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Old 28th Dec 2012, 00:39   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Leicester, UK
Age: 22
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How frequently should I take lessons?

I'm currently a 17 year old student working part-time & studying for my A-Levels. My part-time job gives me a minimum salary (if I don't work overtime) of 350.00 per month. Flying lessons for PPL from my local airport cost 135.00 in a Cessna-152 per hour. With this in mind, I will only get a chance to do a maximum of 2 lessons per month. Would 2/ 3 weeks between each lesson be deemed acceptable for remembering important information from the previous lesson? I understand most people take min. 1 lesson p/w but I can't afford that right now, even though that would be ideal.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 01:59   #2 (permalink)
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It's purely subjective. You said yourself that 1 lesson per week would be ideal, and it might be something to aim for as time and money permit. I do not think that a lesson every two weeks is a bad thing as long as they are regular. The thing that will hurt you in the long run is the lengthening gaps between each lesson as maintenance, illness, finance, personal life all conspire against you. Try to avoid that as best you can. Good luck!
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 02:01   #3 (permalink)
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Thumbs up

I am now getting towards the end of my training and have around 40 hours over 14 months, probably averaging a little more often than you hope for. I work at sea for six weeks at a time so have had big gaps, which is obviously not ideal, but which has not really been a great issue. I think that you should, with a little aptitude, be fine. I am 46 and it is generally true that it takes a little longer to pick things up as you get older, so being 17 and having the gumption to get a job and being prepared to pay for yourself I would guess that things should go well for you.

Good luck
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 02:55   #4 (permalink)
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I was a poor 16-17 yr old in a similar situation when I did my PPL. It took me 16 Months but I did my license in a total of 48 hours. The secret was putting virtually every dollar I earned towards flying and lots of work in between each flight including chair flying the previous lesson before I went out to the airport.

Last edited by Big Pistons Forever; 28th Dec 2012 at 02:57.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 03:08   #5 (permalink)
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I'm working on my PPL at the moment. I started in May. I started off with one lesson a week. I ramped it up to two when I started circuit bashing in prep for my solo.
Ideally I would have liked to fly even more often but work schedules ( both mine and my instructors )didnt allow for it.

Now I'm back to once a week (weekends only at the moment, not enough daylight to fly after work). This is probably OK. I can go a couple of weeks without my skills rusting too much.

That's the real problem with only planning to fly every few weeks. it only takes one cancellation due to weather (a real possibility) then you are suddenly looking at almost a month between lessons.

Might be worth saving a bit and then starting lessons so that you have the funds to fly once a week. Nothing says you can't get cracking on the theory in the mean time. I wish I had. In hindsight starting training and ground school at the same time was not ideal.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 03:10   #6 (permalink)
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You will get more out of your learning experience and save money, by condensing your training. Or else half the lesson will have to be spent re-learning what you'd forgotten from last time. So if you can, try to save up a few grand and then space your lessons closer. I know that can be hard when one is eager to go learn, but it will end up saving you money over the course. Or if you can borrow from a parent and pay them back or something.

Last edited by AdamFrisch; 28th Dec 2012 at 03:45.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 03:33   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you all for your informative answers! Really appreciated.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 04:06   #8 (permalink)
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What AdamF wrote: Instead of flying an hour a week or less, save your money until you have enough to cover at least the first half of your training. You will spend less in the long run due to avoiding the very rapid deterioration of newly learnt skills between lessons when the lessons are spread out.

Once you have saved enough, plan to fly full time or nearly full time. Choose a time of year in your flying area that is generally conducive to good flying training weather.

The time spent during the saving period isn't wasted though! Use it to study the theory that's required and sit as many of the required exams as you can.

Last edited by Tinstaafl; 28th Dec 2012 at 07:59.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 09:34   #9 (permalink)
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How frequently should I take lessons?

Check the thread on flyable weather.... You will see that 2 a month would be good!

When i did mine i had saved all the money for years and wanted to do it all in a month..... 7 months later i passed!

