What to do after the PPL
  • Fly22
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    What to do after the PPL

    by Fly22 » Thu Jul 01, 2021 3:38 pm

    Hi all.

    I am coming to the end of my PPL training and while naturally my primary focus is on preparing for the skills test and meeting all the required elements I have started to think about what to do next.

    I live in the Dublin area so would ideally like to fly from somewhere nearby. I can continue to rent from the school I am at currently but I am wondering if there are other options?

    Do most people continue to rent by the hour from a few different places for their flying? Or is it a better idea to get a share in an aircraft. Then I suppose there is joining a club like the airport flying club, Trim flying club etc where it might be easier to rent aircraft for a longer period of time? (i.e overnight trips/a few days)

    Finally, while I have no interest in pursuing a commercial career I am considering further training. In the US for example I get the impression it is relatively common to have a PPL then do a night and instrument rating. I get the feeling that is not as common here but would it be recommended?

    Thanks in advance for any help!
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    Re: What to do after the PPL

    by mark » Sun Jul 04, 2021 6:12 pm

    Hi fly22,

    Great question!

    I think it's an important question to answer. I've seen lots of people drift away from flying after their skills test as they have no goal to pursue afterwards.
    Finally, while I have no interest in pursuing a commercial career I am considering further training. In the US for example I get the impression it is relatively common to have a PPL then do a night and instrument rating. I get the feeling that is not as common here but would it be recommended?
    It depends on what type of flying you want to do. The IR and night ratings are much easier to get and keep in the US. In Ireland, very few airports are open at night so there's no real use for a night rating. For the Instrument Rating, you need to sit most of the commercial licence exams which takes a huge amount of effort and expense. And again, there are not many airports in the country that are equipped with instrument approaches. It's also a skill that you need to keep practising to stay safe.

    I would recommend a tailwheel differences course. It really tidies up your flying and teaches you to use the rudder properly. You'll feel like you can't land it for the first few hours but stick with it - it's very rewarding.
    Do most people continue to rent by the hour from a few different places for their flying? Or is it a better idea to get a share in an aircraft. Then I suppose there is joining a club like the airport flying club, Trim flying club etc where it might be easier to rent aircraft for a longer period of time? (i.e overnight trips/a few days)
    Again it depends on what type of flying you like to do. A share is certainly an option but from my experience, you need to be flying about 50 hours per year to make it pay. On paper, aircraft look cheap to operate but if you own a share there's always a chance of a mechanical issue that can cost thousands to fix. It's definitely cheaper than owning an aircraft outright. If you're buying into a certified aircraft (e.g. Cessna 172, Piper PA28 etc.), make sure you do your homework as these can be very expensive to maintain.

    Personally, I started flying homebuilt and microlight aircraft a few years after I got my PPL and I found it was a relatively affordable way to fly. They operate on a flight permit, which means they don't have to comply with all of the EASA maintenance rules and they can use generic parts, run on petrol etc. etc. The airworthiness is managed through voluntary organisations like the NMAI and ILAS which makes them more affordable to operate too. There are a few groups of pilots around the country that tour together most weekends when the weather is good and for me, that's the type of flying I love. Take a look at this YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChARU3 ... Ojg/videos

    Regards,
    Mark
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    Re: What to do after the PPL

    by Fly22 » Mon Jul 12, 2021 7:49 pm

    Mark,

    Thanks so much for your reply and sorry I am only seeing it now.

    That is interesting information about the IR and Night rating. I suppose I have always had that romantic image of skimming the clouds and flying into a sunset - but maybe not that practicable in Ireland from what you've said. I guess as its all for enjoyment though the night rating might be something fun to do, I take your point though about them being skills that need to be maintained.

    Yes the tailwheel course is definitely something that is on the list, like you've said I've heard its a little like starting all over again, sounds great fun though. Would it be recommended to build up some more hours after the PPL before attempting it or do most people jump straight in?

    I suppose the dream in terms of flying would be to do some touring around Ireland Europe and even beyond. Probably unrealistic I am guessing to be able to take a plane for more than a day or two if you are renting it or part of a club? I'm guessing a share or ownership would be easier for that.

