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Post PPL(H) Advice

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Old 5th Jan 2019, 12:14
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: London
Posts: 4
Post PPL(H) Advice

Hi All,

New user here but I've been following the forum for a few months. I've decided I'd like to do a PPL and have always had a love of aviation. I've saved up the necessary cash to afford a PPL(H) but have a few questions before I go ahead. Any advice is greatly appreciated!

For some background:
  • I'm 27
  • I have no interest in working as a pilot (so no CPL desire)
  • I earn enough to do a PPL(H) and spend a decent amount on ongoing flying (£15-30k budget a year) but not enough to buy a helicopter
  • I live in SW London so owning isn't an easy option even if I did have the money.
  • Due to my location I would most likely be flying from Surrey. I've visited a number of schools and had trial lessons with most and think I've found a good small school to learn with.
  • I'm most likely to do my PPL in a Cabri G2.
  • I want to do a PPL because I love aviation and helicopters seem to offer flexibility on where you can fly. The social side is also important and I would hope to fly with friends/family or join a club.
My questions:
  • What do people do with their PPL(H) after completing it? (if not CPL).
  • How easy is it to regularly rent a helicopter to fly? Particularly for a weekend or longer period? Or does priority always go to PPL students?
  • Are flying schools who didn't teach you open to you renting a helicopter for self fly hire?
  • How easy is it to travel around the UK or abroad with your PPL(H)?
  • How sociable is the private helicopter pilot world? Are there clubs like is common for fixed wing/do people fly together?
  • If I want to travel, join a flying club, meet other pilots and fly together etc would I be better off doing a PPL(A)?
Thanks in advance for any advice.

Marc
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 16:11
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Below the Glidepath - not correcting
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: U.S.A.
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A lot of non-commercial aviators enjoy the challenge of pursuing the next goal. In your case after gaining a PPL, maybe go for an instrument rating and then consider an instructors ticket. That way your flying always has a purpose and a goal, which is far more satisfying. Unless you are a lottery winner or a Russian crime lord, who has to wade through banknotes every morning to get to the swimming pool, you will find turning hard earned cash into aviation fuel fumes is somewhat disheartening, unless you are truly enjoying it. By all means go for the occasional $100 hamburger, and share your enjoyment with others from time to time, but just boring holes through the sky for the sake of it will soon dampen your enthusiasm for aviation.

This advice of course applies equally to fixed wing or rotary, but yes, join a club and mix with other aviators. Shared knowledge and experience is great for learning and can literally be a lifesaver.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 19:03
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Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: California
Posts: 48
Well I've been renting an R22 for over a decade, but I'm in the States so, my experience will undoubtedly be different from yours.

My advice to you is to ask around at flight schools if they will rent to you, since there's no reason to get a PPL at a school that won't. Also, know what their rental policy entails, like required number of hours you must rent each month to avoid having to go up with an instructor, and their policy on off airport landings.

Out here if you find a school who will rent to someone who didn't train there, you will have to do a checkout with one of their instructors. It could be just one simple flight, or five long, grueling ones, depending on the time building status of the instructor.

To be honest though, after a while, just lollygaging around the city, or sashaying down the coast in a 22 once and a while loses its luster, and eventually flying almost feels like a burden,...in other words, I spent all that money getting the license, it'd be a waste to let it lapse.

,...but I guess its still better than not flying at all.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 19:17
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: London
Posts: 9
Hi and Welcome,

My answers:
- Post PPL(H) the options are unlimited: go for a lunch flight to a nice restaurant, visit France, flights to Wales, Scotland etc. Summer flights to Europe, visit different airfields etc.
- It is very easy to rent a helicopter and usually it's who books first has the heli. So go for a company that has a few helicopters. If your company only has 1, then it might be difficult to take away the money machine for a weekend.
- Renting from a company where you didn't train is no problem, you just do a check ride of 30-60 mins and you should be good to go (depending on the level of training you received).
G2's aren't as common as Robinson helicopters so that could also reduce your options where to rent. (G2 or Robbo, it's a personal choice, don't want to start a discussion about that)
- Travel around the UK, as easy as by car, just prior to departure you need to book yourself in at the destination. Also good for safety since they search an rescue will look for you if you don't arrive. It's not like in FAA (USA) land where you just fly around and land when and where you want without calling prior to the departure.
How easy is it to go abroad, at the moment also very easy, just file a flight plan (your instructor can show you in 30-60 mins) and off you go. After Brexit, depends what the bright sparks come up with :-(.
- private helicopter world is very sociable but this also depends on you. At any airfield most aviators chat to each other. Some airfield the plank drivers look down to us sky gods ;-).
- Heli clubs, not many heli clubs, usually the company where you train has a club environment which usually is quite good.
There is one good club in the south, organizing fly outs, summer BBQ, share stories/photos, share flights etc.
- If you want to travel, depends how far you want to travel. Don't know the hourly price of a G2 but for example a flight from south UK to North France would take you 3 hours for a return. Let's say 400 x 3h= 1200GBP. Hiring a plane for 1200 pounds possibly gets you 6 hours flight time. A G2 needs fuel after 2-2,5 hour. A plane will do twice that. So it clearly depends on what you want.
Having said that, nothing beats the fun of flying a heli. No plane comes close to that !. Heli's cruise at about 2000ft, planes fly a lot higher, you might as well just look at google maps :-).
Good luck !!
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 21:42
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RMK
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: London
Posts: 170
I’ve been flying as a PPL(H) since 2006 and still love flying; I try to get out as much as possible. As you live in the UK, disregard the US posts as (unlike their fixed-wing brethren) the US doesn’t have a real private helicopter scene; it’s more about “CPL Mills”. The UK (and France) have the best private helicopter scenes you will find.

