I have over the years had lots of messages from those that stumble across my site. Your contact is appreciated and I am happy to answer any questions that you may have about flying – or social housing! If you’ll allow me to share your messages (you will be asked when using the contact me form) and I think that they’re worth sharing, I’ll post them here with a reply.
I don’t know everything about everything so please don’t rely only on my responses, especially when making decisions about costly flight training! Please do your own research by speaking to flight schools and using the many internet forums out there as well.
Thanks for your email.
I’m not too sure on the cost of my PPL. My private pilot training was part of a Florida school’s JAA ‘Pro Pilot’ package, which takes you from zero to a JAA frozen ATPL. The final bill, having undergone an FAA (American) PPL, an FAA IR (instrument rating – single engine), a JAA CPL (commercial) and six months of ground school for the JAA ATPL theory was pretty big – and much more than the price estimated by the school.
The one thing I say to those that contact me with similar questions is “given the chance to repeat my training again, I would do it all in the UK”. Yes, flying over here is not cheap, but the quality of training – in my opinion – is much better. My impression of the USA was that instructors were not enthusiastic about teaching others to fly. They were just there counting hours and heading straight to the airlines when they hit the 1,500 hours required. I flew a few years ago at Bristol Aviation and it was a totally different experience.
A lot of people are fooled by the cheaper cost of flying in the United States and head there for their flight training. Yes, the cost of training is much cheaper than home, but consider that the airspace is very different (as are the charts) and the radiotelephony side of things (how you speak to air traffic controllers) is much more relaxed. Whilst you will save money on your training, and, in theory, you will be able to head home and fly right away, you won’t feel comfortable doing it. There are huge differences between the laid back USA and the much more formal and old fashioned UK. That money you save on your flight training will be gobbled up on further training flights when you return home, getting you acquainted with how things work over here.
You are required to train for a minimum of 45 hours to get your PPL and I think you’d be wise to spend all of that time in UK airspace – getting to grips with the airspace that you will spend most of your time in going forward. If you are keen to make something in the way of a saving, you could look into splitting your training in half – getting familiar with aircraft handling in the USA and then return home for the much needed exposure to UK airspace. I’m not sure if it’s a possibility but it should help to keep your costs down so it’s worth looking into. A Cessna 172 (with fuel) in Florida will cost around £90 per hour. In the UK, that same aircraft will cost approximately double. On top of these fees, charges will apply for instructors and the majority of airports in the UK will also apply a charge every time your wheels hit that runway!
Schools that are permitted to delivered EASA (formerly JAA) training in the United States are now few and far between. Whilst there’s no end of flying schools over there, not many will be able to give you the licence that you want. Shop around and don’t be taken in by attractive fixed prices for your training. There is no such thing. These fixed prices assume that you will complete your training in minimum hours (very unlikely) and pass your practical test first time. Every additional hour above minimums will still need to be paid for.
I hope that helps! If not, don’t hesitate to contact to me again.
Another Robbie asks hi i m thinking of going to the states to do my ppl easa, what is your view
Thanks for your email and many apologies for taking so long to come back to you.
In your message, you don’t say where in the world you are. If you’re in Europe, personally I would advise against travelling to the United States for training. Whilst it is much cheaper (when the Pound is a little stronger, at least), the regulations over there are very different, the airspace is different, the radiotelephony (air traffic control) is different etc. It’s safe to say that you’ll have to spend even more money when you get home, trying to get on top of the things that you didn’t need to know in America. In other words, training in the United States can actually end up costing you more.
Learning to fly in the States is definitely a big regret of mine. It didn’t work out a great deal cheaper and even after getting my JAA (now EASA) CPL out there, I came home with less knowledge than a student working towards their PPL. It was embarrassing!
Whichever way you do it, I wish you the very best of luck.