Frequently Asked Questions

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Some of the usual Questions we are asked....

I have always wanted to fly an aeroplane - Should I become a Pilot?

There are as many answers to this question as there are pilots. Obviously, learning to fly will have one very dramatic effect on your life. It will allow you to go more places and do more things in a day. You decide when to go and when to return. You make your own schedule.

Ask any one who is already a pilot why they learned to fly and you will hear words such as "challenge", "sense of accomplishment", "fun", "rewarding"....this list is endless. Perhaps it's because being in the sky is such a unique and rewarding experience.

Whether you use an aeroplane to expand the amount of territory you can cover in your business, or take your family on a vacation that otherwise would be impossible, flying is certainly practical. Add to this the fact that learning to fly and using the skill are both interesting and enjoyable, and you will begin to understand why becoming a pilot makes such good sense.


How difficult is it to become a pilot?

As with any other skill you master, flying is learned step by step. The South Warwickshire Flying School program prepares you for each specific flight lesson by introducing you to the subject through audio-visuals or a pre flight briefing. You reinforce your lesson by reading the flying Training Manual.  Theoretical subjects are contained in subsequent manuals and by completing the practice exercises at the rear of the book.

Accompanying this, you will start right off with hands-on experience. Under the supervision of your personal flight instructor, you learn how to take-off, land and fly cross-country. You will learn the skills of navigation, emergency procedures, and all the "rules of the air".

Hundreds of thousands of people have learned to fly. And with our training, by the time you are ready for your Private Pilot Licence, you will be secure in the knowledge that you are a safe and competent pilot.


How long does my training course last before I qualify?

The UK Air Navigation Order is specific about the flying syllabus and about the minimum requirements for the issue of a Private Pilots Licence. The syllabus contains a minimum of thirty five hours flying training; this includes a specified amount of solo and cross-country flights. You would have eventually have completed all the nine theoretical written examinations, a final skill test and a minimum of forty five hours of flying training and a final Skill Test for the issue of the licence.

Statistics indicate that the average student pilot studying on a part-time basis, and carrying out at least a couple of hours of flying training a week, will complete the requirements in about six months. However, some finish it sooner and others take longer. For those carrying out a full time course of intensive training, the licence can be obtained in around four to five weeks, weather permitting, but this does require dedication and hard work from the student in order to meet our training schedule and personal commitment to the student.

The School's flight scheduling system allows you to choose a timetable that best fits your time schedule. Individual training slots commence at 8.30 a.m. through to 5.30 p.m. or until sunset if sooner. Each slot allows the student a two hour sortie and these can be booked in multiples in order to navigate away from the aerodrome.  The School is operational seven days a week. You will be allocated an instructor who will have his days-off to suit your availability.

And you will enjoy every minute of it...

How much is it going to cost me?

Compared to the costs of training in other business skills, becoming a licensed Private Pilot is relatively inexpensive. Pro-rated over a lifetime, it is one of the biggest bargains you will ever find and, when you consider the benefits, the cost of becoming a pilot is not a cost at all, but rather a solid investment in your future.

Once you commence training on a part-time basis, it is in your interest to maintain the continuity of regular ground school lectures and flight lessons in order to achieve the standards required throughout the course. If you work hard and strive to complete your training course within a set time-scale, you are most likely to achieve your licence with the minimum amount of flying hours.

The cost of flight training varies across the country as does the cost of operating the family car or the value of property and rates payable. Fuel prices, maintenance and insurance costs are but a few of the things which directly effect the cost of training. However, you can expect the price to be around 10,700 for a good flying training programme.

The South Warwickshire Flying School suggests a payment plan for your course that can be spread over the duration of your training. An enrolment fee is due at the beginning of the course. Following that, the remaining fees are split into four equal payments - installments due as soon as you reduce your personal account to a nil balance as you progress through the training course.  You may of course just 'pay as you go' by settling you fees at the end of each lesson.  The School prefers payment by debit card.

Your training will be in a Cessna 152 aeroplane or you can elect to train in the larger Cessna 172. You will be learning with the latest equipment and teaching aids.

Should I train for the UK Part-FCL PPL(A) or the LAPL(A)?

There is no single answer to this question but here are a few things to think about before selecting your desired course. 

The UK Part-FCL PPL is a recognised International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) licence and as such is recognised by all other nations who are contracted to ICAO.  Therefore the licence holder may exercise their licence in nearly every other country provided they maintain their licence in accordance with the requirements of the issuing nation.  In other words you will be able to fly into, or, hire aeroplanes in all our neighbouring countries like France, Ireland, Germany and the Benelux countries for example. 

