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Hello! Central Scotland PPL - where to go?

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Hello! Central Scotland PPL - where to go?

Old 11th Feb 2014, 21:45
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Falkirk, UK
Age: 32
Posts: 12
Hello! Central Scotland PPL - where to go?

Hello everyone!

I've been told to check out this forum by a friend on a completely unrelated forum, so hello!

I plan to start working towards a PPL this year, and am trying to immerse myself in aviation as it's fascinated me since I was a child (now 26). Flying has been a dream of mine for ages, but only now do I have the money to think about pursuing the hobby.

I'm still getting to grips with this site, but have browsed a little bit so far.

My question: I'm based in Falkirk and am trying to decide on a school for PPL. I'm drawn to Tayside Aviation in Dundee, despite the distance from Falkirk, and am booked into their open day in March to learn more about the school. They also offer a summer school so I'm interesting in hearing more about that.

I'm also aware of ACS Aviation at Cumbernauld which would be much more convenient, but have less information on their website.

My goals are simply to enjoy flying. My dream is to fly professionally, but I know how difficult that can be (and how costly) so for now I'm going to try and enjoy flying as a hobby!

I'd be really grateful for any advice/hints/tips/points you can offer. I've never been more excited about something in my life

Cheers,

Duncan

Last edited by dst87; 11th Feb 2014 at 23:11.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 08:18
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Strathaven Airfield
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Hi Dst,

Welcome to PPRuNe!

And well done for now having the resources to be able to start flying.

Your choices of schools are:

ACS (Leading Edge) at Cumbernauld, Glasgow or Perth
Tayside at Glenrothes and Dundee
Edinburgh Flying Club
Border Air Training at Cumbernauld

and, possibly (the wild card!) ourselves at Strathaven.

Things to look at are :

Location: how far to travel (petrol can cost 20p a mile), weather (some people say the East Coast has better weather, but it can also get fogged in with easterly winds) and how busy the airfield is (you cannot do circuits - ie learning take-off and landing - at Edinburgh, I understand, so have to fly to Fife for that.)

Aircraft: which types - some like high wing, some prefer low wing, their condition etc

Instructors: how often are they there. Will you have the same one right though training, or will you get passed from one to another or is "your" instructor only available on odd days.

Fellow students/pilots: you can learn a bit from being with them.

Cost: To exaggerate, three hours with an instructor at 100 per hour is obviously worse value than one 250 an hour with an instructor who can teach you the same skills in 60 minutes. So lesson cost is not everything. And beware of other fees like "club membership", "landing fees" and what insurance is offered if you have an accident.

You mention flying as a hobby. If you do not really want to become a commercial pilot at the moment, it might be worth popping down to see us at Strathaven and having a shot in our C42 "microlight". The C42 is a modern German-built light aircraft that can just squeeze into the microlight category (by 500 grams!).

Quite a few of our folk have got their microlight licence and then spent three hours upgrading to an NPPL for light aircraft. And for the next year and a half, or so, there is a very clear route from microlight to the new European Light Aircraft Pilots Licence and then on to the EASA SEP.

ps. Don't worry about "open days". Most flying schools should be happy to see you and have a chat most days - after all, you are going to be spending 1,000s! Just give them a ring the day before to make sure someone who can answer all your questions will be around - after all, they might be flying!
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 08:49
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Hi DST. Can't help you with the schools but can assure you that the excitement will increase once you start! Good luck and welcome to penury!
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 09:10
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: UK
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I'd ignore the open day and just go in on a regular day, gives you more of an impression of how the school runs and how friendly and helpful they will or will not be.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 10:56
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Join Date: May 2011
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DST - welcome to the forum!
If I were you I wouldn't go as far as Dundee. Spending 2h40min travelling by car for every hour you're in the air, then finding when you get there that there is a problem with weather / airport / aircraft / instructor so you can't actually get up would be pretty tough going - your motivation could be tested!

If you're thinking of this as a hobby, then I'd look at a more club orientated location rather than simply a school. You'll find more people to chat to / help you / fly with, even at the quieter clubs. I learnt and still fly from Prestwick Flying Club and enjoy the chat and atmosphere - I recommend it but I'd again say it is probably a bit far for you.

It is worth thinking about where you want to take your hobby. Once you've finished your training, will you still have money to fly? Are you always going to hire an aircraft or join a group / buy your own? Do you want to fly out with others?
I'm a pretty new PPL but am in a group at Prestwick. If I wasn't in a group, I'd certainly be looking at 3-axis microlights. I hear very good reports...
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 11:46
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Falkirk, UK
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Originally Posted by xrayalpha View Post
Your choices of schools are:

ACS (Leading Edge) at Cumbernauld, Glasgow or Perth
Tayside at Glenrothes and Dundee
Edinburgh Flying Club
Border Air Training at Cumbernauld

and, possibly (the wild card!) ourselves at Strathaven.

