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Which florida flight school for PPL?

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Which florida flight school for PPL?

Old 15th Jul 2014, 16:01
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: London
Posts: 14
Angel Which florida flight school for PPL?

Hi, firstly this is my first ever post on one of these sites so I might be doing this totally wrong - apols if that's the case.

In short, I've done a lot of searching for where to do my PPL. I'm london based and think ive made a decision from what i've read to head to Florida to do an intensive 3 week course. However i'd love some advice on the following please:

1. Any recommendations of florida flight schools?
2. Is 3 weeks actually feasible (I've seen people suggest i do the exams before i go which i can do).
3. Does it work out much cheaper in the end? approx how much does it cost in total these days in florida? it seems to work out about 13k in south east england which is pretty steep
4. finally, for those who have achieved their PPL for purely leisure purposes (not with a view to go commercial etc) was it worth the time and money? i really want to do it but keep talking myself out of it due to being realistic of what happens after i get it..(e.g fly a few times a year and thats it etc).

Thanks. A
Amber1 is offline  
Old 15th Jul 2014, 21:08
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Did you read the sticky at the top of this forum?

It's fourth down and would be a good place to start.
Cusco is offline  
Old 15th Jul 2014, 22:27
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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You could gain the requirements for a PPL in 2 months for less than 10k in Hampshire! Especially if you have the time and dedication to self study intensely. Also, you wouldn't have to convert your FAA to EASA on return from the states.
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Old 16th Jul 2014, 00:15
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Hong Kong
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First, it all depends on the context. I am all for a focused training during which you do little else. As for the location it is not important, as long as it is legal, weather permits and within your budget.

I did mine in Florida (at EFT) in 22 days. That is 22 days of acceptable weather for PPL training. Florida is not sun and fun all year round.

Read indeed the sticky above from Backpacker. Now, in reply to your questions:

1/ in 2010 I was very pleased w/ European Flight Training in Florida.
2/ 3 weeks: see above. I would say take 28 days min. Do not underestimate jet-lag, weather, ... .
3/ back then it was about 20% cheaper for me.
4/ definitely worth the money and time for me. Won't forget this one, even if you do not fly much after that. But in my case I would not have had to opportunity to co-ferry a plane from Belgium to Thailand had I not done it

Good luck, just go for it.
XLC is offline  
Old 16th Jul 2014, 06:50
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Surrey, England
Posts: 729
Go to the States.

Hi Amber1,

'You could gain the requirements for a PPL in 2 months for less than 10k in Hampshire! Especially if you have the time and dedication to self study intensely. Also, you wouldn't have to convert your FAA to EASA on return from the states'.

I tried that (in Hampshire) and it didn't work. And I wasn't a newby; I was renewing a long expired PPL. I bitterly regretted not going off to the States. I was newly retired, so plenty of time, and I had plenty of money in the bank. In the end it took the best part of a year to get my licence back and 70 flying hours.

If you do your course at a UK flying club you can't have the continuity of training that you can get state-side, partly because you always have to compete with other club members for the same instructor and partly because of bl***y UK weather. In the UK you need to book twice the number of lessons you want because half of them will be cancelled because of bad weather.

Before EASA it was not necessary to change your FAA licence to a JAA licence you could fly perfectly legally on your FAA licence in the UK. I'm not sure what the position is now.

Good luck,

BroomstickPilot is offline  
Old 16th Jul 2014, 11:21
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Location: lancs.UK
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Why would you bother?...As you already feel the cost of a PPL is "a bit steep" I guess you'r in for a major let-down when you see the true cost of flying........SO,

Consider buying and training on your own "Permit" aircraft (googoo LAA )
Consider a Microlight......Now, many consider that a microlight is a glorified hang-glider with a pod and engine nailed on....NOT SO A 3-axis Microlight can be identical to a "normal" aeroplane, except that it meets certain criteria such as low stall-speed, limited weight,low wing-loading....in other words, a bit like learningto ride a Moped, where a restrictor is fitted by the manufacturer/importer to "strangle" the engine....many a knowing teenager has whizzed it out and gained an extra 10 mph or so totally illegal, as it's now a motorcycle and the insurance is invalid!......Anyway! a much cheaper way to get into aviation and I believe some hours count if you want to convert to a "Group A" "proper aeroplane " licence......the other issue is with all the EASA turmoil, there's huge confusion about exams, ratings, qualifying criteria etc. yes, even among the professionals. it may be prudent to go Microlight (BMAA) until the dust settles.....then, LAA Permit is a low-cost route to enjoyment without impoverishment.
cockney steve is offline  
Old 16th Jul 2014, 23:00
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Hi, I did mine at OBA, not sure if they are still around, Ive herd good things about EFT and Epic for EASA.
B200Driver is offline  
Old 20th Jul 2014, 00:26
  #8 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Thanks all for the helpful advice. I'll do some more reading on past threads as recommended and research some of the schools you mention. I'm also dropping into my local flying school at Rochester just to compare prices there etc.

