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Air Service Training PATH

Old 8th Feb 2012, 16:37
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Air Service Training PATH

Good evening all.

I am looking to gather some information from anyone who has trained or is currently training on the PATH programme. I understand the pilot training has only recently commenced again so information may be scarce.

I am looking a students view of the training setup, fleet, ground school, instructors, value for money etc.

Feel free to PM me also.
MrBrightside is offline  
Old 11th Feb 2012, 12:05
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: somewhere up north
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Hi, I was one of the members of the first ATPL groundschool course at AST, I have also completed my CPL and doing my IR with ACS flight training who also provide the flight training for AST.

My view of .... is:
Training Setup: The structured modular route seems to work especially if you have some experience and don't want to start again. Whilst still maintaining the form of a more integrated style course.


Fleet: The ACS fleet is generally very good, there are a good number of 152/Pa38's available for hour building and the Arrow and Seneca's used for commercial training are good training aircraft.


Ground School: I did my g/s when AST where using the Bristol notes and under a different CGI, but I know the new CGI and never had any issues with him. Our course generally achieved a decent average (and we were the first course).


Value for Money: Not so sure on this one as I completed my training between the two providers but the ground school element was very good for the cost when compared against the other full time courses.

On the ACS side: I've felt my commercial training has been really top notch and not had any issues at all, I passed my CPL and MEP 1st Series 1st Attempt and I am hoping to do the same with the IR!


Any other Q's PM away!
RJ.146 is offline  
Old 11th Feb 2012, 12:10
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Scotland
Posts: 382
If I was going to do it modular again I'd do the PATH program, you save quite a bit of cash just having the student status. I know all the instructor well enough and you'll not spend bad money there .
Certainly the groundschool is excellent and there's a continuity of training right through that you don't get with most modular set ups.

Well worth it.

Edit and you are also socialising with other people in the same boat. Which means it's less lonely than doing it totally self driven modular.
Dan the weegie is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2012, 15:57
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Age: 31
Posts: 33
I'm currently on the AST PATH course on the ground school phase. Happy with it so far. The ground school is in two modules now using Pro pilot/pad pilot notes on the I-pad in place of the Bristol paper notes. I-pad and paper notes each have their advantage so hard to say which is best but you do get to keep the I-pad at the end of the course which is a boost! This year they split each module into half again to ease the exam week workload and raising the chances of first time pass's. This is an improvement in my view as I was deciding for London Met with the 3 modules but glad i stuck with AST now.

The setup is brilliant with a good airfield, good aircraft, variety of airspace, on site accommodation and with engineering training on site too it gives a great advantage to see A/C systems and components in the flesh adding to your overall knowledge. From word of mouth before i joined, and now on the course, is the flying training side of things provided by ACS is of good quality in a relaxed yet professional manner. Value for money of the overall PATH course is good but the cost of ground school went up this year with the introduction of the i-pads and I personally feel it a little high. Flying training and hour building on the other hand is very reasonable. Unfortunately AST dropped the MCC part of initial course which is now left up to the student to source after completion of PATH the course. Again the advantages/disadvantages of this are debatable.

Another bonus, as already mentioned, is AST is part of the Perth college giving you proper student status and also the security of the school and your funds. Sadly this relationship does not drop the VAT... I think the biggest decider for me was the attitude of the whole school towards the students best interests and not just a commercial sausage factory operation. Lets hope it plays out that way!
tiger88 is offline  
Old 12th Feb 2012, 21:29
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Thanks guys for your input and for answering some of my questions.

Just out of interest how often is flying cancelled due to weather. I know Scottish weather isn't quite the bahamas but was wondering if this had an effect on currency etc.

What is the on site accommodation on site like? And cost?

Thanks again
MrBrightside is offline  
Old 13th Feb 2012, 07:33
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 179
I'd second Tiger88's comment, the schools dedication and focus on the student is exemplary, and other training establishments could learn a lot from their approach. They have an excellent attitude, and a very professional approach.

Cancellation due to weather can be an issue anywhere in the UK, I think I had about 5 days in total during CPL/IR where I couldnít fly (October/November), its pot luck.