Weather will ruin the plans anyway but i personally learn best from a kind of "intensive course" situation however, it didnt pan out that way for me and i am glad it didnt.... Spreading it over 7 months meant i had x winds, 0 winds, ice, fog rolling in (to point where only 1 runway line was visible for a few seconds on final! I did circuits where the only time you could tell where the runway is on final was due to our tyre tracks in the snow!
All of this plus more would not have been possible if i did it all like an intensive course... Go with the flow and enjoy it, i think i actually enjoyed a lot of the training more than what i do bumbling around the midlands on my tod!
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 10:04   #10 (permalink)
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I see your location is Leicester. There are many goood gliding clubs in that area and several offer huge discounts for younger pilots. some offer motorgliding which will be a good and cost effective way of suplimenting your aeroplane time. Once you are known and have done some soaring you may be allowed to use your PPL to tow gliders which will keep your costs down post PPL. I particularly like Husbands Bosworth but also hear Saltby and Shennington are good. Hus Bos has accomodation and a good bar. Pm if you want to chat

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Old 28th Dec 2012, 10:39   #11 (permalink)

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First of all well done on working and flying, it's tough but you will be respected throughout the club for your efforts.

I only have the following bits of advice:

If you're looking to potentially undertake further academic study, do not let your PT Job interfere with your academic studies. If that is the case, your a levels must be the priority in today's competitive world.

Regarding flying twice a month or intensively post a levels, it is undoubtedly quicker and hence cheaper to do it intensively. That however means your working for a year plus with nothing to show, which can be hard!

Ultimately, you ve got to decide what works best for you! If flying even once a month is still enjoyable, then fine just accept that it will take you a long time.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 11:35   #12 (permalink)
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You can probably save something like 4000 by doing an NPPL SLMG licence down the road from you in something like this. The licence you get can easily be turned into a full PPL with a little extra training & in the meantime you get to do twice as much flying. The money you save by learning the basics of aviation in a cheaper aircraft will easily pay for conversion training in a Piper or Cessna.

Looking at the Husband's Bosworth fees page, you can learn to fly a powered aircraft for 75 an hour - no instructor's fees, no landing fees, just an annual membership of 146.
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 12:00   #13 (permalink)
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Frequency of lessons

Good question Chief, I'm sure there are quite a few variables in there so not one answer would be correct throughout everyone. But I'm quite sure that it is a matter that a higher frequency is better than a lower one. I agree with the comment about your studies for your A levels, for those to be your priority also.
Regarding your job, have you thought about working at the airfield in any way? I know some lads where I fly have got a job on the ground crew, then it gets you in the environment and soaking up information you won't get otherwise. When I was learning I wish I had got more involved with the social side of the club because I did after I got my license and I've learnt so much more than it would have been possible had I just been jumping into my car and driving home.
If you found somebody who is in the same situation as you money wise and wanting to learn to fly you could stagger the lessons and sit in the back so you can take in what's happening without the workload of flying.

Cheers, Jim
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 15:27   #14 (permalink)
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There are a lot more variables to this, like how you learn, what kind of retention ability you have, etc.

But I would suggest that you don't 'wait until you have enough', you will never have 'enough'.

I would, however, suggest that you use the time between lessons wisely.

Practice, Practice, Practice.
Sit in a chair, eyes closed, moving hands and feet, 'looking out the windows (eyes closed)', 'hearing' your instructor.
Replay and repeat your lessons over and over again.

This will help you to retain, and reduce the amount of time the instructor must repeat lessons with you.

I didn't do this for the first 14 hours or so of my PPl, then started doing it and managed to finish in 46 hours (including check-ride). IR in 40.5. And I did both once every two weeks.

Personally, I think it's better to do it less than once a week, so that you see and fly in all seasons. If you complete it in 6 months you might never have flown in the winter...
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 22:47   #15 (permalink)
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You've all been very helpful regarding your answers. I've been thinking about purchasing a GoPro camera & a Sony Digital Voice recorder so I can record my lessons, therefore I'll be able to play them back on my computer and note down anything important I missed.

