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Hello! Central Scotland PPL - where to go?

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Hello! Central Scotland PPL - where to go?

Old 18th Feb 2014, 08:31
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: A land down under
Posts: 115
Yup, and while at Prestwick make sure you speak to someone at the flying club too - PM me if you need any contact details as the club is not "manned" full time.
Glasgow_Flyer is offline  
Old 18th Feb 2014, 09:38
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Scotia
Posts: 12

I think I might be able to offer a (hopefully) helpful opinion. Your motivation will be key here, as you start what will be a fairly big commitment in terms of finance and time.

I had my first 6 hours of PPL training in, wait for it, 1984! Cash (ie the lack of it) and family then got in the way until retirement late last year when, bingo, time and money become available to scratch an itch that never, ever went away. So if your motivation is high, you'll get there in the end!

I'm about 7 miles from you, so I've looked at all the centrally located schools over a period of time. Each is staffed by dedicated, professional and friendly folk. So, my choice was based on a number of technical factors and is no reflection on the capabilities of the FTOs that I passed by when making my decision of where to spend the best part of 8k on a PPL.

You could do worse than Tayside Aviation for a number of good, solid reasons. Firstly, I'm door to door in 50 mins. Further, I know, than handy Cumbernauld or even Perth but my perception of Dundee's professionalism, the 'feel' of the clubhouse (more a work environment than golf club, if you get my drift?) and the availability of aircraft/instructors was all very positive. I've got around 15 hours logged at Dundee now with only this bloody weather getting in the road!

My instructor is relatively young and I'm relatively old! He was hardly born when I had my first lessons, but he's very good and I have never had to fly with another instructor due to him being unavailable (and I've 3 lessons booked this week alone).

Never had an issue with aircraft availability; the fleet is very large (I'm in a PA28).

Formal RT: It's an absolute must in my opinion, as you can always tone down your comms at airfields where no/limited ATC is in place. Spinning up to correct and concise RT at short notice, when it's mandatory, is going to be very difficult. Dundee airport ATC are very good, strict when they need to be, understanding of my limitations mostly!

A poster, rightly, pointed out it's a fair way to go to get cancelled by the weather etc. That has never happened to me. A combination of my instructor on the phone, ATIS and the BBC weather site has ensured the go/no go to leave home has always been 100% correct.

I could go on, but that's my tuppenceworth. I have no axe to grind other than I consider I did my homework on the schools and made a decision based on solid logic.

I'll finish by saying my experience of organisations like FTOs is fairly extensive (another discipline), and their ethos and capability always comes from the man or woman at the top. The Boss at Tayside is an enthusiast. It shows in his school.

Best of luck. Stay focused and determined and you'll have a ball. Chocks away!

walkindude is offline  
Old 18th Feb 2014, 12:15
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Glasgow
Age: 36
Posts: 644
The flying club at Prestwick I'd say has more of a club atmosphere than the flight centre, and comfortable rather than high fashion (!) - but all aircraft are currently grounded at the club, as they are either in for their annual or have had prangs. Should be back online in a few weeks.

Instructors are all part-time but very experienced (BA Captain, Former RAF test pilot, Aircraft designer who is a director in a very large UK engineering company) - all instructing because they love doing it. Don't be scared by their qualifications though - they are very understanding, approachable and don't patronise.

If you think you might want to own your own aircraft at some stage, or join a group - its the right place to be, but many "graduates" have gone on to aviation careers too.

The club is currently looking to buy another aircraft and get hangers - but it will be several months anyway before all of that gets organised. There are normally people around - I counted 9 people sitting having coffee last Saturday, despite no-one getting into the air.

If you're down in Prestwick anyway - do pop in, say hello and get some of the "chat". If you would be coming down to visit the club specifically, email from the website (phone isn't normally manned) and book some time to chat things over with an instructor - even if you don't go flying.

