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PPL Training in Florida - an honest View

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PPL Training in Florida - an honest View

Old 20th Nov 2009, 21:16
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: EuroGA
Posts: 13,786
Anybody getting a PPL here for £8k is doing well.

I did mine in the average time (60hrs??) and it cost me £8.6k, in 2001.

It would cost far less in the USA.

However if I was advising somebody doing this now I would suggest going to the JAA school in California (better weather than Florida so the "project" is more likely to run on rails) and getting out both a JAA and a standalone FAA PPL at the same time.

The often claimed business of learning in UK weather is worth nothing IMHO. It just ensures a load of cancelled lessons and anybody doing it here will take a whole year and will accumulate enough frustration to last them a lifetime of flying. Unless they had some unlogged time from beforehand, and started in the spring, and got reasonably lucky with the weather

However there are other things to consider; for example I would recommend learning in the same plane which you will be renting afterwards (IF you plan on long term renting). That may be harder if one goes to the USA.

But, either way, going to the USA will result in getting on with it, without distractions. Over here, most punters try to fit lessons into a busy life and it takes for ever... I did my IR in Arizona and flew twice a day for 2 weeks - totally exhausting but I got the piece of paper! And operationally the US IR was just as relevant / irrelevant to flying in European airways as the Euro IR would have been.
IO540 is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2009, 08:40
  #22 (permalink)  
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Those block prices would be for a 45hr block. Even allowing for a 20% overrun, this is going to cost substantially less than the UK unless one flies there Club Class

But the great attraction is coming out with an FAA PPL also, which will open up the way to the FAA IR the instant it is apparent (if indeed this does happen) that EASA has abandoned its attack on N-reg / FAA pilots over here.

Doing it in 3 weeks is damn good going though, IMHO.
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Old 21st Nov 2009, 09:05
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
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IO540, excuse my ignorance, can you explain how doing a JAA PPL in the US qualifies for an FAA licence please? I did mine in Florida, but no one metioned the issue of an FAA licence.
BabyBear is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2009, 09:29
  #24 (permalink)  
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The training for the two is some 95% common. With a slight extra (the FAA night X/C for example) you meet the extra requirements for the FAA PPL also, and you just do the FAA checkride at the end.

The other extras are an FAA medical (but there are doctors here who can do both medicals at the same time), the FAA written exam (1) which you can do here or (for far less) over there, and of course the pre-checkride oral exam.

Otherwise, to do an FAA PPL at a later date, here in Europe, you have to jump through a load of extra hoops and spend a big pile of money. I did that a few years ago and it cost me several thousand quid, hotel stays etc... Then, for a few years, it became impossible altogether (no checkrides). I was doing that because I was working towards the FAA IR. Had I done my JAA PPL in the USA, the extra cost of picking up an FAA PPL at the same time would have been at most 1/10 of what it cost me, and 1/100 of the hassle and aggro.

An FAA PPL is yours for life. Never expires. Nobody in Euro-land can take it away from you - ever.

Anywhere in the world, you can jump into a US reg aircraft and fly it, worldwide.

To exercise its privileges you need to renew the medical, and have a BFR. If your address changes, you get onto the FAA website and for $2 sort it out (unlike the FAA 61.75 piggyback PPL which has cost plenty of people hundreds, and endless runarounds, to sort out changes on over here, recently).
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Old 21st Nov 2009, 09:44
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Thanks IO540, didn't even give it a thought when I was out there. Getting through the one licence was enough for me to contend with at the time I guess. Although it was necessary to have an FAA medical prior to going solo in US airspace. I have to say it was a bit of a nonense as I already had a new class 2 and the FAA medical was more or less a pass if you were breathing. It was done in a hanger at Spruce Creek, so was worth it for the visit.
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Old 21st Nov 2009, 09:47
  #26 (permalink)  
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I have to say it was a bit of a nonense as I already had a new class 2 and the FAA medical was more or less a pass if you were breathing
Not any more They are reasonably similar. For some strange reason the FAA one is a lot cheaper though (UK v. UK).

