23 March 2022

My experience on the UK’s first 5-day PPL ground school and CAA pilot exams with Ice Helicopters

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I was on the UK’s first PPL ground school intensive course delivered in just 5-days at by Ice Helicopters at London Elstree aerodrome EGTR!

Listen now to find out more about why I decided to take the PPL ground school training course to convert from aeroplanes to helicopters, the private pilot exam training received on each day, how 200 hours of pilot training was crammed into just 5 days, my brutally honest feedback on the course structure and the all-important results from the students who took some or all of the CAA PPL helicopter exams.

This is a must-listen for all private pilot student pilots currently going through aviation ground school for either aeroplanes or helicopters!

Click to watch this episode & Subscribe on YouTube


In this episode, I mentioned a few resources and people to follow:

1) Visit Ice Helicopters website

2) Follow Ice Helicopters on Instagram

3) Follow Jordane on Instagram the head of ground school training at ice helicopters.

4) Follow The Flying Mum on Instagram

5) Follow Becca Forman on Instagram

6) Aviator Hotel Hampshire


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Podcast Episode Transcript

Aaron Henriques: The UK's first five day PPL, ground school training for helicopter and aeroplane pilots, and my experiences, what I'm gonna be talking about today. I'm Aaron Henriques and welcome to the British pilot podcast. As I said today, I'm gonna be talking about I've. I've been mentioned about helicopters for a little bit of what little bit of time now. [00:00:20] If you know me outside of this podcast as well, you'll know that I talk about them quite a lot. Certainly on, in aeroplanes and I've been wanting to do my helicopter exams for quite a while. I purchased a year all of the books and all that over a year ago. And I knew I had, well, back then when I first, when I first started looking at it, I had five exams to do. [00:00:42] That's actually now changed down to four, but that's what I'm gonna be talking about. My experience on the UK's first 5-day helicopter ground school training. I did helicopters. They also did for, for aeroplane pilots as well. So I mentioned there's four exams to do, and that's because I'm on a conversion. [00:01:03] However, for most people, if you're starting out fresh, you're probably gonna have all nine exams that you have to go through. The books that I had, even though I, well, I thought I had five, they got rid of one, which is navigation. Don't have to do that anymore. The four exams I had to do, I explained about on the last episode. [00:01:21] So if you don't know what they are, go back to last episode and then come back and then listen in. However, I hardly read free to books. It's to be honest, I find it really boring. I find it really hard to sit down and just read boring books. And they are boring and they can't make them entertaining. [00:01:42] So when I first heard about, you know, the five day in-person ground school, Ice Helicopters, I thought, well, do you know what it's it's, it's something worth a try. Now, the reason why I don't want are actually get started on the practical training is because of someone I know who they went ahead and they hadn't done any of their conversion exams at aeroplane pilot. [00:02:07] They hadn't done their conversion exams and they went ahead and did the helicopter stuff really quickly. But then they had to stop for about a month and a half, I think so that they could then go and do the exams so they couldn't continue anymore. And then by the time you go back, you've lost a bit of your skillset. [00:02:22] So. When you're talking about £500 to £600 an hour to have to redo stuff that you've already gone over. It, it starts to add up quite a lot. Now I get the buzz sometimes for about helicopter stuff and I'm like, yeah, let me just start reading. And I'll read a few pages or, you know, maybe 10, 15 pages, and then I've forgotten what was on the pages before. [00:02:43] And that actually realized I didn't understand it all. So when I heard about the five day ground school by Ice Helicopters on Instagram, I saw it for a couple of weeks and I just ignored it really. I think that's what most people did and I, I reckon it's that whole thing of not really believing that you can do ground school in five days. [00:03:04] I thought it's nuts to be honest with you. I remember how much I had to study before for my PPL back in 2009, 2010. And I just thought it was crazy. I thought it, it can't be done. but they had a great offer and the offer was you're only gonna pay for the exams and the course material, the actual instruction part was gonna be free. [00:03:29] And that was for the first five students. So it's a bit of a pilot for them. And it was something that, well, I thought I will gain something from anyway, because it's so long since I did my PPL exams. Yes, I've done some ATPL exams as, as many of you will know, but some of them, I haven't done such as Air Law, which is one of the ones key ones that I wanted to make sure that I was brushed up on. [00:03:53] And everything else was just, you know, a refresher of what, what needs to be done. Plus the four exams I actually needed to do. So one morning, really early, I just woke up and I was just like, you know what, screw it. Let me just do it. I went on to Ice