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Which modular school to choose ?

Old 4th Nov 2016, 22:24
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Which modular school to choose ?

Hello
I am currently a PPL, with 72 PIC hours and only 28 hours remaining before the CPL requirements. I also have a night rating and a class 1 medical (since this morning ). I currently live in Toulouse.

I should be starting my ATPL distance learning very soon.
I chose the cheapest distance ATPL near my home : ESMA, montpellier
Would anyone like to challenge this choice ?

I was also hesitating about the next step : the flight training school.
Two years ago, I told my father that I did not want him to pay for an expensive masters degree abroad, and went for a free masters degree in France, so he might very well pay or help pay for my training, and I may be able to not borrow any money, which I realise is very lucky.

Since I have almost the requirements for the CPL, want a distance ATPL theory learning, and since I want to be trained faster, I decided not to join an integrated ATPL. If anyone would like to protest this decision, this is the opportunity.

I looked at several schools and have noticed some categories, mainly based on price (always in below)
- Cheap eastern european schools (prices between 10k-20k for CPL IR ME MCC)
- French schools (all around 30k) (their advantage would be a lower cost of living on site, since I have family near two-three interesting french FTOs)
- English cheap schools (around 28k) (Their advantage would be improving my oral english)
- English expensive schools (CTC, OAA, FTE Jerez, about between 50 and 60k)
- Scandinavian schools (30-35k)

What advice could you give about choosing my future FTO ?
Does the choice of the FTO really change the chance of finding a job ?

If my father is to pay for a significant part of my training, I would rather him see a result rather than a saving.
To put it differently, I think he would not care to pay a bit more if that maximized the chance of me getting a job.

Given all this, what FTO would you recommend I choose ?

Some people have recommended me DFAS in Sweden, some have recommended the 3 most expensive english schools, some others told that the latter 3 were a ripoff... I don't know what to think anymore.

I really have no other criteria than maximizing my chance of getting an airline job.

Thanks

(P.S. : my plan is to apply for the MPL programme and take the ENAC selective examination just before sitting the ATPL theory exams, just on the offchance I would be successful)
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Old 5th Nov 2016, 06:09
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What BPI said, but looking at current trends within EASA, make sure that you have visible training in the softer skills, such as teamwork and/or leadership. Although some airlines are receptive to modular training, they are finding that many candidates are failing in the final stages for these reasons, because they typically study on their own. Some may argue that their selection process is at fault, but that is the trend. In other words, budget for an MCC course.

I can put you in touch with a seriously good language instructor in Paris who will sort problem 3 out.
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Old 5th Nov 2016, 15:23
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Originally Posted by button push ignored View Post
KayPam.
Good question.
That's why I will give my advice.

I think your best bet is option #2. Stay in France. Be at home for the ground school and stay with relatives for the flying. Living expenses are a huge part of this.

Option #1 is also good if you have little money. But that's not you. So it's not a good choice you you, others yes.

There is no point in option #3. If you want to improve your English, just go on vacation to England.

Option #4 is a terrible choice. There is no status in overpaying for something.

Option #5 Why?

If you want your father to help, then have him pay for a type rating.

Good luck, I wish you well.
Regarding the softer skills and my english level : one of the reasons I could not get into the EZY MPL programme with CTC, is that although my english level is sufficient for day to day living, it did not allow me to actively participate in a heated conversation of native speakers. I need a few tenth of seconds after each intervention to prepare my own intervention. The native did not need this small delay and were monopolising the conversation.
The other French guy with me had the same kind of problem even though his level (elsewhere) seemed very good.

I do not need an instructor: I need to speak, write, think, live in english 24/7 for a few months. That's why I would be willing to spend the extra 4-5k for the cost of living (see below my calculation)

Thanks to my current job, I have unlimited access to all FCOMs for all airlines of the entire airbus fleet, as well as some aero data : would you recommend I read them in an exhaustive manner ? (I currently read only the small bits I need)

The total duration of the CPL IR ME MCC JOC should be around 4-5 months so living expenses abroad could be kept down to about 4-5k€ I believe.
Some cheaper options might be available, with certain schools providing on site accomodation at a fair price.
A swedish school for instance is 246 000 SEK (about 24.7k€) for CPL IR ME and housing, an additional MCC/JOC can be found for a low price elsewhere, bringing the total to about 30k.

I have thought about how to become a pilot for years and I have not been sure of many things but the one thing that I considered obvious is that joining a french FTO would be a waste of money.
You seem to disagree : why ?