For those of you who are considering a career in commercial aviation, you will find that there is a natural progression from the UK Part-FCL PPL but not with the LAPL, although this licence can be upgraded at a later date and will incur further additional duplicated charges for the various repeated flight tests and additional training. 

On the face of it the minimum hours requirements between the two licenses would indicate that there is a cost saving to be made, however this assumes that the student can complete either syllabus in the minimum hours.  Qualifying LAPL pilots tend to be closer to the higher minimum than the lower on the successful completion of their training. 

The medical requirement's for holding a UK Part-FCL PPL and a LAPL do differ considerably, but, can cost the candidate a similar fee of around 175 whether they obtain a UK Part-FCL PPL medical or a LAPL medical from an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).

The UK obtained and issued LAPL is only valid in the United Kingdom.

How about the physical and other qualifications?

The minimum acceptable age for the recording of flight training hours is fourteen years of age. A student pilot holding a medical certificate can solo at the age of sixteen and you must have obtained the age of seventeen to be issued with a Private Pilot Licence. There is nothing in the regulations about a maximum age. In fact, assuming continued general good health, advancing years have little to do with a person's ability to fly safely.

The CAA appoints aviation medical examiners (AME) all around the country. An up-to-date listing of all AME's can be obtained from our Operations Desk. It is the School policy to ensure that you have been furnished with an AME prior to you starting any flying course. Medical examinations are taken at various frequencies depending upon the age and the licence qualification of the person and the validity imprinted on the certificate. It is a routine examination and is designed only to ensure that the applicant has no problems that would interfere with their ability to fly safely. The wearing of spectacles and contact lenses are perfectly acceptable - take your last eyesight prescription with you when you attend your medical.

An applicant must be able to read, speak, and understand the English language. Physical handicaps are not necessarily a bar to earning your pilot's licence. Only the ability to control an aeroplane counts.

Actually - simple as it may sound - the basic requirements to becoming a pilot (and a good one) are common sense, and a willingness to stay within the boundaries of both flight regulations and your own piloting ability.

Are the written examinations and flying skill test difficult?

Before an application can be made for the issue of a licence, you will be required to pass nine theoretical examinations and a radio-telephony practical oral test. The skill test is conducted following the completion of the syllabus by one of the six CAA designated School Examiners and includes all the elements of the course where the student demonstrates that he or she can handle and navigate the aeroplane competently and safely. The nine written examinations are, aviation law, human performance & limitations, navigation, meteorology, aircraft general, principals of flight, operational procedures, flight planning & performance and communications. None of these examinations are too difficult; nevertheless, you will not be able to attain a 75% pass mark if you are not willing to put in the required learning.

Is flying safe?

Your flying will be as safe as you want to make it. As the pilot-in-command of an aeroplane, you are also in command of most variables that affect flying safety. With excellent equipment, thorough training, and prudent judgment, your flying can be of very high safety levels.

One question often asked is, "What if the engine quits?" An aeroplane engine is a piece of finely built machinery that is specifically designed to keep on running, and, if the improbable should happen, you will not fall out of the sky. Your aeroplane becomes a glider and you will have practiced many times with your instructor on how to select a good off-airport landing site and how to land there without power.

Aeroplanes are built to very rigid specifications and they are constantly checked and re-checked to make sure they are mechanically and structurally safe. Pilots who fly are safety conscious and have a regular programme of flying requirements to maintain their licence, including a review flight every two years. Additionally, in order to carry passengers by day, a pilot is required to have carried out at least three take-offs and landings in the previous three months in that class or type of aeroplane. If the flight is to be at night, then at least one take-off and landing within the previous three months has to have been at night. The vast majority of pilots have never been involved in a flying mishap of any kind.

The risks inherent in an aeroplane or any other moving vehicle will never be eliminated as long as people are operating them. But, a well-built and well-maintained aeroplane in the hands of a competent and prudent pilot makes flying safer than any other form of transportation.


What about insurance?

 All School aeroplanes are covered by the best aviation policy available on the market. The pilot in command is indemnified for all third party cover.  The main policy document and schedule is accessible  and each aeroplane has a copy of the certificate within its document wallet. Pilot accident insurance is included up to the sum of 10,000.  In addition the School has a separate combined 'Public Liability' policy for three million pounds in its business & premises cover alone.

In the past, insurance companies simply did not know what to expect when people started flying. This was simply because they had statistics on almost a hundred million licensed drivers, but less than one million pilots.

Today, however, insurance companies have come to learn how extremely safe flying really is. Consequently, if your policies are fairly recent, you are probably covered. If you have policies thirty or more years old, there may be a slight increase in premium.

