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UK Flying Schools for PPL

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UK Flying Schools for PPL

Old 5th Jun 2017, 13:25
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UK Flying Schools for PPL

I am looking to change my current school to finish the last leg of my PPL and am looking for recomendations? I know this question has been asked here several times but most answers are at least 4-5 years old.
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Old 5th Jun 2017, 19:00
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Bit open ended... where in the country are you?
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Old 5th Jun 2017, 21:02
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Hi Sam, I see you are in London, if you are North London, I suggest Elstree Aerodrome, there are several flying schools to choose from and it's a great Airfield.

The postcode is WD6 3AW
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Old 6th Jun 2017, 09:41
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Locations for flying schools in the UK | Pilot Magazine
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Old 6th Jun 2017, 09:58
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Well that used to be a comprehensive guide but they've completely missed out Hertfordshire and some schools are listed in the wrong counties.


Send me a PM Sam and I'll try to help. (I'll be impartial if I include our Club)
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Old 6th Jun 2017, 11:03
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If you're in London, I second Elstree or Biggin Hill. If you're just citing London because it's relatively close, you may need to say exactly where you are. For example, North Essex, I'd recommend Earls Colne
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Old 6th Jun 2017, 12:24
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Andrewsfield Aviation at Andrewsfield in Essex, is well worth a look at, I fly a group aircraft from the field, they have a bunch of very experienced instructors and seem to turn out solidly trained PPLs.
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Old 6th Jun 2017, 16:34
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I am looking to change my current school to finish the last leg of my PPL and am looking for recomendations?
By and large you will get sincere open advice here, so I'm going to go ahead and ask the obvious question that others haven't. There may be a simple answer, or there may not.

Why would change schools right towards the end of your PPL? Whatever the reason, this is often sub-optimal and expensive.
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Old 6th Jun 2017, 17:05
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I would second the advice from TOFO.
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Old 7th Jun 2017, 01:01
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I disagree.

Changing schools may be the best thing you can do! Getting experience from elsewhere, new aerodromes, new planes, new instructors, new procedures are all good things. All experiences are good to have under your belt so that you will be a better, safer pilot.

I find that schools are only as good as the particular instructor you've secured a good relationship with. And that instructor is often (but not always) as good as the management supporting them. Most schools / clubs have both some (but few) fantastic instructors and some relatively mediocre (or sometimes bad) instructors.

My recommendation, is the same as always. Find the places closest to you - but a trial flight with each and get a vibe for the instructor and the place. It might be a little more costly, but at least you won't settle for second (or worse) best!

Hope this helps!
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Old 7th Jun 2017, 08:08
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I've had three instructors, my current one seems good. My first one I got on with really well (Hero worship maybe), but I had a chap for one lesson, and although he was really nice and we got on, his instruction style didn't suit me, and I produced the three worst landings I have EVER done. Even my first one was smoother.

I would suggest the instructor is one of the most important elements of the learning process. All good experience though.
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Old 8th Jun 2017, 18:53
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Thanks guys for your comments. I have had countless issues with my current school. They are strategically stalling after every stage I have made progress. The result is that I am spending far too many hours getting this done.

At times its instructor availability, or instructor being qualified enough to sign off solos etc to an extent that an instructor doesn't want to fly with me. For instance, recently issue came up when on a dual circuit check before going solo, one of the instructors was inputting rudder on final, I asked him if he is inputting rudder, he said yes, I said would you please tell me as I don't know and might be putting to much input or countering what he is doing, this was on final so scary stuff to be doing this, if there is a concern they should ask for controls and take it over. There was nothing said, the landing was perfect and I was allowed to go solo.

Next day I flew with another instructor and then went and did another solo. On the 3rd day, the first instructor had refused to fly sighting concerns of flight safety! and that I had argued with him. Which was not the case at all!

To many such issues to list here. The result was that after 4 flights in a short span building currency, I had no bookings or an instructor to fly with. the result is that when I now go back they will ask to do yet another catch up hence adding hours, I'll progress to the next stage and I expect another major hurdle and further delays and this will continue.