Feel free to PM me - I'm a fairly new PPL.
riverrock83 is offline  
Old 19th Feb 2014, 05:02
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Glens o' Angus by way of LA
Age: 56
Posts: 1,974
Bit of thread drift , but I would disagree with the following

Formal RT: It's an absolute must in my opinion, as you can always tone down your comms at airfields where no/limited ATC is in place.
I think you have to up your game on the comms at uncontrolled fields,

Not wanting to start and argument or be a smarties pants, just a different view point.
piperboy84 is offline  
Old 19th Feb 2014, 05:14
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: SCAL
Posts: 95
if Wee Eck's policies on dealing with EASA and the CAA are as well thought out as on the currency and the EU I wouldn't bank on being able to fly anywhere.
sherburn2LA is offline  
Old 19th Feb 2014, 08:14
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Glasgow
Age: 36
Posts: 644
Ach don't worry. Didn't you know that independence will solve all of your problems? An independent Scotland will mean AVGAS will be as cheap as the USA because it is Scotlands oil, we'll be able to fly anywhere in the world with minimal medical in any aircraft because everyone loves people from Scotland and despite being the EU, Scotland wont have any extra buracracy because it wont have EASA.
Vote Yes!
riverrock83 is offline  
Old 19th Feb 2014, 08:37
  #27 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Falkirk, UK
Age: 32
Posts: 12
I know some had opinions on Open Days, but as I'm registered anyway I think I'll go to Tayside Aviation and have a look. I don't fancy travelling every day, but they do have a Summer School residential which I imagine would be immersive and so beneficial, but keen to hear views on this?

As I said I'll also visit Prestwick, Cumbernauld and Strathaven (to check out Microlights). I'm also still interested about completing a PPL abroad, but probably not. This would involve a more condensed course again, and I wonder if that's actually a good idea. Maybe having the pressure of completing in a certain time isn't good for long-term flying ability and skill (although I know this builds post-PPL)

I'm also worried about getting involved in a club locally when I haven't learned to fly locally. I hope meeting people from each of the places while exploring my options might help that though.

I'll keep you updated

(Oh, and on Scottish Independence: I'd be surprised if 'we' are daft enough to vote for it, although if you believe the Yes-campaigners we'll be living in a utopia by Christmas... I'll be voting NO!)
dst87 is offline  
Old 19th Feb 2014, 09:10
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Strathaven Airfield
Posts: 864
Wee Eck's produced a Big Document and - yes - that has quite a bit about aviation.

A nice Reaganite touch - lower taxes (APD) to bring in more business.

More airforce: a need identified for maritime patrol aircraft, which the UK apparently does not see as necessary

But no mention of University Air Squadrons, GA or a few other things like "Permits to Fly" and aircraft registration.

Most of the stuff handled by the UK CAA or EASA will continue to be handled by them, perhaps under contract.

Smaller things like will Scotland get an aircraft register like IoM and Channel Islands etc are no - I suspect - crucial in the "big picture" of a country's residents deciding on independence.

ps The Scottish government's paper is 700+ pages long and is a free download.
xrayalpha is offline  
Old 19th Feb 2014, 12:04
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Glasgow
Age: 36
Posts: 9
I'm studying at Prestwick Flight Centre and for the most part it's good - good instructors, the aircraft seem looked after, good R/T experience and experience working out of a 'proper' commercial airport and all that entails (controlled airspace, larger aircraft, helicopters etc) and it's not badly located for me (25 mins or so from home to the airfield)

On the negatives, it's expensive (but so is everywhere in Scotland compared to many schools / clubs down south for some odd reason) - this is alleviated slightly by block booking (usual caveat applies - use a credit card) - you'll also need to pay membership, landing fees (which are higher than at smaller airfields but surprisingly less than Cumbernauld), and the airport themselves for security check and an airside pass.

Finally, and somewhat frustratingly, they're now down to two aircraft that can be used for training - meaning availability of the planes isn't ideal - this is the biggest concern I have at the moment.

PM me if you want to chat further, I was in the same boat as you a few months ago and went through the same choices. If you don't care about the possibility of doing Night Ratings/IMC etc and are just looking for flying in daylight VFR - go to Strathaven and try their C42 - it's a lovely aircraft to train in and they're without a doubt the nicest / friendliest airfield I visited when looking into this at the start - I still keep contemplating seeing if they'd let me base a small C152 or C172 there in the future

Hope this helps a little
rossmck is offline  
Old 19th Feb 2014, 12:34
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Scotland
Age: 33
Posts: 16
PFC have more than just two for training, they only have 2x2 seater aircraft at present. They have 4seaters available as well.

