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Advice for PPL pilot in the wilderness

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Advice for PPL pilot in the wilderness

Old 12th Mar 2020, 12:41
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Advice for PPL pilot in the wilderness

I achieved my PPL last summer and haven't flown since for several reasons. I have ambitions to become a commercial pilot but my dream job today if I had the right skills would be to fly 747s for Virgin Orbit or even the Virgin Galactic spaceplane. I want to fly in a future space industry if it develops but would be happy to fail in that and be an airline pilot instead.

I am in my mid 30s, have a good job that I can pay to get to frozen ATPL without debt through the modular route over the next 3-4 years. The problem is I did my PPL and exams in an accelarated (rushed, 9 weeks from zero to PPL) programme as I was at the time due to emigrate with my partner. That fell through. I didn't click with my instructor, at times icy in the cockpit. I don't think they were comfortable flying with students, disorganised in mixing me up with other students in where I was in my training including in the cockpit, when I tried to clarify things they took it as though I was questioning them. Call it a personality clash but I felt unsupported even when I raised the issue with one other instructor saying they were 'your issues'.

I stuck with them as it would have taken several weeks/months for another instructor to become available. I had already waited 2 months then 6 weeks and I had the hard deadline of having to emigrate at the time. This was obviously a mistake in hindsight. The speed was factor but I relied on the very reputable modular training school to advise on what was sensibly achievable and feel let down. I feel I have a bare bones, tick boxed PPL with no depth. I don't feel like a pilot.

I am now staring up at the edifice of my ATPL exams and feeling isolated with the joy I felt at the thought of flying gone.

What do I do now? I don't want to give up but I'm not enthused about moving forward either. Would I be better focussing on another area like aerobatics? Anybody with any similar experiences?

Any advice appreciated, thanks.
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 15:00
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Join Date: Mar 2014
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I stayed flying only in my time off.

I see no need to up my fun sparetime experience to a job, I enjoy it, but some of the things that comes with selecting it as a carreer are not for me.

So if you love both your current job and flying, then that would be my advice.... keep both, and be happy
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 16:59
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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A good pilot isn't necessary someone who has the best instruction but more likely had the better attitude and applies themselves during the instructing. Laziness and spoon feeding is unfortunately a trait of many of students these days and yes they will get a ppl but would I want to sit in a cockpit for 5 hours with them, probably not. If your one of them, stick to your day job. If not and you want to feel like a pilot then you need to read, understand and question why things work the way they work and also put it into practice. Sounds to me like you need to get up in a plane without an instructor holding your hands and challenge yourself outside your comfort box. If you find yourself interested, challenged and solving your own problems and then wanting to go back home to read about the weather you just flew in, or what carb ice is etc then you will make a fine pilot. If you burn holes in the sky 2 miles from your local airfield then your still in your comfort box and not really experiencing being a pilot. Go flying!
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Old 12th Mar 2020, 19:14
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Originally Posted by avtur007 View Post
If you burn holes in the sky 2 miles from your local airfield then your still in your comfort box and not really experiencing being a pilot. Go flying!
What complete and utter tosh.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 08:11
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Join Date: Mar 2014
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Originally Posted by MaxR View Post
What complete and utter tosh.
I does have some thruth to it.... he doesn't get to sit for 2+ hours doing nothing......
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 08:44
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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Yartemis

