Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Non-Airline Forums > Private Flying
Reload this Page >

PPL Training questions (UK)

Private Flying LAA/BMAA/BGA/BPA The sheer pleasure of flight.

PPL Training questions (UK)

Old 11th Feb 2021, 22:30
  #21 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 13,936
I am confused here. My expectation is that if I pre book say 10 lessons to get a cheaper rate, then why would cancellations outside my control mean I might lose them? Weather is weather, maintenance of aircraft is not my fault. If I don't turn up, I'd expect to lose out, but is there something I'm missing about the way flight schools operate?


Yes, flying schools are run on very tight margins and often go bust. When that happens, usually the students don't see a penny of their money back. It is also not unknown for students, for whatever reasons of their own, to decide they're not happy and wish to switch schools - and then for the old school to refuse to refund any money already paid, regardless of whether that's been flown or not.

Don't pay up front any more money than you can afford to write off.

G
Genghis the Engineer is offline  
Old 11th Feb 2021, 22:33
  #22 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: london
Posts: 6
Redhill is great to learn

I train at redhill Aviation i recommend them , great selection of cessna & piper aircrafts. Great airspace to learn being so close to Gatwick. At redhill there is also an AME where you can get your class 2 initial done, redhill is mainly grass but when runway is waterlogged they use the taxi way as a runway. Incase you didnt know EFG is now going to be based at Redhill
Peter Ahonsi is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2021, 05:06
  #23 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Scotland
Posts: 97
I am confused here. My expectation is that if I pre book say 10 lessons to get a cheaper rate, then why would cancellations outside my control mean I might lose them? Weather is weather, maintenance of aircraft is not my fault. If I don't turn up, I'd expect to lose out, but is there something I'm missing about the way flight schools operate?
It's pretty standard advice on here...in the past the unwary have lost sizeable chunks of money paying for whole flying courses upfront only to see their money go up in smoke when said flying school goes busto...which has happened a lot!

That said, a financially aware person can mitigate this risk in a number of ways (and thus take advantage of block booking discounts).

Due diligence on the flying school (some have been around for decades and are perfectly financially sound)
Paying in small blocks and using them quickly.
Paying by credit card to to get Section 75 credit card cover (there are rules to be followed here and you need to check the detail of the payment processor to ensure coverage).
Advance Payment Protection insurance may be an option especially if you can pay for the lessons through a company.

If you can't be assed to do go through the nause of doing any/all of the above (and you're not rich ) then yeah, just pay cash as you go along.
Richard Dangle is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2021, 12:04
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Scotland
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post

Yes, flying schools are run on very tight margins and often go bust. When that happens, usually the students don't see a penny of their money back. It is also not unknown for students, for whatever reasons of their own, to decide they're not happy and wish to switch schools - and then for the old school to refuse to refund any money already paid, regardless of whether that's been flown or not.

Don't pay up front any more money than you can afford to write off.

G
There is also a natural tendency for a flying school that is struggling financially to favour those students paying cash on the day and put off those who have paid in advance!

Can someone else give advice on making sure that a student has enough evidence of training hours/lessons completed at licence issue time by the CAA when/if the flying school has gone bust by then?
Forfoxake is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2021, 13:52
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Down at the sharp pointy end, where all the weather is made.
Age: 72
Posts: 1,602
1. Log book, each flight signed off by instructor. Not currently mandated, but I'm doing this now, anyway.
2. Make sure you see each entry recorded in your student notes, you should be signing them off. I discuss what I've written with each student, as part of the debrief.
3. Student notes SHOULD be forwarded to the CAA on cessation of trading by a DTO/ATO. Why wouldn't they do this? A student can't be in possession of their own notes.

TOO
TheOddOne is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2021, 18:44
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Scotland
Posts: 349
TOO wrote:

"Student notes SHOULD be forwarded to the CAA on cessation of trading by a DTO/ATO. Why wouldn't they do this? A student can't be in possession of their own notes."

I know they should but have heard of cases where they have not after a flying school has gone bust..

Good tip to get each training flight signed off by your instructor though.

I hope the thread starter does not get put off by all this because there are reliable flying schools about as others have mentioned. Despite this, I would still stick to TOO's original 3 golden rules:

1. Never pay up-front for flying training
2. Never pay up-front for flying training
3. Never pay up-front for flying training



Forfoxake is offline  
Old 26th Apr 2021, 14:14
  #27 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: London
Posts: 15
Hi everyone.

Just a couple of quickies (ooh er!)

Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on additional questions to ask at the various schools I'm considering. Questions I've already decided to ask are:

1) Is flying limited in terms of hours (ie nothing before say 8am or after 7pm, only Wednesday to Sunday etc)
2) What books do you recommend. (Pooleys or AFE) Anecdotally it seems Pooleys is the preferred one.
3) What's your pass rate? And average hours
4) Is there any form of payment protection should the worst happen (I think this is less likely with Redhill Aviation or CubAir since they've seemingly been around a long time. Not sure how long Synergy @ Fairoaks have existed)



On a side note, I've seen suggestions of learning abroad (often in a more condensed time frame due to better weather probability) Hypothetically, if I could get 6-8 weeks semi-unpaid leave from my employer, ) is this even a good idea? (A few colleagues have gotten 6 weeks off to travel Australia and the Far East, so there is precedent) I cant speak any language to a fluent level (though I'm "get by level" in French and German) so worry about that inhibiting me. And that's before we even consider the post Brexit changes in going abroad to study.




Originally Posted by Peter Ahonsi View Post
I train at redhill Aviation i recommend them , great selection of cessna & piper aircrafts. Great airspace to learn being so close to Gatwick. At redhill there is also an AME where you can get your class 2 initial done, redhill is mainly grass but when runway is waterlogged they use the taxi way as a runway. Incase you didnt know EFG is now going to be based at Redhill
By chance I watched Redhill Aviation's YouTube videos recently. Certainly none of the other schools I've looked at have content like that. Which was a great advert for them since I hadn't considered them before.

RE: EFG I went past Biggin Hill a few weeks ago and there were no planes visible by their unit. Though the signage is still up. I had already discounted anyone at BH simply for the traffic issues.

Thanks everyone for the advice

Last edited by Plain1; 26th Apr 2021 at 14:30.
Plain1 is offline  
Old 26th Apr 2021, 16:24
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Central Europe
Age: 56
Posts: 11
Originally Posted by rudestuff View Post
With that said, it should be easy to get a PPL in 45 hours if you follow some simple rules (which you won't!):

1. Get the exams out of the way before you go flying. With them out of the way you can have an uninterrupted course of flying with only weather and maintenance getting in the way. You want to be flying 5 times a week if possible. So do it in summer. Or Florida.
2. Learn everything about the aircraft before you get in it. Know the POH and checklists off by heart and when you need them.
3. Don't plan on learning anything in the aircraft - you should get in knowing what you're going to be doing. That's where a good brief is with its weight in gold. Use the time in the aircraft to watch the demo then practice, that's all your brain will have capacity to do.
4. Chair-fly every day. This is the best piece of advice you'll ever get and it's free. Your instructor is simply looking for you to demonstrate competency in each maneuver: if you forget to put the carb heat on, or do a checklist on downwind - you'll have to do that maneuver again. You give yourself the best chance of getting it right sooner if you chair fly and turn up prepared.
5. Learn in a 4 seater. Pick a buddy to learn with and back-seat as many of each others flights as you can.
You will learn as much if not more from the back seat watching someone else struggle as you will from the front - because the pressure is off and you have spare capacity. You'll have much more exposure to radio calls, traffic patterns and especially navigation and area familiarity. For free.
It's quite rare to see so much good advice compiled into five paragraphs. I only have one thing to add: Get a mentor, someone who has no commercial interest in your training. Plenty available. Me, for instance, or find 'Resilient Pilot' on Facebook and ask for a mentor.
Porteous Loopy is offline  
Old 26th Apr 2021, 19:07
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Central Europe
Age: 56
Posts: 11
Compendium of advice from this thread - edited by Porteous Loopy

This is an amazing thread with lots of great information in it. I have taken the liberty of cutting, pasting and restructuring the advice given to make it a little easier to digest. I don't claim ownership of the information nor the opinions; nevertheless, feedback encouraged!

Most flying clubs and schools are limited companies with a financially weak customer base and exceptionally high overheads. Sometimes, with the best will in the world and in spite of sound management, they go bust. Flying schools have been going bust owing people significant amounts of money since the 1960s and they will sadly continue to do so. Each failure is a disaster for the students, the staff, the owners (who really lose everything) and the airfield at which they are based.

Many, but not all (there are some who protect your money) rely on advance payments to pay some outstanding bills in order to stay afloat. Make sure that it is not your advance payment handed over on the day that they give up and close the doors.

