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New Starter - Bristol Aviation??

Old 9th Nov 2008, 20:22
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New Starter - Bristol Aviation??

Hello to all,

I have been curiosuly looking through lots of different threads to cement my decision on 1) whether to continue in my pursuit of realising my ambition to train to become a pilot at personal expense, 2) who to train with and 3) what route to take.
I recently failed Phase 4 (Fixed 737 Sim assessment) in the CTC Wings Cadet selection. I have however been offered a place on their iCP self financed route. This 1 of a number of offers i have given onto a self financed program where I have been through a testing and interview process.

One of my serious considerations at the minute is Bristol Aviation, who state they can get me to frozen ATPL in just over a year with the majority of training carried out in Port Alfred, South Africa. I haven't heard too much about Bristol Aviation, what I have heard though has been pretty positive.

Has ayone out there done their training with Bristol Aviation and if so, whats your views?

Has anyone else, got any solid information about the training and flying Bristol offer?

Finally, any other advice and information to help me make a sensible head strong decision would be greatly appreciated
Burger81 is offline  
Old 9th Nov 2008, 20:29
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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Advice: dont spend a penny on flight training until atleast 2010. Although get the ground school out the way if you want to do something towards your training.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 21:11
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why not spend a little time in a 737 sim, say with virtual aviation of something who may be able to help you get throught the 737 sim check if you decide to try again with ctc.

Flight Simulator Training - Simulator Assessment Preparation - Virtual Aviation
ali1986 is offline  
Old 10th Nov 2008, 14:52
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Hello Burger

Iím in a similar situation. I decided not to apply to CTC, (at least their cadet scheme) as there seem to be literally 100s of cadets in the pipeline ahead and CTC canít place them all; I didnít fancy spending 75 grand and finding myself at the bottom of their pile. Therefore, I decided to go self funded. Iíve been looking at all the Ďfull-timeí courses as well as modular, and have decided that modular is not for me.

That leaves OAA, CTC (their iCP), FTE, Bristol Aviation and Cabair on my list.

I discounted the last one as the reputation is not as good as the others. However, I canít really find much to differentiate CTC, Bristol, FTE and Oxford; lots of personal bias (comments like ĎI trained there therefore it must be bestí). I have found some negative about Oxford in terms of what they promise, and some about CTC in terms of lack of resources; easy to overlook if you are on a sponsored scheme leading to a job, but no so if you are paying your own way. However, my overall impression is that all do a good enough job and the differences are minor and subjective.

Bristol is very attractive financially if you compare it with the others on a like-for-like basis. However, like you I could find out less about them than the others. Therefore, I contacted them direct ([email protected], 01275 467576). This is what I discovered in talking with Bruce, searching on PPRuNe, and talking to ex-students:

They have been around for decades trading as Bristol Flying Centre, and have an A1 reputation as an IR centre.
The FTO was bought last year by an Irish plc and re-branded as Bristol Aviation, but is basically still the same.
Bristol Aviation also took over Sigmar Aviation Training who are a small Irish FTO, and they deliver their Jet Pilot Programme for Sigmar Aviation Training.
Bristol Aviation also took over Sigmar Aviation who are a flight crew recruitment agency.
The Professional Pilot Programme is new, but essentially it is the same training as the existing Jet Pilot Programme.
Bruce can put you in touch with past students of both Bristol Flying Centre and the Jet Pilot Programme, who give very good testimonials; both also come out very positively if you do a PPRuNe search; the training is rated A1, and Port Alfred and Bristol are rated very highly as places to train. There was one critisism about Sigmar Aviation Training and promises they have made to people about placement with CityJet. However, in fairness they all pre-date Bristol Aviation.
The whole shebang is run by a guy who used to run Oxford and was the founder of CTC, so he has a very good track record.

The approach I took was that every FTO will tell you they are great, but I wanted hard evidence to support that. Bruce seems a pretty straight guy; no hard sell, he was very willing to provide past student contacts, and he invited me down to Bristol to have a look. I must say Iím pretty convinced now; seems at least as good as the other big FTOs, and comes with a 10 grand plus cost saving.

See you in South Africa!
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Old 10th Nov 2008, 22:46
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Hi Burger

I am in a similar situation as you. I am 19 and currently in Retail Management full time after leaving school last year. Have wanted to be a commercial pilot all my life and will do whatever it takes to get myself the role of FO. Had a few flying lessons here and there at Cardiff when time and money allows but nothing serious.

I have now made the decision that it is time to make the move, leave full time work so I won't get bogged down with it and start the ball rolling to get my dream!!

However, currently I am debating on whether to start my training now or wait until the industry picks up. I have researched the big 4 FTO's, OAT; Cabair; FTE and CTC and have booked myself onto a seminar at EPTA Bournemouth this coming Saturday.

