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HeliTorque Forum Index » Wannabes

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martdon
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:33 pm    Post subject: PPL UK or USA?? Reply with quote

Hi all, i'm just starting out on the exciting path of learning to fly. I've been checking out various US schools regarding costs, length of time it will take to pass my PPL and they all seem to contradict each other. Could anyone shed any light on this and recommend any schools? or would it be a better option to do the PPL in the UK? After completion i'm wanting to go onto the commercial course and is hour building ok to do in US?
any feedback would be appreciated.........
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:25 am    Post subject: Def US Reply with quote

Hi Martdon,
The place Im going for PPL in the States is :
http://www.airatlantahelicopters.com/

I have a few friends from the army around Atlanta and my uncle lives there so was a pretty natural choice for me.
PPL is generally between 12-15000 USD (compared to more than 30000 in my country) and will take you 6-8 weeks (the general reply Ive gotten from various schools) for full time training.Im going there for 3-4 months to do both Fixed wing and helicopter.
Been talking to a company on the west coast too www.civichelicopters.com and theyve been mighty helpful too.

http://www.bestaviation.net/art_how_to_become_a_pilot_jaa.asp
Has a bunch of schools and a lot of info.
Hope its helpful?!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:23 am    Post subject: Heli training Reply with quote

You need to consider cost first. US training is fair less costly than training in the UK.

However, be careful of the promised "6-8 week time frame" that was mentioned. Your progress is up to you and other factors can slow things down like weather and mechanical trouble with the equipment.

US minimums for PPL are 40 hours of flight training but the national average is hovering around 55. The different schools may seem contradictory in their information, but it is the way they interpret their training syllabus. All have to comply with the same regulations. I would recommend you train with an established school with good references, one that has student accomodations, a suitable number of helicopters to fly, and a good staff of instructors with "experience" in the hleicopter you wish to fly. Helicopters ARE NOT all alike.
The most common training helicopters are the R-22 and Schweizer 300.
I prefer the later for its' handling characteristics and forgiving nature, but many pilots have trained in the R-22 and like them.

Bristow in Florida/US does a nice PPL course and has many foreign students enrolled. They use the 300.

As far as more advanced training.....that depends on how long you have to do it, and whether you can return to the US (or stay until done)

There are many Helitorque members from the UK who have done training at home and abroad. Rather than just ask members for schools, ask pointed questions as to what problems they had in selecting a school prior to and during training. It is more important to know "what to ask" more than"where to go".

You may want to contact the site moderator Whirlygirl. She has trained in both arenas and would be very helpful in clarifying things.

A bit of advice I can offer you: "Don't worry about hours and time frames. Concentrate on flying the machine and learning. If you do that, everything else takes care of itself. Helicopter flying takes time, patience and "being nuts". Very Happy Very Happy

oh yes.....and a dispensable amount of money! Rolling Eyes
Good luck.
AB
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I managed to do my PPL in 4 weeks in California, but... it was intense and I nearly didn't make it. I took my check ride on the Saturday morning and went home that afternoon.

I had also done a lot of theory work before I went out there.

Still the best thing I ever did thou! Smile

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi martdon,

Welcome to the forums. I take it you live in the UK. Where abouts are you based? The thing that swayed my decision about where to train was the fact that I wanted to work in the UK once qualified. Although it was a lot more expensive to train over here, I figured it would be more sensible to get used to the airspace, procedures and locations I was going to be eventually flying around in commercially, and also get to network with people in the industry in this country (the "who you know" factor is important in such a small industry).

I did go over to the States earlier this year and did about 20 hours flying, which was absolutely great experience, but the majority I did over here for the above reasons (as well as the fact that I could carry on running my business around my studying). If you have any questions please feel free to post away. I will do my best to answer them, and I'm sure that many of the other forum members will be only too happy to help as well.

Best wishes,

Sarah
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No offence to WG but why pay more to learn the basics of flying in rip off UK? I got my FAA commercial for less than a lot of people paid for a JAA PPL...

You can fly G reg aircraft on an FAA licence, other than for hire or reward.
You can convert reasonably easy to a JAA licence if you wish, believe some schools offer both licences in their cirriculum.
The airspace isn't that different.
If you go out to the USA then you ll more than likely come home with the licence - how long will it take here even full time?

Down sides...

Maybe the visa.
Away from home for a month or so.
Being looked down on by those who trained here (again not directed at WG !)
Resistance frm UK clubs/schools.

Having flown with a couple of newly qualified UK PPLs when I was spending a lot of time in California I was appalled at their lack of knowledge of the aircraft, the POH, W&B calculations, etc.

W.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In your situation, I would strongly suggest talking with Bristow Academy. They do not only FAA, but also JAA and combined ratings. The major plus with them, is if you do want to continue professionally, you have an in with their whole international organization. They never promise a job, but you are known to them. The combined FAA/JAA certificates as I understand it are not too much more expensive than the FAA certificate in itself. It is worth contacting them for more details.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pilotwolf,

I wasn't saying "don't go to the States", I was merely explaining my reasons for choosing the UK, because that is what suited my circumstances and I wanted to build my hours getting used to where everything is in this country! I don't regret one bit that it cost more to get through it, and in my situation I wouldn't have been able to up and leave to do it over there anyway because my income would have stopped. Martdon may have a whole set of other circumstances that may allow him to travel, and he might even be prepared to work over there at the end of it - that was not an option for me, I wanted to remain based here.

PilotWolf wrote:
You can fly G reg aircraft on an FAA licence, other than for hire or reward.


Yes, you can, but he does want it for hire or reward because he wants to go onto the commercial course afterwards. If you get an FAA commercial you still have to jump through a lot of hoops to get it converted to a JAA one. I believe you still have to do all the theoretical knowledge exams over here, some further flight training, and pass the CPL skills test. As mentioned above though, Bristow Academy might solve this problem.