Helicopters, paid for the five day ground school. And in my head I was like, well, I'm definitely gonna be taking these exams after the five days, but at least it should give me. [00:04:18] some understanding, some are extra foundation because I don't understand stuff about helicopters, particularly around principles of flight and aircraft general knowledge. I know a lot about, you know, aeroplanes and how they work and the dynamics for them all, but helicopters didn't make sense. So they just, they shouldn't, they shouldn't be flying like in my head. [00:04:36] So anyway, after I booked with them online, I had a call back that morning from Jordane. Sorry. From Jordane she might hit me for that. Her name reads as Jordane, but it, it we called her Jordane anyway in class and she wanted to check that I was suitable for the course, and she also wanted to make sure I was registered on the CA portals, apparently that can take 10 days and she actually didn't let me get off the phone until I had made sure I'd done it while she was on the phone with me. [00:05:07] So yeah, so that, that, that was good. It made sure I was ready to go in time for the. In time for the course, just in case I could take the exams, then we've got the timetable and the pre-reads about a week before and they could easily be consumed over an evening or two. They were really simple to understand. [00:05:27] Yes, I have got, you know, I've done principles of flight and, and other subjects, ATPL level. I've also done the PPL before, but we're going into the realms of helicopters now and there's stuff that I just don't understand. So. Yeah, it was, it was good to have those. Pre-reads just a bit of knowledge about what the sort of things that will be coming up throughout, throughout that course. [00:05:51] And then I just book my ferry because obviously as you know, well you might not know, might not be obvious to you. Why would it be actually I live on the Isle of Wight, just a little island on the south of England. That's where I currently, so I booked my ferry and a hotel. Particularly I booked a hotel for the principles of flight and aircraft general knowledge exams for the night between those, because I knew they would be the hardest one for me. And. [00:06:13] Aaron Henriques: The rest of the week. I just stayed at my mum's in central London. So let me get on to day one now. So we arrived day one and it was basically a bit of a miscommunication where. Well, it, it, it, it wasn't, it wasn't, it was just the fact that the, there was gonna be three students on this, on this course. So me and two others, and two of the others decided because they'd already done air law quite recently, they'd actually done the air law exam as well. [00:06:44] They didn't need to do it. Obviously I didn't need to do it, but I was gonna sit there and for a brush up and. When I arrived, it was Jordane and Ellie, the dog a cute little dog that you may see pictures of. If you go on the Instagram, you'll see some pictures of Ellie the dog. And she learned some interesting, you know, she, she went over the air law stuff with me and learned some interesting things and it was actually really good to have that one on one. [00:07:10] Now, Jordane, she's got a vast array of experience, not just teaching ground school. She's an airline pilot as well. She's been an airline pilot in, in the United States for years. She's been been teaching over there for years. She's been teaching over here for years. Fantastic really knowledgeable. Jordane sort of said at the start, she wasn't going to be doing the principles of flight and aircraft general knowledge element of that because they have someone there who is an absolute full and through expert in helicopter and aeroplane principles of flight and aircraft general knowledge. And I'd actually come across them before in my ATPL aeroplanes principles of flight training, and yeah, completely agree. And they're really lucky to have him on board there. So yeah, so I went through some staff and there was quite a bit that have changed since 2009, 2010. [00:08:08] Since I got my license, there's things I wasn't aware of. There's new squawk codes that can be used. Like if you are lost These I can't remember what they're actually called, but these listening squawks or whatever that you can fly around on without having to contact ATC on the radio as well. [00:08:27] I, I have heard about them before. But that was only very recently about a year ago. I heard of them, but that was something that we went over as well. And a vast array of other things now I didn't want the human performance and limitations brush up. That was gonna be in the afternoon, cause I'd done it to death at ATPL level, not so long ago. [00:08:45] So I just had to, Jordane look, we'll call it a day. I was really thankful for the Air Law brush up and then we were gonna start day two with Richard and Sarah cuz it was gonna be, you know, great to have a, you know, really small class. Now Richard was from up north in lead. Sarah is from London but has a have a very Irish accent and. [00:09:04] Yeah, it was it was good to meet them. It was good to have them both. They're both actually helicopter pilots in training now. So they both have some hours versus me. I only have one both of them have some hours. They've both needed seven exams, I think out of the nine, because they've already done Air Law. [00:09:24] I dunno what the other one was that each of them had done, but