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Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies - Course FAQs

Q: I want to be a pilot, why should I consider doing this course? 

A: In order to gain your commercial pilot’s licence you must attend flight school, pass your Air Transport Pilot’s Licence exams (the ground theory) and accumulate sufficient flying hours (see the BALPA and GAPAN websites for a more in-depth discussion). This training is very expensive (normally over £60,000) and, unless you are very lucky, must be paid for by the student. Some airlines offer sponsorship, and some offer methods for borrowing and repaying this money that may be linked to starting salary. However, despite the cost of training, competition for training positions at flight schools is normally fierce. Accordingly, the best flight schools are in a position to select the best candidates for training positions.

We believe that in the future it is likely that, prior to applying for pilot training, education to degree level will become the norm. Hence this course has been set up by Brunel University to provide students with a degree targeted towards those students who wish to apply to flight schools following graduation. Accordingly, students will complete their basic flying training (up to A-Level that is considered desirable by flight schools) but also to cover some (but not all) of the ground theory required as part of the Air Transport Pilot’s Licence. Thus, we hope that those students undertaking this programme will be in a strong position to obtain places at good flight schools, and also to pass those technical exams required as part of commercial flying training.

Of course on graduation you may choose not to pursue a career as a pilot, so the course also offers a recognised academic qualification that may be used to find employment in other areas of the aviation industry, or even in the wider engineering field.

Q: What is the cost of the flying practice? 

A: The additional cost of flying for 2017 entry payable on enrolment is £3,150. This covers the first 15 hours of flight training with a qualified flying instructor. Transport to and from the airfield during the first year is provided. It is important to note that after you complete the first 15 hours of flight training, it will be up to you to liaise with the flying school yourself to obtain your licence.

This fee is payable for the first year only. You will be required to pay University tuition fees as normal (ie the cost of flying will be in addition to your normal University fees).

Q: What does the flying practice fee include? 

A: This includes

  • 15 hours flight training
  • travel to and from the airfield
  • all landing fees
  • fuel/insurance surcharges.

Q: What aircraft will I be training on? 

A: A two seat Cessna 152.

We are now using two-seater aircraft because we believe these provide a better environment in which to learn to fly. Other reasons include:

  • It is easier to fly than a four seat aircraft
  • It is designed for the purpose of learning to fly
  • It encourages better handling skills.

Q: What is the difference between an NPPL and a JAR PPL? 

A: The NPPL allows the holder to fly in UK airspace only, and carry up to three passengers. The PPL allows the holder to fly outside of UK airspace and to carry more than three passengers.

The ground theory for the NPPL and JAR PPL is identical.
The NPPL requires a minimum of 32 hours flying time. The JAR PPL requires a minimum of 45 hours flying time. You may upgrade from an NPPL to a JAR PPL by undertaking 15 hours additional flying.

Q: Should I do the JAR PPL if I wish to train to become a prfessional/commercial pilot after graduation?

A: Yes. It is recommended that students who wish to apply for professional/commercial pilot training after graduation obtain their JAR PPL qualification. This training should be undertaken during Level 2.

Q: What must I do in order to upgrade from an NPPL to a JAR PPL?

A: You need a minimum of 15 hours further flying and you must pass further flying examinations. You do not need to do any more ground theory. Five hours of the 15 hours may be spent on a flight simulator. We recommend that you undertake this training during Level 2, although students have completed the JAR PPL as part of their first year studies by attending additional lessons. You must fund the extra cost of this training, as it is not included in the course fees.

Q: After gaining my licence, how many hours flying per year must I do in order to maintain my licence?

A: You must do at least 6 hours flying in the 12 months following gaining the licence (and at least 1 hour's training flight in the 24 months following gaining the licence). At least 6 hours flying are then required for every subsequent 12 months.

Q: Why does the Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies course concerntrate on delivering the NPPL rather than the JAR PPL?

A: Not every student who wishes to learn to fly will want to go on to become a professional/commercial pilot. Flying is a rewarding hobby, and the NPPL allows students to gain a licence that will allow them to fly as a hobby in the UK. Moreover, the medical certificate required for the NPPL is far less stringent than that required for the JAR PPL. We believe that by focusing on the NPPL we help those with a wide range of interests and abilities the opportunity to learn to fly.

