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28 Day (20 Flying) / 45h50m PPL(A) Completed at ANT, Blackpool

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28 Day (20 Flying) / 45h50m PPL(A) Completed at ANT, Blackpool

Old 30th Mar 2013, 11:58
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Manchester
Age: 37
Posts: 120
28 Day (20 Flying) / 45h50m PPL(A) Completed at ANT, Blackpool

Hi all - some time after first posting here, I recently started, and then soon after finished, my PPL(A) at Air Navigation & Trading at Blackpool Airport. I would like to post both to express my gratitude to ANT and my instructor Russell Whyham, and to provide information and encouragement that a short-term, full-time PPL is possible in the UK even with the appalling weather we've had lately - 22 days end-to-end would have been quite possible had the weather held up for my planned test date. This obviously required some effort on my part, but would not have been possible without hard work and extensive support from ANT.

I did have a small head start of a 1-hour C172 AEF from Flight Academy Blackpool, taken last September, took a Class 1 medical last June (428 with two additional tests) and paid 6495 up-front for a package covering 45 hours of flying, 45 landings at Blackpool, lesson briefings, all ground exams, R/T practical, skills test fee, APM Vol. 1 (Thom), CB-5 knee board, AME log book, C150 Pilot's Guide & Check List. I had 50 minutes of flying time left over on completion, which ANT kindly offset against the extra landing fees accrued (115 landings in total), leaving further payments of 249 for these and 191 for the licence issue.

I also received an NM-2 ruler, PP-1 protractor, Pooleys Spiral Flight Guide 2013 and Mile High Flare sunglasses as Christmas / birthday gifts from family/friends and spent 399 to purchase APM volumes 2/3/4/6/7, CRP-5W computer, CAA half-mil Ed. 35 Northern chart, Jeppesen Student Kit Bag, Sennheiser HME 110 & Pooleys headset bag from Proviation. Away landing fees came to 73 and finally I spent about 565 in diesel travelling between Manchester and Blackpool - a trip of 45-90 minutes dependent on traffic, ~2100 miles driven in total.

Training / course costs - 6817
End-to-end costs (with medical, kit, licence fee) - 7839
With diesel for car totals - 8404

Before selecting ANT I visited many FTOs in NW England (ANT, Westair, Lomac, Ravenair, Flight Academy Blackpool, Liverpool Flying School, Flintshire Flying School, Merseyflight, LAC, Manchester Flight Training) and investigated another few without visiting (York Flying School, Multiflight, Fly Blackpool).

I chose ANT due to their long history (est. 1947), competitive pricing, long opening hours, excellent onsite maintenance standard (trained in a very well-kept Cessna 150 Aerobat), comfortable building, Blackpool airport facilities (tarmac runways, ATC), convenient transport and critically that they offered upfront to attempt a 45-hour 3-week PPL provided that I would put in the required effort. I also learned after starting that it was a friendly family-run business, an additional bonus. Needless to say, I am very happy with my choice and cannot recommend them strongly enough.

A breakdown of my progress follows:

Day 1 (Sat 2nd March) - 3 flights, 3h35m, 3 TO&L, ground ex. 1-2/5 and air ex. 4/6-9
Day 2 (Sun 3rd March) - 3 flights, 3h, 3 TO&L, revision of ex. 1-9, intro to ex. 10, flight over my house and workplace
Day 3 (Mon 4th March) - 1 flight, 1h15m, 1 TO&L, ex. 10-11
Day 4 (Tue 5th March) - 1 flight, 40m, 4 TO&L, ex. 12-13, Air Law / Ops exam passed (83%)
Day 5 (Wed 6th March) - no flying, Met exam passed (75%)
Day 6 (Thu 7th March) - 1 flight, 50m, 4 TO&L, ex. 12-13
Day 7 (Fri 8th March) - 1 flight, 1h5m, 6 TO&L, ex. 12-13, R/T exam passed (93%)
Day 8 (Sat 9th March) - 2 flights, 2h20m, 16 TO&L, ex. 12-13
Day 9 (Sun 10th March) - 1 flight, 45m, 3 TO&L, ex. 12-13 + 2 flights, 40m, 2TO&L, ex. 18 in a PA-28 to/from Woodvale
Day 10 (Mon 11th March) - 2 flights, 2h, 2 TO&L, ex. 15-17
Day 11 (Tue 12th March) - 2 flights, 2h25m, 18 TO&L (10 at Warton), ex. 12-13, Human Factors exam passed (100%)
Day 12 (Wed 13th March) - 3 flights, 2h25m, 19 TO&L (10 at Warton), ex. 12-14, first solo completed
Day 13 (Thu 14th March) - 2 flights, 3h40m, 2 TO&L, ex. 18
Day 14 (Fri 15th March) - 3 flights, 3h, 3 TO&L (1 at Hawarden, 1 at Caernarfon), ex. 18, dual nav + 1 flight 1h, ex. 18, 1TO&L, solo local, 25h dual completed
Day 15 (Sat 16th March) - 1 flight, 1h10m, ex. 19, 1 TO&L + 1 flight, 1h5m, 1TO&L, ex. 18, solo local
Day 16 (Sun 17th March) - 1 flight, 20m, 1 TO&L, ex. 18 + 1 flight, 1h15m, 1TO&L, ex. 18, solo local, Nav exam passed (80%)
Day 17 (Mon 18th March) - no flying
Day 18 (Tue 19th March) - 2 flights, 2h40m, 2 TO&L, ex. 18, solo locals
Day 19 (Wed 20th March) - 3 flights, 2h40m, 3 TO&L (1 at Hawarden, 1 at Caernarfon), solo QXC completed
Day 20 (Thu 21st March) - 1 flight, 1h20m, 1 TO&L, ex. 18, solo local, 10h solo completed, Aircraft General / Flight Principles exam passed (92%)
Day 21 (Fri 22nd March) - no flying, R/T practical passed at Fly Blackpool, Flight Performance exam passed (90%)
Day 22 (Sat 23rd March) - no flying
Day 23 (Sun 24th March) - no flying
Day 24 (Mon 25th March) - no flying, back at work
Day 25 (Tue 26th March) - no flying, back at work
Day 26 (Wed 27th March) - no flying, back at work
Day 27 (Thu 28th March) - 2 flights, 3h35m, 10 TO&L (7 at Warton), revision of ex. 10-13/15-18
Day 28 (Fri 29th March) - 1 flight, 2h5m, 7 TO&L, skills test passed, 45h total completed

Special thanks to:
Russell, Grace and James Whyham at Air Navigation & Trading - Air Navigation & Trading Ltd. Blackpool - Flying Lessons at Blackpool Airport

Thanks also to:
Nick Ross at Proviation - >> Proviation Pilot Shop - Leading Flight Equipment, Pilot Supplies, Aircraft Equipment, Aviation Headsets
Ray Sheldon - my examiner and top chap
Fly Blackpool - Fly Blackpool - Trial flight lessons at Blackpool Airport
Blackpool Airport - Blackpool Airport | Official website of Blackpool international
Caernarfon Airport - Caernarfon Airport Homepage
Hawarden Airport - Welcome to Chester Hawarden Airport
BAE Warton - http://www.baesystems.com/location/BAES_020240/warton
RAF Woodvale - RAF Woodvale - RAF Station Homepage

Last edited by JDA2012; 28th Jul 2013 at 11:31.
JDA2012 is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2013, 12:40
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 38
Interesting reading. And congratulations.
ANT is a wonderful place and rightly deserves the good reputation it holds.
TriBeCa is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2013, 13:37
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Yorkshire
Age: 59
Posts: 2
Congratulations, that's some achievement, even more remarkable given the weather we've had recently.

I passed my PPL last summer at A.N.T. and my night rating there a couple of months ago. You are right, it is a great, family business. Very friendly, helpful and professional. There's always someone to chat to in the club and because they are also a maintenance company the aircraft are always in top condition. I can't recommend them highly enough
shanvy is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2013, 14:41
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Unna, Germany
Posts: 416
Well done on this and great of you to have posted the info but this post still breaks the most critical rule of learning to fly:

never pay up front, regardless of how reputable the school is.....
Steve6443 is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2013, 14:46
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Near EGKH
Age: 36
Posts: 6
I second Steve6443, but that's based on my own experiences.

Doesn't change the fact that it's a massive achievement, well done, congratulations and thanks for sharing!
AviatorRodent is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2013, 15:11
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Glens o' Angus by way of LA
Age: 56
Posts: 1,974
Congrats, that is impressive and shows it can be done in those time frames, there also a fountain of info in your post for the aspiring PPL

Again, well done
piperboy84 is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2013, 15:32
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: uk
Posts: 50
Talking Well Done


Big Congratulations great job well done.

Thanks for sharing your experience and brilliant write up.

Im currently 26 hours into my PPL but feel Im falling behind on theory. Done my Air Law but struggling with MET. Please can you give any tips on how you study for all the exams?

Help be appreciated thanks.