Things to look at are :

Location: how far to travel (petrol can cost 20p a mile), weather (some people say the East Coast has better weather, but it can also get fogged in with easterly winds) and how busy the airfield is (you cannot do circuits - ie learning take-off and landing - at Edinburgh, I understand, so have to fly to Fife for that.)

Aircraft: which types - some like high wing, some prefer low wing, their condition etc

Instructors: how often are they there. Will you have the same one right though training, or will you get passed from one to another or is "your" instructor only available on odd days.

Fellow students/pilots: you can learn a bit from being with them.

Cost: To exaggerate, three hours with an instructor at 100 per hour is obviously worse value than one 250 an hour with an instructor who can teach you the same skills in 60 minutes. So lesson cost is not everything. And beware of other fees like "club membership", "landing fees" and what insurance is offered if you have an accident.
Thank you for the information. I'm now leaning away from Tayside on distance but will consider all of the other points you mentioned.

Originally Posted by xrayalpha View Post
You mention flying as a hobby. If you do not really want to become a commercial pilot at the moment, it might be worth popping down to see us at Strathaven and having a shot in our C42 "microlight". The C42 is a modern German-built light aircraft that can just squeeze into the microlight category (by 500 grams!).

Quite a few of our folk have got their microlight licence and then spent three hours upgrading to an NPPL for light aircraft. And for the next year and a half, or so, there is a very clear route from microlight to the new European Light Aircraft Pilots Licence and then on to the EASA SEP.
My dream is to be a commercial pilot, so when faced with similar options I'd rather take the path that increases those chances if I decide to go for it in the future, which is why I was focussed on the EASA PPL (I think?) Honestly, I'm still getting my head round all of the options that are available, between NPPL, PPL, LAPL it's all rather confusing at the moment so I'm trying to research as much as possible.

I'd rather stick with whatever gives me the most flexibility in the future.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 11:56
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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Originally Posted by riverrock83 View Post
DST - welcome to the forum!
If I were you I wouldn't go as far as Dundee. Spending 2h40min travelling by car for every hour you're in the air, then finding when you get there that there is a problem with weather / airport / aircraft / instructor so you can't actually get up would be pretty tough going - your motivation could be tested!

If you're thinking of this as a hobby, then I'd look at a more club orientated location rather than simply a school. You'll find more people to chat to / help you / fly with, even at the quieter clubs. I learnt and still fly from Prestwick Flying Club and enjoy the chat and atmosphere - I recommend it but I'd again say it is probably a bit far for you.

It is worth thinking about where you want to take your hobby. Once you've finished your training, will you still have money to fly? Are you always going to hire an aircraft or join a group / buy your own? Do you want to fly out with others?
I'm a pretty new PPL but am in a group at Prestwick. If I wasn't in a group, I'd certainly be looking at 3-axis microlights. I hear very good reports...
Hi Riverrock,

I think I might take your advice on Dundee. I was considering their Summer School which would involve staying there for 6 weeks, but it's a lot of additional expense that might not be worth it.

I certainly want to be able to fly after gaining my PPL, and figured a co-ownership/syndicate/whatever-they're-called group would be my best option as it would allow going away for a couple of days and only paying for flying hours (from what I've read). Of course I'd need to actually find one, and I assume many will have minimum logged hours before joining.

I did see a share based at Cumbernauld which might work for hour building, but from the page on their site it sounds like you pay for every hour you have the plane rather than just flight time. Hour building seems like a good idea though, and at 900 with a guaranteed buy-back it seems like a no brainer initially.

Ownership would be incredible in terms of flexibility, but I don't have the knowledge or (I assume) funds to actually own and manage/maintain an aircraft. I've certainly seen some used-car-priced older aircraft online, but the maintenance expenses and other associated costs are unknown to me at the moment so I'm put off.