I am suprised US JAA approved schools don't push the FAA PPL option. It would make a lot of sense. They obviously have no clue as to the European IFR situation.
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Old 21st Nov 2009, 13:49
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Downwind
Age: 36
Posts: 333
Bottom line, is that destinationsky now has his license and was able to accomplish it in 3 weeks of hard slog.
When did you start and when do you expect to be completed?
I expect to complete it when the time suits me. Doing a PPL in three weeks is suitable for some, for others it is not. I for one am enjoying my flying and that is all that should concern you.

Ryan5252 is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2009, 19:09
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sth Bucks UK
Age: 56
Posts: 928
Congratulations on excellent post Destinationsky (Not Russian are you?).
It was concise and informative and I didn't notice any subliminal invitation to start an arguement contained therein, although others apparently have.
Personally I have no need of the information but a friend asked me recently what I though of sending their daughter to the States to do her PPL and I shall refer them to this post.

It is refreshing to see such mature comments from someone (relatively) so young. Good luck to you Sir!
stickandrudderman is offline  
Old 21st Nov 2009, 21:03
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Originally Posted by IO540
I am suprised US JAA approved schools don't push the FAA PPL option. It would make a lot of sense. They obviously have no clue as to the European IFR situation.
I agree, it could well be the USP that would encourage folks to go through the visa hassle. Once there and introduced to the different attitude to GA they are very likely to return, especially if the have an FAA licence.
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 12:21
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
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I did my PPL in the UK, started in Sandtoft and finished at Newcastle. Whilst I felt the standard of training I had was excellent, I found the entire PPL was spread over 18 months. I was not constrained financially, and dedicated around 6 weeks of vacation time to sitting 'waiting for the weather' at airfields, and it was only through excellent staff at both airfields changing schedules for me that I eventually got through the skills test.
If I was to do it all over again, I would have gone to the US and completed the course in 3 weeks and then returned to the UK and performed remedial training at a mixture of controlled airfields and grass strips over a week or so.
I have flown abroad in a few countries since I completed my PPL and feel it doesn't take a great deal to adjust, you just have to be aware of the differences and spend an hour or so with an instructor to become familiar (well at least as a low hours PPL).
L'aviateur is offline  
Old 22nd Nov 2009, 12:30
  #31 (permalink)  
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3 wks is pushing it.

Just think: 45hrs - 15hrs/week, which is 2 longish lessons per day, 7 days a week. Unless one is young, one is going to be pretty knackered
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Old 22nd Nov 2009, 20:47
  #32 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Up in the clouds
Posts: 160
Paris dakar and Stickandrudderman,
Thanks for the feedback!

Stickandrudderman, if you want to PM me, i will give you my email address and you can pass it on to your friend if they would like any more advice on the ppl in America?!

The flying was intense but it was a good structure. Airborne by 9am then a loooong break untill 4pm. This cut out the hottest parts of the day and we missed alot of the turbulence. Some days we flew for 2.5 hours and some we flew less. I think the day i went solo, i only did about an hour! That was offset with my solo cross country which was approaching 4 hours.
It was a 6 day week with Sundays off to do studying (or trips to Kennedy space centre!).
All in all it was tiring but very rewarding. The annoying thing is, i havent flown since i got back a month ago

....P.S im not Russian! To be honest it took me a while to understand why you asked! ... i am blonde though
destinationsky is offline  
Old 22nd Nov 2009, 22:47
  #33 (permalink)  
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Location: Iraq and other places
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I went to the US and did mine in 5 weeks, including theory exams, and a few long weekends off. It was comfortable timing.
Katamarino is offline  
Old 24th Nov 2009, 22:30
  #34 (permalink)  
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had i had the time i think i would have done the FAA license too.I met some guys who were hour building. took them anything up to 8 weeks to get their foreign license validation so they could fly without having to have routes checked etc.
Worth doing and im sure it wouldnt have cost alot more!
destinationsky is offline  
Old 25th Nov 2009, 20:41
  #35 (permalink)  
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I'm sure it wouldn't have cost alot more!
Not too often I see such a statement on these forums (or anything remotely related to General Aviation!)
Ryan5252 is offline  
Old 26th Nov 2009, 08:25
  #36 (permalink)  
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...in comparison to the full ppl course, im sure it wouldnt have cost alot more!
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Old 17th Mar 2010, 19:00
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 28
My experiences...

