any pilots here?

just wondering i anyone could give me some advice, i'd like to start a few flying lessons with a view to getting a ppl, whats the best way to go about it, save up all the money and do it in one go or take a lesson a week/month etc..




  • no PPL here but depends on how desparate you are to get it!!

    I know many people do it over a time period to ease the financial burden but you can do all in one courses (US is good for this as the weather is better usually).

    but put it this way - it's gonna cost you either way!! good luck

    an old friend from schooldays - with family money - did a PPL and eventually went on to get his commercial pilot's licence and was able to mix running a business with moonlighting from time to time flying commercial craft (Far East mainly). not a bad life eh?
  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭

     There is a bloke on the 3:45 thread who is a pilot, but he doesn't post very often, because he is away a lot, allegedly working.  I will put a link there  for his mate to see.

    I got mrs puffy a flying lesson for her birthday one year and she threw up in the pilot's hat.

  • Scotty4Scotty4 ✭✭✭

    I managed 35 hours towards my PPL before packing it in. My enthusiasm wasn't quite what it could have been as I was just doing a couple off lessons a month (if that)..

    It's worth having a few lessons initially at your own pace to get a feel for it before committing too much money. Any club will support you in that decision, as ultimately they want you to be happy with them and be keen to progress at your own pace. My club allowed me to pay in installments without having to commit to paying for the complete course.

    I quit having only managed to fly solo on 3 occasions. Looking back I do wish that I'd had the opportunity to be able to take a couple of weeks off work and  just blitz the remaining hours. Because I wasn't getting the hours in on a regular basis, I could see the cost of the PPL spiralling upwards.

    I got such a buzz from the landings!!!
    (I'll gloss over the fact that I managed to cause some damage on my first solo)image

  • [waits for Scotty to fess up....]
  • Scotty4Scotty4 ✭✭✭

    erm.....I crashed it....slightly.

    It was a perfect takeoff, circuit and landing at Biggin Hill and all was going well until I parked it back at the club house.

    Those Cessna'a might be little but it IS a bit tricky judging the distance to the wing tip when trying to squeeze between 2 other aircraft. Anyway £600 worth of damage to the other aircraft wing and mine was OK.image I have to admit that did dent my confidence somewhat for subsequent lessons and I did get some stick for it.image

  • nice one.....

    at least you managed to get it up and back without incident
  • Sadly, Scotty, you had a witness... image
  • Quite a few of my friends are commercial pilots .... but none are also runners so don't post on here!

    You could try for advice.

  • scotty you aren't the only one who can't judge wing tip distance. I was sat in a Sri Lankan Airways plane at Heathrow and as we were Taxting out for take off we ran into the wing of a BA jumbo. I expect that was more than £600 quids worth
  • Mr Raich is a commercial pilot and also instructs PPL students. His tips are: check out Pilot magazine for info on PPLs, be wary of paying for a complete PPL course upfront as flying schools are prone to going bust, and courses abroad can be a false economy once you factor in accommodation costs, airfares to get there and the fact that you'll have to do your air law exam in the UK anyway. Also flying in the UK is quite different to eg the US because weather systems are different. Lots of people just buy one lesson at a time when they can scrape enough money together.

  • I've got my PPL. Did it all as an intensive course but it was a bit different for me.

    I got sponsorship from the Royal Navy when I was 17 and thinking of joing them as a pilot. After a load of tests I was awarded 40 hrs flying tuition. The condition of it was you had to reach PPL standard by the time you had done 30 hours. It was a two week intensive course but It worked really well for me.

    Expensive now though to keep it up.

  • ok.. fair enough, but after all the hours of training and £££'s, what do you do with your licence....?

  • thanks for the advice, would have replied earlier but just in from another long day at work, didn't even manage to get half an hour in the gym.

     raich, could i pm you please with a couple of questions?

  • Hi fattmatt

    think i might be able to chip in a few things..

    my brother did his PPL on an intensive course in Texas, USA

    it worked out alot cheaper than trying to do it over several years in the UK

    the main issue was weather - the UK just doesn't have reliable enough weather to mean you can always go up as planned and you can end up getting frustrated

    also if you remember back to learning to drive, if you're not getting lessons regularly imho you forget half of what you learned previously

    if you go an intensive course somewhere with fine weather then you get a good run of lessons and build up skills more quickly

    the other issue i suspect is that fuel is much cheaper in the USA
    - i am assuming this i don't know it for sure - but there road fuel is the equivalent of £2 a gallon and i wouldn't be surprised if that translates to aircraft fuel too
    most of ours is tax - who wants to pay extra tax?

    my brother took all his exams in the USA and then
    on his return to the UK he only had to do a very minor thing to get his USA PPL approved by the UK authorities
    - this was some years back however, so you may want to check that out

  • my own experience
    - not sure you're age or work situation but if you're at uni then check out the RAF university air squadron if they have one at yours

    this can be a cost free way of learning to fly

    I belonged to one and learned alot
    unfortunately we had cr*ppy weather and eventually the cancelled lessons and more annoyingly the fairly intense misogyny of the officers at this particular place got the better of me and i packed it in after a few months, but the bits that were good were great

    again that was 20 years ago, and i imagine it's alot better now and the old attitude towards women as pilots in the services won't be relevant to you as a bloke anyhow even if it persists (hopefully it doesn't)

    You might also want to checkout glider flying - it might be a less expensive way of getting into flying?

