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I am new to aviation and have started to prepare for the practical
written test. I am a Canadian living in the South of France, and own
a business in Japan. I would like to do intensive training this
August, September and/or October 2008 in order to get my PPL.

#1. I do not know whether to do the FAA or JAA PPL - not what type
of plane to train in/purchase(most likely at some point) - or where
to do it - I have found FAA training in France on an SR22 as well as
JAA in the US, albeit on Cessna's.

So, do I pursue the FAA PPL or the JAA PPL?... I do not understand
the full pros and cons of either one - almost all of my flying will
surely be done in Europe. There are of course, several
considerations there. Time - yes it might take a bit longer to do
JAA but might that not be made up for with less hassles down the
line in Europe? Additionally, I have found several seemingly
reputable schools who seem confident that I could do the JAA in 6 to
8 weeks comprehensive - which is how I prefer to do anything.

#2. I am keen at some point to buy an airplane (I think!... - but
have yet to go through the training process etc.) and being as that
is the case, although I love the SR22 instinctively and would love
to have a piece of one (strictly emotionally speaking) - I am a
little worried about the plane itself - 27 or so fatal crashes with
52 or so killed versus basically 0 for the DA40. Yes, Cirrus might
have sold more planes etc. etc. but it is a daunting statistic all
the same when seeing it online - AOPA etc. - also, it would seem
from general chatter, that most of those crashes involve people just
like myself, beginner pilots who are entrepeneurs etc. who can
afford the plane and let confidence in the technology get the better
of them.

So if I am to learn on a DA40 or something similar, that might be
better for me in the long run - even if I ultimately went with the
SR22 to buy, I am starting to believe that a beginner should start
with a more basic airplane without all of the bells and whistles -
and then move up to that type of thing once having gained more

Also, once having bought a plane, there is talk that in the UK at
least, they are going to want to phase out/kick out all the November
planes/pilots who are staying more than a short period i.e. not
living there etc. - this also applies to Europe and with the EASA or
whatever body, they are apparently looking to do the same europe
wide in order to have a comprehensive governing body over here. So,
does FAA or JAA mean that buying a November of European plane is
on/off limits etc.? - Is it easy to change the registration like
that of a boat? Would be a nightmare to have done all the FAA stuff
and then have that sneak up and bit me on the backside 12 months/24
months down the road.

#3. Price - I have a quote at a school in S of France at euro 27,500
with ground school etc. and with 50 hours flying in an SR22 towards
the FAA PPL. - that is Canadian $ or USD$ 44,000 at today's rate of
1.60 euro/$ - There are of course schools in the US where I could do
a similar amount of ground school etc. with textbooks etc, as well
as 50 hours in a G1000 DA40 for approximately $12,000 to $15,000 -
so that is a difference of around $30,000... which is a lot of
money. Today I received a quote from the flight academy in the US
for 70 hours with ground school etc as well for 24,995 for an SR20
and 29,995 for an SR22 - they do FAA, I do not know if they can do
the JAA.

For a bit extra I am able to fly my family to Montana - I have found
an amazing private home to rent for $8,0000 - in the middle of a
perfect environment for my 10 year old son (who spends most of the
year in the S of France, beautiful as it is, I would like him to
experience many things in his youth) and still save about $15,000
round trip.

The same applies to taking the JAA PPL in Ireland etc. where I could
do a similar package for around euro 16 to 18,000 (all in with
airfare/nice private home etc.) - albeit in a new C-172 etc.

Apologies for the above being so lengthy/rambling, but I am keen to
recieve any feedback regarding a portion/all of the questions posed.

Thank you and best regards,

Trevor Smith

-- Trevor Smith, July 18, 2008


Learning to fly is more than paperwork and certification. You need to learn to fly. That is much cheaper and more efficient in the U.S. than in Europe, so train in the U.S. You will eventually need to convert your FAA license to JAA, but at the PPL level I think this is pretty straightforward. An alternative might be to go to one of the U.S. flight schools that is JAA-authorized and get your FAA and JAA ratings simultaneously. There are a bunch of JAA schools in Florida, California, and Arizona, I think.