The NPPL syllabus also fits neatly into the first year of the course. This allows us to deliver a significant amount of flying experience early on in the course, but also for the student to receive recognition for this (in terms of the passing of modules) early on. Furthermore, this approach does not commit students to the time and expense associated with 45 hours flying at such an early stage in their flying career. This provides a degree of flexibility if students decide, after 32 hours flying, that a career in flying may not be for them.

Q: What will happen if I fail to pass my NPPL flyinh training after 32 flying hours? 

A: You will be given a further 12 months in which to pass the flying tests. However, you must pay for any additional flying lessons. This will not affect your academic progression from Level 1 to Level 2. However, if you fail to obtain your NPPL by the end of Level 2 then you will not be eligible for the named Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies course; instead, you will revert to the Aviation Engineering course.

Q: What will happen if I fail to pass my NPPL flyinh training after 32 flying hours? but cannot afford to take any further lessons?

A: Provided you have passed the ground theory element, you may transfer, without penalty, to the Aviation Engineering course. From Level 2 onwards the Aviation Engineering and Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies programmes are common and so you will not lose out when it comes to academic content.

Q: I already have my NPPL (or JAR PPL) licence, what course should I register for? 

A: We would be delighted to accept students who already have their NPPL (or JAR PPL) licence. Such students would be eligible for the Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies degree, however we would not ask them to do flight training in Level 1 (and so the additional fee would not be payable).

Q: I already have a number of flying hours with my local flying school but have yet to complete my NNPL (or JAR PPL), what course should I register for? 

A: If you are still training but have yet to gain a licence then we recommend that you stay with your current flying school and instructor, provided that you have already completed a significant number of hours flying (say more than 8 hours). We then advise that you register on the Aviation Engineering degree course but continue to do the flying training with your own instructor in your spare time. If, by the end of Level 2, you have gained your NPPL (or JAR PPL) then you will be transferred onto the Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies degree course.

Q: Do I need a medical certifdicate before starting the Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies? 

A: Yes. Before enrolling on this degree course, you must complete the NPPL medical form. Note, that this requires only a short visit to your GP.

Q: When shoudl I pbtain my NPPL mediacal certificate? 

A: Do this now! The NPPL certificate will cost you nothing and requires only a short visit to your GP. To be accepted onto the Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies course you must have an NPPL medical certificate.

Q: Do I need a different medical certificate if I wish to go on to gain my JAR PPL? 

A: Yes. The medical certificate for the JAR PPL is more stringent than for the NPPL. You must undertake a JAR Class 2 medical (see http://www.caa.co.uk/). Note that a charge will be incurred for this medical certificate (normally around £50) and an authorised medical advisor must undertake the medical. If you have a JAR Class 2 medical certificate then you do not need the NPPL medical certificate

Q: If I wish to train as a commercial pilot after graduation will I need further medical certificates? 

A: Yes. If you wish to train to be a commercial pilot you must first pass a JAR Class 1 medical examination (see http://www.caa.co.uk/). This medical will cost in the region of £400 - £500. We recommend that, if your aim in the future is to become a commercial pilot, you undertake this medical as early as possible in order to avoid unnecessary future expenditure in the event that you fail this medical.

Q: What happens if I fail my NPPL ground theory examinations? 

A: The NPPL ground theory examinations (there are 7) will be sat at regular intervals throughout Level 1. You will be allowed three attempts at each examination (i.e. if you fail at the first attempt, you may have two further attempts). We believe that instruction from experienced Booker Aviation personnel will provide the best possible chance of passing these exams. In the unlikely event of failure in the ground theory examinations, you will not be permitted to complete the flying practice element of the course (CAA regulations). If this happens you will transfer (academic achievement permitting) onto the Aviation Engineering course.

Q: Where should I look for information on becoming a commercial pilot after graduation? 

A: The pilot associations provide excellent guides for those who wish to know more about becoming a commercial pilot. See BALPA and GAPAN.

Q: How much of the Air Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL) ground theory will I cover? 

A: It is difficult to give an exact figure, however our aim is to cover a substantial portion of the “technical” subjects during Levels 2 and 3. This will include subjects such as advanced flight theory, airworthiness, propulsion systems, flight planning, stability and control.

Q: When will I get to use the flight simulator? 

A: The flight simulator will be used from Level 2 onwards.