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Real cost of gaining PPL in the UK 2014

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Real cost of gaining PPL in the UK 2014

Old 5th Apr 2014, 22:27
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: midlands
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Real cost of gaining PPL in the UK 2014


Firstly I'd like to apologise if this question has been answered before. Never posted on a forum so don't really know the do's and don'ts.

Can someone tell me genuinely how much I should budget to do a PPL. I've read loads of sites and all price at 45 hours but it seems more like an average of 60.

I've priced a few up and i'm reckoning a more dedicated, easy to book option with a one to one instructor providing one hour flying and and one hour theory each time will be around 14000 all in with exams, books, medical, headset etc. There are places offering 45 hours for 7k but it seems with them you have to attend open lectures to do the theory. By the time you've added in an extra 15 hours plus all the books, exams etc plus fuel surcharges you're looking at about 11k.

Looking through pages on the web most people claim to budget around 7k but I just can't see how this can be done. Seems to me it's quite common to hide the real costs for fear of putting people off.

It's really hard to know who's good and who's not because people leaving reviews only have experience of where they did theirs so can't say whether or not it was good compared to any other place.

If anyone completing their PPL during 2013/2014 could offer me an insight i'd appreciate it.
John TT is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 00:50
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Depends obviously on where you go and how long it takes. Let's say it takes 60 hours at 175 an hour then that's 10.5K. If you add another 1.5 onto that for all of the other stuff then you have 12K.

The thing is it's OK saying 'Yes I have that money I can do my license' but can you maintain it once you have it? I'm not saying don't do it because just getting the license itself is an achievement but in my (admittedly limited) experience people who have to ask about the price usually don't keep it up once they've flown the family around the local area a dozen times. the dropout rate for pilots once they have their license is enormous. You need to be budgeting around 5K a year minimum IMO to stay not just current, but on top of your game.

Others will be along no doubt to say that they spend four bob a decade because they have a micro something or other and do all of their own servicing. Depends what you want. Personally just for the joy of flying I would take a glider. Having a PPL to me is about going places in reasonable comfort over a reasonable distance and speed with two or three mates.
thing is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 03:19
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Real cost of gaining PPL in the UK 2014

We are blessed in Oz by having such an enormous continent to fly across. In flying centers outside our capitals, the PPL budget is more attractive than city rates and the business of taxiing and getting into the air takes less time, so you tend to get sharper flying skills in fewer (paid) hours.

In many cases, the theory is delivered free in very small groups - anywhere between 2 - 6 students. A/c rental for a C150 goes at about $280 solo training and $280 dual then down to $190 after you are licensed.

In terms of mandatory training times, you need a min of 40 hours which includes minimums of:5 hrs as PIC, 5 hrs cross country as PIC, 2 hours of instrument flight. You must also have passed a few written and oral tests.

I reckon around AUD$15,000 ought to do it. Allow this much again for a command instrument rating and all the flights that lead up to this.

Saratogapp is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 07:57
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Join Date: Apr 2014
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A lot will depend on how competent you are as a student and how good your instructor is. I spent 9500 to gain my ppl in 2012 and it took me 65 hours to complete. I struggled with my landings in the beginning and to took a lesson with a different instructor one day who taught me a slightly different approach and suddenly I got it. I'm not suggesting that my instructor wasn't any good but it cost me about 5-10 hours of instruction!

Other costs that some schools don't tell you about is the flying test fee (about 350) and once you pass the fee to the CAA for your licence (185) and your class 2 medical (up to 200 so shop around).

As Thing says you also need to budget after you gain your licence. Many clubs insist you fly at least once a month to stay current (approx 175 a month), club annual membership (mine was 180 pa), bi annual medical (200) and on top of that landing fees and lunches on your days out. Yes it is cheaper if you split the cost when you take friends and family out but it is still an expensive hobby.

Another factor to consider is what you want from your licence. Are you going to go further with a night rating, IMC rating, full instrument rating etc. all of which will require more money.

I have to admit that I didn't think beyond passing my skills test and getting that licence and have struggled to fund my flying so much so I am now flying microlights as they are cheaper at 118 an hour and in my opinion, more fun to fly.

I don't want to put you off because becoming a pilot is the greatest thing I have ever done and there is nothing like cruising around at 2500 feet on a summers evening watching the world below you. The bottom line is there is no fixed cost in gaining your PPL but one thing is certain, once you start flying you won't want to stop.

