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Getting a PPL, living in the Netherlands

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Getting a PPL, living in the Netherlands

Old 7th Sep 2020, 17:53
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Getting a PPL, living in the Netherlands

I've been itching to get a PPL for a while, and I'm thinking that I want to start working towards mine sometime in the next year. The tough part is figuring out how, since there don't seem to be too many places that give a good high level overview.


Assumptions:
  • Theory & Medical need to be completed in the same country, but practical instruction can happen in another country
  • Your license issuing country is EITHER the country you completed theory & medical, or your country of residence (if you move it)
  • You need to travel to your license-issuing country periodically to have your medical inspection renewed.
  • It is better to get a license from an EASA country than it is to get a US license & screw around with validation or conversion.

I am assuming that I will not get an NL-issued license, owing to the theory exams being English only & requiring an expensive & redundant radio test in addition to the aviation English test.


This leads me to four different options:
  • Belgian theory, medical, and flight training at a flight school. I would need to do this over time, since it's a 90 minute drive to a lot of the airfields there, and weather conditions don't favor doing an intensive course.
  • Belgian theory & medical, and instruction with a Dutch flying club or flight school. This option would be more expensive than going to Belgium, but the airfields are a bit closer & there's some value in staying with the same club you got your license at.
  • Intensive course in Spain, Hungary, or Croatia, with theory & medical via the flight school. This option would be the most cost effective, and I could use up the mountain of vacation days that I've accrued over the years. When I renew my medical certification, I'd need to travel back to that country (or move my license to the Netherlands).
  • Theory & medical in Belgium, intensive course elsewhere. This has the cost benefits of doing it all in one spot, but the benefits of having semi-local theory & medical exams.

Are my assumptions, and my ideas about options correct? If they are, I'd love to hear people's thoughts, particularly around doing my theory in Belgium & practical components with either a NL club or at an intenstive flight school.
RevAB is offline  
Old 7th Sep 2020, 19:58
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What is bothering about the tests in NL being English? Your English seems just fine. (as it seems for 90% of the Dutch folks I've met!)
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 06:47
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If you're in Amsterdam, why not talk to a school at Hilversum or Lelystad? I'm not familiar with the differences in theory and medical in Belgium to know why that would be beneficial, but if you want to go for a PPL, it takes time and effort, no matter where you train. You can alleviate the situation by making sure that you've got a school within an hour's drive of where you live, instead of a couple of hours away, so that the burden of travelling there will be less.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 06:53
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Originally Posted by Jhieminga View Post
If you're in Amsterdam, why not talk to a school at Hilversum or Lelystad? I'm not familiar with the differences in theory and medical in Belgium to know why that would be beneficial, but if you want to go for a PPL, it takes time and effort, no matter where you train. You can alleviate the situation by making sure that you've got a school within an hour's drive of where you live, instead of a couple of hours away, so that the burden of travelling there will be less.
From what I can see, the main benefits of having a Belgian theory test is that you can take the exam in English, and itís a much lower price. Doing your medical there is less relevant, but it seems mandatory if thatís where you do your theory.

I believe as well that Belgium doesnít have the radiotelephony endorsement, which is included in the PPL.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 07:27
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I would prefer a compact course at a flight school over doing it over months on your own schedule. Better structured and you can build on what you already learned. Do it 100 percent focused not as a byproduct.
Something to consider for purely private use is a microlight permit. And you could go to other places for PPL school like to the US where you can even do some EASA PPL and flying is cheaper.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 07:31
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Originally Posted by Less Hair View Post
Something to consider for purely private use is a microlight permit. And you could go to other places for PPL school like to the US where you can even do some EASA PPL and flying is cheaper.
I think my long-term plan is to fly TMG instead of SEP for economical reasons, but that seems to be a switch most people make after picking up SEP ratings.

I might look into an EASA-friendly school in the US, since if I do an intensive course, Iíd be using vacation days and would be flexible on location. Croatia seems attractive though, due to cost, environment, and being in the same regulatory environment as the place where Iíd be flying afterwards.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 07:46
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The country in which your medical records are held (usually where you have the first medical) is the state that will administer your licence. It is the quirks of that national authority that need to be met.

Some EASA states will accept the theoretical knowledge exams from other states so check which are accepted by your chosen Authority.

Neither the Medical or Theory MUST be completed before starting flying but you must have the medical before going solo and all the theory must be completed prior to doing the final exam. Iíve found most people do the theory exams as they progress through the flying as a little practical experience can make the theory easier to digest.

Once you have a medical there is no real need to go back to that country as all subsequent Medicals can be done in any EASA state.

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Old 8th Sep 2020, 13:19
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I hadn't realised that the PPL exams are in Dutch, my recollection from doing the CPL ones were that they were in English, but it's been a while since I took them. In that case it would be wise to check what Belgium can offer you, or perhaps a US solution. Please do keep in mind that, having completed a US based EASA licence course, you will still need a bit of an adjustment to the European ways of doing things.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 14:03
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Once you have a medical there is no real need to go back to that country as all subsequent Medicals can be done in any EASA state.
Can you explain what you mean by this statement?
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 14:10
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Be careful with planning for Belgium. Last news I heard is their IT system/Question database is so old EASA blocked them from having theory exams. Check before you do anything there.

An option for theory could be Austria. The exams are in english. Orbit groundschool in Arnhem is an exam location for them. And the dutch authority accepts the theory from them. This is valid for the ATPL I'm doing. Check if it works for PPL as well.

