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L3 VS CAE VS Leading Edge vs FTA- What is the best choice 2021?

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L3 VS CAE VS Leading Edge vs FTA- What is the best choice 2021?

Old 22nd Sep 2020, 19:12
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Wink L3 VS CAE VS Leading Edge vs FTA- What is the best choice 2021?

Dear all,

I am new to the forum so apologies in advance if I am writing this in the wrong section. I am 27 Y/O from UK looking to embark into the world of flying. This has not been possible in the past due to financial reasons however I am now in fortunate position to finance my entire flight training all by myself. My current job is a police officer (Sergeant) for one of the busiest force in UK and it is time that I now change career to something that I have always wanted which is to be a pilot.

I have carried out several research for the best ATPL integrated course and have found the above listed flight schools (CAE, L3, FTA & Leading Edge)- can someone please advise as to which would be the right option to go for; to start training in 2021? I am looking to start March 2021 onward and have already been advised by various people that I will need to submit my application to such flight school MONTHS in advance...

I understand during this difficult time various pilots have lost their job and those on MPL programme and have been reverted to just ATPL programme... with this in mind, I wish to go for flight school which would maximise my chance of employment at the end of the training. I do not know what the aviation industry will look like from 2-3 years from now and so finding the perfect right school is very crucial!
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 11:44
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Why do I get a sense of déjà vu ~ I remember a police officer (MET?) asking this question in the last 12 months?
Obtain your Class One Medical without undue delay

Plan A: Visit all establishments on your short list. Make copious notes of the Qs & As.
Report back with your answers once a revised shortlist has been made.
You missed out FTE Jerez and Skyborne.

Plan B: Don’t give up the day job, and go modular. Obtain your PPL and see if you have the aptitude to progress.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 11:47
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Doubtless you will receive strong advice from the forum to avoid integrated training because it is overpriced compared to modular (up to twice as expensive) and few integrated ATOs had reliable links to employment even before COVID, the most secure apparntly being the Easyjet MPL programme, but that has imploded recently leaving many candidates in an extremely poor position.

Assuming you have done your research and you know this but still want an integrated course all I can say is proceed with caution. All the ATOs you list do either an adequate or good job in training, and you should add FTE Jerez and Skyborne to the list, they are both well thought of. The issue is that recruitment for integrated training has fallen off a cliff this year and there is more than a fighting chance that some of those you quote will either go bust or simply withdraw from ab-initio training within the next 12 months. L3, for instance, simply closed a school earlier this year and told all the cadets to go away, their training contracts were cancelled.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 11:56
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I have always tended to offer advice or information based on historical precedent rather than future predictions. If I was particularly talented at the latter I would have hoped to be much richer than I currently am. That said, I have two children who are also police officers and although not always the case, they currently give me less cause for worry than those in aviation. Interestingly, the police has long been a source of recruits transferring their careers. That may be just coincidence, but nevertheless it’s an observation.

Ordinarily, I would suggest looking at those programmes that have traditionally dovetailed into airline cadet programmes. If you look back over my previous posting history you can see what I thought the best courses of action were and the reasons why. Plenty of people took issue with some of those postings and again you can read the reasons why.

This year the world has been turned on its head. Aviation has been decimated by these events, perhaps more so than any other industry. I believe that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg at the moment and the real damage is going to come in the next few years. The intensive care measures that are being applied to the economy are eventually going to subside, and there are likely to be a lot of casualties as a result. Even (as it eventually will) The economies recover, it will take a long time for this industry to get back to anywhere near where it was at the beginning of this year. There are plenty of pundits who are very well qualified in these matters, suggesting figures of anything up to a decade. Plenty of people (me included) are hoping that we muddle through the immediate future and everything will go back to “normal” at some point. Recovery is likely to be relatively slow and painful. There are literally Tens of thousands of experienced and very experienced pilots who have been made redundant or threatened with the imminent prospect of same.