A common alternative is the purchase of special low cost 'pilot insurance' which covers private flying and nothing else. At any rate, you should check with your own insurance agent. He will be able to tell you where you stand and advise you on any problems that may exist.



Do I need to buy my own aeroplane to continue flying?

Not at all!

Of course owning your own aeroplane, if you can afford it, will give you complete freedom to set your own schedule, and, you will have a pride of ownership like nothing you would have known before.

The vast majority of pilots belong to a flying School or Club and choose to rent their aeroplanes. Rental fees are computed on the basis of an hourly rate for actual flying time. For an individual trip, you may find it costs less to rent a plane than to rent a car.

The rental fee covers everything, including fuel, oil, insurance etc. The only additional fee that you would be responsible for would be the landing charges at any aerodromes you are visiting.

Group ownership could be useful if you are going to fly many hours a year. However, from experience, we give caution that there are many pitfalls with group ownership, and each case must be studied carefully before any capital investment is made.

What are the other people like who fly?

Somewhere there is someone just like you who has become a pilot. Virtually every occupational group and every geographic location in the nation is represented among those men and women who hold a pilot's licence. They range in age from teenagers to senior citizens. Whatever their background, personal wealth or occupation - they all share a special interest - they enjoy piloting an aeroplane for whatever the reason.

What happens after I get my pilots licence?

Trips that previously required an entire day of hard traveling can now be accomplished in a few hours. True travel costs shrink and you will have a new feeling of control over your transportation needs and a freedom of making your own schedule. You will also develop a new sense of personal fulfillment in your ever-growing flying skills.

In order to maintain the privilege of your licence, you will be required to carry out at least twelve hours of flying every two years. However, you must have flown at least twelve hours in the last year of the two year period and this must include twelve landings, six of them as pilot-in-command. In addition, during one of those twelve hours, you are required to have flown with a School Instructor to demonstrate your proficiency in flying skills and safety drills. If you are unable, for whatever reason, to carry out the requirements of the last year, then all you are required to do is to carry out a profeciency check with one of the School Examiners within the last three months or thereafter of validity of the licence.

Will I be restricted to seasons in the year?

Unlike many other pursuits, flying is a year-round activity; autumn and winter provide some of the best flying days. The cooler, denser air provides better aircraft performance and often better visibility than some of the warmer periods of the year. Of course, there are some days throughout the entire year when flight is inadvisable, however, these days can be reduced by about 90% when you obtain an IMC / IRR rating.

What about SEX!

Despite a somewhat prevalent misconception that flying is pretty much a he-man, macho activity, there has been a consistently increasing number of Miss., Mrs., and Ms., now confidently and competently flying the airways in everything from two seat trainers to heavy airliners.

Why should I choose South Warwickshire Flying School?

The South Warwickshire Flying School has been training pilots since 1982.  It is approved under UK Regulations by the UK CAA. You can be assured of getting your pilot education in one completely organized and fully integrated programme.

Cessna Pilot Centers are found all over the world. Each represents the most thorough, efficient pilot education system available anywhere. The system integrates all a pilot should know and be able to do into a sequence which helps him learn faster, better, and retain information longer.

The School offers professional, modern teaching techniques incorporating audio-visual materials which provides you with the flexibility of ground lectures in the classroom and study of the text books at home or in the office. All our Flying Instructors are carefully chosen and specially trained in our principles and techniques.

The value of our training can be seen in the fact that the percentage of students passing the private pilot's theoretical written examinations the first time is greater than the national average of all other civilian flight training courses available.

The School was the first flying school in the world to be certified by the International Standards Organization (ISO) for the quality assurance award of ISO 9002 for its quality management systems from September 1997. In order to achieve certification, the School's operating systems were compiled and implemented with the assistance of Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Department. The system continually investigated and monitored our management through audits and laid down procedures of nearly everything we do. The School has now discontinued the qualification with the ISO and maintains a more efficient and effective simple system required under UK regulations.

The School was awarded, the UK Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) 'Customer Care Award' in 1997.

Since 1984 the School has trained over 1750 Air Cadets & Civilian Flyig Scholarship Students for the Ministry of Defence, The Air League & the Royal Air Force Association.  Our achievement is 'Second to None'.

How do I get Started?

Now that you have read this 'Web Page' you may be ready for your introductory Discovery flight. During your flight, a qualified flying instructor will introduce you to the aeroplane, take you up, and - with his guidance - you will take the controls and fly.

So come on - Join us in the sky -  Haven't you waited long enough?