All the stuff in the papers this morning about Lewis Hamilton was pretty inspiring. From living on a council estate with his dad working 3 jobs to pay for his son's carting to F1 champion. Almost brought a tear to my eye on the underground. Or that might just have been the thought of having to go to work...
Like others have said you've been quoted costs for completing your course in minimum time. UK National average is about 65 hours though. You'll also need to consider/ascertain whether the course books, ppl theory exams, and your ppl skilss test fee are included within the price you've been given or whether they're extra. You'll also need a medical (Class 2 if you only want a PPL, but a Class 1 if you want a CPL), and the CAA have their own fees for licence issue also.
First decision is 'Might you want a CPL?'. If the answer is yes get the Class 1 medical sorted before spending loads on flying because if you cannot get the medical you won't get a CPL. The initial Class 1 can only be completed by the CAA at Gatwick and you'll need to contact them for current prices etc etc.
FWIW I'd have a look at both the 300 and the R22 and then choose the one you're happiest with. Both have pros and cons. Use a school with an instructor you have an almost instant rapport with AND make sure/insist that you do receive proper pre and post flight briefings as they're just as important as the actual flying and a few schools seem to forget that
Learning in the Country within which you intend to fly is valuable experience, but in the UK more expensive. If you decide to learn abroad remember to factor in your travel, accomodation costs and the licence conversion costs once you get back to the UK.
You might be gathering that this is not a cheap hobby or career change
In so far as 'How useful is a CPL?'. Being brutally blunt a basic new CPL is worthless. Zero to JAA CPL will cost in the region of £45-55K.
New CPL's choose one of two paths:
Flight Instructor (FI). Cost to acquire from zero roughly £75K. In the current economic climate aviation is taking a pounding and everywhere is suffering a downturn to a greater or lesser degree. I Fi'd for 14 months about 3 years ago and was earning about £20K gross. FI employment terms and conditions should require a thread all of their own, suffice to say the work is fun and the hours very long (you'll also work 99.9% of weekends through the Summer).
Instrument rating (IR). Cost to acquire from zero about the same. But be under no illusion an IR is a difficult and frustrating course and will be tricky (but not impossible) to complete with very low hours. Your options post IR are basically North Sea offshore flying for the oil and gas industry. Recruitment is cyclical, so opportunities when you're qualified are anybodies guess. Salary for a new co-pilot about £35K, rising to £100k+ as an experienced Captain.
With the downturn in FI'ing (and in many cases FI frustration) many FI's are biting the bullet and paying for an IR also, in which case you'll be up against them as well as any other 'new' guys when you go job hunting.
I self funded zero to CPL/FI/ MEIR in the UK, total bill circa £125K 3 ish years ago, with no job guarantee at the end of it. I was lucky and got employed very quickly. But with companies like Aeromega closing their twin charter buisness and their pilots struggling to find alternative work with the right qualifications and some experience, the future atleast in the short term, looks a little unsteady.
Feel free to PM if you've any questions. Happy to provide you with a number if you'd like to chat AND I've no 'shameless plugs' (not that I have a problem with them) to make as I no longer teach and have no direct connections with any training provider. What I do have though is a fair view of the industry and the hindsight of having been there already (especially with reagrds to being a self employed FI/CPL trading as a Ltd company and VAT registered)
The learning and working is great fun, but the financial risks are very high.
Accept my apologies for the blunt yet accurate view, but I reckon without the full facts you're hard pushed to make an informed decision and I'll sleep easier at night knowing you've started 'this' path armed with as much information as possible. Everybodies circumstances are different, I knew the risks and still went for it (but I had loads of property equity, an income from a previous employment and no kids).
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