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Paying for PPL in instalments- standard practice

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Paying for PPL in instalments- standard practice

Old 2nd Feb 2022, 21:33
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Paying for PPL in instalments- standard practice

Hi all,

Finally decided to pursue my PPL properly after some previous trial lessons whilst at uni last year.

Most places are offering "packages" around the £9/10k mark. Some are including the cost of theory exams etc, whereas for others this just totals to a better hourly cost on 45 lessons.

Is it considered standard practice to pay in instalments for these "packages"? I'm guessing payment terms if so are more rigid than just loading up a prepaid account with a grand every few weeks? I'm committed to getting the PPL but would like to spread out the costs as much as I realistically could whilst still getting the equivalent of a bulk discount. Are most going to be asking for a 3k, 3k, 3k type thing? I have taken into account via previous posts the danger of flight schools going bust with your money too...

Thanks for any advice and experiences. Am sure it's a case of contacting each school one by one is reality!
Basset is offline  
Old 3rd Feb 2022, 00:19
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You'll see many posts over the years here, which have the common theme of "don't pay in advance". I support this approach to training. Absolutely, pay for what you fly, on time, no fuss. But paying for a service you have not received seems to me to be unwise. As a distant aside, here in Ontario, Canada, to provincial government actually made it against the law for exercise gyms to collect fees more than a month in advance because of the complaints about gyms going out of business, and members loosing their advance payments. Would you go to a restaurant and pay for your next ten meals before being served the first?

Also, plan to possibly take more than minimums to complete your training. You want to be trained to be a good pilot, not a minimum pilot. And, you should be okay paying the cost to become a good pilot - which will be more than a minimum.

On your honour, pay promptly for the services you agree to receive. In exchange, expect that a business will charge you [just] for services rendered!
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Old 3rd Feb 2022, 16:11
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I agree with Pilot DAR above. Never, ever, pay in advance for flight training. If you are tempted then only spend what you are happy to lose. The financial state of most flight schools is usually precarious to say the least. Paying for a whole course up front is very unwise. Pay your bills on time, maybe agree to a small package to get a discount but remember that above all, there is no time limit on the PPL. You don't have to get it done quickly so enjoy the process and pay as you go.

Also, visit as many schools as possible and get a feel for how they treat you. Pick the one that makes you feel comfortable,relaxed and inspired. There will be times when you will struggle with progress, and having a school with an off hand attitude won't help.

Good Luck.
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Old 3rd Feb 2022, 16:23
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Everything said above is correct and may save a lot of tears.
I ran a flying school for several years (good fun but I'm past it now!) and we refused to allow people to pay in advance - on the basis that if we had to disappoint students by cancelled bookings (aircraft gone tech for example) it would create bad feeling if they'd got lots of money tied up with us - and we would have spent it so no chance of a refund!
It's tempting for the school, but bad practice for them too.
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Old 3rd Feb 2022, 17:32
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3 golden rules for learning to fly
1. Never pay in advance
2. Never pay in advance
3. Never pay in advance.
I'm still running a small flying school and we refuse to take money in advance, we just charge a fair price for the service and expect people to pay just as they leave our premises, no credit either!
The other advice as above is to visit several nearby establishments. I expect the cheapest won't be the best value for money.
Anyhow, the very best of luck with your flying, it's a wonderful lifetime thing, whether flying for pleasure or as a career.

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Old 4th Feb 2022, 09:47
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Old 4th Feb 2022, 11:45
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Problem with paying large sums upfront is that itís not used to pay for your training.
Itís used to pay the monthly fuel bill, utilities, rent, airplane maintenance, those parts they planned on ordering etc etc etc.
Yes you may have a £5000 credit on your account but the physical money is gone.
Now itís important to know for every business large or small to know that you can pay your flying bills.
A good compromise is to pay ahead the day of your actual lesson(s).
When you get to the crosscountry stage you can easily burn through £400-500 in a single day.
Same when you do 2 or 3 training flights on that nice weekend day.
Show up, deposit £300-£500 in your account and get on with flying.
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Old 4th Feb 2022, 17:16
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Just in case nobody mentioned it already, never pay in advance for any flying, unless you are fully willing to write off that money. Schools - often apparently very healthy ones - go out of business with monotonous regularity. People have lost a LOT of money.

Basically, just pay as you go, even if apparently that is more expensive.

Yes, fine, paying for the day, or if you're staying on their property the week is probably sound. More than that - just don't.

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Old 4th Feb 2022, 21:49
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Thanks everyone for the advice and great points. Obviously it takes the hours it takes, although with some prior lessons and theory covered already i'm hoping to stay under 50 hours.

As expected there is universal pushback against paying any hefty money upfront. It makes sense, both from potential flight school bankruptcy risk and schools potentially being tempted to use lump sums disproportionately to service fixed costs and not actual training costs.

It begs the question that, despite being rejected by experienced aviators, are schools "getting away with" charging lump sum advanced payments? If so, why are bad practises tolerated, is it just newbies not knowing any better? Or is it a case that by quoting a "package" they aren't expecting thousands in one go anyway?

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Old 5th Feb 2022, 02:20
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Copy of a post I made in the Oz forum recently. Don't even consider payment up front, no matter how attractive the deal. Off spring was at a school in Port Macquarie where such a deal was offered for an instrument rating, no thanks, company closed its doors within weeks, bar stewards were still cashing the cheques of those they had conned on the day they declared bankruptcy. Shortly before closure off spring had done some local flying at home in one of the schools aircraft, made arrangements with the local refueller (aero club) that I would honour any fuel costs incurred that they couldn't recover, and it came to pass. Wish I had they same foresight in picking the lotto numbers.
It begs the question that, despite being rejected by experienced aviators, are schools "getting away with" charging lump sum advanced payments? If so, why are bad practises tolerated, is it just newbies not knowing any better
They are preying on the persons trust, and gullibility to accepting a good deal. Really no different to any company going into bankruptcy part way through a contract you may have with them where you lose funds eg insurance company where you have paid the premium in advance.
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Old 8th Feb 2022, 18:08
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Even though ďnormalĒ for the people familiar with the industry the cost of a flying course or even a single flight is eye watering for the general public.
The perceived benefit of a ďdiscountĒ is appealing.
Itís also a backhanded way of preventing you from leaving and finishing at a different school.
Read the small print for reimbursement of monies paid and what penalties are and circumstances under which you forfeit the money.
As an example of what I previously posted: the school I used to work for would pay for fuel in bulk, 10,000 gallons at a time.
Thatís about two private pilot courses prepaid.
Now the school didnít do prepayments but you see how easy your money could be gone and reimbursement is delayed for whatever reason they may give you.
Bottom line, they donít have the money anymore.
By the way 10,000 gallons at 8.5g/hr for 14 airplanes is only 85hrs/ each so about 3-4 weeks of operations.
A less scrupulous operator would need 2 students to prepay every single month just to pay their fuel bill.
Rent, insurance, maintenance and you see how quickly this becomes a pyramid scheme.
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 05:37
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I paid for my PPL flying, and still pay for hire, by keeping a modest amount of credit in my account with the school. When thatís exhausted they remind me and I top up. I typically make $1,000 deposits. That avoids messing about with payments every time I fly and it reduces my exposure in case of problems. My log book makes it very easy to check on their accounting, so far itís bang on.
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Old 22nd Feb 2022, 16:42
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Some years ago I was involved with students who had been at an Integrated school that had gone bust. Some had paid as much as £23,000 the day before the company collapsed. Some of those students were still enjoying training concessions from the CAA to get their courses completed 3 years later. As many have said, do not pay up front.
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