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Help, I would like to obtain a PPL licence

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Help, I would like to obtain a PPL licence

Old 10th Mar 2019, 22:15
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 4
Help, I would like to obtain a PPL licence


I will introduce myself shortly. I'am a 34y old Belgian guy with a mortgage on a house and a passion for aviation. I always dreamt of becoming a pilot as a career but due to lack of money and now my age, I think I can forget about flying as a job.
Yesterday I went to a local flying club to gather some info on a PPL course. Due to my length (6 foot 3) I only fit in a Cessna 172. The cost for such a licence (just the flying part with an instructor) would vary depending on the hours required.


45hrs => 6300 pounds
65hrs => 9000 pounds

That's money I have saved. But I know obtaining a PPL is one thing, the journey starts after getting the licence. Experience must be gained by flying. This is where I struggle. My financial situation would allow me to fly a maximum of 24 hours on a yearly basis.

* Would that be sufficient to safely fly such a plane or is this the "bear minimum".
* How many hours are you guys able to fly on a yearly basis as a reference
* Does it sound crazy/stupid to spend 9000 plus pounds on training for a PPL to "only fly" minimum 12 hours or maximum 24 hours.

Bring on your experience / food for thought.

Much appreciated.

Thomas84 is online now  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 00:05
  #2 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Down at the sharp pointy end, where all the weather is made.
Age: 70
Posts: 1,486
I didn't start my PPL course until I was 33 and had some money left to me. I think that £9,000 for a PPL in a C172 is pretty good value (in the UK, at least) and it's good to see that they've given you an idea of cost against 65 hours. Hot-shot teenagers might do it in the 45 hours but it took me 58. This included extra hours because the weather got in the way and I needed refresher training for my cross-country flight and skills test. When I got my licence, I opened a separate bank account and paid a regular sum into it each month, straight from my wages, enough to ensure I could do the minimum hours each year. I kept this going all through the years of having a mortgage and bringing up children. Along the way, I did the UK IMC rating, night rating and eventually the CPL exams and flight test (failed the first attempt!) By then I was in my mid-forties with a good career in aviation but not flying. When that finished, I did the instructor course (late 50s by now) and have been instructing for the past 12 years - hugely satisfying but no money, but nowadays I don't need so much.
Go for it! When I started I had no idea where it would take me, just that I had a passion to fly which is stronger now than it ever has been. After a day's instructing in the PA28, I sometimes take the C42 microlight for a 30 min local flight, just for the pleasure of it.

TheOddOne is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 00:11
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: FL, USA
Posts: 2,417
Itís an expensive hobby.
One of the reasons I chose it as a job.
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Old 11th Mar 2019, 10:21
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Down at the sharp pointy end, where all the weather is made.
Age: 70
Posts: 1,486
Cheaper than golf.
TheOddOne is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 10:54
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Hampshire
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If the opportunity exists, have you thought of trying gliding first ? You'll be familiarising yourself with the GA environment, making contacts with others who not only fly gliders but, also powered craft and acquiring the rather special skills that glider pilots possess. Plus, gliding won't put so much of a dent in your wallet !
Capt Kremmen is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 11:25
  #6 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 88
Gliding's good, I agree, but if you want power, you might be able to consider flying ULM. Height or weight might prove a restriction but I know some very tall microlight pilots in the UK. Check out Bulmf - Home They might be able to help - it's all flying.
MadamBreakneck is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 13:21
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: EBZH
Posts: 2,512
1) as a non-native speaker, do take care of your English. One day you are going to want an ELP rating, and you are not going to gain the elusive level six with phrases like "bear minimum" (bare minimum) or "dreamt" (dreamed). You really want to handle that funny language like a native!

2) ultralight is by far the most economic, especially if you enjoy tinkering on simple mechanics. But be aware you will never move up from the basic license - no night flying, no instrument flying.
Jan Olieslagers is online now  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 13:21
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: near an airplane
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It will always be an expensive hobby. Once you cross that threshold, it can be a lot of fun though!