Thanks again

Ps not sure again if I'm actually replying correctly on this thread ( limited hope for me flying when mastering the web forum is a challenge eh )

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Old 22nd Jul 2014, 15:05
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Check how they charge, if they charge by the Hobbs, whenever the battery is switched on - you're paying, couple that with a large airport and 44 of your 45 hours will be on the ground! Also that can rush you on the ground - not good.
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Old 23rd Jul 2014, 00:02
  #10 (permalink)  
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Thanks Tomboo, I'm now reverting to potentially doing my PPL in the Uk and the school I'm planning on going with charge brakes off to breaks on which I'm guessing is better? Didn't even know about Hobbs so thanks for pointing it out as I'll double check. Steep learning curve ahead for me...
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Old 23rd Jul 2014, 23:23
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Join Date: Jul 2014
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Hi, I've been looking at doing my PPL with EFT too. I'm hoping if I can make a decision quickly enough I can start mid-August.

I had the chance to speak to someone who studied there in April. His experience was mixed.
On the positive side, he felt that the instructors were good pilots (though not necessarily all great instructors) and that the school has quite a militaristic way of drumming in the lessons. He felt that he'd come away with good skills and very few bad habits.

That said, he didn't leave with his licence as he ran out of time, and of the group of students that started at the same time as him, the first one to complete took around 8 weeks. He planned to do 60 hours of lessons in 4 weeks but only managed 35 hours in 5 weeks. This appears to be due to a mixture of technical issues with the planes, and one of the runways being out of use at that time.
The other problems he mentioned were to do with bad organisation and communication - most of the instances he cited could have been resolved more easily had EFT been more forthcoming with information. Finally, he thought the on-site accommodation was pretty bad and, although the Vero Beach houses were a lot better, there is a long journey via intermittent shuttle bus service from the houses to the airfield.

Although the negatives are quite offputting, I'm not sure if other schools would be better. Also, I've not found anywhere else that offers the EASA PPL licence in a consolidated course.

Let me know what decision you make, and good luck doing so!
londonskeptic is offline  
Old 24th Jul 2014, 02:47
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I learnt at EFT here's my 2p:

- Accommodation was student stylee - on suite shower - had to buy own pillows and sheets (otherwise it's a hotel and subject to more rules). It was fine and I like nice hotels.

- Use of car.

- Picked up from the airport by instructor.

- Trevor, the boss, nice guy, I think he has had a hard time in the past with various partners etc....

- EFT is a small outfit that uses planes belonging to the main training school.

- Go out of season (I went in January and there was only two of us for the first two weeks, meaning rubbish old broken planes were not a problem as there were plenty)

- Do exams beforehand and buy all your flying crap before you get there - there was one pilot shop who could charge whatever they wanted.

- Fort Pierce is a sh7thole of the highest order so no distractions.

- You don't pay up front, you visit a miserable old bloke the rinses your credit card in exchange for flying credit.

- I left with my PPL for a very reasonable amount.
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Old 25th Jul 2014, 11:23
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Join Date: Jul 2014
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What made you look at Florida (rather than anywhere else in the US)?
As well as EFT, I'm also looking at American Aviation Academy in San Diego. It looks like they offer a similar course to EFT for a similar price (possibly slightly cheaper). It also appears that the accommodation/airfield is closer to some life than EFT in Fort Pierce.
londonskeptic is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2014, 18:48
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I guess I focused on Florida through recommendation from people who suggested going there so prob should have looked more widely. My work won't allow me to take 4 weeks off so that has put a big spanner in the works of my intensive training plans anyway. Did my first proper lesson locally today though...lots of fun but feel like I'm never going to remember it all and can't imagine a day when I'm going to be able to hop in a plane and fly it solo. Good luck with the search. A.
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Old 28th Jul 2014, 17:31
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I did my PPL in Florida on a now defunct school, and have used my license since that all around Europe and the US. Few points:

The visa is a non issue, couple of forms, a phone call and 3-4 hours at the embassy. Remember to budget for this though.

It IS possible to get your PPL in 3 weeks, but you will not enjoy any of that time. It is very stressful. 5 weeks, weather permitting, is a realistic schedule when you plan to fly every day. Even that is tight.

Fort Pierce is a nice airport.

After you receive your EASA license, you do not have to convert anything to fly in the UK. It is the same license you would get in Europe.
BUT, the fact that you have it doesn't mean you are proficient on using it. UK has many many idiosyncrasies about its airspace and ATC. After learning the radio in the US, and opening your mouth in the UK with that knowledge, you're in for a real surprise with all the odd "basic service" and "pass your message" and freecalls. Expect an hour or two with an instructor and maybe 5 hours of self-study to get used to the UK habits. Also, you probably won't see a grass strip during your time there, whereas they seem to be very popular in the UK. Thats easy though.

