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pilotextwo

Starting my PPL - Any advice?

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Hello fellow virtual/real aviators!

 

I am slowwwly saving up enough money to at least start my private pilot license. I have had very little experience with flight schools, so for those who have had some experience in this regard, I wanted to ask you if there are particular points I should watch out for when selecting a flight school. Do all flight schools rank the same in credibility, safety, effectiveness, cost, etc.? Any way I can confirm the school with FAA to make sure it's "legit"? (Am I being paranoid?!)

 

I am in Southern California, and I went up in a discovery flight/1 hr flight instruction at a local flight school in Van Nuys Airport. I was very pleased with the staff and their procedures, and I can actually count this 1 hr flight time in my log book (which I still have to purchase). I wanted to call them up and get started on at least another flight instruction, I have checked the school's reviews on Google and they have rated pretty good, even though they only have a few reviews. Anything in particular to watch out for?

 

Also, a somewhat related question, once I have logged a few flight hrs, can those hours be transferred to a different flight school? My understanding is that those hours are good for life?

 

Thank you all, any help is sincerely appreciated.

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Southern California flight schools are expensive like here in southern Florida. If people take the time to review the school via Google, that's definitely a good sign.

 

About the intro flight, My intro flight last October was logged when I started training this past November. It depends on the school, they usually decide if they want to log it.

I do my lessons at American Flyers KPMP. Anyways...

 

Look at their hourly rates for ground and dual flight instruction. Depending on the airplane and/or location, it can vary 160 - 280 /hour. Some have the nerve to go up to 300! (HAA! yeah right <_< )

A good price is 180 - 230. Hopefully in that range. Does your school have simulators? are they free to use?

As for your instructor, NEVER get one that seems to be the "know it all" bossy type with an ATP rating. You'll have a hard time. Find one that is kind, friendly and most importantly, patient. unless you are ahead and already know much about the plane and flying in general, then it's not much of a problem.

 

Other thing to worry about down the road: Other than that, its not easy becoming a PPL academic wise. Study regularly for the written and flight test and you'll be OK.


David Zambrano, CFII, CPL, IGI

I know there's a lot of money in aviation because I put it there. 

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Sage advice David - My introduction to flying was at Long Beach Airport in the early 80's. The pilot was offering free 30 minute flights to get people interested - both my wife and I went up separately. At the time I though it was great - but it was many years later before I actually determined to get my PPL.

 

My one piece of advice. Set the PPL as a goal as you would say for passing that end of year exam. (Setting aside money and budgeting is part of that plan).

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My one piece of advice. Set the PPL as a goal as you would say for passing that end of year exam. (Setting aside money and budgeting is part of that plan).

 

And to add onto that, make sure that you budget so that you 1) don't have to spread things out over too much time, and 2) leave plenty in the budget for flight after your PPL has been obtained.

 

If you start, but have to stop periodically to re-infuse the bank account, you'll fall back. You need to have enough money up-front, and projected in-flow to the flying fund to keep flying on a regular basis. And if you don't budget for flight after the ticket is earned, you'll also fall back. I understand the desire to "get going", but not having a solid funding plan will cost you more in the long run in time, frustration and money.

 

Also, a somewhat related question, once I have logged a few flight hrs, can those hours be transferred to a different flight school?

 

Yes. Your hours are your hours in your logbook. That's not to say that a switch of schools mid-stream won't potentially cost you some additional time, however.

 

Best of luck to you,

 

Scott

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What i am doing for my own ppl is putting aside funds from each pay cheque into a separate account and once i have enough i will go at it, i had the pleasure of working for a semi large charter and flight school(15 planes from a 172 to a grand caravan)up here in northern canada to realize that the students that had the money saved up and were able to just go at it spent about 15% less money than those that did the training as they could afford to.

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You guys are awesome! Really appreciate the tips!

 

Anything else besides picking a "credible" or trusted/safe flight school? Are a few good reviews on Google enough? Can you check this with FAA?

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Here's my two cents based on my experience... others may have different experiences.... I did a Flight Instructors course over 10 years ago, so my info may be dated, but I doubt much has changed...

 

1. Interview A LOT of instructors... don't take the 1st guy the schools hands off to you. Make sure you jell with the guy.

 

2. Ask around and see who is the best instructor via word of mouth. A LOT of instructors do not want to teach.. They're just doing it to get hours and they don't really care about teaching. They view instructing as a necessary evil.

 

3. Find a school with good management that treats its staff well... this is easier said than done. Aviation is a very tough industry, and it has a bit of a reputation for having poor managers who are abusive toward their staff. A happy instructor will perform a lot better if he's happy than if he's constantly being dicked around by managers who don't know how to deal with people, or managers who feel they have to dick around their staff because when they were staff, they got dicked around, too.

 

It's like an abuse cycle.

 

4. Try to find an instructor who has money (rare!) Flight instructors are often only paid when they fly, and if they don't have many students, they're going to be under financial pressure since they will have no money coming in, but big bills to pay (rent, student loans, etc). This will affect their performance and attitude if they're under heavy financial stress.

 

5. Watch out for a lot of the "old" instructors. Some are really great, but some are, to put it bluntly, damaged goods (see point #3). I could write a book about this one :lol:

 

6. An instructor with 1000s of hours teaching experience is not necessarily better than a new instructor. A lot of the guys with tons of instructor time are sick of their jobs and they don't want to be there anymore. If the industry is slow a lot of them will be stuck in their jobs till the economy picks up again. A 1000 hours of steep turns and stalls would probably drive me batty, too, so I can understand why they lose enthusiasm for their jobs.