Quote:
Having flown with a couple of newly qualified UK PPLs when I was spending a lot of time in California I was appalled at their lack of knowledge of the aircraft, the POH, W&B calculations, etc.


I think that statement is bit unfair - it would depend largely on the where they trained and the instruction they received. I'm quite sure there are rogue instructors in all parts of the world, who are only interested in hour building or earning as much money as they can, so they short cut on the briefings and sadly it's the student who suffers. Granted, I have unfortunately come across this type of instructor over the years, but I have also flown with some extremely knowledgeable, professional and thorough instructors who have been 100% committed to their job and making sure the student gets the best quality of education they can.

Sarah
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think that statement is bit unfair...


I dont. These people had trained in the UK, passed their PPL(H) one the week before he came to the States to hour build and didn't know the basics. They were all from different parts of the UK and had been to different schools.

As I said each to their own circumstances - especially ones! But if you can take holidays there are huge saving to be made especially at the moment with the weak dollar. EG.

LA R22: Dual $225 Solo $175 - about 115 and 90.
UK R22: Dual 245 + VAT Solo 195 + VAT
Virgin Atlantic to LAX from 325 return
Accomodation in LA: From $30 a night - About 15.
B&B UK: From 30 up.

Factor in the weather tends to be more reliable in the States - not necessarily better - another anti US argument! Wink

Also consider if you start learning at a larger airfield, with commercial traffic it ll put you in better stead when working commercial compared with a small rural field that only has a low number of movements and GA traffic.

W.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PilotWolf wrote:
Quote:
I think that statement is bit unfair...


I dont. These people had trained in the UK, passed their PPL(H) one the week before he came to the States to hour build and didn't know the basics. They were all from different parts of the UK and had been to different schools.


But you can't be implying that everyone that learns to fly in the UK is taught badly based on a couple of people you met, surely?

And not all our airfields are rural. You can learn to fly at airports with commercial traffic over here too... Wink Only yesterday I had to orbit in the circuit while a 737 was on final approach to Coventry. Agreed, this gives the student some pretty good experience, as well as having to deal with different tower and approach frequencies.

Sarah
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But you can't be implying that everyone that learns to fly in the UK is taught badly based on a couple of people you met, surely?


No more than the assumption about US trained pilots here.. Twisted Evil And it was 4 in the space of 3 weeks...

Quote:
And not all our airfields are rural. You can learn to fly at airports with commercial traffic over here too... Only yesterday I had to orbit in the circuit while a 737 was on final approach to Coventry.


But how many do? And how many times did you do that in your PPL?

Not having a dig - just putting the view from the an 'otherside of the pond pilot' Smile

W.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pilotwolf

I do believe you are being unfair on UK training, neither system is perfect, they both work, but you will always find pilots with licences who have no idea what they are doing, I've flown with 3 I can think of in the last month 1US trained, 1 UK trained, and 1 Aus trained.

We can all offer horror stories of pilots from both sides of the pond.

What we should be doing is trying to improve what we all do, and how we all teach and learn.

My experience as obvious as it may be, is that we over emphasise theory in the UK and under emphasise the practical aspects, just teaching the syllabus which is not exactly real world based. I also believe that the US under teaches theory, and over emphasises some aspects of the flying syllabus, which if used in the real world with limited experience would probably get the pilot into a situation they may not be able to handle.

Almost every low hours PPL i've flown with who is US trained is happy to fly around at 500' AGL (without realising the potential dangers) but cannot hit the limited spots usually available from that altitude. Turn it around to the UK and we fly higher en-route and are no more accurate during EOLs but can get into the vicinity of the available spaces because there are usually more of them available to us from a higher start position AGL, just because we started higher.

The UK has its own set of weather nasties, which being a small island surrounded by water we get thrown at us all the time, which is why most employers want to see some uk experience before letting pilots loose in their machines. We are in some respects over regulated by the Authority and the last thing I would want is one of my pilots dropping the company in the crap because he doesn't know the regulations, our own UK trained and experienced pilots have enough trouble never mind someone who has trained aborad. The training angle also is not a dig, as I know that MOST not all UK CPL courses train pilots for the test, not for the job, mine certainly was done that way, which is why I refuse to do it that way now, it takes more effort on the instructors part, some of which he will never see payment for, but whatever.

The US seems to have its own special set of weather and tall hills / mountains which in turn have there own nasties and I am sure I couldn't get a job flying charters around them, even though I have reasonable level of experience in the UK.

Part of my research into helicopter safety is to look at the two systems, as well as some military training syllabi and see if we can extract the best bits of them all to make a safer and better training programme. Most people will never use it or even look at it, but even in its current form I think there are holes in both sides of the pond that could do with plugging.

Both systems allow pilots with limited hours to teach, when they really need pilots with experience to do the teaching. I can offer no solution to the problem as I am a product of the system and was teaching with 275 hours, but I will admit that with hindsight i dont think I should have been, but as I keep going on about 'you don't know what you don't know'.

I am happy to debate this, but perhaps we should in another thread and let this one go back were it was intended and let people with US experience recommend flight schools they would use again.

Gary
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 20, 2008 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi agree with most of what you say Gary, but I can only speak from what I ve seen - the same as you are posting from your experience.

My concern was as much with the skills test as anything, I know I would have failed my PPL had I flown anything like these 3 and I am far from being a natural pilot.

W.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thread creep a little:

Having been lucky enough to fly with VeeAny lately, I hope I am not the 1 UK trained disaster he refers too!! Shocked
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Craig

No you most certainly are not, and I wouldn't exactly class it as lucky either.

GS
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