I wouldn't go to Florida for the cost. It will be cheaper, but not decisively so. I would go there for the experience. Learning to fly in a busy airport in the US makes you VERY proficient on the radio, and you won't have the fear many UK pilots I know have, of flying to controlled airfields, even abroad.
Also, weather is more predictable there. Give or take the odd hurricane, summer months are: sunny morning, CB's start building up afternoon, then thunderstorms for a few hours, and a nice clear evening. As long as you are at the airport every morning at 0630, ready to fly at 0700, and if needed ready to fly again at 1700, and assuming no tech cancellations and instructor availability ok, you'll be done in 3 weeks.
dera is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2014, 17:03
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 102
PPL in Florida

For what it's worth, here is my 2p:

After a lifetime of wanting to learn to fly, I decided three years ago at the age of Sixty that if I didn't do it soon, I would never do it. However, at that age, I had lots of other interests which precluded me spending many weekends at local Schools trying to learn (not to mention the weather!). I therefore decided to go for the quick fix, and headed off to Florida.

I did achieve the PPL in four weeks, and anyone interested can read my day to day experiences on the Florida Blog I created at the time.

Three years on, I look back at the experience as one of the most enjoyable adventures of my life. Like most of life, it is what you make it, and the camaraderie, student style living, and different culture of living and working outside of my comfort zone was fantastic.

I had a couple of lessons before I went, and several on my return (to get used to UK radio, grass strip landing etc.), and built on the basics I learnt getting the PPL. It truly is a License to learn. I now own a share in an aircraft, and fly as often as time and funds allow.

If you do go for the condensed option, my advice would be to study for the exams, and get in as many as possible, before you go. It makes it much less stressful when you are there, and allows you to concentrate on the flying.

It's not a holiday, but it is an experience.
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 18:03
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I'm london based and think ive made a decision from what i've read to head to Florida to do an intensive 3 week course
Have had a brief flick over the answers thus far and don't think anyone has yet suggested to you that ....

(a) Learning to fly is not really a good thing to do intensively ... you want to learn and practice properly and not rush. You'll only get stressed out and tired by setting yourself unnecessary deadlines, potentially alienating yourself from flying ever again !

(b) Learning in the USA (or similar places, e.g. Australia) is incredibly stupid if you then plan to come back and fly in Europe for the rest of your life (except the odd holiday abroad). Why ? 1/ The lovely European weather is part of the PPL learning experience 2/ The incredibly busy airspace, especially in the UK ....

Learning to fly intensively in the USA somewhere where the sun is guaranteed to shine and there's not much traffic around won't teach you either of those ! Hence its incredibly stupid because the only person you're fooling about the reduced training costs is yourself.... the real life experience of training out of an airfield located in the very busy airspace near London on typical overcast low-cloud days and having to regularly make last-minute calls on the weather conditions is all part of the training experience and very important for your future in flying ! (i.e. real life interpretation of TAF and METAR, somewhere where interpreting NOTAMs properly is important, as well as being taught the art of map reading navigation in busy airspace).

All you'll probably become after three weeks in the US is a child of the magenta line !
mixture is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2014, 20:44
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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mixture, based on your comments I can only assume you have zero experience about flying in the US.

I can only laugh at your "incredibly busy airspace, especially in the UK" comments which shows you probably haven't been in a light aircraft in the USA.

Please, keep your opinions to yourself if you have no idea what you are talking about.
dera is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2014, 22:46
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Depends where you go.

I've flown around some lovely quiet areas of Arizona and California, or for that matter most of Florida, that make Popham on a Saturday look incredibly busy.

I've never, in the UK, seen anything as scarily busy as Long Beach CA on an average day. (Okay, maybe the PFA/LAA rally, but even that doesn't involve full ATC and slotting in with arriving airliners.)

But RT is different, how you obtain data about safety of a flight is different, and the places in the USA with large flight training industries tend to have much better - and certainly different - flying weather to most of Europe.

There is sense in learning in Europe. On the other hand, learning somewhere like CA or AZ, then coming back with an expected budget of half a dozen hours each groundschool and flying with a local instructor over here will tick the same boxes, but probably be much faster and a little cheaper.

I've never noticed any particularly different "magenta line" tendency in the USA compared to Europe - the culture is pretty similar in that regard.

Genghis the Engineer is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2014, 07:50
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I can only laugh at your "incredibly busy airspace, especially in the UK" comments which shows you probably haven't been in a light aircraft in the USA.
Indeed I haven't been in one in the US .... but quite frankly, look at the geographic size of the US compared to the UK. I bet that except for small patches around airfields you'll never find the same density of airspace in the US as you do in, say, the South East of the UK where you've got all sorts of interesting navigation routes to play with. In the vast expanses of the US there's room for everyone, and that's why these intensive places can offer the courses they can ... because they can keep students away from the few busy areas. The US is more GA friendly too. Its an altogether different environment.

Combine the dense UK airspace with the lovely UK weather and you've got a much more solid learning experience then going to fly in some sun-soaked blue sky place.

I have flown with people after they've come back having learnt to fly in the US .... some are ok, but others, mostly the ones who've done the intensive nonsense are just plain scary and struggle to cope !

I've never, in the UK, seen anything as scarily busy as Long Beach CA on an average day.
I've seen a few....one fun example being Wycombe on a busy day.... simultaneous glider and power opposing circuits with a few egg-beaters thrown in for fun (plus their noise abatement joys). Plenty of busy airspace examples around that area too.

Last edited by mixture; 1st Aug 2014 at 08:00.
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