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HeliTorque :: View topic - PPL (H) near London/Essex
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HeliTorque Forum Index » Wannabes

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PPL (H) near London/Essex
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vjmehra
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:02 pm    Post subject: PPL (H) near London/Essex Reply with quote

Hi,

I live in central London, and am considering doing a PPL (A) or PPL (H), I've had a trial lesson in a Cessna 152 and as soon as the weather picks up, which is probably not going to be this year I guess now Sad, I will have a trial Robinson R22 lesson.

If I were to go for the PPL (H) option, then what are the best flight schools, from my research, this Cabair PPL builder at Elstree looks the most competitive and comprehensive, but am I misunderstanding something, as it seems pretty good value (http://www.londonschoolofflying.com/cfs-packages-2010.pdf)?

Also, in terms of post PPL, my biggest concern is rental costs, for a C172 it looks pretty reasonable, so I could go short(ish) range touring without spending too much, however for an R44 it looks like 400 per hour is the norm, which makes any trips, pretty expensive. Are there any places that offer significantly competitive rates for block bookings perhaps, or many shares available (I've seen a lot for planes, but not for helicopters).

I have no intention of becoming a commercial pilot by the way, so a PPL, with perhaps additional ratings would be as far as I take things.

Finally, other than cost, I've been thinking of the practicality of a PPL (H) vs a PPL (A), is there anything I've missed out here (I appreciate this has been mentioned before, but it always seems to provoke an interesting response):

Helicopter Pros:
Can land in small spaces
Definitely cooler
More challenging???- Open to discussion

Helicopter Cons:
More expensive
Shorter range

Finally...sorry if this is a bit long, I just want to be sure I cover all bases!

What does everyone think of Rotorway helicopters? Do you think it would be possible to own one without having to self maintain it, or alternatively does anyone rent out hours?
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MintedMav
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi vjmehra

I hvae a NPPL(A) and am now training in helicopters (you can see my training diary on this site). I can fly a plane for 45 per hour and its costing 270ish per hour to learn the heli and will be c220/hour to SFH the R22 once ive passed.

Obviously its each to their own and your own finances will come into play. There is no doubt that the plane option is way cheaper. In particular there are lots of group shares available that really make the ongoing costs cheaper. From the research I have done already there are very few groups for helicopters and most private helis are operated by successful business people who dont mind having a 250k-500k asset sitting around and only being used now and again (50 hours per year typical). If you can find someone that owns a heli you may be able to borrow it directly from the owner for a reasonable fee BUT the big problem is insurance rates which are based around the lowest hour pilot using the asset. Thus a private owner with 200hrs will have much cheaper insurance and putting a low hour (say 70 hours) pilot onto the insurance would add a lot of cost.

This latter problem is also the case for group shares on helicopters as the group insurance would be based around the lowest hour pilot.

Then its down to what you want to do with it. If you just want the challenge of learning and the sheer fun of flying there is no doubt (in my mind) that a heli is WAY more fun than a plane. Im personally not a huge fan of landing a plane at 60Kts compared to bringing the heli to a nice gentle hover and zero speed before committing to the landing.

Also people in planes tend to end up just flying to another airfield, having a coffee and flying back again and it can get a bit tedious (for some - I personally just enjoy being in the air, navigating my way round and seeing the sights).

Ive not got through the training yet in the heli to see what I use it for once qualified so can't yet compare of course. I suspect I will use the heli for the fun stuff around london and maybe going to the odd hotel for a meal/overnight and use the plane for some of the more extensive touring around the UK.