There is also a natural tendency for a flying school that is struggling financially to favour those students paying cash on the day and put off those who have paid in advance! Don't pay up front any more money than you can afford to write off. A financially aware person may be able to mitigate risk in a number of ways (and thus take advantage of block booking discounts):
  • Carry out due diligence on the flying school (some have been around for decades and are perfectly financially sound)
  • Paying in small blocks and using them quickly.
  • Paying by credit card to to get Section 75 credit card cover (there are rules to be followed here and you need to check the detail of the payment processor to ensure coverage).
  • Advance Payment Protection insurance may be an option especially if you can pay for the lessons through a company.
If you can't be bothered to do go to the effort of doing any/all of the above (and you're not rich) then just pay cash as you go along, following the three golden rules:
  1. Never pay up-front for flying training
  2. Never pay up-front for flying training
  3. Never pay up-front for flying training
The best sequence for learning to fly is this:
  1. Get your Class 2 Medical. (What is your end goal? If you're thinking about ever going commercial then definitely get a Class 1 Medical sooner rather than later).
  2. Study and pass all of the PPL theory exams.
  3. Go flying.
Flying schools are unlikely to promote this sequence, because if they did tell this to their potential customers, most would baulk at the enormity of the task and walk away, never to return. They need you to go flying and get the bug. Going flying without preparation is a great way to burn money.

Purchase a hard copy log book. After each flight fill in the log book and have your instructor sign off each flight with his name and license number. Subscribe to a digital log book with online/cloud storage. Fill out the log book after each flight, cross check with the paper log book. Most people make mistakes in their log book, the advent of digital versions should make it much easier to cross check and avoid mistakes than it was for everyone doing this in the last century.

Make sure each flight is recorded in your student record folder held by your school. Get a copy of each sheet of your student record folder, even if it just a photo, but better to have a scan or a photocopy. If the company goes bust, this is all you will have for your money. Remember that you have a right to have a copy of your record folder and that you can take them and your business to another school without asking for permission. There have been cases where flying schools have gone bust and have then forced students to purchase their student record folder for an exorbitant ‘administration fee’. See notes about post flight actions later on.

If you can, book a taster flight with several locations, so you can see for yourself not only how the airfield operates, but whether or not you're going to get on with the people, especially the instructors. Stick over yoke? In the long run this doesn’t matter.

It really doesn't matter what you learn on. People learn to fly on single engine turbine high performance aircraft every day of the year. Some people have learned to fly ab-initio on the CH-47 Chinook. Some flight schools are starting to purchase aircraft with full glass cockpits, others are retrofitting them. They are easier to fly for a reason, if this is a possibility for you, I would go down that route.

You'd be amazed at how easy the transition is from low wing to high wing, or yoke to stick, or whatever, once you've established a basic skill level. It takes about five minutes to stop noticing the different controls.

How many hours? Minimum for a PPL is 45, budget for 60. Book as often as you can, plan to lose half of those booked. Book at least one flight a week, 2 if you can. 50% will get cancelled by weather. It'll take you a year, unless you can invest mid-week time. It should be easy to get a PPL in 45 hours if you follow some simple rules:
  • Get the exams out of the way before you go flying. With them out of the way you can have an uninterrupted course of flying with only weather and maintenance getting in the way. You want to be flying 5 times a week if possible. So do it in summer. Or Florida.
  • Learn everything about the aircraft before you get in it. Know the POH and checklists off by heart and learn when you need them.
  • Don't plan on learning anything in the aircraft. The old adage is that the cockpit is a poor classroom. You should strap into the aircraft knowing what you're going to be doing. That's where a good brief is with its weight in gold. Use the time in the aircraft to watch the demo then practice, that's all your brain will have capacity to do.
  • Learn how to chair fly and then chair-fly every day. This is the best piece of advice you'll ever get and it's free. Your instructor is simply looking for you to demonstrate competency in each manoeuvre: if you forget to put the carb heat on, or do a checklist on downwind - you'll have to do that manoeuvre again. You give yourself the best chance of getting it right sooner if you chair fly and turn up prepared.
  • Learn about deliberate practice. Consider exactly what you want to improve on each flight and then focus on that with pinpoint accuracy. Search YouTube for Deliberate Practice: The science of peak performance.
  • Consider learning in a 4 seater. If you can pick a buddy to learn with and back-seat as many of each others flights as you can. You will learn as much if not more from the back seat watching someone else struggle as you will from the front - because the pressure is off and you have spare capacity. You'll have much more exposure to radio calls, traffic patterns and especially navigation and area familiarity. For free.
  • Don’t expect to be led by the hand by your flying instructor. Get a mentor and make a plan for how your flying training is going to run. Have your mentor hold you accountable. An unscrupulous flying school benefits from you dawdling and delaying your flying training. The more gaps you have the more hours it will take you to learn to fly. Try ‘Resilient Pilot’ for free mentoring as a starting point. Look for MasteringAviation (one word) on Facebook.
  • All this said, don't worry about how long it takes, it takes as long as it takes, it's all flying and it should all be fun. You're still going to be paying to fly after you have gained your license.
  • Remember to enjoy it.
Decide for yourself what you want the PPL for. As a goal by itself, the PPL has little value over "lower" licenses (LAPL etc.) Its main advantage is that one can add to it: CPL, IFR, night flying. There are many ways to enjoy flying without becoming a professional pilot. Most are more fun than the drudgery of flying an airliner over the pond whilst thinking up excuses for your second or third wife about why you are getting back late. Aerobatics, formation flying, safaris or aircraft building and ownership are all great fun and can fit in with family life.

