They’ve got it where it counts

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Submitted by Thomas C on Fri, 04/03/2022 - 22:16

This Review Overall Rating

I studied the MEP, CPL and MEIR at BCFT, and my overall experience was positive. The whole course took me just over 4 months including Christmas break and 4 major Atlantic storms, and I finished in February 2022.

The three most positive things about the ATO were the aircraft, the instructors and the accommodation. The three most negative things about it were the food and drink facilities, the age of the building and the size of the fleet, although none of these were major issues. Full review below.

The aircraft at BCFT were all well maintained and well looked after, although not without their issues due to their age. That being said the operations and maintenance departments worked very hard to keep everything running smoothly and were all very understanding towards us. They were all fitted with modern avionics and the BE76 Duchesses were a pleasure to fly, being fast, stable and comfortable with excellent visibility. They were fitted with a G500Txi and GNS430. The PA28s were good with 2x G5s and a GTN650 or KNS80 and were a good cost saving alternative if needed at the CPL level. The PA28R Arrow is no longer part of the fleet. The simulator is well maintained and very well presented, and is very useful at the IR level. 

The fleet is small and fairly old, so maintenance issues were fairly common. Usually they were fixed frequently but they still affected scheduling due to the small fleet size.

Scheduling was normally good although there were some very late sim sessions during one week of the IR - but that’s sim sessions for you! Communications from Ops were regular, either through the crew portal, by email or over the phone - and they were friendly with great attitudes and always tried to get you up in the air as much as possible.

I had the opportunity to fly with 5 instructors, but spent the majority of my training with 2 of them. I did my MEP + CPL with Jon, who is capable of some very good instruction when he is in a good mood, and my IR with Bill, a very experienced, knowledgable and friendly instructor who is one of the best instructor’s I’ve ever flown with. He had experience on many types and had a great approach to the course. Nick was very up to speed with airline policies and SOPs and really pushed you to a professional standard, Steve, the CFI, was super friendly and had a great way of showing you just how capable you were, which was always a great confidence boost before exams. Mark, the head of training was very relaxed and always approachable with any issue or question. I would recommend flying with as many of the instructors as possible as they all will improve your flying in different ways. The quality of instruction is top notch as I passed all my exams first time in minimum hours.

The course manuals were informative and in-depth although some sections were still in need of an update.

The instructors were quite busy when I attended but this appeared to be due to a rush of integrated students returning from America post-covid, so shouldn’t be much of a factor soon.

The only real lack of instruction in my opinion was with regards to the preflight briefings, and in the end I got most of my knowledge about this from Alex behind the ops desk who is a recently qualified ME/CPL/IR pilot. This did lead to a slight perceived lack of support leading up to exams, but I have fed this back to them.

BCFT also don’t seem to have any official SOPs laid out, which they would definitely benefit from to ensure a more uniform approach from the instructors with regards to certain aspects of the training. 

The facilities had all the essentials available to the students, and although the building was old and not anything special, there was plenty of room for planning and several briefing rooms, a nice break room and an adequate tea/coffee/snack area. 

Bournemouth Airport is an excellent airport to train at, it’s size and facilities are perfect for the aspiring commercial pilot and it has full ATC from ground to radar, with Solent’s airspace on top and access to the airways which makes the flights feel very professional. Bournemouth town is lovely with some great places to go for coffee, a library and a couple of gym’s and the whole beach to walk along.

The accommodation is very nice with the school’s own hotel being close to completely renovated as of February 2022. Rooms are nice and spacious, with a desk and large windows. The Wi-Fi was good enough, there was a large kitchen and dining room, study area and even a bar! The hotel staff were very friendly and sociable and looked after all the students.

I am yet to find employment, although two airlines I am talking with have stated they have employed BCFT students in the past and found them to be of a high standard, which fits with my own experience. BCFT provide a detailed end of course review letter, and are happy to be listed as a reference on any CVs or applications.

All in all a good school and I would only make very minor changes if I had to do it again.

 

Course(s) taken: Multi Engine Instrument Rating (ME-IR) , Multi Engine Piston Rating (MEP) , Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL)

General

Facilities

4

Atmosphere

5

Student Support

3

Customer Service

5

Communication

4

Graduation Support

4

Social Life

5

Aircraft

Overall aircraft rating

5

Aircraft Availability

4

Aircraft Reliability

3

Aircraft Age

4

Aircraft Maintenance

Simulators

Simulator Age

4

Simulator Maintenance

4

Simulator Reliability

5

Simulator Availability

4

Simulator Overall

5

Practical Training

Quality of Practical Instruction

5

School Manuals

3

Lesson Regularity

4

Standard Operating Procedures

1

Practical Instructors per Student

3

Lesson Scheduling

4