Which part of the country are you in?
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 11:45
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Join Date: Nov 2017
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Originally Posted by jmmoric View Post
I does have some thruth to it.... he doesn't get to sit for 2+ hours doing nothing......
I agree, better be flying and learning than nothing.
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Old 13th Mar 2020, 12:19
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Join Date: Nov 2017
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Go back to when you thought your dream would be piloting your own plane and tell me if quitting still an option on your mind.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 00:30
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Join Date: Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by MaxR View Post
What complete and utter tosh.
Ill rephrase, burning Holes in the sky 2 miles from your home base is like going to tesco in your ferrari, fun a couple of times but ultimately not really taking full advantage of a PPL. Grow a pair and actually do something that all your ppl training has taught you to do. Ie plan a route, interpret weather, fly away, learn, improve and relish the challenge. Then you might feel like a pilot. I agree some folks are happy to fly in sight of their known features or airfields and that's fine, but I suspect the OP isn't one of these but that's all he's been exposed too, hence his disappointment with flying. See it all the time with my students. Fear of using their gifts.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 00:35
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Join Date: May 2005
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I have ambitions to become a commercial pilot but my dream job today if I had the right skills would be to fly 747s for Virgin Orbit or even the Virgin Galactic spaceplane.
And you're giving up after the PPL because you didn't like your instructor???? Good luck with that!

You've got the PPL. If you want to go further, get on with it. Nobody will make it happen but you.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 06:03
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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It does sound rather like you've lost all enthusiasm for flying. Or maybe you like the IDEA of being a pilot but aren't actually interested in flying? Guess what? Everyone feels like they know nothing when they get their PPL. 9 weeks is not an accelerated PPL, 2-3 weeks is an accelerated PPL! How many times have you gone flying since you passed? For me it was every day.

It's quite an easy decision - If you like it, do it.

Last edited by rudestuff; 14th Mar 2020 at 09:16.
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Old 14th Mar 2020, 06:08
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Originally Posted by Yartemis View Post
I want to fly in a future space industry if it develops but would be happy to fail in that and be an airline pilot instead.
I'm failing quite nicely 👍
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 20:23
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Wow. First of all, thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. I got one email alert and thought I would wait for a few more replies but got no further alerts. And everything has kicked off since then. So apologizes for the delay in getting back to you. I will try to answer your questions and clarify anything>

Originally Posted by jmmoric View Post
So if you love both your current job and flying, then that would be my advice.... keep both, and be happy
I don't particular like my current job it just pays the bills. Flying was something I have always wanted to do but only feel I am in a position to pursue it now.

Originally Posted by avtur007 View Post
...Laziness and spoon feeding is unfortunately a trait of many of students these days and yes they will get a ppl but would I want to sit in a cockpit for 5 hours with them, probably not... Go flying!
Thanks for your point of view. It seems you are saying that the a lot of students these days don't put the effort in, in your experience. How do you define spoon feeding? Teaching and imparting the benefit of your experience is part of of the course, surely you don't expect just to recap the night reading the student has done alone? I think most people would find it bizarre if these words were uttered by a driving instructor or maybe a scuba instructor, to increase the potential danger of the activity.

It seems likely at £200+ an hour there is going to be very few frivolous 'have a go heroes' chancing their way through the PPL. At what stage do you stop and question 'this section isn't working, can I approach it from another place or build complimentary skills that would support coming back to this later?'. Or do you just repeat the same 3 phrases repeated over and over or put up with the f-word being used at you as friend of mine did training at the same time before he finally switched instructors (but he had 18 months training ahead of him as motivation). I definitely agree with you that the last sentence is the cure, it is how to do that safely from this point (after lock down et al).

Originally Posted by poporange View Post
Go back to when you thought your dream would be piloting your own plane and tell me if quitting still an option on your mind.
No, I don't think I could leave the idea to lie for long if I did.

Originally Posted by avtur007 View Post
Grow a pair and actually do something that all your ppl training has taught you to do. Ie plan a route, interpret weather, fly away, learn, improve and relish the challenge. Then you might feel like a pilot. I agree some folks are happy to fly in sight of their known features or airfields and that's fine, but I suspect the OP isn't one of these but that's all he's been exposed too, hence his disappointment with flying. See it all the time with my students. Fear of using their gifts.
If I had to guess, I would presume you are ex-military ! I recognize the temperament.

Originally Posted by Slopey View Post
And you're giving up after the PPL because you didn't like your instructor???? Good luck with that!