Well folks, it looks like I'm a survivor of one of the most oft-mentioned FTO's in the state of Florida! I returned to the UK with my PPL in 4 weeks in 2004 (had to stay longer due to almost a week of poor weather but it was february) and all was well in the end.

I will fully admit that I probably didn't carry out as much research as I could before I went, but as a grown adult I believed I was aware of the risks. However, it became apparent that the risks you know about are not the ones to worry about! The orientation morning (form filling, registration, tour of facilities etc.) was a bit of an eye opener in that the FTO owner was conducting it and I immediately felt ill-at-ease in his company for several reasons which needn't be delved into at this point. Suffice to say he received a very wide berth from me from that point on.

On meeting the instructors I felt a lot better. My particular instructor was, I felt, very good. He had a very good attitude, was encouraging and was able to help me when this was required. I believe all of these instructors have since left, but I guess that's the nature of the job for them. As far as ground school and exams were concerned, I felt that the success of the student was directly proportional to the effort the student would expend. Having said that, the R/T exam was an absolute joke and frankly, I feel like I was given an R/T licence rather than have had earned it. As a result, I have had to work VERY hard on R/T discipline ever since.

I did pre-pay for my course and was fully aware that cancellation on my part would result in my losing a lot of money, but made sure that my payment only cleared 48 hours before travel. The FTO owner didn't like that which I suppose set me up for a less than pleasant orientation a few days later and did set alarm bells ringing.

I also had a very strange run in with the FTO itself in that the cost of the study materials were included in the package price. The study materials were purchased from AFE in Manchester and the cost of these were deducted from the "headline" cost, and the net sum was then payable to the FTO directly. Me being me, I realised that I could save a significant sum by obtaining the required texts from Amazon or second-hand (current editions only please! - an old student trick). This was mentioned in passing to a fellow student who in turn unknowingly regurgitated the story in front of one of the FTO staff at a "social" held on wednesday afternoons / evenings. I was then asked to come to a meeting the next day where the FTO admin manager and the owner demanded that I pay the difference (my saving) to them. I refused to do this, saying that it was irrelevant how I obtained my texts etc, the fact that I had them was proof in my eyes that I had fulfilled my part of the bargain. Several veiled threats followed but on each occasion I asked that they prove I had second - sourced my texts. This was finally brought up immediately before my skills test with the implicit threat that I wouldn't be flying today if I refused to pay the so-called difference. Again, I asked that the FTO prove where my texts were purchased from. I left the office to carry out the pre-flight etc. and no more was said. Talk about sharp practices!

My experience was generally good. I enjoyed my time there, worked toward my goal and achieved it. Some time was spent in the pub, socialising etc. but these times were relatively rare. However, I did see several people fail / run over schedule / be charged significant sums of money over and above what they had already paid as they needed more time in order to pass for different reasons. Certainly, I saw a few people suffer because of what I would have deemed "self inflicted wounds" but that can happen in any course of study.

Just what happened to me anyway - I hope it helps!
Fuel_on_Mixture_Rich is offline  
Old 25th Nov 2013, 20:01
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: England
Posts: 3
PPL ground in UK and flying in florida?


Is that true that PPL can be completed in Florida less than1 month? Any school recommended in Florida?

Can i do my PPL ground school and exams in England and 45 flighthours in Florida?

Help please.

Amirhez is offline  
Old 26th Nov 2013, 01:11
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 98

yes you can. There are plenty of threads on this site about the very few approved ATO's that are based in the US. Just be certain they still are approved .
XLC is offline  
Old 26th Nov 2013, 09:19
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Düsseldorf, EDLE
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Here's the current list of approved ATOs:

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