Financially speaking, I think it will be a good idea for me to commence pilot training nearer towards the Summer, that way I will always be in pocket (from money I've saved up) and never be struggling with only 80.00 hovering precariously in my bank account!

I've also looked through various scholarship programmes which enable me to obtain a fully funded PPL and plan on joining the University Air Squadron whilst studying for my degree (as I have my eyes set on the RAF). But places are scarce, and chances are I might not get in or chosen for either.

No matter what happens I will one day obtain a PPL, even if it means I will need to wait a few more years. It's something I've always wanted to do and nothing is going to stop me on my road to achieving one
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Old 28th Dec 2012, 23:27   #16 (permalink)
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You have some good advice already, but I'd like to add a couple of extra points.

1) It took me 4 years and just over 45 hours to get my PPL(A). The was for a number of reasons, including the very important financial one. I don't say this to suggest to do it this way; the advice about saving up is definitely good advice. But if you absolutely have to fly then it's not the end of the world to do bits and bobs. Follow the other advice given and re-fly the lesson over and over to get the most out of it.

2) if you are learning at a school where there is a club environment, go there even when you're not flying and get to know people (and aeroplanes). You'd be amazed how much you can learn from bar talk (including what not to do, and who's full of BS). I cleaned aeroplanes and did all sorts of volunteer work at my local field. It meant that even when I couldn't fly, I was still immersed in aviation and I got the occasional free pax ride which was enough to get my fix.

Good luck!
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Old 29th Dec 2012, 15:32   #17 (permalink)
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How frequently should I take lessons?

Hi mate,

I started when I was 16 and could only afford to do a lesson every few weeks. It took me 2 years to complete and I still managed to get it done in 45 hours. Now 12 months later I have flown an extra 70 hours, flown around Europe and got my tailwheel endorsement. I should be finishing the night rating in few weeks. So don't be worried about rushing through the course, take your time and enjoy it. Even offer to help clean people's planes in exchange for free flying. I done that and now have a bunch of hours under instruction in a Cessna caravan! Also join the air league, they always give away free flying.

Good Luck!
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 00:52   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks Callum
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 01:13   #19 (permalink)
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With regards to continuity, yes it is believed to be an issue, however I think there comes a point where that ceases to be. I had a 4 month deployment in the middle of my training (along with various exercises involved with deploying before hand causing disruption), upon returning, my instructor took me for 1 check flight and sent me off on my Solo Qualifying Cross Country the next day. I eventually completed my PPL in just over 50hrs (13 of which were 6 years prior to the majority) with numerous and frequent disruptions to the training, it can be done.

Not to try and dissuade you from doing your PPL before you join the RAF, but I certainly wouldn't worry about finishing it. Once you're in, you'll have access to the RAF Flying Clubs dotted about the country, with considerably cheaper flying (all the aircraft where I am are less than 100/hr) you'll soon be able to finish what you need/want.

Last edited by packo1848; 30th Dec 2012 at 01:18.
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Old 30th Dec 2012, 13:38   #20 (permalink)
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With regard to the continuity thing, I found that there were key points where I needed to ramp up the frequency of my lessons.

When I first started once a week was fine, the learning curve (for me) was very steep and I accepted that a lot of what I'd previously done was going to have to be be relearnt.

After about 10 lessons, a gap of over a week was devestatating and would put my progress back significantly. On the run up to my solo, I needed to be flying twice a week to finesse my skills.

Now , post solo a gap of a couple of weeks is OK (good job given the crappy weather at the moment) and doesn't see any significant decay in my flying ability.

Its difficult to predict what is going to work for you, some people learn a lot more quickly than others and all of us hit the plateau at some point (usually this is where you need to up the frequency), I'm probably a little behind the curve learning speed-wise but as has been pointed out I'm going to get to fly in all weather conditions.
Believe me a 172 behaves very differently at -17 degrees C than it does at +30 !!
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ppl lesson two per month

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