Make sure you understand the curriculum you should be following before you start the flying training. There is an excellent one at the Guild of Air Pilots, search for pplprogrammev1.pdf
There is also a lesson plan for each lesson on the same website.

Deliberate practice is not possible without a proper study guide. Pooleys Air Pilot Manual - Volume 1 draws very heavily on the UK military equivalent document, and is excellent.

At the end of each flight you are likely to be both exhilarated and tired. Your instructor might be both tired and under intense managerial and financial pressure to move on to the next paying student. If you are on the last flight of the day the tired, overworked, and probably underpaid instructor might be motivated to go home. In any case it will not be in the forefront of your mind nor the forefront of the instructors mind to do the most important thing in your flight, which is to give you a thorough debriefing. During the debrief you must as a minimum complete your flying log book and ensure that the instructor completes the student flying record book entry including the hours flown and written debrief on what you did during the flight. As an absolute minimum the instructor should tell you three things that you need to work on before your next flight with specific detail on exactly what you did wrong and what preparation you should make for your next flight . Without this information you are risking burning the money you have spent on flight time and instructor time.

One format for the debriefing, widely used in some flying training circles is:
  • SAFETY
  • Domestics on the way out (eg SUTTO and transit to training area inclusive).
  • Domestics on the way in (eg departing the training area to arriving at the circuit area, taxi in and shut down).
  • Air exercise (eg stalling exercises, steep turns and circuit patterns).
  • Lessons learned (eg three major learning points).
Let battle commence.

Last edited by Porteous Loopy; 27th Apr 2021 at 18:13.
Porteous Loopy is offline  
Old 27th Apr 2021, 11:02
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: The middle
Posts: 482
I’m not going to bother cutting and pasting anything after that, but I would tend to disagree with the learn in a four seater and watch from the back as your pilot buddy learns advice. Yes it works well in commercial and instrument rating training, but relies on you and your flying buddy always being available at the same time for lessons. Also don’t forget the price differential. Where I instruct it costs an extra 45 per hour to fly a four seat aircraft as opposed to a two seat aircraft. If you sensibly budget for sixty hours training that’s an extra 2700, or 22.5 hours in the Cessna 152. Your not going to save that time watching someone else fly. Train in the two seater, and then do at most a couple of hours in a four seater once you e got your licence, if you want to carry more weight.

Also, if you’re sure you are only ever going to fly privately think seriously about microlights. With the new 600kg weight limits coming in modern three axis microlights are as capable for VFR flying as a Cessna 152/ Tomahawk / piper cub etc, and the exams and syllabus is a lot simpler and the licence will be cheaper to obtain.

Last edited by excrab; 27th Apr 2021 at 15:31.
excrab is offline  
Old 27th Apr 2021, 12:28
  #31 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: heathrow
Posts: 288
Plain 1 to answer your specific question in post #27.
Check the licensed hours of the airfield as training will need to be done in these hours. I started at Blackbushe in early spring, but once the light evenings came along I realised I could not make use of them due to limited licensed hours. I ended up going to White Waltham to complete my training and took advantage of lower weekday rates.