Only over the past few weeks have I become aware of Bristol Aviation and I must say it seems very appealing based on what I have read on here and seen on their website. As you have done 'Ronnie1982', I am going to contact the school directly and possibly arrange a visit to see just how it is there. Even better, it is only just across the bridge from me as I am living in Cardiff, so not a great commute

I think the best option to us wannabees at present is to get the ATPL ground school done and dusted and then commence flight training when we are sure the industry is on a rise....

Scott
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Old 11th Nov 2008, 08:25
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Aerospace101,

Thanks for the advise. I am willing to take on board all advice given on here, but please can you tell me what you base your advise on.

Thanks
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Old 11th Nov 2008, 08:38
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Ronnie1982,

Thanks for the detailed reply.

I have already spoken in some detail with Bruce Bembridge and have actually met him personally. He certainly does come across as a decent guy with no hard sell and definitely very helpful. I also agree that the website and other information i have got, albeit not a huge amount about Bristol Aviation has all been pretty good and with the much cheaper cost is looking like my best option. Obviously, with the industry as it is right now, the last thing i want is to fork out that huge amount of money, only end up on the pile of negative, bitter wannabes that come on here for their daily moan! Timing is the key here. Aerospace101 has advised that 2010 is the magic number, where he gets this from I am not sure, but the way i see it is, if i start my training earlyish next year, its gonna be into 2010 before i am even close to start finding employment, so that would work out right..... I hope
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Old 11th Nov 2008, 09:17
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Prophead

Thanks for the advice. I was unsure of whether to do my PPL independantly before enrolling on ATPL studies or not.

I suppose as you said, if the industry is unstable at the moment then do the PPL and enjoy the 'real' flying in the mean time whilst hours building.

I'm not to sure if you can start your ATPL ground studies without a PPL or not, I will look into it.

Looks as if I'll be making a visit to Cardiff soon

Scott
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Old 11th Nov 2008, 17:25
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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does anyone know whether port alfred is a safe place to live in?
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Old 11th Nov 2008, 17:27
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safe as a nuns knickers!
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Old 11th Nov 2008, 21:41
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Prophead.

Would you advise against doing the integrated training and if the industry still quiet by the time i'm finished, then doing additional hour building with a local flying club, or possibly para jumps etc? I have seen quite a few people on here advising that route! That way, the minute the industry even looks like picking up, i'm there banging on airline doors!!
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Old 11th Nov 2008, 22:30
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I felt safer in Port Alfred than in some parts of Ireland even It's a lovely place and a fantastic training location, and the training from 43 is top notch.
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Old 12th Nov 2008, 08:42
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bkehoe,

Always good to know its gonna be safe. How long ago did you do your training there? Was it through Bristol Aviaition? Have you got a job yet or still training?
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Old 12th Nov 2008, 12:35
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Prophead,

Realistically and at what rate (hours per week) do you think i could go from zero to CPL/IR going down the modular route? The way i see it, is if it takes over 12 months full time training to get the frozen ATPL, then it would take considerably longer trying to fit in self study along with getting the PPL and then hour building along with a full time job and other distractions. Going down the integrated route, it is 100% focus on the training and study. If at the end of this, there is still a struggle to find employment, then this is when i should surely be looking at the flying club option to keep current and hours building?

I am just trying to look at all my otions, so please do not htink i am being a know it all, beacuase i am far from it I appreciate all the advice given on here

Thanks
Burger81 is offline  
Old 14th Nov 2008, 20:12
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I fundamentally disagree with you Prophead. I have a lot of experience of training both Integrated Course students and Modular students. You are right in saying that the 100 odd hours building a modular student must complete between the PPL and starting the approved training is important. However, it is extremely rare that DIY, unstructured hours building is of any great benefit to the modular student. Time and time again, student pilots present for their CPL or IR at an approved school and are hopelessly unprepared. This is nothing necessarily to do with their aptitude, rather a result of poor training.

PPL courses are of a very variable standard; those completed in just a few weeks seem to be particularly poor, probably because the skills and procedures learnt are not committed to long-term memory and are forgotten as quickly as they are acquired. Typically, at that point, the student pilot has about 50 hours including about 10 PIC. As the license skill tests on the later approved training will add 5hrs PIC at most, the next 100hrs before one can commence a CPL course have to contain no less than 85hrs PIC. So much of the hours building tends to be unsupervised and unstructured, resulting in inadequately prepared entrants to CPL or IR courses.

In contrast the equivalent phase of an integrated course is structured and supervised and, particularly since the reduction of the SPIC and PIC requirements on an integrated course from 50 and 100 hrs to 20 and 70 hrs respectively, it is much more relevant to the training that will follow.