I'm self-employed (have a small software development company with my boyfriend writing iOS apps) so currently have the means, but who knows what happens in the future.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 17:07
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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As a hobby pilot an EASA LAPL would be a good bet, or NPPL. All of which can be up graded at a later date if required.As for ownership/share it depends how much flying you anticipate doing per year.
Have you considered the LAA (Light Aircraft Association)? Self maintenance under the guidance/help of a qualified engineer. A pilot coaching scheme to various standards after PPL. Numerous aircraft for sale or share, all of which you can use to build hours.
Prices range around the used car bracket.
Once you have a PPL think of the tailwheel conversion (LAA coach).
Greater flexibility/choice of aircraft, grass strip flying etc, definitely great fun and a lot cheaper than renting the Flying School spam cans.
Just a thought.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 17:19
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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Originally Posted by Crash one View Post
As a hobby pilot an EASA LAPL would be a good bet, or NPPL. All of which can be up graded at a later date if required.As for ownership/share it depends how much flying you anticipate doing per year.
Have you considered the LAA (Light Aircraft Association)? Self maintenance under the guidance/help of a qualified engineer. A pilot coaching scheme to various standards after PPL. Numerous aircraft for sale or share, all of which you can use to build hours.
Prices range around the used car bracket.
Once you have a PPL think of the tailwheel conversion (LAA coach).
Greater flexibility/choice of aircraft, grass strip flying etc, definitely great fun and a lot cheaper than renting the Flying School spam cans.
Just a thought.
Thanks for the message.

Is there a reason that NPPL/LAPL are recommended over EASA PPL? Is there a significant difference in attainment costs?

I'd like to fly as much as possible once qualified, as long as I have the money, of course!

My main goals would be taking trips up north with friends/boyfriend and seeing our beautiful country from the Sky. And enjoying the wonders of flight.

I did have a trial lesson while at Uni with Edinburgh Flying Club where the instructor said I was a natural... I don't know how true that was, but he did recommend training elsewhere to save money! In any case I loved it

I'll look into the LAA and like the idea of learning some aircraft maintenance. I reckon once I've got the PPL and met some people I'll have a better idea of what options I have for continuing flying. Seriously thinking about Cumbernauld now from a convenience/distance perspective. Will try to give them a call and visit soon!

Really appreciate the advice - keep it coming!
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 19:21
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Glens o' Angus by way of LA
Age: 56
Posts: 1,974
Hello! Central Scotland PPL - where to go?

Welcome to PPRuNe, flying around Scotland is about as good as it gets when it comes to GA with the scenery, low traffic,wide open airspace and minimal radios, good luck on the training.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 19:31
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Strathaven Airfield
Posts: 862
Hi,

Much as it hurts me to say it (ouch!), if your dream is along the CPL route, then probably best to go for the EASA SEP.

But first, have a look at gapan.org and their assessment days and go and get a Class One medical at Gatwick. If you can't get that, have a rethink. (and give me a call!).

*****
I have a medical from the RAF saying I am permanently medically unfit for pilot, navigator, air crew, ground crew, RAF Regiment, ATC and photo-reconnaisance. Yet I still own an airfield, run a flying school and examine! So, as I say, and do, don't give up!

*****

If you'd like to own an aircraft -after getting a licence (there are funny rules about training on LAA/ permit-to-fly aircraft) - then don't buy a Certificate of Airworthiness aircraft. The maintenance - and fuel - bills will kill you and your enthusiasm.

There are great deals like this - albeit at Prestwick:

Light Aircraft, Eurostar 100hp, Share Price Reduced For Quick Sale, Shares & Groups, advert ID=23584

(The owner lost his Kitfox in our hangar fire and bought this share until he acquired a new Kitfox, which he now has. So a great deal.)

On the same site - run by a Strathaven pilot, as it happens - there are loads of items of interest. And we'll be glad to hangar any of the lighter (basically Rotax 912 powered ones) or more unusual ones (like the Isaacs Fury Light Aircraft, Isaacs Fury Ii , For Sale, advert ID=28401), at Strathaven.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 19:36
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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The flight time requirements for the NPPL are slightly less than a full PPL though this usually makes little difference to the actual time taken, which is usually more than the prescribed minimum, though I believe, & I may be wrong, the validation/revalidation requirements/medical are less onerous.A visit & chat with them at Strathaven would also be valuable, just to let you know what is possible after qualifying.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 19:52
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Join Date: Feb 2001
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I did see a share based at Cumbernauld which might work for hour building, but from the page on their site it sounds like you pay for every hour you have the plane rather than just flight time.
The page you linked says hourly charges are "block to block". That's a fairly common charging methodology which means flying time counts from the moment you first start to taxi to the time you shut down at the end of that particular flight. It doesn't mean you pay for the entire time the aircraft is away from home base, as your post suggests.

