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What next after PPL

I passed my PPL last week, so what do people think I should focus on in order to gain confidence and achieve my goal of flying myself down to the south of France from the UK in my own plane? More exams or just fly; gain confidence by staying local and familiar or go further afield and deal with novel ground and ATC procedures; stay in the UK or joust with foreign ATC; stick with one plane or try out lots of options.

Maybe I should hire an unfamiliar aircraft for a week and do my IMC rating with an instructor whilst bimbling around near Europe looking for cloud and new airfields, but something tells me that would be overload.

I have done most of my training in the UK on PA28s but I have also flown in France and Australia and found their procedures sufficiently different to be intimidating. I have also flown in a DA40 and a c172 (yeah I know! I vowed I am not going back to that thread:)

So what’s the best/quickest/safest way forward?

LFMD - Cannes

I would do a mixture:

Make some big navigations with an experienced safety pilot. You will learn a lot every time and you will know, it is easier than you expected.
Make some smaller navigations (= not staying local) alone, to gain confidence and to know you can do it without relying always on another pilot.

IFR is Always a good idea, but first you have to make hours (50hrs cross country is the minimum i think). Do these as a combination above. But first: gain confidence by flying/making hours.

Vie
EBAW/EBZW

tinfoilhat wrote:

I passed my PPL last week

Congrulations!!

tinfoilhat wrote:

achieve my goal of flying myself down to the south of France from the UK in my own plane?

Hhmh. If you don’t have your own plane yet (I’m assuming), how about flying yourself down to the south of France in a rented plane? That may sound tongue-in-cheek, but it really isn’t. The speed at which feel comfortable doing things and adding stuff to your missions is really up to you, if course – but I would not get into the habit of staying local for too long. Go out and explore! Rarely will you come back and say “damn, I shouldn’t have done that”. More often than not, you will come back and think “that wasn’t so hard after all”. In my early days (haha. I’m still pretty novice, at two years and 170 hours now) I used to impose a “one ride, one challenge” policy on myself – both in the sense of limiting myself to one challenge per ride only, but also keep up the learning curve. I.e. first solo flight after the license was just that! Then first navigation to home town, then taking mom as a passenger, then flying into Holland, then crossing CTR… etc.

tinfoilhat wrote:

do my IMC rating with an instructor whilst bimbling around near Europe

The IMC rating is useless outside of UK, so that won’t work – if I understand you correctly. If you’re going for the IR, I suggest looking at the newish “Enroute IR” which you can later build upon to achieve the full IR by going the “CB IR” path. Lots of information on this out there, really.

But having said that: I have so far resisted getting any sort of instrument rating. I will eventually, but I feel I haven’t explored all the options VFR yet and I’m still enjoying myself, the cancellation rate is quite low… My advice would be to enjoy what you can do now! Explore, by all means, but don’t bother with instrument flying just yet. But that’s a very personal opinion, I should add.

Hungriger Wolf (EDHF), Germany

Don’t worry about IFR but pick a place that you are comfortable flying to and go 20-30 miles more. Keep pushing yourself and France and beyond becomes easy. Flying long distances is much easier than you think without experience. Yes IFR is great, but VFR is not a problem. Get some experience then look to add instruments.

Last Edited by JasonC at 11 Aug 00:12
EGTK Oxford

A few points about the IMCR:

AFAIK having training towards a UK issued license or a rating done outside UK airspace does not in itself disqualify that training (for logbook purposes), but the school won’t get permission from the CAA to do such training in the first place. This was tried for the IR in the last year or two (IR training flying around France, where approaches are a lot cheaper, etc) and AFAIK they were not allowed to do it by the UK CAA. Crazy!

The IFR privileges of the IMCR are limited to UK airspace but the skills are always with you, everywhere. You get much better situational awareness which helps VFR flight, especially VMC on top which is how many long trans-European trips are done. And the ability to fly an ILS to get yourself out of trouble is priceless, even if you have to declare an emergency to make it legal.

Regarding post-PPL flying, and this is what I wrote in another reply here just now: I would pick some nice locations to fly to. Places which deliver high value in both the location and the difficulty of simply driving there. Doing that will give you a high return and will keep you and potential passengers interested. Le Touquet in N France gets the p1ss taken out of it by some UK pilots but actually it is a really nice place to visit – a short flight (for most), a nice walk into town (no ripoff taxis), nice town, nice food, nice beach, and how the hell would you get there any other way? Too many pilots fly to places they could drive to and eat sh1t food when they get there Many even just fly to an airport to sit in the cafe!