they'd already done it. And. At that point apart from Jordane, of course I was the only qualified pilot there. So I was there for a brush up for the helicopter specific bits as well. So the helicopter specific exams that I had to take and yeah, and it was it was just a bit of a. [00:09:45] It was a bit of a, a weird one that day, because, you know, getting in, you know, TFL decided to strike and there was a lot of traffic going up, you know, there's a lot of traffic to, and from work to, and from work to and from the airfield the airfields at Elstree, by the way, I don't even know why I didn't say that. [00:10:02] So Ice Helicopters is based at Elstree in north London, so super simple to get to from central London. And also there's trains and staff nearby, but Anyway, back to day two, we went over meteorology and I'd done meteorology at ATPL level quite recently. And it was, I didn't find it that tough. But also I didn't need to really find it that tough because I wasn't gonna be taking the exam. [00:10:28] So perhaps, you know, I was paying attention obviously and contributing sort of talking about different things, but it was really there for Richard and Sarah to be able to do their exams. We were then introduced to the chicken wraps at Elstree cafe. I tell you, if you do go to Elstree airport for any reason, make sure you get a chicken wrap from the cafe. [00:10:51] There it is fantastic. I think I had one every day making me very fat. But anyway, so they went off and they did their meteorology exams. They, then we then did coms after that and I left for the day early while they did their comms exams. So day three. I'm not getting too much detail here by the way about what. [00:11:11] About the format of the course. The reason for that I just want I to explain now is because the format of the course is likely to change based on feedback that has come from us three, who was initially on it. And also the instructors actually delivering the course. Now, when it come to day 3, flight planning and in It was all done on half mil charts and that's because the exam still insisted done on 1:500,000 charts. [00:11:40] However, for helicopters you apparently you are going to be using a lot more of a quarter mil chart. So 1:250,000. Now the reason for that is because you need to see a lot more detail of helicopters, particularly because you're not just landing out necessarily big airfields. You might be landing out, you know, Someone's someone's back garden in a, in a country pub or you know, some helipad somewhere and they're quite hard to see on the half mil chart. [00:12:12] So it's a bit, it's more like zooming in for people that dunno what these charts are. You, you zoom in and you got like a, a lot more detail. And anyway, we did the flight panning and navigations, and I had to get used to electronic flight computer for the first time a CX-3. I think it was called. And to be honest with you, I just wanted my whizz wheel. [00:12:33] That's all I've ever used. I've never used one of these electronic things. And I did find it a bit tough at the start, but actually to be honest with you, by the time it came to taking the flight planning exam at the end of the day for everyone it was actually a lot easier and quicker just to use a electronic flight computer. [00:12:52] And I may well get one. I've still got my whizz wheel, but I may well get one because they are actually a lot simpler. So anyway the course material there that was provided was above and beyond. We didn't have to bring anything. Everything was provided for us on that day. So as you know, for flight planning, you need a few things you need, you know, you need the pens, you need the, you need protractors, you need the rulers, not just, you know, normal ruler that measures centimeters, but one that will, will measure distance on the charts. [00:13:27] What else do you need? Obviously, the flight computer as well. You need the charts themselves. That was all provided by Ice Helicopters. So that was great. We didn't have to come with anything. Everything was there for us. And all of the slides that were done by Jordane were absolutely fantastic. [00:13:44] Just so, as I mentioned for, for people, if you do go on this course with Jordane, you'll see lots of slides, which with some crazy photos of stuff, and you'd assume that they were taken off of Google, but no, they were not taken off of Google. Jordane Jordane has an interesting Has had an interesting career in aviation, I think, and some interesting experiences and has taken some very interesting photos, which in sort of thing where I I've never have seen stuff like that, but yeah, it's definitely worth a watch. [00:14:18] She's got some great photos there. So anyway we then took the flight planning exam in the, in evenings. At the end of the day, and that was something that we all actually did. I did take that exam. I wasn't too worried about flight planning as much. It was just a helicopter specific bits that I was more interested in around it. [00:14:40] And really that was about the heart, you know, the quarter mill chart using that. And we didn't really touch on that to be honest you, so even though you have to take flight planning as part of. The helicopter conversion from aeroplanes to helicopters. Yeah, I, I didn't really feel like, to be honest, there was a need, you used to have to take the navigation exam, that used to be the fifth. [00:15:03] Aaron Henriques: One, but for