You've got the PPL. If you want to go further, get on with it. Nobody will make it happen but you.
Steady on, I'm not quitting yet. I am looking for inspiration, maybe guidance from those who have been in the same place as me. Any learner/teacher relationship has to have a good basis and a major recurring idea in the guidance before doing your PPL is about is visiting the airfields, meet the instructors, ask them questions. I did that. I found a great instructor who was relaxed, highly respected and I was very excited to start with. I booked the start date with them a few days before starting I found I had been reassigned to another unknown. Started out OK but ended badly, as described above. I know I am not the only person to have had an experience like this.

When you say good luck with that, are you saying that instructors you didn't get on with was the norm for you?

Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
It does sound rather like you've lost all enthusiasm for flying. Or maybe you like the IDEA of being a pilot but aren't actually interested in flying? Guess what? Everyone feels like they know nothing when they get their PPL. 9 weeks is not an accelerated PPL, 2-3 weeks is an accelerated PPL! How many times have you gone flying since you passed? For me it was every day.

It's quite an easy decision - If you like it, do it.
I was very enthusiastic about flying up until about hour 23 and I don't feel my enthusiasm was lost. More than it was slowly ground out of me, I left each day glad I had got the hours and completed the tasks but relieved it was over for the day. I suspect my instructor may have been going through something, he was often leaving quickly to visit his mother. If so, this is an issue that should have been managed rather than a burden to be borne by both of us. This is the 21st century.
I was a trained skydiver as a younger man, to pass the time at uni and fail to impress girls. It was a similar feeling when I got my CAT A licence but you still had the community around you to guide you through the next potentially dangerous few steps of your journey increasingly outside your comfort zone until, 10-15 jumps later, you are starting to assist helping others come through. It is safe and it works. My PPL feels like this but without the community. If I went back to my training airfield now, obviously none of the instructors are available and most of the guys I knew would already be moved on. It is just a production line, it must be an issue for a lot of airfields.

Is it possible to do all the revision, exams, flight manual revision and the flying in 2-3 weeks? If so then I will review my outlook. I struggled at times to complete in 9 weeks, the commute was 80min each way which was also a factor (my closest airfield with the company closed down). I haven't flown since, and won't know until lock down is eased of course, allowing the gremlins out to play on what you think you know.

Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
I'm failing quite nicely 👍
Glad you didn't take it personally, you know what I meant...

Originally Posted by MrAverage View Post
Which part of the country are you in?
Derbyshire, 1 hour+ to my local airfield... Except the gliding club. Do you know any good mentors you think might be on my wavelength? My focus is on safety and support, bravado will get you killed (as witnessed in skydiving, regularly, from the pro ranks).


I should also clarify my flight ambitions :S I obviously don't get expect to get called up for ESA tomorrow.

My career path is highly speculative, to the point where it doesn't exist today. If train and fly to become an experience multi-engine large jet pilot over the get 10-15 years, SABRE engines or similar are perfected and start the advent of the space plane era, 10 years after that they are mainstream and I am experienced enough to consider eligible to fly one. For the last 5-10 years of my career I achieve my goal. Simples. Everyone has to have a dream.

Apologies for the length and if I missed anyone's points.
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Old 1st Apr 2020, 08:05
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Join Date: Jan 2008
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I'd offer to help but I'm much further South!
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Old 1st Apr 2020, 16:36
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Yartemis, I get the impression you are quite a sensitive soul. I think you do need to think very carefully about pursuing a career in aviation because you are going to have to spend a lot of time in close proximity to a cross section of characters. You may switch instructors when you are paying them but that will be different if you get a job and start line training. It is inevitable that you will be critiqued. One man's full and frank debrief is another man's "ex-military temperament".

I am asking myself how much of your issue is you and how much of it is the flying school but, frankly, nobody who was not there should be expressing an opinion on that. If you want to make a career out of flying then don't look back. You passed, the PPL course is over, and if your perception that you were treated unfairly is correct, and you truly believe that yourself, and you really want to fly, you should just be, as Slopey posted, getting on with it - present national emergency notwithstanding.