Canít comment on the standards of accommodation Ė but it is right on the airfield, so you canít beat the location.
clunk1001 is offline  
Old 13th Feb 2012, 18:49
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: N57
Age: 34
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I just finished on the PATH programme about 3 weeks ago. Started with a PPL and about 75 hours and completed the rest on the PATH programme. Really enjoyed my time there and found the set up to work very well. I used the Bristol GS notes for the groundschool but they are now using PadPilot but the guys same to be happy with it. The lecturers who take the groundschool couldn't be any more helpful. Their mostly ex RAF guys and have to say they really seem to know their stuff. They provide really good support and any questions all you have to do is ask. AST have a hangar for their engineering students with Jetstream 31, Cessna 310's and a whole host of other stuff including engines, landing gear etc which is a big adavantage when it comes to the aircraft general knowledge side.

The flying side is just as good as the groundschool. Like said above the PPL/hour building is C152/PA38 with the option of paying a bit more and using a PA28 Archer which are very nicely kitted out. CPL is carried out on a Piper Arrow and the ME/IR on Seneca II's. They aren't brand spanking new planes but they fly well, are well kitted out and well maintained. With ACS having an engineering hangar on site any problem which may arise is sorted in no time and 50/150hr checks are carried out without causing disruption to the flying programme. There's also the benefit of a FNPT II sim on site which is also a bonus.

Their is accomodation on site which is very handy. Their is a range of accomodation but I stayed in a 2 bedroom house with one of the other guys on the course and the total cost was £265 per person (fully furnished) per month. There is no council tax to pay due to student status and its approx an extra £30 per month per person for the electricity. The accomodation is reasonably modern and you can find details if you google Morris Leslie and look up the property section.

Like anywhere in the UK the weather can have an effect. Yes there was days where it wasn't flyable but in the grand scheme of things it wasn't really an issue. In fact a think it was a bonus as when the weather did chnage it sharpened up the decision making as well as the flying skills. There's also the benefit of 3 runways, lots of uncotrolled airspace and controlled airspace in the immediate vicinity, VOR on site, ILS/NDB close by at Dundee and the main international airports of EDI and GLA close by providing a real mix of flying and lots of facilities in preparation for the IR.

Overall I could personally thoroughly recommend the PATH programme, nice realxed atmosphere but with the professional attitude and support I thought it was an excellent place to train at.
J McK is offline  
Old 13th Feb 2012, 20:33
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Scotland
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What is the on site accommodation on site like? And cost?
It's actually very nice in comparison to OAAs accomodation which was absolutely disgusting. I've stayed in both and I'm fairly fussy. There's a range available from basic hotel room, 1 and 2 bed flats and studio apartments. It's all pretty flexible really.

The weather is the weather and you'll lose a few days to it but I have not heard anyone complain about it. In other schools you'll hear much more whining about lack of instructors and/or planes and they don't have this problem.
Dan the weegie is offline  
Old 16th Feb 2012, 13:29
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Just out of interest, for those of you who are studying or have completed the course, what are your ambitions within aviation? Is the course tailored toward future airline employment.

Is there no longer the possibility to complete the MCC at all with AST?
MrBrightside is offline  
Old 17th Feb 2012, 10:02
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Age: 31
Posts: 33
I should clarify on the MCC part. AST, or ACS, never had the facilities to provide the MCC and this was outsourced to other FTO's, namely Multiflight. However the cost and arrangements of the MCC where included in the initial PATH program but has been dropped for a couple of reasons. I was disappointed to hear this but its not the end of the world. Some recruitment by airlines is done at the MCC stage. So allowing the individual student to source the MCC for themselves at a preferred venue who may have some links with a preferred airline could be favorable. It could also allow the student to find the most financially favored option so overall there is a bit more flexibility. I was disappointed as i had factored in the MCC with AST, even having had it included in my initial quote, but upon starting the course found it was no longer included.

Regarding students ambitions, we are all in the same boat. We all wish to pursue a career in aviation with the majority seeking the airlines. This is no different to any other schools or individuals. But its getting into the airlines thats the tricky part, regardless of where you trained, as everyone knows. AST used to supply BA with alot of its pilots back in the 80's and early 90's. AST also has connections with asian and middle eastern airlines, more so from the engineering side these days, but it may increase your chances if applying with these certain airlines having trained with AST.