The advantage of England would be getting a real ICAO lvl 6 (what do you believe english sound like when spoken in France by french controllers and instructors ? :lol: )
People have told me that this swedish school had a higher chance of getting me a job.

Do you really think my chances of finding a job will be the same, regardless of the FTO I go to ?
What about the "placement pool" of the three trending english schools ?
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Old 6th Nov 2016, 01:59
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Several reasons for preferring an english school, however point (1) has to be kept in mind.
- I reckon that an international experience is always more valuable.
When I will be in front of a recruiter, he will probably be non-French.
It will be easier to convince him that I can adapt to an international environment if I went to train abroad instead of a city near my hometown.

- Yes, the english level (I truly value a native speaker's english) as well as a price that's similar

- Real IFR conditions all year long ( :lol: )

(1) However if any school gives me a slightly better chance of getting a job, I will go there regardless of country, language, etc..

Does anyone believe the choice of school has an influence of my chance of getting a job ?
If it is the case, which one(s) ?
If not, I will simply go to the school with the most beautiful airplanes, accomodations, or other stupid criteria (I don't like the looks of the tecnam aircraft)
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Old 6th Nov 2016, 23:27
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Good night again

I found this page :
https://www.aurigny.com/HTML/EN/pilo...e.aspx?lang=EN
And they basically recommend integrated over modular, and the three english schools over all others..

This seems to be confirmed by some elements :
- Volotea recruiting their cadets mainly from some selected FTOs (according to pilotjobnetwork)
- Ryanair only recruiting their cadets from the CAE TR programme

Like I said, paying 50k instead of 40k is totally realistic and reasonable from our point of view (me and my father's) if this increases the chance of getting an airline job
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Old 7th Nov 2016, 09:09
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With respect, KayPam, your statement about Ryanair is wrong. Ryanair recruit widely from both integrated and modular programmes with no (as in zero) links to any ab-initio flight school, with the one excepted area below. AFAIK the selection is completed before the TR course. They do use CAE for the type rating but that does not imply a link to CAE Oxford or that they source pilots from any particular ATO. Their Head of Training, Andy O'Shea, consistently says in presentations that (i) there is no discernible difference between modular or integrated trained candidates and (ii) irrespective of which 'selection' procedures candidates have been through before starting at their respective flight schools 50% are fundamentally unemployable. The inference is that the majority of ATOs' selection procedures are ineffective, although doubtless many would dispute that statement this is the judgement of possibly the largest end user in Europe.

The one excepted area is that Ryanair say they are keen to recruit local pilots who will wish to stay in southern and eastern European bases and now appear to be asking for some of the better (mainly modular) schools in those areas (Poland, Italy, Greece) to recommend pilots after CPL IR and before MCC/JOC with the apparent intention of selecting candidates at that point and Ryanair doing the MCC/JOC themselves to a standard that they consider useful, with the upgraded MCC/JOC transitioning smoothly to a TR.

See David Learmount's blog, although his understanding of how the APC course will possibly fit in is slightly different to mine.
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Old 7th Nov 2016, 10:52
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Thanks for that answer.

So what do you reckon I should do, in light of these elements ? (it looks like you're telling i should use other criteria like price, country.. and not FTO's reputation)

Should I even reconsider my desire of becoming a pilot since there is apparently a statistical 50% chance i'm unsuitable for the job ?
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Old 7th Nov 2016, 13:36
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You should be aware that there are a large number of unemployed pilots in Europe still, and empirical evidence seems to suggest these are ryanair's 'unemployables'. If you look at the Learmount article you will see that the fail point is not technical skill - 'Can I fly an ILS?' - but soft skills such as situational awareness, communication, operation as part of a team, etc. Some people have these skills naturally or as result of their upbringing or life experience, others need to be taught them. You may have an idea now whether you have them or not.

In the airline world these are known as 'competencies', and the training system that develops them is 'competency based training'. The aim is to produce not just pilots but functional first officers and captains. There are some very good ATOs that train along these lines, many that ignore them completely and a whole range in between. An FTO's reputation is a guide to their ability to deliver these skills but only a guide because many 'well recommended' FTOs ignore them completely. You will see competency based training most as you get closer to the airlines, MCC/JOC and type ratings, but this is how the airline will assess you. In early training your chosen FTO may not help you much with this but you can help yourself.