In terms of the rotorway I have done a lot of reading up/around on this aircraft as on the face of it it looks like helicopter flying for airplane money. The key as you say is whether it is possible to fly it 25 hours at a time without the need for pilot maintenance. Reading around the concensus seems to be that this isnt possible and you will spend as long tinkering with it on the ground as you will flying it. However the guys at the UK rotorway distributor seem to suggest on their site that there are private owners that dont do any maintenance and rely on the distributor to do it. My plan is to investigate this properly when I have passed as its certainly an attractive aircraft. My concern is likely to be resale value compared to a second hand R22 as adding in any reasonable level of depreciation negates any ongoing savings.
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vjmehra
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great, thank you very much, appreciate your very thorough response!

You raise a very valid question, about whether I'm doing this for the challenge of flying or for an actual practical purpose...in theory I like the idea of being able to get around the country (or maybe over to Europe) and visit new places various weekends, which I guess would be more practical in a plane, but then again I'm guessing a lot of people think like this initially and possibly end up just flying in and out of their local flying school, not actually going anywhere, in which case the helicopter option is more appealing....something to think about...
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the risk of being narcissistic (if thats how you spell it) near London the best options in my opinion (which is biased as I am now based at one of the two) are

London Helicopter Centres at Redhill or Helicopter Services at Wycombe

both have plenty of aircraft R22s, R44s and the odd turbine or two to train in.

Both offer PPL, CPL and type rating courses.

Pop along to schools you like the sound of and see what you think of them, making an appointment is often best as plans change and at least if pilots need to go flying someone can call you and delay so you don't end up sitting around.

Looking at the figures on the site you posted they seem to be expensive (not massively, all the operators are in a similar ballpark), the builder option does not specify a number of hours which may be merely an oversight.

I have just gone through a cost comparison exercise at work (for 5 bases and their competition) and was surprised to find that we were generally cheapest for PPL training from the companies with published rates in the local area(s), with the exception of one company based about 50 miles and 2 hours drive from Central London which if its worth driving for that long to save 5 an hour then I guess customers should feel free to crack on.
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LoachBoy
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd echo Veeany's comments....... I've done a bit at Helicopter Services (as a customer!!!) and they were excellent.

Not been to LHC but heard good things from longstanding customers!

As for which discpline you choose....... I suspect your mind will be made up after your trial flight!

This time of year is actually a great time to fly, as like today, when it's cold & crisp you can have great visibility and the scenery looks incredible.

If I were you, I'd pester for your trial flight in the heli asap...... then see what you think. As for most of us, the cost of the heli becomes something that "you'll manage somehow!"
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MintedMav
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi vjmehra

In terms of training I am finding HeliAir to be very good. They have some excellent instructors and the aircraft are in good condition.

One of the key things you need to consider when adding up the cost is all the groundschool/exam costs and landing/circuit costs. Some places charge 10-20 per circuit and when you are getting to solo stages you will be doing many of these per hour plus landing fees etc.

I asked HeliAir for an "all in one" price which literally includes everything including circuits and landing fees at their 4 bases, all the books, exam fees etc. This price was below the Cabair price by a reasonable margin.

I emailed Jonathan at Rotorway yesterday regarding the maintenance question and got this reply....

Hi Geoff,

Thanks for the email. The Rotorway 162F requires some maintenance every 25 hours and this covers an oil change, filter, check and adjust engine valve lash, torque exhaust bolts and a few other small parts. There is very little to do between the 25 hour service other than the pre flight checks which are done by the pilot and a check on the belt tensions. Once any new belts have settled in after a few hours running very little adjustments will be needed.

We have some Rotorway's here at our hangar and if you would like to visit and see them we would be more than pleased to show you around.

So that sounds promising Smile I could be in the market for going halves on one of these if someone is interested (and preferably has somewhere to store it and fly from as well).

Geoff
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As luck would have it there is an article on the Rotorway in this months loop video http://www.looptv.aero/LTVCategory114/2444/LOOPSHOW%e2%80%93DEC10.aspx

The chap that owns a rotorway is quoting a 200 per hour all up cost with insurance, maintenance, fuel etc based on 25 hours per year. If you do more no doubt the additional cost per hour drops drastically (as the fixed costs have already been covered).