Good luck
GWACU2208 is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 09:30
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Surrey, England
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Cost of PPL

Hi John TT,

Thing has it about right. About 70% of those who actually obtain a private flying licence (whether PPL or NPPL) fail to renew that licence once it expires. (Many cease actual flying long before their first licence issue even comes to an end). Bear in mind what I have said above applies to those who actually GET a licence. Quite large numbers commence training and then drop out before qualifying once the rate of expenditure really comes home to them.

Thing is especially right about the need to be able to afford to continue flying post licence issue. You need to assess what kind of flying is within your budget and whether it will satisfy your requirements. When I first got my licence fifty odd years ago, for the first several years all I could afford was to do the legal minimum for several years. Eventually, I realised I was a danger to myself and potentially to others and so gave up.

So what to do about it? Provided you have no ambitions about pressing on to CPL or ATPL, I would suggest you consider flying micro-lights or gliders.

Bear in mind, however, that even these forms of flying are very far from being cheap. However as long as you carry out as shrewd an assessment of the cost involved as you have of the 'Group A' milieu, then I am sure you will not make any mistakes.

Thee axis micros in particular are extremely capable aeroplanes, almost indistinguishable in appearance from 'Group A' aircraft, but cost much less to fly. Two axis aircraft are weird contraptions to look at (to anyone from a Group A background) but very safe and apparently splendid fun to fly. Now they represent even cheaper flying.

Others here will know more about this than me, but from my very limited knowledge I suspect that two axis micro-light flying might even be cheaper than gliding, especially when the cost of spending whole weekends at the gliding site are taken into account.

Anyway, that's my two penneth, good luck John TT.

BroomstickPilot is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 11:03
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Join Date: Nov 2000
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You need to be budgeting around 5K a year minimum IMO to stay not just current, but on top of your game.

Others will be along no doubt to say that they spend four bob a decade because they have a micro something or other and do all of their own servicing.
Around 3k a year renting. Others will be along no doubt to say that with that little flying there's no way I can ever be safe, but we're not all as rich as them.
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 11:21
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As you are based in the Midlands, I picked a Midlands flying school with a fairly comprehensive breakdown of prices. You are quite right, few achieve a PPL in 45 hours so 60-65 is more realistic, you can scale the charges accordingly. Presumably you are not intending to stop flying when you get your PPL so the point at which you actually acheive your licence is not that critical. If you want extra groundschool you may need to price that in but it can be done for the stated prices. You will have landing fees at other airfields where you land away and at some airfields you may have to pay for every landing, not so where these prices are quoted.

The true price will vary between candidates but I think the prices here are a good guide and will allow you to make further calculations. It is perhaps more relevant that you realise what the additional charges could be and that they do vary from one organisation to another.
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 13:57
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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Around 3k a year renting. Others will be along no doubt to say that with that little flying there's no way I can ever be safe, but we're not all as rich as them.
Depends what you do with the 3K. If you bore the same holes in the sky in the same direction every time you fly (not suggesting you do by the way) then you're not going to get a lot out of it in learning terms. If however you try to for instance visit at least one new airfield a month then you're increasing your experience and skill levels. You can do a lot with 3K if you put your mind to it, and I'm sure you do. Of course if people are happy just to go for a sunday morning bimble to the same place and back then no one has the right to criticise that; their money, their choice.
thing is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 15:15
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John TT - where abouts in Midlands are you? I am just north of Nottingham and learned to fly at Netherthorpe, EGNF.

I passed my PPL last month. All in with equipement etc... as it took me 12 months to do it all it cost 6.8k. I passed on 48 hrs which was the key.

I always found out what my lesson is likely to be be and practised before hand on flight sim, read up on 3 books i bought as well all instructing the lesson so when i got into the aerocraft (cessa 150 Aerobat) I was as prepared as i could be this paid dividends.

I found some of the instruction very limited, ie questions I had could not be answered. Or sometimes my instructor would show me Steep bank turns etc... and they would do it shit, I would do it better etc.. somewhat worrying. Having said that i tried all the instructors to find out which one suited my learning and I did all my groundschool in one week at slightly more cost but its the best way for me to learn.
The other key is to know your weaknesses or area's you think you will not be good at For me it was groundschool , hence my approach. And believe it or not, navigating does not come easy to me - however i focused on these area's a lot to ensure they did not become my achilles heel.