Yes of course it can be damned good fun charging around the World exercising the privileges of your newly acquired PPL. However, if your objective is to become a professional pilot then get yourself on a professional course, and leave the jollies to the amateurs.

This is not an integrated vs modular rant; you can achieve just the same result on a structured modular course as an integrated course. What it is, is advice to avoid DIY training.

I am no longer an employee of any FTO; I'm semi-retired, working freelance as an examiner, and therefore my advice comes without bias.

So called 'cheaper' modular training can all too often turn out to be much more expensive, because the student has squandered the first 150 hours and then finds them self needed retraining in an hideously expensive environment just as the budget starts to get tight.

Get the foundations right and the more expensive 'advanced' training will go smoothly. Get it wrong and you'll regret it all the way to the bank (oh, I forgot, they don't make loans any more).

And Burger, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you, but beware advice on PPRuNe. Some of it is excellent, some based on wide experience, but others have either personal agendas, or limited experience and are trying to justify their own training and career choices without real knowledge of the subject.

Look up sciolist in the dictionary.

Coo, that was a bit of a rant; sorry and Prophead, I'm not having a go at you; I just disagree with your advice, based on considerable experience.
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Old 14th Nov 2008, 23:30
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Bristol Aviation

Without engaging in a debate as to whether now is the right time to train etc etc in response to the original question about BFC/Bristol Aviation; the problem I found when researching this last year is that a person can only give his or her opinion about the schools they have used, and unless their training experience has been particularly fragmented this limits their ability to give an objective opinion.

Keep what I've mentioned above in mind, but I will say that I've just done my IR/CPL with Bristol Aviation and I honestly can't recommend them enough - excellent instructors, aircraft servisability is very good and all the staff genuinely want to get you through first time with the minimum expense, but without compromising training quality which is fantastic. I would recommend giving them a call and arranging a visit if and when you decide to follow the modular training route. The only downside is that BRS is a pain in the arse to get to, but that's not the school's fault. Nice atmosphere too, plus they have a CAA test centre on site which (although not essential) is certainly handy.

Seriously, I was well impressed with them.
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Old 15th Nov 2008, 16:53
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Eurotraveller,

Thank you very much for your post. That is the kind of info i am looking for, although i do take on board everything that people write and appreciate and acknowledge their opinions.

Regards

Mike
Burger81 is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2008, 13:50
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Do you know Prophead; you might have a point. And perhaps it could be extended to other professions. For example, rather than the bore of going though structured vocational training to become, for example, a doctor, perhaps one could do a medical first aid course (anywhere in the world as long as they subscribe to international first aid standards) and then build experience by treating people who need help? Perhaps one could get together with a couple of mates and open a medical drop-in centre. Maybe do a few more hours work by travelling to a 3rd world country to patch up poor people; it wouldnít really matter too much if you were not completely familiar with the more advance procedures because the first aid course will give you the basics and it would be more fun to do it in an unstructured way.

Of course, some people might question whether this DIY form of vocational training will result in the same standards as doing a traditional vocational course at a medical school, but surely, this is what vocational training is all about? The student doctor is building experience and becoming a medical practitioner; practicing working unsupervised. People might say the DIY method is inferior to structured and supervised medical training where you have your hand held and are told how to examine, diagnose and treat patients. However, it would be fair to assume that someone who is heading towards a career as a doctor would be mature and intelligent enough to know that they should be aspiring to achieve a high standard of medicine in all their practice.

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Old 17th Nov 2008, 14:56
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Prophead

I have been reading every post you have posted on this thread with great interest. I totally agree with you in everything you say, that why spend over the odds and do an intense course over a short period of time with the chances of getting a job anytime soon are minimal.

Having taken your advice onboard, which at the moment seems the most realistic, I plan to complete my PPL at Cardiff and join a syndicate of an a/c which is available to me to complete my hours building. Then, if and when the industry is on the up, I plan to go to Bristol GS to complete ATPL studies and onto Bristol Aviation for CPL/IR.

This way I feel that I would not be exposing myself to any huge risks as I would with integrated, and as you have said, train to become a 'good' pilot in command unsupervised and enjoy the real flying.

Thanks for the great advice and keep it coming

Regards

Scott
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Old 17th Nov 2008, 14:56
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Prophead, Fibod,

Thank you very much for both your opinions. I can see it from both points of view. I just want to get out there and get started. I know that doing it part time whilst still working would be worse for me as I have a daughter and would be easily distracted from the ground studies for exams. If doing it through a school full time, that same distraction would not be there during the most of the time and I know any time then spent with her would be quality and not worrying that i should be studying etc

I am just worried at this time about future employment.
If i start the course, aiming for completion with my frozen ATPL around June 2010, what are my options, should there still be a lack of airline jobs??
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