    (I was lucky enough to learn to fly a glider as part of the RAF Cadet scheme at school)

  • also..
    my teenage nephew is currently learning to fly

    he seems to have had lessons dotted around in various places in the UK and his feedback is that (as well as the weather issue ..again) the instructor is all important

    it helps if you can find someone you really get on with and they vary quite a bit

    of course, over and above the time in the air, there is also quite a substantial "ground school " ie written/study element to the whole thing too

    my nephew has got some great CD's that have everything on and helps you learn - they are quite expensive but i think alot better than the books we used to have

    he got them new as a present (Several hundred quid) but i saw them on ebay for less than half the price

  • hi five to Scotty...

    i also managed to damage a plane on my first solo landing!

    mind you i was a teenager then so that's my excuse!
  • Dark Vader

    Not sure if you were kidding around but basically i agree

    I think there just isn't the opportunity to fly that much in the UK because of our poor weather for most of the year, unless you're really experienced or at least have the additional (200??) hours to get the licence that means you can cope with flying on instruments only ie Instrument rating

  • just had a nose around on web and found some useful links

    very friendly looking UK site

    with good advice for getting started

    brief summary of what is involved in US qualification
  • and a link to some CD resources for the written part
    - the "details" links gives a good idea of the contents of each CD hence of the exams
  • No.. I wasn't kidding..  do people fly Cessna's and the like just for the experience of flying...?  I mean.. where do you fly to..?    Do you have to buy a plane or can you hire one for the day...?

    Its a genuine question..  I don't know anything about it..  if its not a first step towards becoming a commercial pilot as a career what is the point..?    Is it the same as spending £150,000 on a Porsche GT3 just to drive on a sunny Sunday for the pleasure of driving, rather than actually driving somewhere specific...? 

  • Is it the same as spending £150,000 on a Porsche GT3 just to drive on a sunny Sunday for the pleasure of driving, rather than actually driving somewhere specific

    for many pilots probably

    the cost of hiring a plane and/or part onwership of a plane is HUGE when compared to cars so you need to be pretty dedicated to spending loads of dosh for a jolly few hours in the air. I know a guy with a PPL whose passion is flying (unmarried, earns loads) so is happy to spend shedloads on hiring a plane for a weekend and taking friends over to France for various jollies.....

    I'd rather the GT3 though...........
  • Fattmatt - if you want to email I'll try my best to answer any questions but Mr Raich is the expert and is away until Saturday.

    DV - you can pick up a plane for a lot less than a GT3: we had a Cessna 150 2-seater that I think was sold for somewhere between 12 and 15K. Maintenance adds up - they have to have regular checks. There are also the storage costs. Something like a Cessna 150 costs about £40 an hour in fuel (or at least it did a couple of years ago - it's probably more now). You'll often find groups of people getting together for a part share in a plane, which works out a lot cheaper, or hiring planes by the hour (our Cessna used to get hired out which helped cover the costs of running it). We tended to go up for a half hour to an hour bimble, particularly when we lived on the South coast (fly from Shoreham over the 7 sisters, wave to our house, fly back). We also did the occasional day trip eg from  Leicester to the Isle of Wight for the day, which wouldn't have been practical driving. It's not cheap, but not as expensive as you might think.

  • Raich.. thanks..  interesting..  can you just fly where you want...?   How does it work in terms of routes and where you can land etc...?   You presumably are still under air traffic control...?

  • Hmmmm   one of these:

    or...  one of these:

    I'm sure both have their excitement value..  and I can't afford either of them....!

  • Oh


    yes I do have a PPL, and have had for some years. My primary way of keeping costs manageable is to be part of a group, each owning a 1/8 share of a four seater aircraft. I'll come back here for more chat when it's not bedtime.

    Robin DR250

  • I've only ever hired or borrowed aircraft, but I think owning a light aircraft is really like owning a Jet Ski or maybe a horse, say:

    It's fun

    you don't really have to go anywhere to enjoy being on it / in it

    You probably wouldn't do it if you were working out every single penny cost

    and you certainly wouldn't do it as a means of cheap transport

    It's just the mental and physical challenge of it

    in some ways like running even

    you can get to places by running
    but it's not the main reason you do it

    it's more the other way around

    you want to go running
    and so you work out where would be good to run

    I sense that light aircraft ownership is like that - especially if you don't have night and instrument ratings - then it's just a question of finding fun day trips isn't it?

  • Looking forward to hearing more from Blisters who can give us the real low down image
  • Raich's post makes total sense too

    I have fond memories of flying over my house a couple of times

    It was on the edge of a forest and so was quite easy to pick out as the only building in that area

    It's a strange kind of feeling seeing it from above

    I guess seeing everything from above is different

    In the same way that cycling or running is different than driving in a car through the same road maybe?

  • Speaking of which - did anyone see that "Britain from the Air " TV thing?

    I've downloaded it to watch later

    looks really interesting
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