I would not recommend instrument training until you are a good relaxed VFR pilot. You can do it, and it will improve your VFR flying a lot, but it will be a lot harder. Try to get maybe 50hrs post-PPL first.

If you can rent a DA40, that is a nice plane to go places in.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

AFAIK having training towards a UK issued license or a rating done outside UK airspace does not in itself disqualify that training (for logbook purposes), but the school won’t get permission from the CAA to do such training in the first place. This was tried for the IR in the last year or two (IR training flying around France, where approaches are a lot cheaper, etc) and AFAIK they were not allowed to do it by the UK CAA. Crazy!

@Peter are you saying what you ’re saying ? CAA will not allow IR training flights (of a UK ATO that is) to go abroad ?
If it were the same in Luxembourg IR training would get extremely boring extremely fast

@tinfoilhat : I am not very experienced myself despite 10 years of flying, but as in the past 8 years crossing borders has been a necessity I would say your best bet would be do to a few short trips to France to get acquainted (Le touquet, Cherbourg, Rouen, Caen , Deauville, Le Havre, etc…)

Once you are, you can cross France without problems. These few trips will build your confidence by trying something new, get to know “french procedures” not to be intimidated anymore, and gain flying experience.

I am not sure I would recommend a copilot unless for something specific and maybe particularly challenging (maybe the first channel crossing ? I know I find that one intimidating, just like the alps) but for the rest and initially, I would say alone for your self-confidence.

Last Edited by PapaPapa at 11 Aug 08:41
ELLX (Luxembourg), Luxembourg

(maybe the first channel crossing ? I know I find that one intimidating, just like the alps)

Even for the channel crossing, apart from some psychological reassurance, what value does a safety pilot add? If everything goes well (as it will), flying across the channel really isn’t any different from flying across terrain. If something goes wrong (it won’t, but as a pilot, of course that is what you’re going to EXPECT at any time ), is the safety pilot going to be better at handling the emergency situation (a ditching) than you are? What if something goes wrong when you cross the second, third, fourth time and you don’t have a safety pilot?

With the Alps, it’s a bit different. There are arguments for taking some mountain flying lessons before venturing into the valleys all alone. That is because there really ARE factors to be taken into account that you may not be aware of. I personally didn’t do any mountain training – I read lots about it though and asked questions here on euroga before the first crossing. That helped a lot.

Hungriger Wolf (EDHF), Germany

Patrick wrote:

Even for the channel crossing, apart from some psychological reassurance, what value does a safety pilot add?

exactly that
plus he may have had a closer look at how a dinghy works

ELLX (Luxembourg), Luxembourg

Usually a safety pilot adds nothing if you want to build confidence – because you will rely on him to some degree.

And he might know bugger-all despite having a thousand hours.

If you just want company then bring someone nice who doesn’t know about flying

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Well, as your goal is to fly to the south of France, then you should be pushing yourself to fly further and further.

When I look at the pilots around me at the airport, most of them never venture much futher than 1 hour from home. They tend to go to the same airports all the time. They know how to get there and back, without a map or GPS, and could probably do it blindfolded.

In the early days, flying regularly is good to keep you in practice with the new skills. They degrade very quickly if not used. But flying to the same places will quickly make you scared of going to new places, and that is the trap that so many people fall into. So always try to go to a new place if you can. When you first qualify, that should be easy, even on short flights, as everywhere is new.

But really, you should try to fly further from home whenever you can.

As for bringing a more experienced pilot, I wouldn’t suggest that. By all means, make a plan, and sit down with an experienced pilot and go through it with them, and see what you can learn from them on the ground. But you don’t need another quasi instructor with you as you learn to go further.

If budget is a restriction on how far you can go, then bring another pilot with you, preferably someone you get along with and who is of a similar experience level as you. That way you can learn together, without being intimidated or overly reliant on the other persion. You can fly alternate legs, have someone you can talk over decisions with, and if all goes to pot with the weather, someone who can look up diversion places while you fly the aircraft.

EIKH Kilrush
43 Posts
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