Hope that helps. I would suggest arranging a visit to AST in person, unsure where you are based but it would certainly help make a decision.
tiger88 is offline  
Old 20th May 2012, 10:09
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: EGPD
Posts: 39
Hello, just wondering how much does the PATH programme cost? There is no mention of this on their website. Also as you have 'student' status is there any entitlement to loans/grants/bursaries to help funding?
ABZ777 is offline  
Old 20th May 2012, 13:34
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
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Cost is tailored to each student dependent on their flying experience prior to start, such as if you already have a PPL, or the required hours to start the CPL. But as a guide they aim to keep the entire PATH from zero hours under 50k. Best thing is to e-mail them for a quote taking account of any experience you may have.

Guys have tried for bursaries but unfortunately it didn't come to anything, then again its all down to personal circumstances. The college does give you the required supporting documentation to apply though. Don't know anyone who tried the student loan route.

Last edited by tiger88; 20th May 2012 at 13:43.
tiger88 is offline  
Old 20th May 2012, 13:52
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Join Date: Aug 2008
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tiger88 many thanks for your help. I already have my PPL and not yet started ATPL ground school. I dont have enough hours to start any CPL training so would require the hour building as well but surprised to hear from 0-fATPL the whole thing will come in at under 50k! I've heard good things about them and have fired off an email. Does anyone know whether the career development loan can be used towards funding this sort of route? Many thanks for the help
ABZ777 is offline  
Old 20th May 2012, 13:59
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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ACS / AST Expericance

I don't usually post on prune but after my experiences at Perth I thought I would like to share my opinions. Although I conducted all my training at Acs not ast , they are the providers of the flight training part of the course.

Hour Building! Acs have a very large fleet of C152s and PA38 tomahawks all maintained to an excellent standard! They had very good availability on there aircraft an actively encouraged there students to hire the aircraft all day and visit further airfield! There rates were highly competitive with it coming in at around 100 pounds an hour which for what I got a pa38 with ils,vor,adf and sockets to put gps into I found very reasonable! With free landings at Perth this was also an added bonus! At times it almost felt like my own personal aircraft.

CPL- They have 3 CPL instructors , all are very highly experienced guys with the least having 1500 hours total! The course is conducted in the piper arrow for all 25 hours which I felt was well worth it compared to some schools who offer 15 hours on archers first! So the teaching- Each leason started with a thorough briefing in there well equipped classrooms and were conducted in an interesting and non rushed manner! I felt during the flying part that my instructor was always keen to teach mE thoroughly but also not willing to waste my money. I completed the cpl in just over minimum hours with a first time pass and could not be more happy with my experience! In all in took around 5 weeks with very little time being lost to the weather! Throughout the course I had the same Instructor with the aircraft mostly being shared between myself an another CPL student!

Mep/IR - For the IR they use the piper Seneca and FNPT 2! For the IR I was allocated CFI John Stewart! I have to say this guy was a complete god when it came to teaching and although I've flown with a good 10 instructors nobody will ever come close! The IR took me 7 weeks again with minimal days off due to the weather and again very close to minimum hours with a first time pass! The 2 senecas were very well maintained and I never had a fault with them at all! With an on site maintenance facilities problems would be sorted out usually within an hour or so! Again I had John throughout the whole course with all his attention being varied between me and his one other IR conversion student.The IR training is conducted usually at either Dundee, Abderdeen or Glasgow with very limited transiting times to each of these destinations.With Perth having it's own VOR is also meant being able to practice instrument approaches without having to travel and waste value money in the cruise.Throughout the course the teaching I experienced was of a very high standard and I felt I was not taught only to pass the test but to actually prefer myself for flying in real IFR environment!

Overall the experience I had was a very positive one and I would have no trouble recommending ACS to anyone! With great instructors and a well organised student manager who always let you know your slots and times in advance , they are definitely a great school! if you want quality training for a good price I'd look know further!

Last edited by 4redsyourdead; 20th May 2012 at 14:03.
4redsyourdead is offline  
Old 20th May 2012, 15:41
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Age: 31
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What 4redsyourdead said sums up the school very well, as do the previous posts. The ACS flying training part of the course is to a very high standard with very good first time pass records, hoping i can join the trend soon! The fact they also conduct the entire CPL on the arrow is a great bonus which is not often recognized, and the CPL cost is still very competitive with other schools using the archer or equivalent for those first 15 hours.

