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Starting Out - Advice

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Starting Out - Advice

Old 19th Apr 2017, 14:30
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Join Date: Apr 2017
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Starting Out - Advice

Hello everyone,

First post, go easy

Since early teens I've wanted to learn to fly, always gazed up at the skies and wished I was up there! Fast forward 10-15 years (mid-20s) and I now have the money to learn.

I had a trial lesson a few years back, I was hugely looking forward to it but quite nervous as it was a very windy day and I'm not a great flyer anyway.. unfortunately it was very turbulent and I came away feeling slightly less enthusiastic to pursue my dream, but far from about to give up. Last weekend, I had a second trial lesson (both at EGBO - halfpenny green). Once again it was fairly windy and turbulent but I was much more relaxed this time and greatly enjoyed it.

I think I have caught 'the flying bug'. I'm based down in London, however finishing up with my full time job here shortly, so I thinking about doing some intensive training late Summer back at EGBO (cheaper, seems a good airfield to learn at, instructors good). I have a couple of questions for you all:

(1) I have Pooley's Air Law on order, plan to study this asap and aim to sit it as soon as I can. Would people advise trying to get most of the theory out the way with first and then focus on flying after? Could I plausibly get through all the theory without practical flying experience or would some modules require practical experience?

(2) Looking to get a class 2 medical done around Birmingham/West Mids area as it looks half the price of London! Can anyone recommend any places?

(3) I've now had a lesson with both (Andy? I think..) at The Flying School Limited & last weekend with Bob Kirk at Wolverhampton Flight Training. Both seemed good. Can anyone recommend either of these schools?


Any other general advice/stuff I should be aware of before ploughing lots of time & money into this exciting journey?!

Thanks!
ac_ppl is offline  
Old 19th Apr 2017, 15:35
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Sounds like good advice! Do I need to purchase/take anything for the medical?

Can anyone recommend a cheap place to get it done near London (I have a car so can travel)?
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 15:38
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Just one bit of advice really, as others here will give you chapter & verse on all the pitfalls, highs/lows to expect.

Get the medical before you spend any more cash, and if you get Class II NEVER pay up front for any flying no matter how persuasive they seem.

PS make that two bits....
THIS.... This, is good advice.

Do read the Air Law book well, and absorb the information as it's the one exam to do before you go solo. Everyone does it in a different order. I practically did all my flying, then sat a week's intensive training, and within 2 weeks, had done my final skills test. If I were to do it again, I would, personally, do some reading for everything until I reach solo standard. At that point, I'd sit all the tests in a very short time period (maybe do an intensive course to brush up on what you've learned).

Once you've done that, go solo and do all the rest of the flying.

Only problem with this is that the exam passes only last for 18 months (I believe), so if for whatever reason you don't take your skills test within those 18 months, you've wasted a lot of time and money doing them. However, if you're doing a month's intensive course, this certainly shouldn't be a problem.

You could do all the theory before flying, but a bit of flying experience certainly helps with some of the topics.

Can't recommend any schools up there unfortunately, but in terms of choosing a school, read reviews, look at the aircraft and decide which one you prefer.
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 15:52
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My advice would be to enjoy the process of learning to fly, do not rush it and let things consolidate. Read anything and everything you can. The licence will come along when you are ready, do not just aim to get a licence, aim to be the best pilot you can be.
Unfortunately history shows that many people once they gain a licence let it lapse fairly soon afterwards, so just take your time and have fun.
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 16:45
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One bit of advise, but not really on what you have asked...

Do not pay over the odds for additional ground school training for the exams. I am not a natural learner from text books but I passed all the exams just by reading the books a few chapters at a time in the evenings and practising the past papers. There is no need to pay for courses or ground school. The exams and the information you need to retain are really are not that hard.

If you have been out of school for a while and investing the money on a license then I understand the feeling that you may want to take the extra tuition just be sure, but honestly you will waste your money.

In total you need about 2 hours ground school max to learn the nav stuff/filling out a plog.

I know everyone is different but honestly I passed all exams first time just by reading and doing past exams. I passed all the exams in the beginning and I'm not sure that was the right thing to do - For example learning how to use the VOR before going solo so some of the theory only really started making sense when we covered it in the practical lessons.
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 16:48
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Originally Posted by Brad2523 View Post
One bit of advise, but not really on what you have asked...

Do not pay over the odds for additional ground school training for the exams. I am not a natural learner from text books but I passed all the exams just by reading the books a few chapters at a time in the evenings and practising the past papers. There is no need to pay for courses or ground school. The exams and the information you need to retain are really are not that hard.

If you have been out of school for a while and investing the money on a license then I understand the feeling that you may want to take the extra tuition just be sure, but honestly you will waste your money.

In total you need about 2 hours ground school max to learn the nav stuff/filling out a plog.