For example, at times I had booked far in advance just to get a call from them that they had to cancel the booking for this or that reason. its same issue with availability, not being able to fly for a while before things become available, not to mention the weather if they do become available. They even have refused to show me instructor notes, how am I suppose to improve if I don't know what the notes are for each flight.

Long and short of all this saga is that right now I think they just are going to stretch this before I can do that cross country/skills test. My personal preference is to continue and finish this at this school but I bet before my next booking, there will be yet another issue and further stalling. So I thought to check here to see what you guys think? I have even considered reporting this to CAA, has that ever happened, do they do anything?
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Old 9th Jun 2017, 11:23
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Sam,

Bad management generally sorts itself out over time. Whether that's by a change of management as the owner realises the mistakes, or because they finally go bankrupt because the customers finally decide they've had enough! I don't think the CAA is particularly interested in such cases.

Some issues such as maintenance, number of hours the aeroplane has flown, weather etc... is quite common, some schools manage it better than others. But especially in the U.K. This is particularly hard to judge (due to weather). Instructors however seem a little weird... but that could well be just your particular school / club.

There are so many schools and clubs, especially around London. They are not all the same price, and you will need to look into each individually. I recommend a trial flight with each before signing up, and making sure that instructors and management seem nice, and of sound mind. They often will state a "plan of action" which most likely will waste at least 2 hours, but at least you will be in a new environment!

Where are you exactly? That may help us recommend places.
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Old 9th Jun 2017, 22:15
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Instructors however seem a little weird... but that could well be just your particular school / club.
There is another explanation, but lets' not get into that.

Op, Change schools if you must, but understand this will cost you more money (absolutely fine if you have it.)

But also be honest with yourself...if these "issues" appear at your new school, it maybe that you are part of the problem.

I'm not insinuating anything...just giving sincere advice.
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Old 9th Jun 2017, 23:20
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Originally Posted by The Old Fat One View Post
There is another explanation, but lets' not get into that.

Op, Change schools if you must, but understand this will cost you more money (absolutely fine if you have it.)

But also be honest with yourself...if these "issues" appear at your new school, it maybe that you are part of the problem.

I'm not insinuating anything...just giving sincere advice.
I did wonder if it was something I had done wrong or could have done better, it rattled through my head for days. The particular instructor allowed me to go solo nav after the said flight, another 2nd instructor the following day did a local flight and allowed me to go solo. The 1st instructor came up with this issue after 3 days. If he had issues he should have raised them right there and then, not 3 days after. And if there was a security concern, why allow me to go solo? Does it add up? What does bother me though is that on final, if I had not asked him and had put in the counter input it could have resulted in unstable flight/plane and a disaster? The other thing here is that if there was a concern, he should have taken control immediately without any hesitation which he didn't do at all.
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Old 9th Jun 2017, 23:46
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I think this situation also presents a clear conflict of interest. For schools to be profitable they need to generate enough revenue and that come in from flying hours. And for that, they need to make sure there are enough students flying and keeping the wheel churning. Can I fly the plane, yes, previous instructors have commented on my handling, landings before so there is a track record. Recently I flew with an examiner as well who had no issues with my skills as a student in terms of handling the aircraft be it flying around or landing. What I am seeing here is that there is a systematic approach of extracting every ounce they can; be it delays, issues as described above thrown in, churn of instructors, availability etc. what bothers me is that I read really good reviews on this school before I started with them, even here on PPRuNe but most of them are at least 7-9 years old. Since my time there as a student, almost all staff have come and gone. there is a high churn, the instructors left are probably the ones who can't get a job, the once who were any good, did and left ages ago.

Anyways focusing on the actual practicality of things. I do understand there is going to be a cost to change school at this late stage. what do you guys think those would be?
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Old 20th Jul 2017, 19:49
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Originally Posted by SamBagnil View Post
I think this situation also presents a clear conflict of interest. For schools to be profitable they need to generate enough revenue and that come in from flying hours.....
Would you like to share which airfield?
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