There is actually an even better value hour building agreement now between AST and ACS providing you sign up to complete the CPL with them. ACS dedicate a C152 to the AST students at £85-90 per hour wet with good availability which is hard to come by at any school.

The quality ACS flight training paired with the AST ATPL residential groudschool makes it a hard package to beat.
tiger88 is offline  
Old 17th Aug 2012, 09:58
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Belfast
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Since you are classed as a student, does that mean that you are eligible to apply for a student loan for this?
ggargan is offline  
Old 20th Aug 2012, 09:38
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Scotland
Posts: 382
Not sure, you'd need to check with UHI in Perth. Only the groundschool is considered a student course but you could easily finish all the training before your status ran out.
Dan the weegie is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2012, 12:48
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 40
Wow, I've only read good reviews about this establishment.(There must be some hiccups no?). Looks like I'll have to check it out. Thank you everyone for your input.
Lakhan is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2012, 13:43
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Join Date: Dec 2009
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The only downside is that its in Perth and not a proper city like GlasgowOn a serious note after I left ACS, which i have wrote about above, I secured a job 3 months later flying the 737. All in all they provided a quality service that helped me secure my dream job.
4redsyourdead is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2015, 15:23
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Edinburgh
Age: 24
Posts: 2
Just thought I'd through in my two cents to update this a bit.

I joined AST's PATH course after looking around other FTO's.

The flying training is conducted through ACS Aviation and ground school is AST, however it is all monitored by AST.

PPL Training: My PPL training was second to none. I had a few flying lessons prior to joining and I felt the instruction I had was top quality and very friendly guys. ACS have a PPL training fleet of numerous C152/172/PA-38 - standard training aircraft, no fancy glass cockpit, real machines to keep you on your toes, great for initial training I think. A good selection of airfields and airspace nearby Perth to allow you to explore and not be stuck in Class G. ACS have a club at Glasgow Int. as well and it's fun to go land for a decent fee.

Groundschool: Hour building is done in conjunction with ground school. GS lasts for 8 months if you don't fail anything, and in all honesty if you can't pass your exams here, you will find it hard to pass anywhere else. What I mean by that is; the lecturers are really great. I had Santiago (ex. BMI captain, British Antarctic Survey pilot and numerous other qualifications), Herb (ex. RAF Hercules, Phantom, etc), Norm (ex. Dash-8 Captain) and Gerard (CTKI, ex. BA engineer). My class was relatively small, 8 students at most which gave us a really good bond with the lecturers and allowed opportunities for them to take time to sit and explain any problems I had. The lecturers even gave me their e-mail/phone no. in order to ask any questions out of class, great customer experience here. And unsurprisingly, no exam fails! Lectures are 9am-12:30pm and self study with the lecturers till' 4:30pm. We used PadPilot on iPad and ATPL question bank. Also in class we have the Bristol and Oxford books if we should need to reference them. AST also provides engineering training and during AGK we would visit the engineering hangar and do practical lessons there with the engines, electrics etc - great way to learn.

ME/IR/CPL: Training is provided by ACS on the Piper Seneca and FNPII sim and Arrow. I am yet to complete this portion of training, and will update this post as necessary. I do know from current students that the ME/IR/CPL instructors are second to none, very good at teaching, patient and understanding. No one is there to waste time or money which is nice to know.

Student Life: I find student life to be good. I commute daily from Edinburgh and the drive is just short of 1hr. With the PATH course, you are an official 'student' and get discount in most high street shops. No training funding though. AST aim to keep the cost down for students though and through research, the PATH course is surprisingly well priced for a course like this. Do your research, you'll know what I mean. Students have access to the college and UHI library which I used nightly, canteen too for dinner. ATPLs are hard and I would encourage people to study day and night - 8 months flies by. I keep hearing of past students getting picked up by airlines which is pleasant to hear. Perth City is nothing like Edinburgh or Glasgow, but to look on the bright side, there isn't much to distract your studies!

All in all, I would highly recommend this course to anyone looking to complete their ATPL training with a professional FTO that actually cares about you, provides great teaching and has a great reputation. If you're struggling a bit, they will do their best to get you back on track, not dismiss you from the course. The AST/Student relationship is great.

Feel free to PM me for any questions and I'll try and answer as best as possible.
robbiecockburn is offline  

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