If you stay local and live in Amsterdam Lelystad and Hilversum are the place to go. With Hilversum only for the TMG.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 14:42
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I was going to suggest Orbit Groundschool as well, didn't when I realised that the PPL exams are in Dutch anyway, but just now found out that they can offer exams in English through Austro (as already mentioned by Archer4). Worth looking into, as most of their preparation uses Bristol Groundschool materials, a complete online course.
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Old 8th Sep 2020, 17:57
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There used to be a quite good Dutch forum, kind of a local language equivalent of PPRuNe, in Holland, I used to participate but gave up after a change in management. Cannot remember the name or url right now, sorry. But I surely remember from there the recommendations for either Brussels or the Austro connection in Arnhem.

As a Belgian, I am not always proud of that sheer fact and not even always of my CAA, but on the whole they seem to be doing not so bad. @Archer4, would you have a source for their being blocked by EASA? It sounds hard to believe, excuse me for demanding a reliable source.

One practical sidenote: if you decide to go the "Brussels" way, don't even think of driving there - the exam centre is right in the business/administration heart of the city. Much better to take a train to Brussels North station, it is within easy walking distance.

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Old 9th Sep 2020, 08:07
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Once you have a medical there is no real need to go back to that country as all subsequent Medicals can be done in any EASA state.
Your medical records will be held in the state in which you had the first medical (providing they havenít been SOLIíd (transferred)). Thereafter, renewals can be done in any EASA country by any EASA Doctor and the results sent back to your original state.
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Old 9th Sep 2020, 08:42
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The url of the dutch forum is airwork.nl It is not as active as PPRuNe but questions about training get good response.
Most of it is in dutch. Engilsh is usually accepted but you might get answers back in dutch.

I'll answer Jan's question about the Belgia CAA in a DM. It leads to specific people. I don't want to put names on a public forum without their permission.
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Old 9th Sep 2020, 10:13
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Originally Posted by Archer4 View Post
Be careful with planning for Belgium. Last news I heard is their IT system/Question database is so old EASA blocked them from having theory exams. Check before you do anything there.

An option for theory could be Austria. The exams are in english. Orbit groundschool in Arnhem is an exam location for them. And the dutch authority accepts the theory from them. This is valid for the ATPL I'm doing. Check if it works for PPL as well.

If you stay local and live in Amsterdam Lelystad and Hilversum are the place to go. With Hilversum only for the TMG.
The Austro Control PPL Exams are in German and not available outside of Austria and only acceptable to Austro Control.

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Old 9th Sep 2020, 10:41
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Your medical records will be held in the state in which you had the first medical (providing they haven’t been SOLI’d (transferred)). Thereafter, renewals can be done in any EASA country by any EASA Doctor and the results sent back to your original state.
That may be true within EASA theory/regulation but how? What states are accepting medical renewals undertaken in another state and what are the protocols? Non UK flight examiners can register with the UK CAA, having completed an on-line course, to examine UK pilots. It is news to me (which would not be surprising in the current chaos of things) that similar arrangements are in place for AMEs because there are problems of privacy.

A major stumbling block has always been the sharing of confidential medical records in most if not all states. The Germans have even blocked SOLI involving them because German law prevents the exchange of medical data.

Last edited by Fl1ingfrog; 9th Sep 2020 at 11:06.
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Old 9th Sep 2020, 11:49
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RevAB, as you are not adverse to doing a compact course, I would recommend that you look at places where you can do such a course.

Things to consider (apart from the quality of the training) is weather, as you really want to fly every day at least once if you can. If you fly irregularly, then you spend half of your lesson going over what you did on your previous lesson and that obviously elongates your time to qualification.

Also living costs. You will be spending enough on your course, so somewhere relatively cheap would be preferable and don't forget that if you need to get around, then transport comes into the equation unless you can drive there and take your own car.

You will be paying out a large amount in one go, but if you can afford it, it'll be a lot cheaper than doing it locally over what could be a year or two.

I did my PPL in Texas some 30 years ago and it took exactly 3 weeks. Admittedly I knew a bit about aeroplanes and flying before hand, and I went with a friend who also did the course, which meant we could learn from each other. So it can be done in a short time.

One thing I did find out though, is that just because you have a PPL, you still have lots to learn!

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Old 9th Sep 2020, 23:49
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It is news to me (which would not be surprising in the current chaos of things) that similar arrangements are in place for AMEs because there are problems of privacy.
The only problem area I am aware of is the German LBA and SOLIs as stated elsewhere. Thatís not to say there arenít any other issues, but in general this practice has been accepted for years now.

Weíve had U.K. licence holders renewing Class 1 medicals in Spain, Irish licence holders renewing medicals in the U.K. (myself included) and vice-versa. Iíve seen Polish medicals accepted by Spain - the list goes on.
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Old 10th Sep 2020, 16:08
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Any EASA medical examiner may carry out a medical on any EASA member states licence holder. I hold an Austro control licence and have my medical done in Spain.

Even the LBA have become easier to deal with when it comes to a SOLI and will now release records.

Any EASA examiner my conduct a test on any EASA licence holder by following the EASA Examiner DIfferences Document. There is no longer a need for on line courses are separate approval. Follow the document, file the notification and do the tests. I do dozens every month on licence holders from all over the EASA domain including the UK.

EASA are actually pretty easy to deal with. There are still a few quirks but generally its pretty smooth.
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