I know everyone is different but honestly I passed all exams first time just by reading and doing past exams. I passed all the exams in the beginning and I'm not sure that was the right thing to do - For example learning how to use the VOR before going solo so some of the theory only really started making sense when we covered it in the practical lessons.
Thanks. Yes, not planning to take any ground school - books & past papers should be enough I'm hoping!
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 19:21
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Hi... one thing with the Medical will be the eye-sight test. If you fail to read the eye-chart the Doctor will ask you to have your eyes tested at an opticians and to buy corrective glasses... Then come back at a later date to do that test again.


Maybe a free eye-test at Tescos, or other venue could save you having to make a return visit to the A.M.E.
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 20:28
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There are some of the exam subjects that don't make anything like as much sense until you've done a reasonable amount of flying, such as navigation. Air Law is the place to start, as most of what you have to learn has no relation to reality at all.


Oh, and in case nobody else mentions this: DO NOT PAY UP FRONT.


(Several of us say this to every newcomer. Some of whom ignore us and then lose all their money.)
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 21:43
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I have a cheapish AME in Wantage, Oxon - if that's interesting PM me
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 22:35
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I would like to qualify the DO NOT PAY UP FRONT part. While this is definitely sound advice, what is also sound is having enough money available so you can fly as and when you can. A lot of the basic skills in flying can only be acquired through repetition so the more regular your lessons (particularly early on in your training) the quicker you'll pick things up which will save you money on having to do remedial flying if you stop/start a lot due to cashflow.
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 05:23
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Yeah, just to add an alternative to the 'don't pay upfront' crowd... I paid 4.5k upfront to an established and long running school at a Class D airport. That banked me around 35 hours of C152 time. It was great knowing that if the weather was good and the instructor was available I could walk the 400metres from work to the school and go flying, or when I was doing solo circuits I could pop out during my lunch break and get some time in.
Meant I didn't have to worry about funding anything for a huge portion of my training (in fact, I only needed to find 5 hours extra at the end).

I know why people say 'don't pay upfront' (the school may close unexpectedly / you may not actually get on with the school's training methods etc.) but for me it was key to me getting my licence.
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 07:04
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Seconding (even thirding) two things from previous:

There are advantages to getting a discount for upfront payment - but there's a risk involved. My suspicion is that the risk is much smaller than people think - people only make a noise when it goes wrong, never when (in the vast majority of cases) it goes right.

Be careful of investing heavily in getting a licence if you're not going to be able to keep flying afterwards. Either because it's too expensive, or because you only have enough to fly the minimum hours and so it becomes an obligation to fly, rather than a pleasure.

My tuppence. Safe flights, Sam.
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 09:21
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Hi ac ppl. The book 'Handling Light Aircraft' by Julien Evans might be useful to you. Some of the posters here have been flying for many decades. We never cease to get a thrill from piloting aircraft and looking down at the world passing by and we know we're enjoying a privilege denied to mere groundlings. Good luck with the course!
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 09:48
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Originally Posted by Sam Rutherford View Post
There are advantages to getting a discount for upfront payment - but there's a risk involved.
Too right - just think about it: if the school is wanting to borrow money from you, and is offering what amounts to an over-the-odds interest rate, this can only be because they have already tried to borrow money from the bank at normal rates and been turned down. You're better at risk assessment than the banks, are you?
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 10:01
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this can only be because they have already tried to borrow money from the bank at normal rates and been turned down. You're better at risk assessment than the banks, are you?
I'm a little confused about this. So, companies like OAA and CTC, who ask for lump sums up front throughout the course of the training... Have they tried to get a loan and failed? I know they're a bit different to some smaller schools, but still
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 10:58
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Thanks for the great advice all

I don't think the flying school I am looking to practice with offers a pre-pay discount. It has also been long standing so fingers crossed no issues.

Found a very cheap AME for London - 80 class 2 initial in Ealing. Needless to say they're quite booked up! Going to get that done asap then I'll hopefully have the green light.
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 11:32
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Fair comment I suppose, but I guess that from a business perspective, it's a good idea as you then have some commitment from the student that they're not going to go elsewhere (though I'd never pay in full, and I'd never pay up front until I'd at least had a couple of flights to ensure I like the training environment)
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 11:33
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Ah, that'll be from someone who has never run a flight school! Neither have I, but I can imagine that cashflow is an expensive (loans from bank/overdrafts) nightmare. Nobody gets rich running a flight school!

Thus, getting cash up front allows cost savings (and stress).
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 11:58
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Of course it should be, but it never is. Same reason car dealerships will offer you a service plan on a car. It's cheaper than paying each time you come for a service, but the service has to be done at the dealer.
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 12:04
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I do think that PA28181 should try and see this from the school's (real-world) perspective. If nothing else, there are clearly reasons why all (?) schools offer price packages. So it clearly makes sense to them...
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