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PPL in the States

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PPL in the States

Old 1st Dec 2014, 10:55
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Clouds
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PPL in the States

Hi, apologies if this is in the wrong section.

My nephew (doctor by trade) is returning from Antartica after his 18 month stint and is mad keen to do a PPL. My instuctors rating has long expired and although I fly for an airline I have little knowledge about the private flying scene now.

He wishes to crack his PPL out in one go if possible, and since he is returning via the USA next summer, I thought that doing it there would be a good bet. He does not wish to change career, this is just for fun with a view to getting a share in something back in the UK.

Please could I have any recommendations of PPL flight schools in the States which are friendly, professional and have well maintained aircraft?

Many thanks
Nak Bin is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2014, 12:11
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Watching this thread as I'm considering going over to the States in Feb to do as much of PPL as possible, at a reputable school in location where weather is as good and stable as possible.
rogergps is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2014, 12:36
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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I cant give any recommendations and I learnt in the UK. But often this type of thread comes up and there in my opinion seem to be numerous points:

1: It is not often cheaper to go to US unless you can get accomodation cheaply

2: Theres lots of paperwork and hassle to do it

3: Why train in good stable weather and then come back to the UK where it wont be good and stable. The extra money used to join a school back here in the UK, do differences training to the UK CFI's acceptability, must negate any 'savings' had doing it away from home.

I've had a PPL here in the UK for 9 years, and also have a US / FAA 'piggy back' license too. The only reason I'd do it in the states would be 1: I had enough time and money and not have to worry about a 'career' back in the UK that had limited amount of time leave 2: I knew that my short term intentions would be buying a powerful machine and I was going to do a full FAA Instrument Rating.
piperarcher is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2014, 12:46
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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It's certainly not about saving money for me. I recognise it will probably end up being more. It's more about getting plenty of flying in, within a few weeks, not waiting around for the weather to be OK. I've looked at the admin side of things and realise there is a lot to do, but I'm happy to deal with that.


In short, I'm in exactly the situation you describe in your point 1 at the end of your post. Really want to explore the best locations. Any help gratefully received
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Old 1st Dec 2014, 13:42
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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piperarcher's point nr. 1 is valid, you should not go to the US for a bargain PPL. It costs atleast the same if not more than around Europe. It is a fantastic experience though.

Point 2, the paperwork and hassle, is not correct in my experience. The paperwork/visa is a non-issue. Anyone who can spare a day for the interview can get it done no problems whatsoever. Interview took me 2 hours of waiting and 30 seconds of interviewing. "Hi, you want to be a pilot then? You seem to have your paperwork in order and you don't have previous problems with the law, no problems, visa will be in the mail in a few days". People are afraid for it for no reason.

Point 3, Florida weather is far from stable, I've learnt alot more about go/no-go decisions in the US than I have in Europe. Weather is different, but your license is valid worldwide, doesn't really matter where you learn that stuff, unless you only plan to fly locally. It's like saying you shouldn't train in Aberdeen because you live in Cornwall because the weather is different.

A big thing about the US schools you should remember is, that most places bill you by the Hobbs, not tacho/block time. This means, that you get much less actual air time. Not a problem if you just want to knock through it quickly, and have the basic aptitude for flying. For some people it means you need 60+ hours of Hobbs-time before you learn enough to take the checkride. For anyone with that abstract "basic aptitude", doing it in 2-3 weeks and 40 hours is a walk in the park.
dera is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2014, 13:46
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Join Date: Jan 2014
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Hi.

Please ignore the naysayers.

THE USA is a really big place. IT would be easier to ask by which city your nephew is coming. Does he have any friends to stay with, or a city/area/state he would like to see?

There are many fine places to learn to fly. But IF I told you which school to use in San Francisco and he was coming in to New York, it would be a wasted effort.

Oddly enough, some coastal cities in California are often fogged in during the summer (eg: Santa Barbara), while others are clear.

There are clever ways of reducing cost of a hotel by going to the less famous cities.

In his time off in the antarctic, he should be trying to do his written exam prep so that he is ahead of the game when he comes to the United States. There may even be a way for him to take the written exam and be way ahead even before he starts back.

I would also encourage him to read: STICK AND RUDDER by langweische.
glendalegoon is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2014, 18:49
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Join Date: Nov 2014
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can someone please explain what's the benefit in rushing through the PPL and get it done in mere few weeks if you don't plan to go CPL? When you will have your ppl, you're not going to fly every day anyway, so why not enjoy the process of learning in the same pace as you will most likely end up flying - e.g. an odd weekend here and there weather depending?
Martin_123 is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2014, 18:54
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Thank you, good to hear both sides of the argument. I think the primary reason for considering the States is not cost but the (hopefully) more reliable weather and the GA friendly environment. I appreciate that he will have plenty to learn with the UK's congested airspace and claggy weather when he returns.