Just a hint, but make sure that the prices quoted include everything. Generally, a school will quote you a price for the flying part while you will also need to obtain a medical, buy books, may have to take a theoretical course, RT license etcetera. In the Netherlands where I'm based, you need to factor in that every landing during training will set you back a couple of quid too. I usually reckon that you won't get much change back from 10.000 euros to obtain a PPL (based on the Dutch situation). If you manage to do it cheaper, then that's a bonus.

As for the yearly flying, it differs between people as to how much is necessary to stay current. The bare minimum is what's legally required: 12 hours in the 12 months before the expiry date of your rating. If you can manage 24 hours each year, I'd say you're well on the plus side there. On the other hand, I would suggest doing as many hours as you can afford within the first year after obtaining the license as that will help you with the transition to flying completely by yourself. Once you get to 100-150 hours experience* you should have most of the basics down to a point where flying will be as comfortable a routine as driving a car.

* That's just a guesstimate on my part. Opinions on this differ wildly.
Jhieminga is online now  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 14:10
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: FL, USA
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I also started flying Gliders as I initially didnít have the money for powered flight.
Once you get your PPL you may be able to get a (unpaid) position as tug pilot at your gliding club.
Or in any case make many helpful contacts.
B2N2 is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 18:00
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: UK
Posts: 153
12-24 hours a year is what a lot of people manage. Of course more is better but at that level you should be okay. Once you're qualified there are ways to get more time for your money - getting a share or sharing trips with other pilots.

Good luck.

PS Dreamt is as correct as dreamed and sometimes sounds better, well done for getting licence correct (as opposed to license).
MaxR is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 20:45
  #11 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 4
Thanks for your feedback. So your situation at the age of 33 looks alot like mine (for the flying part).I guess I would approach it the same way u used to do it back then. As you say, who knows where it will take me in the future. Thanks for sharing your experience/thoughts.

Capt Kremmen.
The 2 clubs around my corner just don't offer any gliding courses. The nearest club would be a 50 minute drive from where I live. I would still prefer a PPL licence as it would offer me more opportunities at a later stage in my humble opinion.

Jan Olieslagers,
1) Thanks for pointing out my mistakes. It might serve me well if one day I would need it for an ELP rating. I guess every day is a learning day. "Bear" minimum (bare minimum) point taken. Maybe I could teach you that "dreamt" is more common in Britain, while "dreamed" is more common in other English- speaking countries. License (American English), licence (British English).

2) Agree on the lapl license/licence ;-). For the reasons you mentioned earlier I would prefer a PPL rating.

Point taken on the expensive hobby part. I am aware there is more to it than just the flying and instructing part. Minimum hours, vs the hours I require, medical, theory books, examination,...

Thanks for sharing your view/experience on the flying part. Helpfull.

Thomas84 is online now  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 21:40
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Qwerty
Posts: 379
Due to my length (6 foot 3) I only fit in a Cessna 172.
A former colleague of mine is at least 6'6 and has many thousands of hours instructing in C152's.

I am 6'2 and had plenty of room when I was instructing in 152's.
Council Van is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 22:22
  #13 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Wild Weasel
Posts: 6
Thomas, if you have a passion for aviation, then you should definitely go for it! Some sound advice above already.

6 foot 3 is tall but not gigantic. You should fit most GA or LSA trainers. What was the local flying club operating besides 172's that you did not fit in?

At our field basic training is done in SportCruisers (LSA) and one of the instructors is at least your height. I am 6 ft 5 and have never had trouble in Cessnas, Pipers and the like.

If you're on a pretty tight budget, gliding might be a sound option to start. You'll spend a fraction of the cost of a PPL which will give you time to save up and you will learn the basic 'art' of flying the old fashioned way which will help to no end when you switch to the noisier kind of birds.

I don't know where you are based, but you are always welcome at Brasschaat (EBBT)! You can learn to fly on sportcruisers, ULM's or gliders (winch and tow), the surroundings are beautiful and the clubhouse has a selection of good beers on tap!
And because it is also the home of FAST Aero Engineering, there is usually some interesting warbird or vintage biplane around to add some colour to the GA scene.

Whatever you decide, good luck and enjoy it!

