t know whether Bristol`s notes are more in depth than they need to be for the exams but after spending the majority of the day on the INS chapter....if there is any more to this subject then I`m off to put me head in the oven.....Seriously though the notes are clear and well laid out with examples that build on each other.
Whether it will be enough to get me through the exams.....That I think is down to me and the amount of commitment that I put into it.
I have been reading posts from both of you gentlemen, and I was hoping to make some comments. I would first like to say your reputations for integrity have made it all the way to the colonies.
I agree with both of you 100% about paying large sums of money up front. It should be avoided if at all possible. When I bought Naples Air Center, Inc. in 1994, several schools in my vicinity folded one after the other. They all took full course tuition up to the day they closed. Back then a full course was about $20k U.S. For that reason I set up a no money up front to train policy, with a 10% discount off aircraft rental when a student's account is opened with $500 and from then on always kept in credit, 1 penny was enough.
We have evolved to a fly 10 or 20 hours (depended on aircraft type) and get an hour free program.
What it all means is, take extra care of your good customers. Without them you are nothing.
I do have a problem, in the U.S.A. its called INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service). To legally enter the U.S. for flight training you are required to have a M1 or J1 visa. Part of the requirement is to so show the financial means of the student to complete their visit to the U.S. To meet the requirements to issue Visas I can personally tell you that INS looks over a school's financial solvency alot closer than the C.A.A. does.
The best I can do for students is when they arrive, since their tuition money needs to arrive before they do, is set them up with a back account and give them their living money back immediately.
I would think that we should add to the list, the people should ask for prior student references. Along with all the obvious questions to the prior student, they need to ask when their course was completed, were they refunded any money they had on account?
Capt. Richard J. Gentil, Pres. Naples Air Center, Inc.
I am closing this thread for two reasons. One because I think it has run it's course and everybody has heard what they needed to know. Two, because I actually believe that Alex Whittingham would hate to let anyone down.
Call me old fashioned, but you don't get a reputation of the type that Bristol have without being very good at what you do.
Above all, if you ask the gentleman for some details I am sure he will more than happy to put your mind at rest.