    Thanks for the info, certainly need to consider carefully what's next.
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    Re: What to do after the PPL

    by Papa8 » Wed Jul 14, 2021 11:49 am

    Hi Fly22,

    Tailwheel can be done straight after. I even did some hours in tailwheel aircraft getting my PPL. Another type of flying training some PPLs in Ireland have done is the TMG (Touring Motorglider) class rating. It introduces you to some areas of flying you don’t get to see much otherwise, soaring, airbrake to descend instead of flaps/sideslipping. Also the high lift/drag ratio can give you more options in the event of an emergency. There have only been a handful of these aircraft in the country and only a couple of examiners but hours on SEP(TMG) renew your SEP(A). I had thought one motorglider that was previously used for training went to Waterford Aero Club. I think TMG-flying just seems a bit unknown to many pilots and I don’t think there is a club offering it presently in Ireland which is a shame.

    STOL-flying is another pursuit that Irish PPLs can look at. FunFly Aerosports can probably do great STOL work in those ICP Savannahs but there is no course. STOL approach is how all landings/takeoff at airfields like Coonagh, Bantry and Limetree are done.

    I can’t speak for what is possible with a seaplane rating in Ireland but NFC used to do it and somewhere up north does it too. I think landing on a lake/inlet is pretty “romantic” flying but the main activity near Ireland for this I think is Scotland. It possibly has a little more usability in Ireland compared to the night rating though I am open to correction on this, having never looked into it really.

    You mentioned flying away in an aircraft for a few days. Partly it’s the conflicting utilization (you flying a little vs the lessons and local flying that could be flown while you have the aircraft) that I think puts clubs off letting aircraft away for a few days. There are other reasons too. On the other hand, if you brought club members flying with you, sharing legs of the journey with good utilisation perhaps some would oblige.

    Another form of expanding your skills and keeping the interest going is type familiarization on various aircraft your license affords you. I got my PPL and within a couple of years let it lapse. I am returning to it again at the moment and will be re-learning (back to skills test level) in a Robin which is an aircraft I was never in.
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    Re: What to do after the PPL

    by Fly22 » Wed Jul 14, 2021 6:11 pm

    Papa8 wrote: Wed Jul 14, 2021 11:49 am Hi Fly22,

    Tailwheel can be done straight after. I even did some hours in tailwheel aircraft getting my PPL. Another type of flying training some PPLs in Ireland have done is the TMG (Touring Motorglider) class rating. It introduces you to some areas of flying you don’t get to see much otherwise, soaring, airbrake to descend instead of flaps/sideslipping. Also the high lift/drag ratio can give you more options in the event of an emergency. There have only been a handful of these aircraft in the country and only a couple of examiners but hours on SEP(TMG) renew your SEP(A). I had thought one motorglider that was previously used for training went to Waterford Aero Club. I think TMG-flying just seems a bit unknown to many pilots and I don’t think there is a club offering it presently in Ireland which is a shame.

    STOL-flying is another pursuit that Irish PPLs can look at. FunFly Aerosports can probably do great STOL work in those ICP Savannahs but there is no course. STOL approach is how all landings/takeoff at airfields like Coonagh, Bantry and Limetree are done.

    I can’t speak for what is possible with a seaplane rating in Ireland but NFC used to do it and somewhere up north does it too. I think landing on a lake/inlet is pretty “romantic” flying but the main activity near Ireland for this I think is Scotland. It possibly has a little more usability in Ireland compared to the night rating though I am open to correction on this, having never looked into it really.

    You mentioned flying away in an aircraft for a few days. Partly it’s the conflicting utilization (you flying a little vs the lessons and local flying that could be flown while you have the aircraft) that I think puts clubs off letting aircraft away for a few days. There are other reasons too. On the other hand, if you brought club members flying with you, sharing legs of the journey with good utilisation perhaps some would oblige.

    Another form of expanding your skills and keeping the interest going is type familiarization on various aircraft your license affords you. I got my PPL and within a couple of years let it lapse. I am returning to it again at the moment and will be re-learning (back to skills test level) in a Robin which is an aircraft I was never in.
    Hi Papa8,

    Many thanks for your reply and lots of interesting ideas. That is indeed a shame there isn't a lot of TMG flying in Ireland as it sounds like quite an interesting and unique form of flying. STOL flying looks like a lot of fun, some of the videos of 'backcountry' STOL flying they do in the US for example looks really exhilarating!

    A seaplane/floatplane rating would definitely be something I'd like to pursue, I know NFC did a rating a few years ago but beyond that I haven't seen much of it going on in Ireland which is a real shame, as you say very much 'romantic' flying!

    That is a fair point about taking an aircraft away from a club for a few days - particularly a club that offers training I can certainly see they would lose potentially a lot of training hours.