I will sound him out as to where In the USA he is passing through.
Nak Bin is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2014, 19:14
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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He wishes to crack his PPL out in one go if possible, and since he is returning via the USA next summer, I thought that doing it there would be a good bet. He does not wish to change career, this is just for fun with a view to getting a share in something back in the UK.
*Gotcha alert*

He might want to look at how he might convert the FAA PPL to a EASA PPL upon his return. With less than 100 hours total it's not as straight forward as you might think...

ifitaint...
ifitaintboeing is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2014, 05:11
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Flying a lesson every odd weekend and "enjoying" the process is the worst way to do your ppl. Thats why it takes 80 hours to learn, because you end up "enjoying" the same stuff over and over again.
dera is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2014, 10:37
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Hi Martin 123

I am not sure that it is rushing a PPL. It is getting some continuity. I learnt to fly at Clacton in Sept 1991 in a Supercub but also flew the C152 for the Nav part of the PPL. It took 3 weeks and 44 hours. We were lucky with the weather. If I had learnt on the odd weekend over say 18 months then it would have probably taken me 80 hours and I may have lost interest. Who knows?

Having said that I accept that people may not have the time off work to do that and that it would not suit everybody. Indeed if I had not been lucky with the weather then I may have only got 20 hours I 3 weeks.

ATB
Nak Bin is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2014, 13:05
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I learned at EFT in Florida. Great experience and got the PPL cracked out in under 21 days. I wanted to do it quickly and I saved over £2k in the process. Granted this was in 2009 though....

Your nephew has to do what is right for him and there is nothing wrong with doing the PPL in a short period of time. It's cheaper as you don't spend the first half of the lesson relearning most of your last lesson due to the weather being poor and causing delays and gaps in your schedule. My only bit of advice is, keep your flying regular and consistent when you return otherwise you will fly daily and then come back to a flight once a month like I did. Not a bad thing but you need to ensure that the license can be kept current taking into consideration fitting in flying with your daily work routine etc.

The weather argument is invalid. As a previous poster stated, I learned more about proper weather briefing over there than some of my flying friends learned over here. You need to bear in mind that storms can appear in no time in the states so you need to learn to recognise the signs of build up. I flew a little close to a storm and learned how severe the weather can be the hard way...!

Bad points about flying in the US (Ive mentioned them in past posts and been shot down for it) the R/T, in my experience, is not as professional over there in comparison to the UK/Europe. Away from the large airports (Orlando, Miami etc) there are very few areas of controlled airspace. Both are minor points as long as you come back and fully familiarise yourselves with your local airspace to avoid any potential infringements upon your return.

Re the FAA to EASA conversion, find an EASA registered school and you get a european license... problem solved.

Paperwork is a lengthy process but not difficult as long as you have nothing to hide....!
destinationsky is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2014, 20:38
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I have flown hundreds of GA hours all over Europe including the UK, hundreds of hours all over the USA (42 states and counting), and hundreds of hours in Africa (26 different countries there). I have come to the conclusion that, for basic "ease and joy of flying", the USA cannot be beaten (I am not from the USA, if that matters).

Go for it, do the PPL in the USA. Yeah, you have to pay a bit for accommodation but the cost of the actual flying is SO much lower that you can comfortably put in more hours, and not always be watching the hobbes etc. People are generally much friendlier and more open than in the UK too.

I can strongly recommend both Channel Islands Aviation (Camarillo, CA) and Cirrus Aviation (Sarasota, FL) if you want to do an FAA PPL. They can both accept foreign students.
Katamarino is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2014, 22:37
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can someone please explain what's the benefit in rushing through the PPL and get it done in mere few weeks if you don't plan to go CPL?
Hhmh. Impatience?

That was part of it for me. Your learning curve is also higher if you don't have lengthy breaks inbetween lessons, if you need a rational argument.

But apart from that: The 4 1/2 weeks I spent in Southern California training for my PPL were by far the coolest 4 1/2 consecutive weeks in my life - great fun (and hard work) and I don't want to miss it.

I'm sure everyone who chooses the slow path enjoys it very much, too.

