I am a current student pilot with about 30 hours flying time up already. But for various reasons (personal, flying club and weather) it's proving difficult to get consistent training where i live and the whole process is dragging out, so i've been thinking about spending a week in a flying school in South Africa in order to move the whole thing along a bit.
And basically, this is my first port of call, so i have no other info to date. I was hoping there'd be somebody here who has done this before, or who knows about the pros and cons of doing it, flying-school recommendations, etc. If there is, i'd really like to hear from them.
My reason for considering SA over, say, USA is simply that i've never been there and after the flying i'd spend some time touring around. I have no ambitions to do a CPL, just to get a PPL ultimately that i could use in Ireland. The week in SA is simply to get some flying done and take me closer to the PPL test in Ireland.
Having been to SA myself for ppl, I would definitly suggest Algoa Flight Centre in Port Elizabeth, check out www.algoafc.co.za, very good school and with the good weather you will clock up many hours (although you may need to fly with an instructor if you dont already have a ppl).
Quite a large organisation with professional friendly instructors. I couldnt fault them on much.
Just beaware of the time of year you go to SA. Visability can be a problem as they burn a lot of sugar cane in that part of the world as can the wx, storms and wind.
Great place to combine flying with a break - and if you surf......
pm me and ill give you low down on it all, got good flights with AF, schools, accom etc
I started this thread more than 3 years ago, and finally I can follow up on it.
Last year, i finally decided to bite the bullet and get the PPL in one swoop. After some research, I decided to go to Algoa Flying Club in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It had got good reviews and was the least expensive option.
I already ahd about 30 hours of flying done in Ireland, but most of that was back in 2004 - 2006, so I was rusty enough, and when I went to South Africa I decided to start afresh.
I am quite happy with the decision to go there. Originally, i intended that flying would just be a hobby, but I have changed my mind and now I want to do it professionally. I found that the flight instruction in Algoa is excellent. It's a club first and foremost, and you will have to put up with the vagaries of club flying and row in with them a little bit, but i think with the right attitude, most people will get on well. It's a very old club, and there is a wealth of experience in the members and instructors. The students learning experience will depend on how he 'clicks' with his instructor, but there are three young, full-time instructors there and one of them will suit you. Do not be afraid to switch instructors, however. I've seen people get stuck with their training and one of the reasons is that they need to hear a new or different voice, in my opinion.
I had previous flying experience, so I settled in well and got through the course without any real difficulty. In saying that, it took me three months to complete the ppl. This was primarily due to poor weather coming into their summer (although the locals said it was unusual for it to be as bad as it was). They regularly get very strong winds in Port ELizabeth and sometimes poor visibility, such that you may be grounded more often than you would be in other flight schools. The flip side of this, and i can't stress this enough, is that you get to fly in challenging weather and that will make you a better pilot. Landing in 30 knots (headwind) is normal enough.
Other things that may slow you up is your motivation. Get through the exams as soon as possible and be motivated about your study. I wasn't particularly so, and I ended up doing my last exam the day before the flight test, which is not ideal, but my background is in mechanical engineering, and the exams didn't pose too much difficulty to me. Others faltered here and went home without their PPL. You can sit the exams whenever you feel you are ready, but be warned that the club won't push you to complete them. It is mostly a self-study environment and you alone will be responsible for getting through the exams.
Allow three months (not six weeks, as the club website says). This is the realistic amount of time that you will need (in summer months anyway) to complete the 45 hours that you need for the PPL. I did it in just over 45 hours and I flew whenever possible, and that entailed a three month stay in Port Elizabeth. It may be a different story in their winter months, given that the weather would be different then, but I cannot comment on that.
The advantages of going to SA to do the ppl are primarily the cost saving (5-6k euro for the PPL), but also the flying experience is probably better than you can expect in Ireland. As I said before, there are challenging conditions, which I see as a plus. The instructors are highly experienced pilots. Another advantage is the cost of living is very low in Port Elizabeth, and you will be immersed in a culture quite different to what you are used to.
Negatives are as follows. You get a SA PPL as opposed to a JAA one. Port Elizabeth, like all South African cities, takes a bit of getting used to and you have to be very careful not to become a victim of crime. I would recommend that you hire a car while there (about 8 - 10 euro per day) as it will make life a lot easier and safer.
If anyone has any questions, feel free to post a reply or to pm me.
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