I don't think that it is practical to do primary flight training in a Cirrus. The plane is too challenging/frustrating/hard-to-trim for beginners.

27,500 euro to do some flight training, eh? For 27,500 euro you could fly over here on Air France, buy yourself an older Cessna 172, hire an instructor to live with you for a couple of months, and get all of your FAA ratings. When you were done you'd have a license and... a Cessna 172.

Don't get too enamoured of new airplanes and fancy avionics. If you're flying a long distance through clouds it is nice to have the newest and latest. As a PPL student, however, the avionics in a Cirrus are of no more use than a $500 handheld GPS. Most of what you need to look at is out the window.

-- Philip Greenspun, July 20, 2008

Thank you Philip,

I appreciate your advice. Having done a lot of research betweent the original posting of my email and today, I think it is very sound... and cost-effective! You mentioned schools in California that do joint JAA/FAA training - are you able to recommend one?... I like the idea of doing the training on a Cessna - I think it is wise advice.

The comparison that you gave of spending USD44,000 on all ratings training as well as having a live in instructor in addition to buying an older Cessna certainly sounds good... is that all really possible for that figure... or somewhere thereabouts?... I am starting to think that the ideal scenario might be to do exactly that and spend some extra to buy a cessna 172 that can be fitted with the parachute - I know that is more of a psychological thing than practical but... as I will ultimately flying with my wife and 10 year old son, I don't care. Another question: do you know what is the oldest model year that can be safely fitted/recommended to be fitted with the parachute? I really do not mind spending a bit of extra money and would also like a G-1000 etc.

Thanks in advance,

Trevor Smith

-- Trevor Smith, August 18, 2008

Actually, I'd suggest that you do your JAA PPL first. I'm currently doing my JAA PPL in the UK at an estimated price of ᆪ8000 (uk pounds) in a piper pa-28-161. I'm hoping to go commercial after this and hour build in the US.

Apparently the FAA cylibus is less in deapth and thorough than the JAA and is reflected in the conversion requirements. It's fairly straight forward to convert from JAA to FAA. Converting from FAA to JAA is a different matter however. Most of the JAA cylibus/ground schooling needs to be redone first. I've been told by many a good sorce, learn to fly properly here, then hour build in the US.

Also, the Pound is weak against the Dollar and the Euro at the moment, so you'd be getting a good deal to train in the UK at the moment. FAA on the whole is bit cheaper and flying is less expensive in the US, but you get better quality training and more strictly maintained aircraft here.

UKᆪ8000 at the moment is about US$12000


-- m r, February 13, 2009

....Also on the question of buying a plane....don't...unless you have some way to make it viable like hiring it out or if you intend to fly it several hundred hours a year. From what I've gathered from conversations with people that own them, flying hours might work out cheaper, but by the time you've got all the maintanence costs, parking fees added on, it will cost you more per hour you fly it than it would cost to hire a plane. Find yourself a good flying club to hire from. The one I'm at only charge for time spent in the air even if its borrowed for a few days.

-- m r, February 13, 2009

Mathew, is it really that expensive to own in the UK?

In the US, anyone flying over 50 hours would consider buying, and over 100 you would likely save money.

-- Eric Warren, February 14, 2009

Hello Travor

I'm a simple guy from holland that did his ppl at American Flyers in Pompano Beach last Februari 2008. Bought myself a piper Cherokee Six last july and now going back there to get my IFR and Multi Engine. My PPL i did in 4 weeks!! and the cost? 20.000 us dollar. My plane is a N registrated one because you can and may do some work on it by yourself. This is not when you buy an Europeen plane. So think twice before starting. My advise get the FAA lincense at American Flyers Pompano Beach. Good luck. Berry

-- berry van de Wiel, March 27, 2009

about private pilot licence

hello im farzad i want some information about ppl course price of that

in my contry i pass some lesson and chapter of ppm book(private pilot manuall ) but i dont know do you approved or no by the way im very good in speaking and radio telephoni and i take nice grade in this chapter after this i told own self i can be good controler or dispatchur please tell me about this

thank you farzad

-- farzad farzad, November 19, 2010