Similar to other flight training schools featured on TopRankUK, Cubair believes there are a great many things to consider having decided to want to learn to fly and become a pilot. Here are the most important factors to consider according to Cubair Flight Training school…
Visit the club, talk to the instructors, and take a trial flying lesson
At Cubair we recommend all our new students take a trial flying lesson first so that they can be sure the instructor and the aircraft suit them and they feel comfortable with us. We invite potential students to visit us at Redhill to talk to our instructors and to look at the aircraft we offer for training. There is also the opportunity to talk to other students at the school to gain an unbiased opinion. Look for a school with a good team of flying instructors to ensure there is plenty of cover for holidays etc. Some variety in instructional techniques is also healthy. What is their experience and do they have time to talk to the students and answer their queries? Are they dedicated career instructors or future airline pilots building their hours en-route to their first commercial job?
Choose the right aircraft to train on
You are likely to achieve your pilot’s licence in less time if training on one of the more modern training aircraft such as the Diamond Katana or Grob 115. Even if the hourly rate is more expensive than one of the “classic” training types (which in many cases it won’t be) there is likely to be an overall cost saving if it takes less hours to complete the course. Modern training aircraft have good ergonomics, external visibility is much better and they are more environmentally friendly than the older types. Unless you are physically too large or heavy to fit into a two seat training aircraft there is no advantage to selecting a four seat touring aircraft for your training.
Ensure that the aircraft you intend to train on is fit for the purpose. The syllabus for the PPL requires training in radio navigation including SatNav and ATC transponders. There are many training aircraft around that are not so equipped. A school with a mixture of modern, vintage, training, touring and aerobatic aircraft types in its fleet would be able to cater for all shapes and sizes of students and be able to offer more advanced training in due course. An on-site / in house maintenance capability is a big plus as any technical problems with aeroplanes can be rectified without undue delay.
Find out what the costs are and what’s included
Look at how the school charges for flying time. Some schools will charge customers from the time they start the engine to the time they shut down. At larger airfields you could be taxying or holding for twenty minutes which the student is paying for as flight time. This method also encourages rushing of pre-flight checks as no one wants to pay for sitting on the ground! A much fairer way of charging is by take-off to landing time plus perhaps a nominal amount for taxying and ground checks.
Make sure that the landing fees and particularly the circuit fees are reasonable. There is a huge difference between the cheapest and most expensive fields and this makes a big difference to the overall cost.
Check whether you will be charged extra for ground briefings or are they included as part of the course of training. Check prices for any “hidden extras”. The unwary student can be caught out by additional items such as the weekend supplements and fuel supplements.
How does the flying school operate?
Look at how the school handles bookings. Are you shoe-horned into a ninety minute “slot” or do they have a fully flexible booking system with time allocations for pre and post flight briefings. A web based booking system is an added bonus. Also, ensure that school has a flight examiner and ground examiner readily available when you want to take your examinations.
Look at the airfield operations. Larger airfields where priority is given to the biz jet operators can mean holding on the ground for or in the air extended periods due to jet traffic which can mean unnecessary expense for the student.
Choose a flight training school that is ideally located for you
Consider your proximity to the airfield. A long drive only to have your flight cancelled due to weather or other issues can be very frustrating. Don’t be put off by busy airspace. Learning in an area with a mix of international airports, regional airports and smaller airfields is good experience for the student pilot. Full ATC at your base airfield can be a big advantage.
Give extra consideration to flying clubs with good facilities and atmosphere
Look for a healthy “club” type environment with regular social events and fly outs where you can engage with other students, pilots and instructors. A good café or restaurant conveniently located close to the school for those inevitable days where the weather is not good enough for the planned flight is a bonus.
Ultimately, enjoying the process of learning to fly is a complex mix of people, machinery, the environment, and you. Remember that whilst you can control the weather, you can control the choices you make in those other areas so do your research, ask lots of questions, and if things don’t work out then pack up your things and choose again.