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Help with Norwich based flight schools

Old 23rd Feb 2011, 14:51
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Norwich
Posts: 1
Red face Help with Norwich based flight schools

Hello to anyone that can help me,

For those wishing to leave a cocky comment due to my lack of inexperience within the flying community please leave now. My background is as follows :-

After joining the army straight from school I always had a passion of wishing to be a pilot but had one holdback, Im color blind.
Despite this I applied to be a pilot in the army but was instantly turned away due to the obvious.

I have now left the army after completing eight and a half years and am working on civvy street in a respectable job in the finance industry and one day came across an article by the FAA. There is now testing for color blind individuals to potentially lead on and become commercial pilots.
The new test being the CAD color test. I applied and fortunately passed despite being slightly color deficient, I can now in the long run potentially be a commercial pilot which like I imagine a number of people here, has been a life long ambition.

So my long term aim is either CPL or ATPL, for which im still trying to come to terms with the difference apart from the CPL not having as many written exams and not as many flying hours and the ATPL for 1500 hours which seems a little unrealisitic at this point so maybe a frozen ATPL ?? You tell me.

So first things first, PPL. I have an idea of cost for all of these courses aswell having looked around but the main thing is getting a good training school. I believe there are 4 in Norwich where I live and all of similar price so which do I choose ??? Do any of you have any personal experience of these bad or good ???

Secondly, im trying to find where the closest school is to complete the ATPL frozen or CPL course (obviously in the long run) as the schools in Norwich dont seem to provide this.

I just wanted to some personal opinions on the four schools at Norwich from people before I go there and speak to them as I know some will be better at selling their services than others, whilst possibly not providing the best service.

The schools in mind are the following :-

Anglian Air Centre
Premier Flight Training Ltd
Sterling Aviation
The Norwich School of Flying

This is not something I can just splash out on straight away and do a fast track course, like most people this will be coming out of my own savings and earnings over the next few years.

Despite in total everything costing in excess of 50k, no guarantees of a commercial airline pilots license at the end and alot of hard work, is there anything else I should know aswell ?

Many thanks for reading, apologies if im rusty on the old terminology as I have noone to speak to apart from a flying school who may try to sell me anything and everything, thanks again and look forwards to your responses!!!
Rickyc99 is offline  
Old 23rd Feb 2011, 17:09
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 81
Hi Ricky,

I feel for you not knowing if you will be able to become a pilot due to colour-blindness and I hope whatever R&D they are doing will be able to help you achieve your goals.

As for where to do your PPL I would suggest visiting each school in Norwich and deciding based on your personal experience. Remember that cheapest price per hour may not mean best school and if you end up going to the cheapest school and they have poor instruction, you could end up needing more hours to complete your PPL. Go for a couple of trial lessons at the two you like the most and then decide.

As for ATPL's/CPL etc. don't just go for the nearest available school, make sure you check out a number of them and again, pick the one which suits you best for quality of training. Although if you are planning on commuting everyday you may be limited to ones nearer to you.

Sorry for being a bit vague but I haven't really got any experience of Norwich schools, I am just a bit further south in Suffolk and Essex

Good Luck
lander66 is offline  
Old 23rd Feb 2011, 18:08
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Hoylake
Age: 48
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The FAA (USA) article you read has nothing to do with the UK, if I were you I would book a Class 1 medical at Gatwick and go from there, no point training for the PPL in the UK if you cant get the Class 1 medical required for the commercial side.
If you can get the medical in the states (FAA) then thats the only licence available to you.
Nearly There is offline  
Old 23rd Feb 2011, 18:37
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And there's little point getting an FAA Commercial licence if you don't have the entitlement to work in the States or in the countries which operate under the FAA regime.

Sterling Aviation, as far as I know, do not offer fixed wing training, only helicopter training.


Whirlygig is offline  
Old 23rd Feb 2011, 22:31
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 13
Hi Ricky

If it helps, I've been a member of Premier Flight Training for about 6 years, up until the end of 2010 where lack of money has ceased my flying for a while. I've never visited Anglian Air Centre, or Norwich School of Flying so wouldn't wish to comment.

Anyway, Premier.....PPl training carried out on PA28's, which are good in terms of equipment/standard, they also have a Robin 2160 if interested in a two seater aerobatic aircraft post ppl. Pictures can be seen on their website.

Their premises has recently moved to the old Flybe premises which is accesed via Fifers Lane, as opposed to the main airport building. It is bigger and improved, the only downside is that the aircraft aren't so close, and you have to go through security (photo ID required) to get there, although this may be normal practice at other airports.