 

7. Last but not least, if you're asking for career advice, remember that Flight Instructors are sales people first, teachers second! The flight schools are businesses and they NEED your $$$!

 

The Flight Training Industry is like an industry unto itself...

 

 

 

 

Again, that's all based on my experience. Others may have different experiences.

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Starting my PPL - Any advice?

 

Yep....Run away...LOL

 

Just kidding. You just have as much fun as I did with it, all I can say is, it was the best thing I ever did...And for you as well

 

Cheers B)


Matthew Kane

 

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You guys are awesome! Really appreciate the tips!

 

Anything else besides picking a "credible" or trusted/safe flight school? Are a few good reviews on Google enough? Can you check this with FAA?

 

Yes, look for a school that is FAR Part 141 certified. They have to have a certain curriculum, standards, etc. Also they are frequently "checked on" by the FAA to ensure standards. Many 141 certified schools also have part 61 training as well if you prefer to go that route. And even if you do go 61, you will still have some assurance of quality and standards if they are 141 certified.

 

Also...MOST IMPORTANT THING in my mind: Find out how much it will be including ground school, FAA check-rides, medical certificate, etc and make sure you have the total cost of training saved up BEFORE you start. You wouldn't believe the potential pilots that start and then cant finish training. Then IF they come back after saving more money, they have to relearn what they were already taught. Also if you have enough up front then you can train with a better frequency for retention of what you learned. 2-3 times a week is much better than once a week.

 

My 2C.

 

For more info with 141 and 61, if you're not familiar: This article weighs pros/cons of each.

 

"Part 141 regulations is permitted only by instructors associated with an FAA-approved flight school. In order to become approved, a flight school must meet certain requirements and submit each curriculum it wishes to have approved to the FAA for review. Part 141 approved schools are subject to regular surveillance audits by the FAA and must meet minimum pass rates on the practical exams."

 

http://www.flyingmag...-61-or-part-141

 

 

 

EDIT: This is a local Flight School near where I live. They are an actual school, not just an FBO with a couple of free-lance CFIs. Check out their site for more info and comparison between courses. (They are both 61 and 141 certified.) http://bhmflightcenter.com/

 

What's more their 141 training is overseen by Accessible Aviation who I believe also has an operation out of Hawthorne Airport just south of VNY.


Ethan Rayhorn

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All the advice you have received thus far has been great.

 

Any flight school at Van Nuys is a credible school. At one of the most high end general aviation airports in the world you have to be great or you will be quickly put out of business.

 

Best thing to do is study, study, study. Any questions you have ask the instructor to clarify. I would live and breath what ever I was studying so I could get done quickly and efficiently. It's worked through all my ratings so I must have one thing right :P

 

Again to repeat what others have said, don't get ahead of yourself with starting. Save money so you can finish the license, the worst thing is to get right up to the checkride but not be able to afford to continue. I would save about $7,000 and continue saving while flying that way you should have enough when you finish 3 months down the road.

 

Try to schedule the flights frequently, around once a week, so you stay fresh with the information and the airplane. I've been flying for 14 years now and in the same aircraft for the last year and after a break of a few weeks I still have to take my time on the first flight of the day trying to get to speed again.

 

Once you start learning your maneuvers the cheapest way to practice is to desk fly the aircraft. Basically sit in a chair and visualize or use a poster of the panel to rehearse what needs to be done. At the airline every six months before we go to the simulator for our recurrent training we do the same thing with a fancier name, Cockpit Procedures Trainer CPT for short or even some call it the Paper Tiger. We sit in normal chairs in front of a full size plywood cockpit mock up and brush up on emergency procedures before we get sent off.

 

One thing I want to clarify for you though is, yes, all the hours count and are yours but if you switch schools the instructor is required to observe you demonstrating all the presolo maneuvers to test standards again. If it is a different aircraft you are switching to it could take you a little longer as well. I had students that were able to do it all in one day and some that took 4 or 5 flights to get used to the new procedures at the airport or the change in aircraft types. Here is the regulation if you want to read into the full legalese of it. http://www.ecfr.gov/...2.3.1.4&idno=14


Chris Miller

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Sorry for taking a while to check in. Thanks again for all your advice. Some great points to know. I went in for my second flight, and I really liked the instructor. So far, so good! I have two hours logged now :)

 

 

Look at their hourly rates for ground and dual flight instruction. Depending on the airplane and/or location, it can vary 160 - 280 /hour. Some have the nerve to go up to 300! (HAA! yeah right <_< )

A good price is 180 - 230. Hopefully in that range. Does your school have simulators? are they free to use?

 

I am shelling out $165 for one hour of flight instruction; that's actual flying time. For example, on my second flight we did the hour flight but spent about 30 minutes before that going through the preflight. But I was still only charged $165, even though I was taking up 1.5 hour of the instructor's time. I don't know if that's customary. Also, my understanding is that you don't actually NEED any ground school time to get your PPL and if you study hard enough, you can skip ground school?

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In addition to all of the above advice I would also suggest you have more than one instructor during your training. Like many other things in life there is more than one way to impart information. As good as an instructor may be it does no harm at all to have an alternative method of "getting the message across" especially in any areas where you might struggle a little. Having said that don't accept multiple instructors as this will totally confuse you, not least because nobody is really aware of your progress. When I started training I had 5 instructors over 6 lessons before I took control of the situation.


Anthony O'Brien

 

 

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