For those interested in the PPL in the US, please DO have a look at this thread (pinned to the top of this forum): http://www.pprune.org/private-flying...-part-1-a.html

It contains a sheer wealth of information and was the single most televant source of guidance for me in the months before I went overseas.
Rhino25782 is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2014, 23:50
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If your friend is not a US citizen/legal alien not all flight schools in the US will accommodate you. My friend from Poland did a thorough research before coming to the US for PPL (and up to CFII) training. He selected US because for great GA tradition and great aviation infrastructure plus efficient training methods. He selected Hillsboro Aviation outside of Portland, Oregon, there was also another school that he was considering around Daytona Beach, Fl. He spent 2 years at this school and already has a right-seat job on a 737-800!! By the way Hillsboro Aviation is where Chinese send their pilots-to-be for training too. Weather is good at Hillsboro during summer but deteriorates in fall/winter. They routinely handle non-US students so they know about all the TRSA procedures to get you started quickly.

I personally fly out of JATO aviation in San Francisco Bay area (they operate from more than one airport). Great equipment (for example if you want to train on latest avionics) and top notch instructors but I am not sure they can accommodate a foreigner, an email would clear the matter, but this is not an "inexpensive" school because their airplanes are close to brand new. The weather is quite stable/dependable too.

Last edited by olasek; 3rd Dec 2014 at 00:08.
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Old 2nd Dec 2014, 23:55
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XLC
 
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Nak Bin,

like one of the other posters I also did get my licence at EFT in Florida. European licence. There are only a few such schools in the US, and as I am living in Asia this kind of route was perfect for me.

Doing it in 3-4 weeks is possible (I have done it, but only exams and flying). If however you really start from scratch I doubt that studying, learning to fly and passing the exams is possible in 21 days. Possible in 5-6 weeks I reckon, but you got to stay focused as in either case these are no holidays. But what a great time.
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Old 5th Dec 2014, 00:52
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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The 4 1/2 weeks I spent in Southern California training for my PPL were by far the coolest 4 1/2 consecutive weeks in my life - great fun (and hard work) and I don't want to miss it.
Couldn't agree more - the adventure of a lifetime. The school I visted is no longer operating, but if your Nephew wants a taste of what its like, I wrote a day by day blog for my friends and family whilst I was there, and he can read it at:


Florida Blog
BobD is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2014, 10:12
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I did one of my several licences in the USA back in 2001, using a place called Britannia Flight Training at Winter Haven in Florida - the school is long defunct (and rightly so the shockingly bad way they looked after their aeroplanes), but I have maintained an FAA 61.75 so fly in the USA about every other year and I don't think that the environment has changed much.

On which basis, a few thoughts:-


- Training in the USA is by and large very professional, and in the right parts of the USA, the weather fantastic for continuity of learning.

- It seems to be increasingly difficult to find any school anywhere in the USA using anything but a C172 for its mainstream training and rental.

- In my opinion, the handful of "sausage machine" schools specialising in training foreign students are not necessarily the best place. So long as the visa can be sorted out, stick to a school primarily training Americans. If it's been in business a while, it'll be good, otherwise market forces would have closed it down.

- Go for somewhere like CA, AZ.... with consistently good weather.

- Flying in the USA is not the same as in the UK. Weather, NOTAM access, met data, VFR RT are all significantly different over here. On that basis, budget maybe 6-8 hours and a day or two of groundschool on returning to get to both consolidate learning and learn how things are done here.

- Nothing wrong in doing VFR recreational flying here on an FAA licence for a bit: at-least in the UK that is pretty pain free. But, after a couple of years and 100+ hours, it's worth converting to an EASA licence for local convenience.

- The overall process will save money, but mostly because continuity of training in the USA should get most people through a licence in near minimum hours, rather than because it's that much cheaper, particularly when a bit of extra "getting to know Europe" training is factored in.

G
Genghis the Engineer is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2014, 22:21
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- It seems to be increasingly difficult to find any school anywhere in the USA using anything but a C172 for its mainstream training and rental.
Probably true in less affluent areas of the US but definitely not true where I am (San Francisco Bay Area). You can be training on absolutely the latest equipment.
olasek is offline  
Old 6th Dec 2014, 01:20
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: USA
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It's a bit of a myth that "the weather is always good in the US".
It is a huge country with all kinds of weather. Most flight schools catering to foreigners are located in Florida simply because that is where the Europeans want to go....And then they complain about "nice weather".

Florida really sucks for basic flight training: It is all flat and at sea level, weather is too nice, practically zero magnetic variation.

If you want more challenges like crappy weather, there are many other schools in other states. Even southern California has fog and mountains.
keebird is offline  

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