In the end the decision has to be yours but I would say:
  • Integrated or modular makes no difference, there are good and bad in both camps.
  • An English speaking FTO would be an advantage for you but it doesn't have to be in England. Your written English is very good.
  • An English language groundschool would be good value - I'll say no more about this as I run an English groundschool, however others are available. I don't think a French language ATPL course would help you half as much as you would learn aviation French, not aviation English. 'Le badin' etc...
  • Don't write off low price Eastern or southern European FTOs for flying courses. Some are very good at what they do and incredibly cheap by UK/French standards.
  • Research research research. Do not be convinced by glossy websites.
  • Work on your soft skills, learn how to communicate effectively, be part of a team, build life experience.

Just out of interest, we are involved with selection for the Wings Alliance, they have a similar fail rate to Ryanair's, also mainly for soft skills. There are many technical hurdles to overcome as you go through flying training, PPL, ground exams, skills test, IR, but you won't get a job on the basis of your technical skill. Everyone with a license (in theory) has those same technical skills, you will be employed on the basis of soft skills.

Last edited by Alex Whittingham; 7th Nov 2016 at 13:54.
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Old 7th Nov 2016, 23:20
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I am aware that there are many unemployed pilots, and I know some of them. Three of my instructors in my current airclub are fully qualified wannabe airline pilots, two of wich graduated from the ENAC. However I will get my fATPL regardless.. That is the sort of irrationality that comes with passion.

I understand you're working for BGS.
Regarding the theory, I will most probably go for a French school.
Obviously, I will ask for english books and tests. The only loss when compared to an english ground school will be the mandatory two weeks of on-site training : not in immersion across the channel

It is nice to have someone point out so early in the process of becoming a pilot the importance of soft skills. (2)
Thanks for clearing up the "competency based" thing. I passed a competency-based interview with CTC-EZY without knowing exactly what it was (but failed the group interview(1))
In my opinion, soft skills are the most prominent if not the only skills assessed during interview, I'm telling that from my engineering experience (2). So I reckon basically everybody should work on them. However (1) is the sign that I in particular should work on them !
Comment (2) : If anybody had told me no one cared about my technical skills during an interview I would have prepared for my engineering interview differently.. But that's a whole other subject.

Things I imagine would be positive points for an FTO regarding pilot soft skills :
- Instructors letting students take responsibility an truly train them for a captain position at the maximum of the legal possibilities. (ie on a single pilot aircraft)
- Training in small groups of student. Maybe a daily study of the weather conditions in the morning, preparing the airplanes and hangaring them, backseating and flying different branches of a bigger navigation flight
- Like you said introduction of MCC concepts as soon as possible

I've looked at the wings alliance website.
Could you single out any school among these ?
It is very difficult to make an informed choice. Most of the time I will only get one or two reviews. Like this guy told me aeros were the leaders for modular training. The next one told me aeros were a catastrophy and recommended DFAS.

It might be very difficult to go and visit them. Even more so to really evaluate them. That would require backseating for at least a flight and spending at least a day on the facilities..

This seems interesting :
https://www.wingsalliance.eu/training/apc-application/
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Old 8th Nov 2016, 05:22
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You won't go wrong with Aeros. They have very high standards.
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Old 8th Nov 2016, 08:51
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Morning KayPam, I didn't mean to imply that technical skills are ignored in selection, only that all license holders should (almost by definition) possess them to an adequate standard. Knowledge and Flight Path Management, automatic and manual are indeed three of the competencies assessed, for an overview of competencies and behavioural indicators see pages 65 and 66 of the IATA guide.

ESMA would probably be fine for the ATPL theory, I have had no direct contact with them but they have a good reputation. I'm assuming they use Jeppesen material and teach in a combination of French and English? If you would like to PM me with your possible choices of FTOs for CPL and IR we can discuss, it is quite possible that your best choice would not be a Wings Alliance partner as we have only one French FTO, Hubair in Nimes.

Regarding Aeros, a single negative comment is not enough to discount an FTO as students often blame the FTO for their own shortcomings when they have problems. On the other hand a pattern of discontented students indicates a problem. You should base your choice on more than one or two reviews, as you say.

Last edited by Alex Whittingham; 8th Nov 2016 at 09:06.
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Old 8th Nov 2016, 11:21
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If those guys are using the Peters software Jeppesen material, be warned that it is seriously flawed. I even felt obliged to write and complain about it. BGS would be a much better choice.
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Old 8th Nov 2016, 11:47
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What is the Peters software Jeppesen material ? Online books ?
I don't envision myself reading 14 000 pages on my tv screen, computer or smartphone, so I will have to buy the books !
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Old 8th Nov 2016, 13:17
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The Jeppesen ATPL(A) study material was created by Peters software and sunsequently bought by Boeing - heaven knows why. Alex mentioned it above as potentially being used by a school you may end up going to. if they do, you will need alternative reading material.
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Old 8th Nov 2016, 19:33
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Are you talking about the contents quality or about the quality of the software/interface to read the digital version of the books ?
Since I mentionned I would be using books, it should be the former.