some, someone complained about it and that's been taken out. With flight planning, if it was using the quarter mil charts, cuz they are different. Everything looks very different on them. That would've made that would've made more sense to me, but it wasn't, that's not to do with Ice Helicopters. [00:15:21] That's to do with the fact that that's what the civil aviation authority currently require as part of the examinations and that's what we're there to do. So when, when it comes to the actual flight planning element using quarter mil charts I'm absolutely sure that I'll be doing that with ice helicopter instructors further down the line. [00:15:41] So I'll get onto results a bit later. Day four was with Ewen. Ewen Goldsobel for those of you who don't know him, he is a very unique flight instructor, a vast, vast experience in commercial helicopter pilot training at PPL and commercial level. He's got a aeronautical engineering degree, I believe, or aerospace engineering degree. [00:16:07] He's been teaching ground school at ATPL and PPL level for, you know, 14 years. I think it was, it might be more, might be less. Well, I think it was 14 years, I think he said. And yeah, he is an absolute top instructor, he goes above and beyond in every possible way to help you to understand what is a very, very complicated and difficult subject for a lot of people now POF principles of flight and aircraft general knowledge is really my main reason for going on this ground school. [00:16:42] Okay. Yes. I've wanted to brush up. Yes. I needed the flight planning to be done as well. And also ops, which will come to, but principles of flight and aircraft general knowledge was gonna be the ones that I know I was always gonna really struggle with. I've got very limited knowledge of helicopters, how they, how they work, the dynamics of them, everything. [00:17:02] So I really needed to get that understanding in my head so I can visualize stuff. How, how they will, you know, how the dynamics will work while they're in the air. Now. Aircraft general knowledge as well, because just the general bits at a helicopter you know what they're called the cycling, the collective, you know, how the squash plate and all this other stuff that I'll talk about in a sec that I dunno how they work. [00:17:27] I dunno how they link up. They don't even know how helicopters fly cause they should just fall out the air as far as my, my brains concerned at that point. But it was the most intense day. It was so intense. We had 300 over 300 slides. I think it's 330 slides that we went through on that day, covering principles of flight and aircraft general knowledge. [00:17:52] And I'm so glad that I booked a hotel that evening to study and take, you know, I practice exams there. Well, I'm glad I booked a hotel anyway, because when I got there and I know we gonna talk about the hotel hotel was alright. It was the Manor hotel I stayed at Could be better, but it was all right. So I looked at the practice exam questions anyway, and yeah, it, it was like, as if it was like, as if I just spent an entire day going through over 300 slides about the principles of flight and helicopters and aircraft general knowledge. [00:18:30] And like, as if I had my headphones on, like I do now, if you're watching a YouTube and. Yeah. And it's like, it's basically like I did that and wasn't listening, just had my music blaring all day because when I was looked at the practice own questions, I was like, what does this mean? Like, what is that word? [00:18:49] I don't even know what they're talking about. So I actually, well, there were things like Delta 3 hinge. I was like, like, what is that? Never heard of that before they, we, we spoke about it that day probably, but. My brain was so, so fried. I was like, never heard of that. What the hell is dynamic rollover? [00:19:07] Dunno what that is like height velocity diagrams. What is that? When I realized it was dead man's curve, then I got it. Understood what, what they were talking about. But I I reached out to Sarah, @the.flyingmum on Instagram, go and follow her if you had not I reached out to her cause she's doing a helicopter pilot training now and had recently done some exams and another pilot, I was to reached out to asking some questions basically to find out you know, if they can help me with some of, some of the questions. [00:19:39] So Sarah (the.Flyingmum) Helped me out with a couple of bits and she knew, and she, she sent me some voice notes and sort of helped me out with some of the, the questions I asked Becca Forman as well, who some of you may know is on this island as well. She, she'd also quite recently done her exams and helped me out with a couple of a few questions. [00:19:58] But to be honest with you, I, I took a decision because own was so fried. Literally. I've never been that stressed out and that overloaded, overloaded and overwhelmed. And my brain just felt like it was going to explode. All I could really manage was food and a bath. And I had to put the practice papers down and just be like, I pray to God or whoever else you pray to. [00:20:24] Don't offend anyone. That my brain would sort everything out overnight. And yeah. So that's all I did. I literally. Had food and a bath. Jordane messaged me the instructor. Cuz I put, I put some status up on Instagram about like brain being fried and she was like, you'll be all right. And I said to her, look, I'm just gonna have a bath. [00:20:47] And I