With reference to the hours needed, as mentioned by other posters, it can vary greatly, but I am no ace pilot and managed to pass in 47 hours. A lot will depend on your relationship with your instructor. I got along really well with mine, and I’m sure it helped me enormously.
cjhants is offline  
Old 27th Apr 2021, 17:31
  #32 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ontario, Canada
Age: 60
Posts: 4,914
I don't agree with some of the concepts presented in the earlier posts. As said just above, training with someone in the back seat is not always a good idea, and a not so good idea for basic flight training. I'm not saying not to flay a four seat plane, but if you do, leave the back seats empty. A new student pilot does not need the distraction of someone in the back. Focus on what you're doing, minimize distractions as much as possible. Anyone on board is a distraction. For dual instruction, an instructor is a necessary distraction.

As much as possible, mix "in airplane" time with book study. It is unwise to attempt to get most of the way through book study and ground school without some time in the plane. Even time spent sitting in the plane on a poor weather day has benefit. If you memorize the books, you may have to unlearn some of what you thought you knew from the books, when you get in the plane - "Oh, it's like that!....". As much as practical, mix it up, that will show you that you cannot be fully prepared to fly from reading the books only. Some hands and feet, and developing muscle memory is necessary, and for a GA type plane, that only comes from sitting in it. Many of us learned to fly entirely in the aircraft, with ground school being a fill in the blanks activity to assure passing the exams. Sit in as many airplanes as you can, and make an effort to understand every control and instrument. Understand similarities, and differences.

Yes, your instructor is probably underpaid! That is something you can affect! Pay your instructor for their time! Do not expect to have a half hour of their time after a flight at their personal, nor the school's expense. Willingly pay for ground briefings before and after the flight. Willingly pay for a little extra flying here and there when you need to build certain skills.

With the information age, there is a vast amount of information placed where student pilot's will find it. Some of it has value. But, remind yourself that information typed onto the internet is low cost, so more voluminous (because of low cost to create) and less valuable when it applies to actual hands on aircraft handling skill building. Watching Youtube, flying computer flight simulators and reading about flying can provide only a small amount of what a student needs to learn about basic airplane handling. Yes, rules of the air, weather, navigation and some systems can be taught out of the plane, but handling learning it is best done in the plane.
Pilot DAR is offline  
Old 27th Apr 2021, 19:12
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Down at the sharp pointy end, where all the weather is made.
Age: 72
Posts: 1,602
Hi PL,
That's a fantastic job you did there distilling all the info from previous posts.

However,
Make sure each flight is recorded in your student record folder held by your school. Get a copy of each sheet of your student record folder, even if it just a photo, but better to have a scan or a photocopy. If the company goes bust, this is all you will have for your money. Remember that you have a right to have a copy of your record folder and that you can take them and your business to another school without asking for permission.
here in the UK we're still working on the basis that the school retains student records and if you wish to change then copies will be sent to your new operator. I'm still waiting for a definitive answer to this one in writing. Recently, I've sent on copy records to another school for someone who has moved on and we're getting records for another person who has moved to us.
Anyone got anything in writing from the UK CAA?

TOO
TheOddOne is offline  
Old 27th Apr 2021, 19:36
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Central Europe
Age: 56
Posts: 11
Originally Posted by TheOddOne View Post
....here in the UK we're still working on the basis that the school retains student records and if you wish to change then copies will be sent to your new operator.
TOO
Firstly, thank you!
Secondly, I suspect that there will be regional variations on this one. When I went through training in the UK there was no way in which you would have access to your Flying Record Folder. In the flying training system I have been in most recently (military, but not UK) the students were expected to maintain the flying record folder themselves and were held accountable for the standard of the folder. An upshot of this was that flying instructors needed to 'up their game' with what they wrote in after-flight reviews with a renewed focus on 'what happened - exactly what went wrong - how to fix it'.

Tangent alert! In some more modern systems responsibility for many aspects of training has been moved towards the trainee (with support and resources, and done systematically and logically). The trainee is encouraged to take control of their own performance, rather than it being a gift from their instructor. The standard of preparedness I have witnessed has been amazing. Instead of sitting around playing uckers waiting for the call from their mighty flying instructor, students have become proactive and engaged. For example, students give the pre-flight briefing up to the bit where there is a new learning, at which point they brief WHAT, but the instructor steps in to brief HOW. Students know minute by minute what they are going to do in any flight and are taught chair flying (rehearsal) techniques so that they are able to gain the most from every moment of airborne time. There are no surprises and no mind games. Instructors are there to facilitate and teach not humiliate, threaten or show off. These concepts appear quite alien to old school instructors like me, until you actually experience them at first hand, seeing the confident and decisive pilots coming out at the end of their training.

Last edited by Porteous Loopy; 27th Apr 2021 at 19:52.
Porteous Loopy is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.