For example, if you were to fly from Cumbernauld to say Fife, have lunch there, then fly back, your block time for the flight there would be say 1 hour, and the same amount for the flight back. Total charge therefore 2 hours even though you "had" the aircraft for most of the day.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 19:55
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Originally Posted by Mariner9 View Post
The page you linked says hourly charges are "block to block". That's a fairly common charging methodology which means flying time counts from the moment you first start to taxi to the time you shut down at the end of that particular flight. It doesn't mean you pay for the entire time the aircraft is away from home base, as your post suggests.

For example, if you were to fly from Cumbernauld to say Fife, have lunch there, then fly back, your block time for the flight there would be say 1 hour, and the same amount for the flight back. Total charge therefore 2 hours even though you had the aircraft for most of the day.
Thank for for that clarification. All of the other groups/shares I've seen were only for flying time, so I did think it was unusual for a group to charge for the full time (otherwise why not just hire from a club). That makes a lot more sense.
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 20:02
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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The terminology "block to block" refers to the chocks/blocks that keep the wheels still. Nothing to do with block time. Just to clarify! Sometimes referred to as "brakes off brakes on".And just to be pedantic it shouldn't take much more than 30 mins Cumbernauld to Fife, total 1hour at 85knots. Though if, like me, you go off course for a jolly on the way it could take all day!!!
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 20:10
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Originally Posted by Crash one View Post
The terminology "block to block" refers to the chocks/blocks that keep the wheels still. Nothing to do with block time. Just to clarify! Sometimes referred to as "brakes off brakes on".
Are you in agreement with Mariner9 then?

I have already replied to him, but my posts are still being moderated so back and forth conversation is difficult, and replied from me will appear after other posts have come in!

Any idea how long moderation lasts?

EDIT: Oh... but this post makes it through right away...
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Old 12th Feb 2014, 20:21
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Yes I agree with Mariner9. You could in theory fly halfway down the country for 4hrs, park/camp for a week & fly back. Total cost 8hrs. However the rest of the syndicate/Flying club may not approve. Though some hire organisations may require a minimum number of hours payment over XX time due to lack of their use?I think only the first couple of posts get checked, after that they trust you!,
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Old 15th Feb 2014, 10:16
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: A land down under
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I'm a bit out of it in the UK - but I've had great experiences at Prestwick Flying Club and Leading Edge. Both very different - and Prestwick is obviously a bit of a drive - but, at 26, if you have no other commitments you'd find yourself driving down there for a 1 hr lesson and spending the rest of the day speaking with folk/learning in the club house.

Controversial, but I'd also consider doing your circuit training as part of a holiday somewhere with no landing fees (I did three or four days of circuits at Larnaca).
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Old 15th Feb 2014, 10:38
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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Originally Posted by Glasgow_Flyer View Post
I'm a bit out of it in the UK - but I've had great experiences at Prestwick Flying Club and Leading Edge. Both very different - and Prestwick is obviously a bit of a drive - but, at 26, if you have no other commitments you'd find yourself driving down there for a 1 hr lesson and spending the rest of the day speaking with folk/learning in the club house.

Controversial, but I'd also consider doing your circuit training as part of a holiday somewhere with no landing fees (I did three or four days of circuits at Larnaca).
Thanks. Funnily enough I'd looked at doing the full intesive PPL with Fly In Spain, but figured there was no point learning to fly in beautiful, perfect conditions when I won't be flying in those conditions post-PPL very often!

I want to meet people and learn from people so it's good to hear there are places to hang out and study if you can't get in the sky for some reason (or before/after flying). I definitely want a friendly club!

Even at 26, I have a long term boyfriend, mortgage and dog! So reasonably tied, but nothing stopping me spending time at Prestwick

I'm going to visit Prestwick Flight Centre and and ACS/Leading Edge in Cumbernauld over the next few weeks and see how I feel about each before deciding.
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Old 15th Feb 2014, 11:15
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Thanks. Funnily enough I'd looked at doing the full intesive PPL with Fly In Spain, but figured there was no point learning to fly in beautiful, perfect conditions when I won't be flying in those conditions post-PPL very often!
Small point of order, but it is not always clear blue in Spain, or elsewhere for that matter. Also, Similar to passing your test in a car, the completion of a PPL is only the first stage. All of your experience builds and develops after gaining the cert.

Prestwick Flight Centre is a good club. Nice and friendly, good instructors, and gives you the experience of operating from a large International airport. sharpens RT, gives you full exposure of operating within Control Zones, and overall heightens awareness of other traffic, although you will get this last part at busier, private airfields also. It is a big commit, so visit them all, take even a trial lesson at a couple of your favourites, and decide, from there.

Best of luck.
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