think she thought I was joking. I actually wasn't. I just did that. And then I went to bed. And that was it. So I woke at the next day. Very worried. Didn't want to take the exams. I was so stressed out about it. And we was back in the classroom day five with Ewen. And first thing in the morning got in there a bit early. [00:21:06] And we were going over practice exams questions. So the same exams, like the practice exam questions we had to take away that evening. We went through all of those. And we went for explanations for all of them. I did actually do some of them in the morning before UN joined and actually started to realize some of the stuff had started processing properly. [00:21:29] So, and we went over some of the bits that didn't understand, and Ewen being Ewen, and he doesn't just tell the answers. He will give you a full explanation. We have demonstrations and we'll show you stuff as well. So literally we went down to view the helicopter cause there was some questions that three of us didn't understand and Ewen could read, read us really well. [00:21:48] I mean, I think we're all being a bit too coy to say. Yeah, actually, we don't fully understand this, you know, and I think you could read that in us and he's just like, look, let's go downstairs. Let's go and look at helicopters. We've got helicopters here. Let's go and look at them so you can visualize and actually see what it is we're talking about and how they operate. [00:22:07] We did that and certain things clicked like how the swash plate works and the cyclic and collective how they sort of fit together and work together. Because in the classroom it felt to me like they should, they're working against each other. And obviously that doesn't make sense for them to do that. Droop stops again, that was one that came up in the evening before I was like, what the hell is a droop stop? [00:22:28] Like, what is that? And then actually being able to see what it is to be able to visualize what it does made sense and that obviously that Delta 3 hinge. Oh my God. Yeah. And explaining how it works and why it is the way it is. It just made things so much clearer by doing that, and that's something you're never gonna get just from a book at home. [00:22:51] So we did, we did a mock exam. Actually. We did a mock exam for each of the papers that we did for before each exam, there was a mock exam we had to do, and we did the mock exam and actually did much better than on that than I thought I would. So a lot more actually stuck. And we did that on POF I know it was a bit split. [00:23:16] Me and Richard wanted to do just the POF exam and then do the AGK exams. I know Sarah was a bit more keen to do POF and AGK sort of practice questions at the start and then do the both exams straight afterwards. But we ended up doing the POF exam first. Well we ended up doing the, the mock exam paper for POF first, and then we did the POF exam. [00:23:40] And I will let you know how he got on at the end, but Ewen went off just in time for his hell students after that. So we, we let me go back. I just stuttered a bit there. We did a POF exam first. Then we went. [00:23:55] Aaron Henriques: On and did the, AGK mock and then the, AGK exam, then Ewen had to go off to go and do his flight instruction. I think a 2:00 PM, 2:00 PM lesson with with one of his students actually going out flying. But he was great. He stayed around, made sure we were all done and had done the exams before left. [00:24:17] Now you do get the exam results quite quickly compared to ATPL exams. They come within minutes for the PPL exams. I haven't done them before on this, on this sort of computer training for PPL level when I did it, it was on paper. So it's a bit different and there's no, you know, there's, it's, well, it's less, you know, basically exam papers that you've done that maybe not put so well on. [00:24:41] Can't just disappear. It's actually on your record now. So. Yeah, not that they used to before, CAA. So anyway, we went, we then went straight into operational procedures with Jordane and we took the mock and in the exam now, obviously I've spoken a lot about POF and AGK because that for me was definitely the hardest, hardest part of, of this course. [00:25:09] And I knew it was gonna be it it's the main reason why I went there needing that in person training, I'm not gonna get it from the book. Not really gonna understand it. Even if I could pass the exam, I wouldn't have understood how this stuff works. All that stuff that Ewen showed us. I wouldn't have known, you know, but we, we went through the operational procedures with Jordane and that was great actually to learn the slight differences in ops for helicopters. [00:25:34] And yeah, and then we went on to those exams. So. I, I will tell you about how the exams went. It was a bit of a mixed bit of a mixed, flat playing field there in terms of results. But the main thing is we did take all the exams. All of us did. We all, we took all the exams at some point. And what I'll do first though, is talk about my thoughts on the course as whole, because I think it's really important for you. [00:26:01] If you are listening to this thinking, yes, actually I want to do a five day ground school. I think this part is probably relevant for you to listen to. Okay. Because it's not easy. And you know, if you think about five days, five days in the classroom is 40 hours, I'd always been told that PPL ground school is about 200 hours of