BDM is offline  
Old 11th Mar 2019, 23:21
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Moray,Scotland,U.K.
Posts: 1,438
If the ELP test is spoken English, they won't detect "bear" instead of "bare".
Maoraigh1 is offline  
Old 13th Mar 2019, 12:46
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Location: Belgium
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The club also operates 4 Cessna 152's. I took place in the 152, it was ok. I had the impression that the space between the yoke and my knees was rather tight. But I went out to have a look with one of the members, who is not an instructor. An instructor might tell me that it would be ok. My upper body anatomy is normal, my height is comming from the damn legs :-)

At the time of writing I am looking into gliding and the website of bzc.be. I might pay the club a visit. As it seems there is a big difference between both prisewise. That time could indeed be used to save up for a PPL course and flying experience (that is money allready saved actually) or rather to fly a maximum in the first year to increase my experience/confidence.

My location is no top secret. I live in Hombeek (Mechelen). I do have an airfield closer by (EBGB). They just don't have glider activities over here. So Brasschaat is single way 48 minutes or 50k and I don't own a company car :-)

Do you have PPL experience or an idea on the avarege hours flying, a PPL licence holder would fly?

Last edited by Thomas84; 13th Mar 2019 at 17:25.
Thomas84 is online now  
Old 13th Mar 2019, 21:57
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Wild Weasel
Posts: 6
☺ yeah, long legs can get in the way sometimes.
​​​​​I have no PPL experience, currently only the proud owner of an EASA SPL.
I had similar issues when starting my training, but it turned out to be a bit of a plus. While everyone was queuing to get a flight in the (for me rather cramped) K13, I was merrily flying mutliple flights in the L23.
Our club has now standardised on three Grob Twins as trainers and those will fit even extremely tall people very comfortably. (I fear the club website isn't terribly up to date right now)
Yes, your home does seem to be right in the middle of the 'gliderless' zone 😀. I'm guessing Geeraardsbergen, Diest, Tienen, Zoersel and Brasschaat are all a bit of a drive away. But then again it's Belgium, so not really that far. I'm sure many Brits drive way longer to their clubs.
As to the hours an average PPL would fly, I doubt that there is such a thing as an average PPL pilot. Time and financial constraints usually dictate the amount of hours people fly around here.
You should be sure that you can keep flying enough hours in the coming years to keep it safe at the very least.
If you have the time drop in for a chat. The younger PPL instructors at EBBT all have glider experience and are professional pilots. So they are well placed to give you a balanced view of your options.
And I'd be happy to take you up in a glider to give you an idea of what that is like if you haven't had the opportunity before.
Whatever you decide, be prepared to get addicted quickly! 😉
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Old 13th Mar 2019, 23:52
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Cambridge, England, EU
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Originally Posted by Thomas84 View Post
My financial situation would allow me to fly a maximum of 24 hours on a yearly basis.
Plenty of people do less than that.
Gertrude the Wombat is offline  
Old 14th Mar 2019, 06:36
  #18 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: 5Y
Posts: 417
Before proceeding, be aware. It does not matter how rich or poor you are, you will spend more than you can afford on flying.
double_barrel is online now  
Old 14th Mar 2019, 09:08
  #19 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
Posts: 25,557
Why not start with a LAPL, then upgrade to PPL when money / time permits?

LAPL can include a Night Rating and may be used on SEP Class aircraft up to 2000 kg MTOM with no more than 4 PoB. It can also include TMG privileges. It is valid in all EASA Member States. However, unlike the PPL, it cannot include any instrument flying privileges.
BEagle is offline  
Old 14th Mar 2019, 12:25
  #20 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: New Zealand
Age: 63
Posts: 73
I would urge you to consider saving some money by getting stick and rudder time in a glider and then adding to that in a 172 later. You might easily save 10 Hrs of your SEL time to PPL. Like you, I was too big for a smaller plane and ended up taking my PPL in a 172. Many years later, powered flying has become too expensive for me but I get just as much pleasure from soaring. While I miss my syndicate share, I'm finding the challenge of soaring a good replacement for my addiction.
my 2c
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