CFI is ex Training Captain from KLM uk
Another instructor is ex Dan-Air B707 pilot with tens of thousand of hours.
A relatively new instructor has come from finishing a full time ATPL course at Oxford, despite admittingly thinking how young he was to be an instructor, I've only flown with him once but I was impressed at his professionalism.
The examiner used to work at Premier but he now works at Norwich with flying executive aircraft.
The aerobatics instructor is an Eastern Airways pilot.

Good people, nice aircraft, useful online booking system, no complaints.

I've enjoyed flying out of Norwich, although can get depressing if you have to wait a while for commercial traffic, but as a learner I got myself stuck in bad weather ATC always helpful. If you visit Premier, definitely ask about landing fees, they're not cheap at Norwich anymore, but they do a good deal if you practice circuits.

go visit, see what you think.

As for ATPL schools, when I started searching for those nearest Norwich, Cranfield and Stapleford appeared to be closest. I made enquiries with Bonus Aviation (didn't visit), and Stapleford Flight Centre. Stapleford had my vote as soon as I saw their sim, and had a look at their DA40.

Happy flying.
Waryhawk is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2011, 13:53
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: England
Age: 29
Posts: 331
Hi Ricky,

I currently work as a Volunteer with Premier Flight Training as a Operations Assistant, and from a personal view, I have always found PFT to be a fasntastic flying school.

There is alot of expertise to be found from the Flying Instructors and as Waryhawk stated 'come and have a visit' and just have a look around.

We are fully equipped with all Flying equipment, believe me, I had to price it all up .

NDW is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2011, 15:33
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Not where I want to be!
Posts: 116
Hi Ricky,

Like one of the previous posts suggested, you must check about the colour blindness issue with the UK CAA. Just because the FAA are doing these new tests does not mean the CAA here will automatically do the same. I always suggest to people that before spending any money on flight training you must obtain a class one medical from the CAA at Gatwick. It is expensive but at least you will know where you stand.

I sincerely hope that you get the medical certificate. It may interest you that I actually failed my initial CAA class one medical on being too long sighted. I was out of their prescribed limits. However, after much further testing at my own expense and a very long appeals process, I passed and have subsequently gone on to have a very successful career as an Airline Pilot.

Also remember that if you can get an FAA class one medical now, you can still become a Pilot. There are many biz jets and operators worldwide that will accept an FAA licence. It just means you won't be able to fly aircraft registered under the JAA states (i.e. Europe). There are many american registered aircraft in the UK also, which means you can still fly no problem.

Assuming all goes well, choose the flight school that you feel is right for you. For example, how did they greet you, did they spend enough time explaining their organisation and training courses to you? What did the facility's look like? You get the idea.

I wish you the best of luck
Busbar is offline  
Old 24th Feb 2011, 15:58
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 134
Anglian Air Centre is a good school, but I would go and pay them all a visit. Its not like they are far apart and its always best to look for yourself to see if you get a good feeling about the place.

The class 1 medical aspect is obviously extremely important if your goal is just to go down the commercial route. If you aren't going to get a PPL if you can't get a class 1 medical, then finding out about that aspect would be my priority. I am pretty sure that you can download the eye test limits/tolerances etc from the CAA website. If you give this to your optician, they should be able to give a pretty good indication of whether they think you would pass the eye test for a class 1 before you part with 300 plus of hard earned!

You are right that there is not a lot going on in East Anglia by way of commercial flight training. Stapleford is the closest and has a good reputation. But if you are going to stay away for the week whilst doing a cpl/ir, you might as well drive 3 or 4 hrs instead of 2? So don't let distance restrict you from going to the best school for you.

Briefly, you need a 'frozen' ATPL to get employment with an airline. A fATPL is really just CPL/ME/IR/MCC (with 14 ATPL Theory exam passes)which becomes unfrozen when you have 1500 hrs. There is more to it than this, but thats it roughly!

Good luck and let us know how you get on!
119.35 is offline  
Old 25th Feb 2011, 22:23
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bristol UK
Age: 43
Posts: 14
Smile West Norfolk Flt Schools

Have you thought of Sky Blue Flight Training.. its a bit further to drive if you live in Norwich but with one to one tuition and no landing fees could be worth the the extra drive...check out the web site
Sky Blue Flight Training - Home did revalidation in there lovely Piper Warrior..

PM if you need any more info
flygirl 001 is offline  
Old 26th Feb 2011, 10:18
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: UK
Age: 42
Posts: 27
For your PPL consider Seething

Hi Ricky

One more option you should seriously consider is Seething airfield its about a third cheaper than the other options but its a cooperative club and you have to chip in.