Weak demand and strong supply is also going to have a decimating effect on remuneration well into the future for those pilots who do keep their jobs. I have no particular insight, but wouldn’t be at all surprised to see average weighted earnings in a couple of years at half (or less) where they are today, and that being applicable across the board. I also think it is going to be a long time before airlines see any real need to recruit new trainee (cadet) pilots. Perhaps ironically, when they do, it is likely to be even more focussed on full time integrated programmes based entirely on the prospective cadets own financial risk!

However, and going back to your question, I cannot see demand in that sector existing in realistic terms for a significant period of time? The pilot training industry (across all markets) is likely going to suffer every bit as much as the airline sector. There will be many failures, consolidations, and changes in this sector as a result. Just as with remuneration, supply and demand market forces are likely to put a great deal of stress on pricing in the training industry, and a result you will likely see pricing come down substantially.

At 27 you have done extremely well to find yourself in the fiscal position you have, but I would have to say be very cautious indeed before embarking on the change you obviously now feel able to do. There are always enormous risks even in good times, but I see very little reason for an optimistic upturn in the near term future. Yes, there will certainly be an upturn at some point, but reabsorbing the huge numbers of available and experienced resource is going to take many, many years beyond that point.

People have made a lot of money and had great success by bucking trends. However (just like lottery winners) very few have done so. My advice at this point would be to keep doing what you are doing. Certainly do some flying and keep a constant eye on trends. You are not going to get caught out by an upturn. As and when things do improve to a significant level, the signals (even the overly optimistic ones) will be there a good 2-3 years before the reality.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 15:15
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I would personally just sit on my hands for the next 12 months. If you are desperate to follow this career path now perhaps isn’t the best time. In a year you should get a much clearer idea of where the world is going and what is happening to the economy.
They may find a cure they may not, this could go on for another year or 3.

Modular is probably the way to go nowadays. Much less commitment and cheaper. Also it won’t impact your chances of getting a job. CAE have no connections, all jobs, when they become available, are open to anyone online to see. Being part of a big flight school won’t change that.

Just dont be in a rush to part with any cash cash right now, all flight schools will bite your hand off for your custom. Give it a year. Good luck.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 19:45
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Train Modular, at your leisure. No rush, enjoy it, stretch it out over 3 - 5 years if you can. Modular will save you tons of money too.
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Old 23rd Sep 2020, 22:31
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Do your exams, get a PPL and single engine IR. Renew your IR every few years to keep your exams from expiring. While you have a PPL you can work on hour building for your CPL.

When the upswing occurs you will be able to get the rest of the training done quickly and ride the wave. If there is no upswing then you will have a PPL and some fun ways to spend a weekend.
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 09:52
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Sound advice, but your need to get both the CPL and IR issued belt the 36 months is up to 'save' the exams. If you stretch everything to the max, that still gives 4½ years from first exam to last flight test.
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Old 24th Sep 2020, 20:36
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Concur with a lot of the posts here, if you must early 2021 go modular, take your time and don't burn through money. You mention about the unfortunate MPL cadets, in reality some have transferred to ATPL at 'significant extra cost' (near 150k now) others have run out of money, and have finished up with nothing to show having spent £80k at schools like L3 and CAE, at least one individual close to me may sadly default on their loan, he has no other choice.

You sound like you're in a stable well respected job, is there a rush? I wouldn't be putting serious money down on a integrated training course until late 2021 at the very earliest, who knows how things will recover, more airlines and training schools may go bust yet and the true airline recovery may not be seen for half a decade once the thousands of pilots out of work hopefully get a job again.

Make sure you listen to independent people like here. If they have, any flying school suggesting that you must apply now to start in 2021 is one to avoid, they are a business and they are in crisis and need income, I feel sorry for the sales people who must know they are putting a unrealistic spin on things right now.

No training school can claim to have good employment links for the time being, the fact one of the safest schemes the British Airways/EasyJet MPL has completely crashed shows that nothing is certain in this industry anymore and you should proceed with caution on what training schools are selling.