study. [00:26:23] Okay. So obviously there's a massive shortfall there and you've gotta think, well, how is that? How are you getting that much? How are you getting everything that you need? And still craming it into 40 hours instead of 200 hours? So anyway, let me start at the price of the course. So at the time of recording, the course was priced at £1,500 (approx $1,990) for an intensive. [00:26:48] And it's a really well thought out course, honestly, it is really well thought out. I think Jordane has put in a tremendous amount of, of effort to create all of the slides and the content and delivered it in a way where it cuts out all the waffle crap. And it just gets to points that you need to know and understand not just for the exam stuff that you actually need as a pilot to understand that's what she's done. [00:27:18] She is a, remember she is an airline pilot by trade. That is her normal. You know, that, that is her trade. She's an airline pilot safety means a lot to her to make sure that, you know, pilots and people who may potentially be sitting next to her one day you know, as a pilot will understand what they're doing properly, not just the ability to pass an exam. [00:27:43] Now, for me, I would've put the harder subjects. I say harder subjects because it's, it is different for everyone. I guess, you know, I would say principles of flight and aircraft general knowledge for me, werere definitely the hardest subjects of this course. Okay. And I thought they always would be, so I would've had them at the start. [00:28:03] However, When I spoke to Richard about it, actually he found meteorology harder. Now I may have agreed with him, but then I just, you know, as I realized, I've actually done ATPL meteorology with a superb instructor who goes into levels of detail, which is insane, but it's, it's something where I've spent months on actually studying and not too long ago. [00:28:29] And yes, I didn't need the exam, perhaps. That's why I didn't find it so difficult. And maybe I wasn't that concerned about, I don't know if, if my brain sort of wandered off and started thinking about something else or something, but Richard found the concept of meteorology harder than principles of flight. [00:28:45] And one of the reasons he, he sort of mentioned was perhaps because he's actually done an aircraft general knowledge, he's actually done some helicopter training. He's got, you know, I can't remember how many hours he got, but he's definitely got a good few hours in. I'm pretty sure he is actually solo, to be honest with you for, for helicopter training. [00:29:03] But anyway, so he's understands a lot of the, the concepts already and can visualize how certain things work together and whatever, whereas I couldn't, so it is, it is more subjective, but there are things which are just easier, like comms that. I think could be put towards the end of the week. I I'd rather the hard subjects POF, AGK, Meteorology at the start of the week. [00:29:28] So that we focus on those and make sure there's more, a bit more time allocated to them as opposed to 300 slides in one day was just too much that should have been over a day or two a day and a half or two possibly if we could. I put in some more regular short breaks, but I have to bear in mind. [00:29:46] This is an intensive course. There isn't time for. You know, going on, you know, half hour, hour long breaks every now and then we, in fact, I think every day we worked through, like we had working lunches, so we were being given instruction whilst also eating. Now, Jordane and Ewen are both excellent. And like I said, they really bloody care! [00:30:09] You know, you can tell that both of them, I, I know Ewen already, like from ATPL, principles to flight, he really, really cares about his, his students. Obviously, I didn't know Jordane before this one, but the same, the amount of effort she has put in to this, to creating this course is unreal. It's, it's it's so well thought out that. [00:30:34] It actually made it possible that you could, you could have studied all of those exams in those five days. It could have studied all of the subjects, all nine subjects in those five days and be able to take the exams at the end. Now I would also recommend that particularly for POF and AGK. And if you haven't got any experience before, if you're not, if you're not doing a conversion from aeroplanes to helicopters, so you've done no principles of flight, you don't understand anything, unless you've, you know, perhaps got done it somewhere else in your own spare time, but you don't really understand anything about it.  [00:31:11] And so for me, I would say 5 to 10 hours of flight training before you go on this course, this is an intensive course. I think personally that if I was a brand new person on day one, and this is just me, but I think if I had no flight training at, at all, if I hadn't had principles of flight and sort of instruction before ATPL, if I hadn't had had some of these subjects done at PPL level and already had an understanding of it, I think as a completely fresh person from the street with no flight experience, I would not have been able to do this course. [00:31:49] Now when I spoke to Jordane at the end of the course about this. it is actually, it's not actually really designed for that fresh off the street person. There was some discussion about whether or not, you know, it should be 5 hours, 10 hours, 20 hours of flight training before you