The club in general i flew with were great and supportive. I flew any of the the aeroplanes as they have several of the same type - i didnt want to get into a point where i had a favourite etc.. as this only prohibits your learning.

I made many mistakes, but learned from them quickly. Since November to march, when it was deemed I was ready to take my skill test - i could not get down on week days due to my role and many weekends were cancelled due to weather. To the point I managed only a further 3 hrs before doing y skill test and this was just to ensure I wasn't completely rusty.

Ultimately - how you do is answeered by what you want from it, what you can afford(i flew every sat & sun last summer to get the hours in) and most importantly how committed you are and only you can answer that.

Be prepared and do your homework, practice practice practice. Take control of your journey, sometimes I would roll up to flying and ask what i would be doing today - their answer sometimes was, i dunno what do you want to do...
so even with slighlty rocky instruction at times it still depends on you and how you manage it etc...

When you learn there ar some amazing milestones that give you a sense of emotion and feeling that is rare to get in other ways.

first solo.... first XC, the XC Qualifier etc...

lots to do, lots to learn and lots of challenges. Above all - an amazing acievement when you pass. If you need 14k to pass, i would suggest you stop flying because it's prob too dangerous for yu and thers lol.

Good luck!!

PPLvirgin is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 15:50
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I found some of the instruction very limited, ie questions I had could not be answered. Or sometimes my instructor would show me Steep bank turns etc... and they would do it shit, I would do it better etc..
What I find scary is that there are FIs with less hours than me and I still consider myself a beginner. In fact there are ailrline pilots with less hours than me. That's really scary.
thing is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 16:10
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An few negative posts on how many hours it will take, there IS some truth in this, but if you go about it in the right way it is quite doable for most people in the 45 hours, what you need to do is plan it right, start about this time of year and do the first 10 hours or so getting in at least two or three trips a week, more if possible, then book a couple of weeks holiday where you will then fly MOST of your hours, and again, try and do at least two trips a week following this - to get two/ three trips a week you will probably need to book three trips a day on both your days off (assuming a normal work pattern) and accept you will lose about a third of these due to weather. If you can do more than this then even better. Also look at flying evenings if you can find a school that opens later - sometimes the best time to fly, but be careful of being tired if you have worked a full day.
Doing this you CAN budget on 45 hours, as pointed out, you then need to think about flying after your licence, and I would say look at shares in an LAA aircraft.
foxmoth is offline  
Old 6th Apr 2014, 20:27
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FAO Foxmoth

Hi Foxmoth, my previous post is based on my experience alone. It clearly points out that achierving it in 45 hours is clearly upto the pilot, and I have shown that it is viable as long as you plan and prepare and practice.

the advice is good and should help anyone looking to gain their ppl in minimum hours, like i said - i have done it all for 6.9k so it is achievalble. Committment required though lol!
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Old 6th Apr 2014, 20:57
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You need to be budgeting around 5K a year minimum IMO to stay not just current, but on top of your game.

Others will be along no doubt to say that they spend four bob a decade because they have a micro something or other and do all of their own servicing

.Around 3k a year renting. Others will be along no doubt to say that with that little flying there's no way I can ever be safe, but we're not all as rich as them.
I flew 77.4 tach hours in 2013, for 5244, including monthly payments, in a Jodel DR1050, Class A, P to F, 110Kt cruise.That doesn't include landings - 470 for 47 at home airfield, 25 for a year's unlimited at Dornoch.
Current share price is 2200. None for sale at present. I bought mine for 1600 in 1990.
The most important thing for a cheap PPL course is GOOD INSTRUCTORS, and continuity. (The instructor may not be the cheapest but the PPL will be.)
Maoraigh1 is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 10:00
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First advice: if you are short of budget, do not spend it on a PPL. Getting the license is not the last word on costs.

Second advice: allocate 15k to the license and be happy, if you don't need it. Spend the rest of the money on additional flight hours after license.

