Classroom vs the Cockpit – Is learning to fly a realistic alternative to University when considering a career in aviation.

Classroom vs the Cockpit – Is learning to fly a realistic alternative to University when considering a career in aviation.

At this time of the year when everyone is going back to school or university, we thought it would be a good time to tackle the question of PPL(H) Vs University.

If you’re about to finish Sixth Form this year then you could be reaching a defining moment – apply for a degree course with many others or choose something a bit different?

Personally, at 18, with all my friends fired up to attend Uni I really felt that I should follow suit and choose a degree to study. I was all set, course picked, but I didn’t get the right grades. I chose to wait and reapply but I never got round to it because I had started to fly in between!

So why choose a PPL over Uni?

The pressure to choose the standard route from college to university can be huge and maybe you’re not really sure what it is you want to do. Perhaps all you know is spending your time in a lecture hall isn’t particularly appealing! Maybe you’re already thinking that you might want to take up a more unique challenge? Now could the time to make that jump!

How long would a PPL take?

Of course, gaining a PPL(H) is by no means the easy route; there will be classroom study and exams to sit.  To achieve a PPL(H) or private pilot’s license you will need a minimum of 45 hours in a helicopter. This is a minimum and because everybody is different it’s difficult to say how many you personally would need. Depending on your circumstances and how much time you can devote to learning to fly it can take anywhere between 3 months to a few years.

How much will it cost?

The price of gaining a PPL(H) starts from £16,000 vs the £50,000 you would spend on a degree. Again it depends on your abilities, how much consistency you can give to your training and how much time you can devote to studying.

Where could it lead?

With a PPL(H), you can take friends and family out flying with you while you hour build in preparation of starting a commercial course. With a Commercial Licence you can make flying your career.

If you’re almost convinced on taking the unconventional route of a pilot’s license, then the best advice I can give you is to take a lesson in a helicopter and see if you like it. After your first flight, the decision will probably be an easier one to make!

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