    On your point of flying other types that is something else I wanted to ask - in the US/Canada it almost seems like you can rent a SEP once you have a PPL almost like you'd rent a car! With of course a checkout flight with an instructor beforehand. Is the same true here? For example, if one were to look to rent a C172 when say you had done your training on a Robin or a piper could you simply do a checkout flight with an instructor from whatever organisation is doing the renting and then be on your way?

    Many thanks for the great replies to this thread so far.
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    Re: What to do after the PPL

    by Papa8 » Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:08 pm

    I can’t say myself having not done that here in Ireland. My feeling is it can be done, but not so quickly. Renting was always through the club I belonged to at the time. Once I have my SEP revalidated on my PPL(A) I intend to join a microlight club nearer to me having moved house last year. The CFI there can’t revalidate PPL(A) but can get me checked out on the microlight they have “fairly quickly” so it may take a little more effort but not a massive task. Lots of factors to compare in VFR flying between a country like the US and Ireland. Consider the weather differences in many parts of the US (more CAVOK days in the sunnier parts) with mainly maritime Ireland, the larger runways often available in a nearby area (STOL/grass fields aside), the ATC services available. Insurance risk could be different given all that. A lot of the fields we fly to have obstacles on approach and my feeling (no facts on this) is that runways are generally less obstructed on approach over there. Of course you can find all the same conditions at times in the US as here in Ireland too and we don’t have to fly as high due to terrain so density altitude is a bigger factor there. More extreme weather there which is an easy decision) but Ireland’s weather is perhaps more often 50/50 for VFR. Flying is cheaper in the US (fuel, insurance anyway) and I was thinking that pilots might on average fly more frequently than we do due to the lower cost/better weather combination for example. Being less current therefore is a risk here in Ireland. AOPA is quite a strong voice for GA flying in the US and renting is easier from the larger schools with the scale and competition they have. And alright, the US culture/psyche is in my opinion a bit more ‘can-do’ if we were looking at the two countries. This US/IRL comparison was discussed on the FII forum previously in the areas above and in other areas.

    Just to elaborate on the ‘can-do’ aspect. You can expect to see more exciting Youtubers/Vloggers etc from the US - there is more chance to make a living from that with more viewers and there are more pilots to go out and compete for the viewers. That Trent Palmer back-country flying guy comes to mind with his skimming his wheels over lakes, landing on unprepared strips/river beds, even flying his aircraft up to the remote petrol station to fill up to the bemusement of onlookers but he flys in Nevada where they, according to him, let you get away with landing on the back roads. Lots of remote wilderness space is part of that reason perhaps. Then there is that Mike Patey guy (Flying Cowboys) who souped up a Wilga, renamed it Draco, crashed it and got back in the saddle with a new monster aircraft project . But the majority of us, whilst enjoying their antics, are not that focused on copying them.
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    Re: What to do after the PPL

    by Papa8 » Sat Jul 17, 2021 11:45 am

    Since I mentioned the TMG in my post here is a video of what one UK crowd have done since learning to fly a TMG the amazing Aerosparx display team.

    https://youtu.be/ezwhSfRiHUE
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    Re: What to do after the PPL

    by mark » Sun Jul 18, 2021 11:01 am

    Yes the tailwheel course is definitely something that is on the list, like you've said I've heard its a little like starting all over again, sounds great fun though. Would it be recommended to build up some more hours after the PPL before attempting it or do most people jump straight in?
    I would say jump straight in. It's a completely new set of skills so I don't think it makes much difference how much experience you have. Once it's in the air, it's the same as any other aircraft - it's just the transition between the two that's the problem!
    I suppose the dream in terms of flying would be to do some touring around Ireland Europe and even beyond. Probably unrealistic I am guessing to be able to take a plane for more than a day or two if you are renting it or part of a club? I'm guessing a share or ownership would be easier for that.
    I guess this depends on the club. I know at FunFly where I fly, we have a dedicated aircraft for member self-fly. It's not on the training approval so can't be used for any initial training so we encourage members to take it away flying - particularly during the week when slots are more available.

    Regards,
    Mark
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    Re: What to do after the PPL

    by Aztec_Flyer » Mon Sep 20, 2021 1:09 pm

    Waterford Aero Club have a great mix of training and member rentals. If you already have a PPL then a checkout with one of the club instructors is all you need to rent solo.

    Three modern, well maintained C172s and Waterford is a great location to fly from.
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    Re: What to do after the PPL

    by drago » Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:11 pm

    Fly as mush as you can if you can afford it

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