Last edited by oggers; 1st Apr 2020 at 19:20.
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Old 1st Apr 2020, 18:38
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 1,295
There is absolutely no need for instructors to shout or use the F word in a derogatory way to their students.

Some bad, shouty instructors get away with it NOT because they are popular sky gods, but because students are naturally going to be nice to them, since they might be signing their papers.

Spoon feeding: When learning to fly, there is so much information, a student does need someone to give them direction and focus. They cannot expect an inexperienced student to always know what to read up on. One function of the instructor is to guide the student through what is important and what to go into detail on. A reading list and a study plan ideally.

Students in the early stages are usually paying the instructors wages, so they should not put up with poor instruction or a bad attitude from the instructor. Easier said than done sometimes, but don't put up with it.

Good luck to the OP, whatever you decide. If you want to go into upper atmosphere/near space, the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts were mostly former military test pilots with degrees, I think?
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Old 1st Apr 2020, 19:46
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Join Date: Nov 2016
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
There is absolutely no need for instructors to shout or use the F word in a derogatory way to their students.

Some bad, shouty instructors get away with it NOT because they are popular sky gods, but because students are naturally going to be nice to them, since they might be signing their papers.

Spoon feeding: When learning to fly, there is so much information, a student does need someone to give them direction and focus. They cannot expect an inexperienced student to always know what to read up on. One function of the instructor is to guide the student through what is important and what to go into detail on. A reading list and a study plan ideally.

Students in the early stages are usually paying the instructors wages, so they should not put up with poor instruction or a bad attitude from the instructor. Easier said than done sometimes, but don't put up with it.

Good luck to the OP, whatever you decide. If you want to go into upper atmosphere/near space, the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts were mostly former military test pilots with degrees, I think?
Very good post. And the point about the space job is sadly probably true. Get yourself a few thousand hours in the military, fly all sorts, become a test pilot. Then, assuming you have the masters in Aerospace engineering, you can apply for the job alongside everyone else with that and more on the CV.

Not to downplay your goals but you donít want to feel like youíve not achieved something if you donít get there, a 747 captain (or future equivalent) should hopefully be an incredible achievement enough in itself!

Good point about paying the instructor as well. Youíre the customer, theyíre the supplier so feel free to speak up for yourself. Get to your third instructor though and it might not be the instructors...
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Old 2nd Apr 2020, 13:08
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Warwick
Posts: 113
“You haven’t flown since your PPL for various reasons “
That’s the story of a very high percentage of new PPLs, be serious if you want to be a commercial pilot of any kind you should fly your arse off, make sacrifices, desert the family, because unless you have heaps of cash and can pay for commercial training that’s what you’re going to have to do.
Instructors do vary a lot, find one you get on with and stick with him through your check flights, in between he will keep an eye on you, flying with a different instructor every time is a road to nowhere, because they all have different preferences.
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Old 2nd Apr 2020, 14:17
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Southern hemisphere
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Seems like sufficient and well given advice above...
If you interested then find a new instructor and do a few xcountry trips or local flights. Generally the atmosphere increases your flying experience with more professional and experienced pilots and people around.
Once you have settled down in your area, then focus on your school of choice. Not a cpl holder yet but have been a private pilot for the last 5 years and can certainly say that the best thing you could do or probably close to it would be to increase your general flying abilities first before going into advanced stuff. Not sure if you wanna change jobs or what but if you are happy with flying and receiving a paycheck afterwards then you should go for it. As some and yourself have said, focus on your flying and the subjects. atpls are at the top and for an employer to see good results surely would not be detrimental in the hiring process. And an instructor with tailwheel experience may be preferred than an aerobatic rating especially in the bush. School/job dependent obviously.
Do your if rating before the above two if you dont have the addon already.
And for the love of pleasure, do some hours before you start with the exams. Pointless learning the content without knowing the physics and vice versa.
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