Yes, there are people passing after 45 flight hours. But, it sometimes is the better choice to fly more hours on different weather conditions with somebody right next to you. When I was taking classes, my intention was to learn to fly, not to collect a license. I enjoyed flying in (very) marginal conditions with an IFR equipped light plane and the safety of an airliner captn as instructor when being an experienced student. Yes, you could do the same after license, but most people won't do that in reality. BTW, I was forced to do exam when I had done 60 hours, because my instructor wanted me to do so. Now I am flying about 100h a year, which does cost me about 20k, so the cost for the license is not the big piece of the story.
ChickenHouse is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 13:13
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Some really sound advice coming your way in this thread OP. To add to the batch of contributors, I'd say the true cost of ascertaining a PPL is around ~8-10K factoring with all the overheads associated ( books, maps, ground exams & skills test, RT licence, QXC landing fees etc).

My credentials : I'm a recently qualified PPL'er (well August 2013 to be precise). Also from the Midlands, took me 8 months (part time) alongside full time employment to get my PPL flying ~4-6 hours a month. All in all my PPL cost me 8,200.00. I did it in 55 hours in a C152.

I'm assuming you're going to be doing your PPL full time (Going all the way to CPL+ or?) if so then I believe your chances of gaining the license within the minimum hours is highly feasible, provided you do your homework & exercises due diligently of course

If you need any more advice feel free to PM me of course!

P.S: If you can, please go ahead & get acquainted with Wolfgang's masterpiece -
'Stick & Rudder'  'Stick & Rudder'
book...thank me later.... good luck
Exiled Martian is offline  
Old 7th Apr 2014, 13:34
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Wickford
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I completed my PPL last year and including everything (books, equipment, lessons, medical, CAA fees, instruction and rental), my total bill was just over 11k. It took me 10 months in total. My breakdown was:

58 hours @ 155 per hour (Cessna 152) = 8990
58 hours fuel surcharge @ 6 per hour average = 348
Equipment & Books (not including headset) = 297
Skills Test (including 2 .5 hours rental, examiner & CAA fee) = 483
Medical 170
Club membership fee = 115
Headset 915 (Bose A20)

Since that time I have purchased my own aircraft (a Jabiru SPL-450)

Cost 20k
Conversion course 600
Tie-down storage 1080 per annum
Landing Card 250 per annum
Insurance 850 per annum
Maintenance & Permit 400 per annum
Hourly fuel 18 (did 30 odd hours last year) so 600

This year will be roughly the same except no cost of the aircraft or the conversion course and I will be doing a few more hours.
Steevo25 is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2014, 10:24
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Join Date: Dec 2011
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Checking in with my mandatory response to such questions; I completed my PPL last March at Blackpool in 45h50m flying time, over a four-week period (reckon it could have been three but for poxy clouds ).

Training / course costs - 6817
End-to-end costs (with Class 1 medical, equipment, licence issue fee) - 7839

Full details:

As noted, the PPL is just the beginning of both flying and costs! I think I totalled about 14-16k last year in total, covering PPL+IR(R)+Night Rating + 101 hours flight time.

As also noted, booking a "block" of time and throwing yourself at it also helps - I am told it tends to take more flying hours the more widely you spread those hours, hence my approach above.
JDA2012 is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2014, 10:31
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Thread Starter
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Location: midlands
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Thanks guys for the great response some good food for thought.
John TT is offline  
Old 8th Apr 2014, 19:26
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: UK.
Posts: 719
Has it got to be a PPL....have you not considered microlights....some very slick 3 axis types available now at a fraction of the sums quoted here,

The school attached to the club I fly from charges 95 per hour tuition...hire of a/c if req once licensed 75 ph wet.
magpienja is offline  
Old 9th Apr 2014, 14:11
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Chester (UK)
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One more

I cannot add any figures from own experience, as I am still in the process of filling my piggy bank for my PPL myself. However, over the past couple of years I have done quite a bit of research (using information from this and other websites, pilots and esp. schools). Apart from the obvious - and very important - aspect of what one wishes to do up there in the air it seems that really only a chosen few achieve the 45 hour minimum requirement. 15 years ago I was quoted 6000 all in for a PPL but nowadays real numbers amount to between 10,000 - 12,000, which is what I will budget for.

I have to say, most helpful for me are the figures given here for continuing to fly. As so often, it is not the buying of something but the maintaining that is the actual expensive part. Thanks to everyone for providing the likes of John TT and me with such an invaluable insight.

By the way, unless you know it already of course, the book 'Take your wings and fly' by Jason Smart is a first-hand account of someone going through the mangle of a PPL course. Very honest, funny and with all the pros and cons, incl. the idiosyncrasies of instructors and the predictably unpredictable British weather.
Der Rote Baron is offline  

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