Some notes:

- Living in/near London, you will find around 5-6 places to rent helicopters (self-fly-hire) upon getting your license, doesn’t matter if you train there or not. If you’ve not flown there before, you’ll require a check flight which for me, over the years, has ranged from as short as 15minutes upwards of 45minutes (I once hired near Liverpool and the owner, upon looking at my license/ratings, noted the person who did my LPC in the prior two weeks and said “I know X and if X says you’re flying is OK, I don’t need to see more; here’s the keys). In the US, you will find FBOs that require 10hrs checkout; avoid those jackasses and find somewhere better to hire.

- You may also find some private owners who may offer you rental and intermittently you may find a base that has some hours “to burn off” before an overhaul and offer a reduced price (there was one west of London this past autumn)

- Where can you fly to? Have a look at www.helipaddy.com for some ideas. We are actually very fortunate in the UK to have an abundance of places to visit by helicopter with just PPR. While the fixed-wing crowd will be in some dreary airfield café having a bacon sandwich and mug of tea, you’ll be at any mix of hotel/restaurant/resort/pub of your choice often landing on the lawn just walking in.

- Clubs? I’ve never actually seen a helicopter “club”, but many locations may have the feel of a club; visit HQ Aviation www.HQAviation.com and see what you think. About 50ish helicopters and some great people.

- Further afield? You will be able to fly to France and all of Europe on your EASA license. Get a stand-alone or “piggy-back” FAA license and you can fly on trips to the US (however note is damn hard work to find an R44 for SFH in the US, but possible). On your EASA license, you can get “License Validations” for both South Africa and Australia which opens up some other great flying.

- Aside from the usual “lunch runs” to differing locations, being near London you have the London Helicopter Routes (yes, you can fly down the Thames as a PPL) see chart: https://www.caa.co.uk/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=4294978749 you can also so the same in Paris and land within sight of the Eiffel Tower.

- For group/special trips have a look at www.helisafari.com who run a great list of annual trips and one-offs.

Last edited by RMK; 5th Jan 2019 at 21:55.
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Old 5th Jan 2019, 21:59
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Join Date: Jan 2019
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Thanks all for your detailed replies - particularly RMK for the links, I wasn’t aware of those organisations. Definitely some great ideas on things to do after the PPL.

If anyone has any further thoughts it would be great to hear - particularly any other recommendations of places with a ‘club’ feel. Unfortunately my partner is not quite as keen as me to go into a helicopter so I’d be hoping to mostly fly with others.

Thanks again,
Marc
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Old 6th Jan 2019, 10:58
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Escrick York england
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You could join the helicopter club of Great Britain Home

they do events ,trips to Europe ,heli games ect

like minded Heli people
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Old 8th Jan 2019, 11:51
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Join Date: Sep 2014
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I am glad I am not alone with this mind filling thought.

This time last year, I was fresh in the receipt of my ATPL(H) Theory passes and awaiting a class 1 pass, which was delayed due to a previous medical condition.

Then the whole world collapsed around me, I found myself out of work, our latest child was born and sleepless nights started, ma very close family member was diagnosed with cancer, severe depression hit another member of our family - it really was a testing time.

I was fortunate enough to have some temporary work with a local operator on the ops side of life, but gave me some non-revenue flying and kept me sane for a while, but then life took over and I was needed at home.

I am glad to say that 2019 has started in a little better light, everything is on the up - but now I am scratching my head - yes I have put time & investment into hour building & ATPL theory, but is that THE route for me? In this uncertain Brexit era, and slow industry times do I REALLY want to invest a FURTHER £30k+ in order to get my "professional" licence, or do I take up PPL flying as an expensive hobby, or do I can it all together and take up gliding or similar, I am truly stuck.
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 10:59
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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Hi marc2020

Have just sent you a PM
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 11:45
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Hi chalmondleigh,

Sorry could you resend? I'm still on the 1 message limit in inbox...
Thanks,
Marc
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Old 11th Jan 2019, 12:12
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Join Date: May 2006
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Buy a racer Dron and live longer.

With your budget, fly allways with a flight instructor an get also your fix wing rating. Never fly with bad weather, mountain, night or cross country. Wait 200 hours to carry pax.
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