There are a couple of things exercising me at the moment. Firstly, we keep hearing about the shortage of commercial pilots within the EU and, granted, it’s not a cheap deal learning to fly. However I have spoken to a fair few guys who happen to run commercial schools and they all say that a vast majority of those they get are fifth- or sixth-rate pilots – they just happen to be able to afford it. I thought this was an exaggeration but twice now I have been caught out by people who can happily fly you on holiday but can’t fly a light aircraft.
A chap flying with my instructor had a couple of thousand hours flying Boeings but could not handle or land a PA-28. Now that’s a scary thought. Then, to top it off, when on a back-seat ride whilst a chap was being checked out on the Arrow – another 1,000 hour-plus pilot – the instructor told him to turn ninety degrees to the left and he banked it ninety degrees instead. Needless to say, he did not get signed off.
But my point is, if we have such a massive shortage of pilots, then why are the companies and or the CAA not helping to find the chaps or ladies that have a gift for flying but don’t have the capital? I really think there needs to be a good look at flight training and the way it’s conducted, to solve this problem. People need to be aware that if the computer fails then I’m afraid you don’t have a hope because the chaps flying don’t or can’t remember what to do.
This is a great shame for those of us that seem to be able to fly but can’t afford to take it further. I keep being told I should go commercial but I can’t afford it. I would happily fly for free if someone would give me the chance and I know of others like this. This country and aviation don’t seem to mix. Shame.
The second thing is that I have an FAA PPL, and it does not matter which flying school or club I go to, I guarantee I will be given a different answer regarding conversion and what I am allowed to fly. Surely we are all singing from the same book here. How can there be so much variation between clubs? Even at the same airport. It’s a disgrace and does not fill you with confidence when trying to find a local flying club. You have no idea whether you are being taken for a ride or being told the truth.
It would be really interesting to hear about the problems fellow aviators are suffering. I do this for fun and I hope others do too and the enjoyment of aviation. So if I can help anybody I would and it would be nice to know that there may be people out there who would do the same. James Anderson by email It would help if the Government knocked the VAT off commercial training, of course - Ed