HOW MUCH TO FLY? SOME NOTES FOR THE WOULD-BE PILOT
SINCE the inauguration of the subsidised flying club movement seven years ago, some 6,000 people have been trained as pilots.
Each season sees more and more adherents to the sport of flying, and for every one who becomes a pupil, either at a school or as a club member, there are hundreds who feel “the urge.” Many of these latter hesitate to follow their inclinations, however, because being ignorant of the facts, and probably misinformed, they imagine that sundry difficulties lie in the path which leads to an ” A ” licence. That such an impression exists is proved by a number of letters received by MOTOR SPORT from readers seeking information on various points concerning flying tuition.
There is the matter of cost, and the length of time required, of the type of machine on which to learn, the medical examination, and so forth.
Two courses are open to the flying aspirant in the choice of where to undergo his training. He can either join a club as a flying member or become a pupil at an aviation school. In the case of the former he will be called upon to pay, as an initial step, an entry fee and an annual subscription, which normally amount to £3 3s. each. Flying charges vary slightly, but in the usual way an hour’s ” dual ” costs £2 and an hour’s solo £1 10s. With a school of flying, there is, of course, no subscription or entry fee, but the flying rates are somewhat higher, varying from £2 10s. to 25 per hour. The reason for the differ
ence is that the clubs work under a subsidy while the schools are selfsupporting, and therefore on this score the former can offer an advantage. On the other hand, one certainly receives more “individual treatment” at a school. One does not have to wait one’s turn among a large group of fellow pupils, which is sometimes the case at a club aerodrome during holiday time and weekends for instance, and similarly the instructor is able to concentrate on each pupil to a greater extent. Summed up, for the man who has a limited amount of time but the necessary funds—a school of flying ; for the man with limited funds but time to spare—a club.
The number of hours which will be occupied in instruction is dependent, obviously, on the degree of aptitude of the pupil. Some people are extraordinarily quick at mastering the elementary principles of piloting an aeroplane. Others are appallingly slow. There are cases on record where pupils have been sent solo after only a hour’s instruction, and even less. But these were War-time accomplishments, when the urgencies of the period compelled the use of the “fly or bust” method.
Nowadays such barbarism is unheard of, and even if a pupil appears to be fully competent for his first solo after, perhaps, 5 hours with an instructor, he is compelled, by a rule insisted upon in several clubs, to complete a minimum of eight hours dual. It is also sometimes stipulated that three hours of solo flying shall be completed before the tests for the ” A ” licence be undergone.
Based on an average total flying time, comprising 9 hours’ dual and 4 hour’s. solo flying, the cost of qualifying for one’s ” ticket ” may be taken as from £30 to £48, according to whether one learns at a club or a school. The Royal Aero Club’s certificate costs Li Is. and the Air Ministry licence 5s.
In addition to the practical test, the ab initio has to pass an oral examination concerning the rules of the air. These are contained in the “Air Navigation (Consolidation) Order, 1923 and Amendments,” a publication. which is obtainable from H.M. Stationery Office, Adastral House, Kingsway, price is. 3d.
The usual procedure is that the pupil qualifies for his Aero Club Certificate, which he submits to the Air Ministry, together with a certificate of physical fitness, and the ” A ” licence is then issued. The medical examination may be carried out by the applicant’s own doctor, and while it is fairly comprehensive it is not severe.
The results of the medical examination must be entered on. C.A. form 61, and application for the ” A ” licence must be made on form C.A. 2.A. The latter should be accompanied by three 1 ins. x 1. ins, photographs of the applicant.
As far as facilities for learning to fly are concerned, there should be little difficulty nowadays since there are between thirty and forty instructional establishments in various parts of the country. The majority of these are clubs, the remainder of course, being schools. Arranged under separate headings these are as follow :—