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Not much point in starting a PPL in the autumn

I started, 31 July 2000, and in the autumn booked 1 lesson per day, i.e. 90 potential lessons, and got just 3 done out of the possible 90. The UK is worse than most of Europe but the whole area is hard work now. Our fly-in to Spain got cancelled repeatedly and will now probably be run in May 2023.

Best time to start a PPL is probably April.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I started in September 2007. Other than one 10 day gap in February, and a few others at 7 days, I managed to fly every few days. This was weekends and Wednesday & Friday afternoons. I don’t remember many weather cancellations, as we could usually do at least a couple of low height circuits; I think I was lucky and it was a good winter for VFR. Even in deepest darkest Burgundy on the wet side of the Föhn effect, the weather is still better than the UK. Also, there was no hurry to get my PPL in the minimum time or minimum hours.

Edited to add: having my BB in the spring then PPL in the summer, I had good weather for lots of flying straight after gaining a licence.

Last Edited by Capitaine at 23 Nov 09:53
EGHO-LFQF-KCLW, United Kingdom

Last winter Ireland had an unusually pleasant winter. VFR flights were possible most weekends.
This winter seems to be the opposite with lows followed by more lows.

EIWT Weston, Ireland

For the weather cancelation you can be lucky or unlucky.
But I found that the autumn/winter has more occurrences of marginal weather and crosswind, which is always nice to experience with an instructor. In my opinion this prepares you better in case you encounter it later during your flying.

The biggest con of starting in the autumn are the short days you have during the autumn and winter, especially as you are limited to the weekends. It happens often that all slots are booked for a weekend.
In the spring and summer you have long days, allowing flight training in the late afternoon after work and having more slots in the weekends. This gives a lot more options to plan your training (for multiple flights in a week).

EHEH, Netherlands

Yes it’s a waste of time for PPL, maybe one should nail the theory?

CBIR training in Nov would be more useful !

Last Edited by Ibra at 23 Nov 10:24
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

I started in December 2015 IIRC. The weather was alternating between really nice and cold CAVOK days (the cold air providing a boost to the takeoff performance of the Aquila A210) and the regionally typical OVC 002. My progress was slow because unlike the typical student I often had to work on weekends and instead tried to get lessons after doing a night shift at the hospital. This wasn’t always a good idea though and I found it difficult to concentrate.

As a result, there were few flyable days where availability of a) myself b) my instructor c) the aircraft and d) suitable weather aligned.

Thus, my PPL dragged on until summer 2017. I nevertheless managed to complete it in the minimum 45 hrs TT.

Low-hours pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

I always advise my students to finish off the theoretical examinations during the winter and just fly as much as they need to keep the motivation. If they sort out the theory by March/April, it will be just fun from there. :)

ESSZ, Sweden

There is some resistance from schools to students doing all the exams up front. I used to do some mentoring years ago (would not do it today due to the CAA’s mad no-prisoners policy) and I said to the people to do the exams first (and would help them at home) but the schools preferred to do them along with flight training.

The average PPL takes a year and it is largely due to wx plus weekends-only flying.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Yes, some schools prefer that. In my flying club we are simply happy if they finish them at all. The theoretical part is where most students get bored and find something else to spend their money on.
We use 100% self studies with the possibility to attend “study evenings” with one or several instructors present.

The students set their own pace. Does not work for everyone but it is a matter of motivation.

Last Edited by Fly310 at 23 Nov 17:30
ESSZ, Sweden

You’ve just got to be more flexible in autumn/winter if you can. Yesterday we ran 6 aircraft constantly from 0900 to 1615 on VFR training, was a great day. I’ve got two PPL test to do the rest of this week and will get them done but the candidates are both flexible on times and days.

Doing exams up front is risky as it starts the clock running – often people stop / start training for life reasons and can run up against validity. The old urban myth about needing Air Law before first solo also persists in some places, we use a in house pre solo essential knowledge quiz which I think is far more useful.

Posts are personal views only.
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
22 Posts
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