Kevin31 is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2013, 15:54
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Near EGKH
Age: 36
Posts: 6
PPL Confuser is a great help, also the PPL Exam Secrets Guides EASA PPL Exam Secrets Guides
AviatorRodent is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2013, 19:49
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: York
Age: 48
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Well done

and in March as well very impressive

Mickey Kaye is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2013, 22:51
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Banished (twice) to the pointless forest
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Well done, and thanks for sharing in such detail. That's the kind of post that many a student will benefit from reading.
airpolice is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2013, 21:48
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Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Manchester
Age: 37
Posts: 120
Thank you all for the kind words. All ready for the summer weather now, should it ever arrive - certainly glad to have the licence out of the way. I really enjoyed my time at ANT, and hope to return soon for more sitting about even if not flying until the next payday. I fear they may be somewhat overshadowed by flashier companies, but if you do the research they clearly stand out, and the reception on arrival only confirms this.

I did read not to pay up front, but went ahead anyway as the school has been there 66 years, I was doing the entire course in very short order and there was a considerable saving to be had by doing so. Still, I accept that this sort of thing may be viewed as an unacceptable risk by some.

For each of the exams, I read the relevant book during my free time (i.e. all the time not in the air - at ANT during the day and at home at night) in the order noted, then went through all of the exercises at the back as I finished it. Any questions I got wrong I noted, then re-read the relevant sections and re-tried the missed questions. Once I had got all questions right at least once I sat the exams. Practical experience also helped in many cases - particularly for the Nav and R/T exams. I have heard various things about the Confuser but did not use this.

As you can see, my Met score was the absolute minimum to pass - with only 20 questions there is little allowance for mistakes or knowledge gaps. Getting the exam out of the way early also helped in that it was one of the tougher ones, but the learning curve was very steep at that point (I was very uncomfortable in the aircraft for the first two days, and not really happy until day 11). All I can advise is to learn the material and test yourself until you are happy you know it - it is there to keep you safe as well as to pass the exam and I am very mindful of that myself.

Best of luck to all aspiring pilots - just keep at it, I never thought I'd get it done even ten days in, yet another ten later I was both ready for the exam and loving every minute of it

Last edited by JDA2012; 3rd Apr 2013 at 09:36.
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Old 3rd Apr 2013, 09:10
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: U.K.
Posts: 460
Steve is right, but if you have to pay up front, then ANT is the one to do it with.
Croqueteer is offline  
Old 3rd Apr 2013, 14:51
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 234
Started my PPL with ANT way back in 1969 and always found them a very friendly and professionally run Club. I seem to remember my first flight was with Keith Whyham and his mother Dorothy helped with tea. Really nice people and the aircraft were always well kept by Chris Whyham. They always seemed to be overshadowed for some reason by Westair.
Nice memories of Chipmunk aerobatics over Southport sands and no way of missing the airfield with the Tower nearby!

Good to hear they are still giving the same service.

Mike Echo is offline  
Old 3rd Apr 2013, 17:18
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Glasgow
Age: 36
Posts: 644
I've also just passed my PPL Skills test (on Monday 1st) although I did it in a considerably more leisurely fashion over 2 1/2years (!) and 66 hours which included 3 quite different types of plane (Bolkow Junior, PA-28, SA Bulldog). I hope the extra experience will help me in the long term. A fair number of my hours were "revision" and checking my currency although I've also done an intro to aerobatics, taken off from grass and sat beside others as they few to fly-ins. I've also helped fly 50 hour checks and assisted an LAA inspector with maintenance.

Looks like you got the same score as me on MET...
Kevin - As someone mentioned before, the Exam Secrets Practice PPL exams make some of the exams very easy - but only use them once you have already studied the material fully - and make sure you know why you got wrong answers.

Just looking forward now to that envelope arriving in the post in a few weeks!
riverrock83 is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2013, 13:14
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: blackpool
Age: 39
Posts: 13
I think waiting for the license in the post will be considerably longer than the course itself.

Great achievement!
Jackson-Pollox is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2013, 15:57
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sth Bucks UK
Age: 56
Posts: 928
Great achievement, great write-up, well done.

never pay up front though!
stickandrudderman is offline  
Old 11th Apr 2013, 14:01
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: THE NORTH
Posts: 299
JDA2012 Well done!

A fantastic achievement and excellent write up
JUST-local is offline  
Old 4th Jun 2013, 16:03
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: blackpool
Age: 39
Posts: 13
Cant believe this thread has not had more views
Jackson-Pollox is offline  
Old 4th Jun 2013, 22:54
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Well done that man.
thing is offline  
Old 5th Jun 2013, 12:56
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Amesbury, Salisbury, UK
Posts: 3

Congratulations JDA2012.
I renewed my PPL at ANT in 2004. It was and, from the sound of it, still is a great family based flying club. My instructor, Phil Williams, was excellent although I expect he has moved on by now. My examiner was the similarly excellent Ray Sheldon.
All the best to Grace and Russell. I'm very cheered to hear that you are still there.
I would still be flying there myself if a job move had not forced me to leave.
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