actually take a course like this. [00:32:11] But I think some flight training definitely more than the one hour that I had would, would be really helpful so that you've already got an understanding of how these things work, because I could have held the class back quite a lot, particularly if I had no prior understanding of POF and no had done no had no experience or any training at all, never even seen in a helicopter. [00:32:35] If I was wondering people, I wouldn't have known, I think I would've found it a lot more difficult. So this is the first time remember guys and girls and they  [00:32:46] Aaron Henriques: and them, if you prefer to be called, they and them. This is the first time this is being done anywhere in the UK. It's probably anywhere in the world and no doubt it is going to improve. Not that I'm saying there's much to improve on, to be honest with you, it was a really great, well thought out course. [00:33:05] It's like, it's, I, I actually wasn't aware until sort of the last couple of days that. This is the first run they had. I thought they had, they had done another run of it, but they hadn't, this is the first run of this course they had done. And it was really, really, really good. And I can't create it Jordane enough. [00:33:24] You know, for, for creating it in the way that she did and for Ewen coming on board and delivering it in his own unique way, he he's really entertaining and engaging how he, how he, how he does his instruction. So for the results, now down to the results. So it was a mixed bag, like I say, but I'm pleased to say that we actually did all get first time passes in all the exams that we took and they were pretty good ones at that. [00:33:53] So for my result in flight planning, let me just stop a second. When it comes to PPL exams for the CAA. there's, there's a pro and a con to the amount of questions. So if some of the exam papers have 12 questions, some that have 16, the problem is you can only get, you know, 3 or 4 wrong before you fail. [00:34:18] That's the problem. So you really need to you really need to understand it is, you know, you get one question wrong and it'll give you the result that I give you on this one. So flight planning, I got 91%. However, however, I do know that it would be 100% had one of the questions not been wrong in the exam. [00:34:40] Well, the question wasn't wrong, the answers were wrong. And it wasn't just me that said that I calculated it as a simple calculation. Really, really simple calculation. I did it like five or six times. I flagged it to an instuctor. Instructors later actually looked at, looked at that exact question. [00:34:59] They'd also calculated it and they come up the same answer as me. None of the answers there were anywhere near what the answer, what the real answer was for that question. And so that's something that's gonna be sent off to CAA sort of flag up as. Your questions or your answers are wrong? Basically, and the nearest one you'd think, well, choose the nearest one. [00:35:21] The nearest one is what I chose and that flagged up as being the wrong, wrong answer, basically. So it was, it should be 100%, but it was 91% was my official result. But CAA got something wrong low and behold, would you believe it? Operational procedures have got 100%. Aircraft general knowledge, 87% and principles of flight 91%. [00:35:45] So it is a 92% average, which was good. I I'm very happy with that. I now don't have to do any more exams when I do get onto the helicopter flight training. I can just go straight into it and not have to worry about stopping it point because I've got exams to take. Now I've only got 18 months because I've taken all the exams I need to take. [00:36:06] And the same for Richard and Sarah. They've only got 18 months from the date of the last exam to now actually go and complete helicopter pilot training. So better get a wiggle on. Now, Martin, who is the owner of Ice Helicopters. He actually visited and we had a well deserved beer together at, at the end of the course and, you know, had a little catch up and a bit of feedback was shared the sort of feedback that I've already given. [00:36:36] You know, on the, on the price, on the structure, on, you know, is it designed for new people or is it people who've got a few hours personally. I think people who've got a few hours. I've been talking about helicopter stuff, like five to 10 hours because I'm there for helicopter stuff, not for aeroplanes, but that ground school is also being done for aeroplane pilots as well. [00:36:57] Okay. So the vast majority of the training that you get delivered is for aeroplanes as well. But there's add-on stuff, which is for helicopter, pilot specific. Okay. So the stuff you learn in principles of flight, all explains all about aeroplanes as well, but then you get a load of stuff on top of that, about helicopter specifically. [00:37:24] Okay. So we, we had a chat about that Martin the owner who's if you haven't heard of Martin he's. He's an interesting guy. He, he did his pilot training. He's realized he could be, he could do it better. He did his, he helicopter to pilot training. He realized he could do it better. And so he decided to open up his own flight flight school. [00:37:42] He's not an instructor at all. But he's got, he's able to get some of the best instructors from the, in the UK, in this one, in this one training center, which is all the aircraft are brand new. Like it's really up to date and modern. The center itself is unlike any other flying school you'll ever see. [00:38:02] Well, unlike anyone that I've ever seen anywhere, they're all usually a bit sort of outdated and you know, just a bit old and cause they don't really make much money or whatever, like flight schools.  [00:38:14] So he's done a completely, he's done something completely new something completely different, if you're thinking about helicopter training definitely go down there to have a look at least cause you'll see the difference instantly from traditional helicopter training schools. But anyway we had that well deserved beer and I had to head off I'm afraid early, cause I'd already made an arrangement to meet someone at the Aviator hotel in Farnborough, which was awesome by the way. [00:38:38] I, I need another reason to go back to Farnborough cause the Aviator to hotel there was excellent, great cocktails in their sky bar. Their, their Brasserie was awesome as well. Like, is that how you say, is it called Brasserie I'll probably get at someone say it's not Brasserie it's Brasserairrr or something like that, but yeah, really, really nice hotel. [00:38:57] And I had a nice room looking over Farnborough airfield and seeing all the jets come in and out in the morning, which was great. So anyway, I'm really happy, super happy that I've managed to get through POF and AGK and not just pass the exams, but actually now understand loads of stuff I just didn't understand before about how helicopter dynamics work. [00:39:19] And would I say if I'd have paid the £1,500 for the course, would it have been worth it? Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. Yes, because I'd spent over a year trying to read through this £60 book. There's nothing wrong with the book. The book is great. It's like one of the best ones out there. It's the Pooley, the Pooleys one is what I've got, but for me, I prefer in person training. [00:39:43] I, I don't, I'm not really big on just reading out of a book and understanding it. Some people can, it's not for me. So would I have paid £1,500 and thought I had good, good value for money Absolutely yes. So, if you are thinking about doing your exams, even if, or if you just need a brush up, it's worth doing, even just for a brush up, if you're thinking about doing your exams for your helicopter pilot training or for your aeroplane pilot training at PPL level, this is only PPL level at the moment. [00:40:19] If you are thinking of that head over to Ice Helicopters. okay. Go and speak to them. See about when the next five day PPL ground school is coming about. Let 'em know that you heard about it through the podcast here. Okay. I won't get anything for it, but let 'em know. They know may maybe maybe I don't know, maybe Martin, will be kind and and give me a flight is in his MD520, I think he's got on a notar tail rotor. [00:40:49] It's not a tail rotor system. It's like a one without a tail rotor it's it is awesome. It looks awesome. Anyway, it's like something outta James Bond, but anyway I'll leave the links to Ice Helicopters and Jordane in the show notes as well. The only reason I'm not leaving Ewen in is because I don't think he has any links. [00:41:08] I don't think he's on social media. So I'll yeah, I'll leave the links to Ice Helicopters and Jordane. And anything else that I might think of that makes sense to leave there and yeah. You know, if this was helpful for you, let me know. Get in contact with me. You know, you can find me on Instagram. [00:41:26] It's AaronHenray . Or you can go on the website, leave a comment, go on YouTube, whatever, if you wanna watch this, just it's just me sitting there. If you  [00:41:37] Aaron Henriques: would prefer to watch it on YouTube. You can. I probably should have said that at the start. It's just me sitting there with my headphones on. But yeah, what I'd like you to do, though, if you don't mind, is if you're listening on apple, if you're listening on apple podcast, if you could just scroll down to the bottom and click on write a review. [00:42:00] And just leave a nice kind five star review. Listen, just leave a five star review with a few comments. If there's something that you found useful for it, if you have any questions or anything as well, put your, put your, put it in your comments. Okay. Cause I will read them and it just helps the podcast get a little bit higher in the it in the listings. [00:42:21] Cause there's not many British aviation podcasts out there. Most of them are American as you know. So I wanna try and get this out to as much of the British audience as I can. Now I'm also trying to get someone to come on, who I think will be inspirational for many, many pilots out there, particularly female pilots. [00:42:40] And I'm gonna do my best. I'm gonna keep to try and keep plugging away to see if I can get her to come on and actually talk about her experience of flight training, how she's paying for it. And all the struggles going through ATPL's and everything like that. So anyway, watch this space. I've got a dash, I've got a training course in three minutes for the rest of the day today. [00:43:02] So yeah. Happy flying everyone and yeah, helicopters are the way forward, everyone. I'm sorry. I'm absolutely hooked. Helicopters are way forward. I don't even know why I did a aeroplane license in the first place. It makes no sense, but anyway, good luck and stay safe.


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