This post has been taken from the Flyer.co.uk forums as it sums up this question perfectly:

CapnM writes:

“A Few random ones which I can think of right now…

  • How many aircraft on fleet? – If one goes in for maintenance, or develops a problem, you’ll want to ensure you can carry on your training
  • How many instructors do they have in total? – If one goes on holiday, you may want to carry on your training with another instructor temporarily
  • Landing fees? – Some schools “include” them in the price hourly price, ask if they are or if you’ll be paying a trip to the tower after each lesson, but the school I learnt at didn’t
  • Pre-flight/lesson briefs included in the hourly price? – I know of [i]at least[/i] one local school which charges extra for the pre-flight/lesson brief on top of the flying hour
  • What ratings do they offer? – This will tell you whether you’ll be able to do everything “in house”, or whether you’ll be needing to switch schools post-PPL issue to continue with things like CPL/ME/IR/Night Rating/etc. This will come down to cost anyway.
  • Classroom time for the exams? – I did all but a quick “pre-exam brief” studying at home for the PPL exams, other people may perfer actually being sat down and taught
  • Availability going forward for your schedule – If you can only fly on the weekends, ask how far ahead other students book in as you might need to be quick

I’ll report back if I can think of anything else for you.

One super important point, and hopefully no-one disagrees: don’t be lured in by an all-in-one payment package. Many schools offer this, and it may look like a cheaper way of doing it, but if that school closes it’s doors when you’re 5 hours through training, you’ll lose every penny – I saw this happen twice during the 2 year period to get my PPL at my local airfield and know students who lost out. Pay on a per-lesson basis. ( Note: If you did do this but paid on a credit card, I do believe you would have some protection, but that would require your own research”

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