Which is a bit worrying since the ESMA does use the Jeppesen books...
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Old 9th Nov 2016, 05:51
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I'm talking about the content. They were obviously written by a non-native English speaker who is not a pilot. Due to the choice of font, they are not easy to read for long periods, and although the graphics look nice, many are actually quite confusing.

I know of at least two people who bought a full set and sent them right back. You will definitely need some alternative reading material, or good classroom instruction.
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Old 9th Nov 2016, 19:15
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I guess it actually is possible to buy my own books from whomever I want and subscribe for an online, whose online books I won't read !

I can even buy the books now, and pay the larger amount of money (subscription, about 2100 with ESMA) later !

Maybe I will tell that to the ESMA.
Especially if I can find books at a discount elsewhere !

I guess Bristol ground school has some good material ?
Could I buy them directly from them or is it readily possible to find second hand at a lower price ?

Edit :
https://www.bristol.gs/product/atpla-manuals-cbt/
This is hugely expensive. Who the pays 150 for a simple book ?
My uncle wrote a theoretical book about music, which became a reference in its micro-domain. There were 5 volumes, each about as thick as one 150 ATPL book, but required much more time of preparation. These are found between 30-50 on amazon, that is a reasonable price...
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 15:12
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A key sign of how good someone's product is, is when they don't care if you go elsewhere. It's like Rolls Royce and Bently. They don't care if you want to buy a cheaper car. You get what you pay for. Simple as that. Buy cheap, possibly buy twice.
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 17:43
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Originally Posted by SeventhHeaven View Post
150€ for a quality book is not expensive, at all. Consider yourself lucky you're not going to uni! If you, for example, would have picked a proper metallurgy book you would probably pay over 300€. Your uncle's book is cheap because it's about music..

There are plenty of people selling their books after they're done. Just browse around, or try to meet people at schools and ask around. They'll be happy to help.

Honestly, you're spending 50 000+ for training, 150 for a book really isn't all that expensive.

Also, you're asking a lot of questions about flight training, which is GREAT!!! But try to talk to people in real life as well. We're all strangers on the internet. Some are glorified wannabes thinking they know everything there and defend their choices, some are experienced pilots just looking to help, others are trying to sell you something, etc. In the end, you gotta trust your own instinct and opinion!
Well, I attended two top unis (one in France, one in Australia), and none of them required me to buy 150$+ books..
The French one printed its own books, and sold them at the bare minimum price, about 7€ per book. The authors were our teachers
The Australian one did not require books at all so this example is on a different level.

But ok, there is a market price and it is quite high.


Would there be any other comment on the Jeppesen books quality ?
It would really make my life easier if they were good : the ESMA will provide the electronic version, and it could prove useful to have both the electronic and paper version of the books. (I could work on the pdf files at work and on the books at home)

What about the age of the books ?
I can find a 2013 complete set for 300€
Is it too old ?
Thanks

Last edited by KayPam; 10th Nov 2016 at 18:02.
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Old 10th Nov 2016, 20:14
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2013 is not too old. Those books are absolutely fine.

Nothing has changed since then. The learning objectives are still the same. 90% of the exam questions are still the same

Aerodynamics are Aerodynamics. A piston engine still obeys the same laws. Hell, even airlaw does not change. This is high school level stuff - It's just a lot.

Don't worry about it. The only differences between these yearly revisions are basically spelling, grammar, and the occasional image/graph. You won't miss out on anything by using an older book.


--- /incoming personal rant

Self published books, in an academic/scientific context, written by your own teachers, are worthless.

There are no authorities in science. You are judged on the merits of your arguments. Nobody knows everything, nobody has up-to-date knowledge on everything. Nobody has time for that. That's why we let the academic community/market forces decide on what's good teaching material and what's not.

So I seriously doubt you attended a top uni, or majored in anything scientific or otherwise in constant flux.

There is a reason you won't find many french universities in the yearly top 100 rankings.

Note that I am not saying a 300 book is inherently better than a 50 book. I'm also not saying government funded universities or books are bad.

/end rant. I get seriously triggered by this nonsense.
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