Anyway a great place to get your PPL and then do some hour building.

Please check out Seething Airfield - Flying Club

I would be happy to give you the tour but I am out of the country till April feel free to PM me otherwise just visit there one Saturday have a cup of tea and a chat with some of the members.

If your heart is set on Norwich I have not heard anything bad about any of the options just go have a couple of lessons at each and see how you get on with the instructors.
SefonSA is offline  
Old 26th Feb 2011, 10:40
  #11 (permalink)  

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but with one to one tuition
Sorry but how else do you do flight training?


Whirlygig is offline  
Old 26th Feb 2011, 10:48
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: UK
Posts: 115
The UK CAA were instrumental on developing the CAD test!

Ricky well done on doing your research and finding out about it and good luck in your flying career.

The CAA have a list of approved flight training organisations broken down to who is able to provide what. I can't help on choosing for your PPL but continue your research for CPL/IR schools whilst you are deciding what to do. As various posters have suggested - visit places and speak to students, find out about the instructors. I know of one school (hundreds of miles from you) where the student had 4 different instructors in 4 flights.

All the best with your future flying.
kui2324 is offline  
Old 26th Feb 2011, 12:11
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Thule
Posts: 33
Ricky Hi.

Consider FAA training in the States. You can also do the FAA in the UK at the FAA flying schools. In Southend there is one called Willow Air. If you go to Willow at Southend Airport - they will give you the low down on getting an FAA licence PPL/CPL/ATPL.

The FAA training is different from the UK / JAR (european) training.

Go to Willow and ask them for the difference.

I did both.

The UK/JAR way is academic costly and extra hard, the exam objectives are to see if you have read the material/memorised it and are able to decipher purposely ambiguous questions.
Go to Bonus Aviation for your studies and flying or to Bristol. Good luck.
Wherever you go - the process is costly.

The FAA method is comparatively pragmatic. The exam objective is to see if you have read and memorised the material and can answer the questions which are written in plain English. As everything is unambiguous
and unbiased then it is comparatively cheaper.

If you go to the States to do your training - then got to and find out what courses they have which would fit your requirements or FlightSafety International - not cheap, at all. Or PanAm International Academy. All of the above mentioned places (Brit and non-Brit will do you a course from ab-intio (= don`t know a thing) right through to ATPL = Airline Transport Pilots Licence.

You would do best to get your PPL first. Then when you have done that - realise that the CPL will be easier as you have covered a lot of the subject matter and a lot harder because there is <<MASSES>> more to study. yup.

If you are prepared to study like a b---h then nothing will stand in your way.

Good luck. If you have the wonga - go to these places.

Enjoy - don`t lose sight of the objective. ATPL/IR/ME

Make sure your colour blindness thing is written in stone, before you part with a penny/cent !! See what the airlines say - as, they are the people who are going to employ you - not the flying training industry. . . unless you want to be an Instructor - there you will fly and may, may, make `some` money - even enough to live. So, `clear it` with your . . potential employer(s) first.

Added: Also, Ricky, if you are feeling good about the FAA route - then do it my friend. My biggest mistake in life is that I chose the UK route first.
I may get hammered for saying that and have been in many fights as a result - but, it is sickeningly true - "why have 14,000 UK pilots gone to do their training in the states" asked the last Prime Minister.

Last edited by Upper Air; 26th Feb 2011 at 12:46. Reason: Lost my pencil case
Upper Air is offline  
Old 26th Feb 2011, 12:57
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Upper Air, are you currently employed as a pilot using your FAA licence? Just curious, given your location is England.


Whirlygig is offline  
Old 28th Feb 2011, 12:06
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Thule
Posts: 33
I did both.

In my post - I wrote, I did both?

Was this relevant to Ricky`s question?

Were you stating the obvious?
Upper Air is offline  
Old 28th Feb 2011, 14:06
  #16 (permalink)  

Hovering AND talking
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Propping up bars in the Lands of D H Lawrence and Bishop Bonner
Age: 57
Posts: 5,707
Upper Air, I asked if you were currently employed as a piliot using your FAA licence? I didn't ask whether you had an FAA licence but whether you were using it.

It is relevant to the OP's question as I see little point in a UK citizen getting an FAA licence if they do not ahve the right to work in the States or other ICAO country which accepts the FAA licence regime. I can't imagine there is a great deal of call for FAA rated commercial pilots who are UK citizens.

Therefore, I don't think suggesting an FAA licence is a good idea unless you also explain the costs and requirements of conversion to JAA.

However, if I'm wrong and your FAA licence is accepted for commercial work in the UK, I stand by to be corrected.


Whirlygig is offline  

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