Things will get better, but the industry is far from being on a certain rebound yet.
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Old 25th Sep 2020, 11:24
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As someone who has worked with L3 and Oxford, before CAE, I can't recommend either now. I have loads of ex students who were/are being treated very shabbily by big corporations that really don't give an Ess H 1 T. BGS, and Leading Edge I know do Modular, or for Integrated Leading Edge or Skyborne should be on your list. I can't comment on FTE, but haven't heard anything bad.
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Old 25th Sep 2020, 13:27
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Good advice from the previous posters - I intend to do modular and keep my job going at the same time. Good luck!
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Old 28th Feb 2021, 14:28
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Does anyone have the current payment plan for CAE Oxford, Integrated Course ?
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Old 28th Feb 2021, 15:30
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Keep the day job and get a ppl if you really must. This industry is heading to min wage at best.
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Old 1st Mar 2021, 08:32
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Another vote for modular, add Aeros and CAT3C to the list of modular ATO's already mentioned.
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Old 7th Mar 2021, 10:32
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L3 is massively overpriced. They have shafted recent cadets (well documented). Go modular at your local flying school and enjoy the ride.
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Old 9th Mar 2021, 17:21
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L3 & CAE

I wouldn't choose either of these schools. L3 are closing their big fair weather base in New Zealand and their Portugal operations have been beset with problems from the outset. Also, the entire L3 Commercial Aviation Training business is up for sale as it is losing so much money. In the current climate it is anybody's guess as to who will buy it. CAE have virtually ceased flight training in Europe and appear to be in the process of closing down their historic base in Oxford. Again, ab-initio is losing them a lot of money and they appear to have lost interest. They haven't invested a penny in the business since 2013. Much better off going to one of the boutique operators who really care about the customer such as Leading Edge or Skyborne. The American / Canadian corporates only care about how much money they can take off students and provide a low standard of service these days.
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Old 12th Mar 2021, 20:04
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It's just not the right time to start any flight training right now. Even if the pandemic is completely finished this year, new jobs will not appear before 2024/2025. The reason is simply that the major recruiters have so many Pilots out on furlough, unpaid leave or redundant but first in line to return. For example Emirates have one of the best training systems in the world, when training is at full throttle they get 800 Pilots a year through. They currently have around 1500 Pilots on unpaid leave and a further 800 who are redundant. At best it'll take 2022 and 2023 to bring those guys back to the line, and probably longer. British Airways and other Airlines are in the same situation and I'd be surprised if their training departments were as efficient as Emirates.
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Old 12th Mar 2021, 20:56
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Many airlines I’m aware of in Europe (apart from Ryanair) have got rid of all their pilot recruitment staff. No need for them for the next few years. There really wont be any recruiting of new pilots for the foreseeable. So yes you are financially illiterate to even consider flight training at this time, blindly following a dream will leave you destitute. You’ve got to be better than that and use a business approach in order to succeed in this industry. Start your training when you actually see pilot recruitment picking up and cadets getting actual jobs.
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Old 13th Mar 2021, 12:26
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Not a good time to start however....if this is your dream then go modular. Enjoy the training, don’t bankrupt yourself by being seduced by a glossy brochure and catastrophic financial planning. As a football manager would say, take each game as it comes ie go from phase to phase. Value every hour training; prepare for each flight thoroughly. Read the books and absorb the theory. Of course you need the time so find a job in between flight phases. The airlines will need well rounded individuals rather than freshly minted graduates of sausage factories. Avoid the likes of L3 like the plague (or virus of choice). My best guess would be recruitment should start in 2/3 years but that is just a guess. And did I say enjoy the training?
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Old 14th Mar 2021, 06:22
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It's simply impossible for recruitment to start as early as 2 years from now. You just have to do the maths on the training required for the guys coming back from furlough or unpaid leave. If you want to put a totally realistic date to jobs, go for 2026. If you look back at the 1990's where you had a number of Airlines going bankrupt in the early part of the decade, combined with over recruitment in the 1980's, there was a recruitment hiatus from 1990 to 1996.

Look as well at the recent news on Easyjet. They have deferred delivery of orders that were supposed to be delivered at the beginning of this decade to the end of the decade.
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