However if you are only looking on doing that many hours you can save yourself the up front cost of 45k and the hassles etc and just SFH a R22 for about the same money.

Obviously you dont get to have a choppper on your front garden and cant fly wherever and whenever you want but interesting numbers none the less.
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vjmehra
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had a lesson in a Cessna 172 booked for today, unfortunately it got cancelled due to the fog Sad

I have a lesson in a PA-28 tomorrow, then a Piper Cherokee (2 seat) on Friday, with hopefully an R22 lesson next Friday, followed by the rescheduled C172 lesson on the Saturday, after all of that, with any luck I'll be able to make a decision about how to proceed, although given the time of year its not impossible they could all get cancelled Sad

On a side note, presumably some of the exams are the same regardless of whether you fly helicopters or planes, so I could get some of the books now, does anyone have any recommendations at all?
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi vjmehra

If you are still considering fixed wing flying I would strongly recommend that you consider training on a 3-axis microlight instead of the old Cessnas.

Firstly the current micrlights like the Ikarus C42 and the EV97 eurostar are very sporty and super fun to fly but they also are cheaper to learn and cheaper to fly once you have qualified. For instance I fly both C42s and Eurostars for 45 per hour plus 35 per month which is about as cheap as aviation gets.

Fixed wing flying (in my opinion) isnt a patch on flying helicopters but it is MUCH cheaper and you still get the same views so its up to you. I couldn't personally recommend learning in a cessna when you can fly a microlight with all the benefits that go with it. Unless you want to fly a 4 seat pr get a fixed wing night rating or IMC rating (all of which are worthwhile if thats the flying you want to do) I would go NPPL(m) over PPL(a).

If you have even the slightest inclination that helis are gonna be what you want to do then just bin the fixed wing and go heli. Its so much more fun, you can do so much more and the views are miles better in a heli. It just costs a bit more (quite a bit more) but you pays your money you takes your choice.

If you are anywhere near Popham (Basingstoke area) I'd be more than happy to take you flying in either a C42 or the Eurostar to show you the microlight world.

Hope that helps

Geoff
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My plan is to be able to fly 4-6 seaters away for the weekend, so Microlights unfortunately don't fit the bill, my one caveat here is that, if I really enjoy the R22 experience then maybe I would consider that over a 4 seat plane...

But thank you for your advice and kind offer, always glad to hear any tips!
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Somehow despite the weather, I actually managed to get some flying in!

Yesterday I did an hour in a PA-28 Archer II 181 at Southend (very calm skies) and today, slightly more bumpy, not sure if that was due to the weather or the smaller plane as I was in a PA-28 Cherokee 140, flying out of Panshanger Aerodrome, my first experience of a grass strip!

So, weather permitting, I intend to do a lesson in a C172 a Robinson R22 and maybe another C152 lesson, but out of Southend this time before the year is out, after which I should be in a good position to decide where to go from there!

So in total now I've had 3 hours (all in fixed wing) and I still seem to tense up a bit when we hit turbulent conditions, did anyone else find this a bit unnerving at first? If so, how long did it take before you just ignored it and just focused on the aircraft? Are helicopters affected more/less/the same by turbulence?

Sorry for the increasing number of questions!!!
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found that the more flying I did where I was fully in charge of the controls on fixed wing the less the "bumps" bothered me. I do remember finding it very unnerving on my first lesson or two when i wasnt in control of the aircraft for large parts of the lesson.

Its one of those things you just get used to and I don't really pay any attention to it at all unless its severe. I only really notice now when my passengers comment on it !!

I dont know the reason why but rotary doesn't seems to be nearly as affected by turbulence. Maybe the sheer speed of the blades bashes through the bits of turbulence ??

I'm sure you have only doing VFR stuff clear of cloud and in sight of the surface - If you ever progress though to an IMC rating you will find turbulence gets a lot worse when you play in the clouds.
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