At the time of writing, Freedom Aviation are ranked as the number #1 flying training school in the UK thanks to 74+ reviews by pilots and student pilots alike. With an average review rating of 4.96 / 5, it is fair to say that the team at Freedom have figured out the secret formula that leads to an effective pilot training experience. Read this article to see what Freedom thinks is important when considering learning to fly.
Great flying training is all about people so come and meet us!
Before anyone begins their flying training with Freedom Aviation, we suggest they come to meet us at one of our two bases, Cotswold Airport at Kemble or Oaksey Park, Wiltshire. Our aim is for our members to feel relaxed and happy whilst they fly with us. To gain a Private Pilots License (PPL) takes a minimum of 45 hours. Therefore each student will end up spending quite a bit of time at either Kemble or Oaksey Park. Therefore it’s very important for potential students to be able to meet some of the instructors, club members and other students to get a feel for who we are and what we can offer.
Choose a school that has all bases covered
Freedom Aviation is run by Sarah Letheren and Dave Jelly. We personally own all 6 aircraft and pride ourselves on the condition of the aircraft we operate. Freedom operates five well-equipped Piper Warriors, used primarily for PPL training and solo hire, and one Citabria, which is used for Tailwheel and Aerobatic training. Dave is Head of Training whilst Sarah looks after all the aircraft maintenance, bookings, ground school, instructors and liaising with both airfield operations and other flying organisations.
Our regular instructors are Glen, Ben, Bob and John. We have two examiners, Dave and John. Our aim is to team each student up with an instructor who will suit their individual needs and personality most adequately, with the student’s welfare being the central consideration. We are flexible to what our members want, whether you want to fly daily, weekly or in a consolidated period.
Check out their aircraft: do they have the right kit and are they well maintained?
The Freedom fleet of aircraft are on a continual improvement programme and are receiving improvements on a monthly basis. We have a maintenance programme for upgrading the aircraft interior, paint and avionics with all maintenance performed in a manner which does not conflict with training. So far this year, one of the Warriors has had new leather seating whilst another has a new Garmin transponder. Our Warrior III will be receiving a state of the art Garmin 650 upgrade very shortly.
Flying training is complex so ask a lot of questions before you start
PPL training can initially appear to be a daunting and complicated process. With so much new terminology, early flying lessons can be rather bewildering. Our instructors take the confusion out of what is required by giving each new student a one to one briefing on each lesson in the classroom before the flight commences. The lesson aims and objectives are explained in a relaxed environment so the student has a full grasp of what is required before take-off.
The most frequently questions we are asked are:
- How much does a PPL cost?
- How long will it take for me to gain my PPL?
- What kit do I need?
- When can I go solo?
- How many exams do I have to do?
- Do you offer Ground School?
- Do I need a medical and where do I go to get one?
Ask about the full cost of learning to fly
The cost of a PPL varies from person to person depending on how frequently they fly and if they have any other flying experience. We try to encourage students to fly as regularly as possible to ensure they are not repeating lessons each time they fly. The more often a student flies, the better. At the very least, one hour per week is recommended in order to maintain reasonable progression.
Be clear about the exams you’ll need to pass
Sarah organises all the Ground School dates, liaising with students and instructors to ensure everyone completes the required exams in a timely manner. There are 9 written exams that need to be undertaken alongside the flying training and we offer Ground School for all, or some, of the exams depending upon the student. Class sizes are kept to a maximum of 4 and are held at our dedicated Ground School Classroom at Oaksey Park, with instruction from Bob, Dave or Ben.
You need an aviation medical to be a pilot
We have a list of local Medical Examiners who our members use regularly. We encourage students to get their medical as soon as possible once they begin their flying training. You cannot go solo until you have a medical and have passed the Air Law exam so getting things completed in the correct order is important. Students don’t have to worry too much however, as Sarah is always on hand to ensure everyone knows what they need to achieve, and when.
Freedom Aviation has an ethos to make flying as easy and enjoyable as possible for each student, whether they are a new, or an established pilot doing continuation training, or just wanting to fly with like minded people.
Learning to fly doesn’t stop once you get your licence!
Once you have gained your PPL and have taken your family and friends to Compton Abbas for lunch, many pilots don’t know what to. By getting involved opportunity to go further afield than most other student pilots. In the last year some of our students have been to Reims, France; Bitburg, Germany and Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
Freedom Aviation organise and run many overseas flying expeditions where students, and established pilots, can fly with each other and experience the benefits of operating in a multi-crew environment. Pilots will have the chance to fly with friends and share tasks such as radio, navigation and planning.There are many opportunities for students to take their skills further than the PPL as Freedom offers further training in tailwheel, aerobatics, IMC, Night rating and structured hour building packages.