High-Flyer2 is offline  
Old 19th Feb 2014, 12:46
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: lancs.UK
Age: 72
Posts: 1,196
Hello Duncan,
First, let me say, I'm not a pilot. However, I have a keen interest in "the scene" and see you are quite low on the learning-curve. You've come toa good place to get a variety of opinions.

Firstly, choice of Aircraft.

By farthe cheapest to own and operate,is the Flexwing Microlight....can be folded down, put on a trailer and parked in your own garage....time to unload and rig, about an hour.
If you are mechanically-inclined, you are permitted to do your own maintenance...at the extreme, the very lightweight single-seaters do not even need annual inspections.....if you're daft enough to want a Darwin Award....the authorities allow youthe choice

Also in the Microlight category, there are two-seat, perfectly conventional "proper" aircraft,which, by nature of stall-speed, wing-loading and weight, , slip below the barrier.....some of these designs are Composite (smooth,curvy, shiny "fibreglass") some are fabric-covered "skeletons"with lightweight rigid floor-panels etc.
Some have a folding- wing design and the same advantages as flexwings, though youmay need to extend the back of the garage, a tad!
DIY maintenance, BMAA Administer.(again, you can pay someone to do it for you, but there are few restrictions.
Like Gliders,you can get trailers that are enclosed....fold the wings, slide her into the "wheeled Crysalis" and padlock the door.

Here, perhaps I should mention Motor Gliders....apart from needing a lot of aerodrome space for takeoff/ landing, they're very cheap to run and maintain.

On to Permit Aircraft...Predominantly homebuilts, but als covers all the light aircraft "orphaned" by the factory and type-certificate-holder withdrawing support. Usually 'cos they went bust!
Permits are administered by LAA -again, you are encouraged to fettle your own, but , however it's done, LAA have oversight...upshot is, you don't need a qualified Aircraft Mechanic or Maintenance-organisation to do your work....a massive cost-saving. AFAIK, It's perfectly legal to learn on YOUR OWN Permit aircraft, so, you just pay the instructor and the Training-organisation, under who's umbrella youlearn.

Lastly, you have the Certificated (CAA, CofA) aircraft.....the country's training fleet is predominantly"spam-cans" -Cessnas and Pipers....most are older than you and have withstood more use and abuse than both of us! Safe, robust and forgiving, but sophisticated, they ain't. Maintenance is eye-wateringly expensive. All parts have to be approved, all but the very simplest servicing and maintenance-tasks have to be done, signed-for and certified by approved parties.

(IMHO this doesn't make them any safer at all and statistics tend to support this view)

Certificated aircraft can be hired out , used for commercial work, flown in the UK at night. flown in Instrument Meteorological Conditions...which permit aircraft are not allowed....BUT THE COSTS ARE MORE THAN DOUBLE THE PERMIT EQUIVALENT...
In the Certificated category,you'll also find what appear to be MICROLIGHTS...but the engine's bigger, the wing smaller...so,they're faster and heavier,have a bigger payload (you a pie-scoffer?) and cost a massive amount more to run and maintain.

All Certificate aircraft have mandated inspections and maintenance regimes...if you're bored, look up cessna SID'S" Throwing away unused seatbelts and installing fabulously expensive new ones, simply because an arbritarily imposed calendar life has been reached, is not my idea of responsible, ecologically sound or sensible legislation.

Best "bang for the buck?" a Microlight licence willbe the cheapest, quickest way to the freedomof the skies,Unfortunately, AFAIK, you can't use Microlight-time for PPL/CPL hours-building. The steps to convert to a full PPL should be relatively painless and easy.

A Permit aircraft would be quite a big step, but you could wind up with your own aircraft and a PPL for very little more than the cost of conventional Flying-School lessons...then you have a cheap way to build hours!

Splash ~8- 10 thousand and you'll learn at a school, on their plane and they will do all the admin. easy, hassle-free, you get what you pay for.
Me, I'd like a taildragger on Permit it won't happen....but a microlight just might....some 3-axis jobbies do looka bit Heath Robinson(high wing with the engine poked forward on a pole but cheap as chips to buy and run and there's room for 2!

Well, that's plenty to think about...no doubt someone will be along to correct all my errors and omissions!
cockney steve is offline  
Old 9th Jul 2017, 23:08
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Scotland
Posts: 21
Hi Duncan

Did you ever decide on a flying school and start your PPL?

Magpie32 is offline  

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