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Frequently asked questions

Alexandra O'Loughlin23 Sep 2016

Are you thinking about training to be a pilot but still have some questions? We have put together some frequently asked questions to answer some of your queries and give you the confidence to get started with your training.

Life at FTA

Can I work along side my flight training?

  • The FTA modular courses offer flexibility whilst you study, allowing you to set the pace. This allows you to spread the financial expenditure over a period of time that suits you, fitting around work commitments. Many cadets choose to work part time in aviation to boost their CV and knowledge of the aviation industry. Read more about FTA’s modular courses.

Where do I live when I train with FTA?

  • FTA can assist you in finding student accommodation near the school. There is a wide spread of accommodation options including host families, shared accommodation, bed and breakfasts and hotels – the FTA student welfare team can seek the right option for you and put you in touch. Many students on our Integrated programme begin by living with a host family, before moving into shared accommodation with fellow FTA students once they have settled in. Please contact us if you’d like to find out more about accommodation options whilst studying at FTA.

 Where is Brighton City Airport?

  • Our main campus is situated within Brighton City Airport, just outside Brighton, with superb road, rail and bus links to Brighton City, London and further afield. The airport has 3 runways and various additional facilities available onsite, including the student welfare office and a restaurant. Established in 1910, the airport is steeped in history and has a diverse client base to include: the military, law enforcement, air ambulance, corporate jets, helicopters, flight training schools, private charter companies and the coastguard.

Entry requirements and application process

 Can I come and see the FTA campus before making a decision?

  • In normal circumstances, FTA recommends visiting the campus at Brighton City Airport to get a taster for campus life, the courses and to see whether the academy is right for you. We usually offer weekly tours around the FTA campus every Thursday at 10am. However, in line with government guidance, FTA is now offering virtual tours, which offer students the opportunity to learn more about the flight school and ask current students questions. If you are interested in booking a tour, please visit our 'Book a Tour' page. We keep this page up-to-date with information about how the tours are currently being conducted.

 I’m from Europe – can I study at FTA?

  • FTA is able to accept students from across the EU onto our modular programmes, dependent on individual circumstances and documentation. If you are coming to study in the UK from overseas, it is important to follow the correct immigration procedures; having the right documentation will prevent any problems international students may have gaining entry to the UK, and will ensure FTA can do the required checks on entry requirements for our training courses. Please note that all overseas FTA students must have English language competence of Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference Languages (CEFR) or Level 4 of the International Civil Aviation Organisation). Click here for more information for EU and EEA students.
  • We currently cannot accept international students onto our integrated programme due to the VISA stipulations in place.

 Do I need GCSES in particular subjects?

  • As part of the Integrated Flight Deck Programme candidate entry requirements, students are required to have at least 5 GCSEs (or equivalent). These must include Maths and English. Read up on our full entry requirements.

 Do I need A Levels or a degree?

  • You are not required to have A Levels or a degree to study at FTA. However, any form of further education, including A Levels and a degree, are a bonus. Read up on our full entry requirements.

 Does my age matter?

  • To enrol on a programme with us students must be 18 years of age. There is no maximum age limit. Read up on our full entry requirements.

 What does a medical involve and how do I get mine?

  • Medical examinations are conducted at London Gatwick. For full information and bookings, please visit: caa.co.uk.

 I wear glasses – does this matter?

  • Many pilots wear glasses these days and this does not usually cause problems. You would need to check that your eyesight is within medical limits prescribed by the CAA for class one certification. For more information, please visit: caa.co.uk.

 Is there a pre-entry assessment?

  • While it is not a prerequisite for enrolment, we recommend that all applicants complete an assessment with an impartial body, such as The Honourable Company of Air Pilots. For more information, please visit their website: airpilots.org

I have my PPL and some hours – will I get a discount on the course?

  • If enrolling onto the integrated course with a PPL, you can claim up to 50% of your total hours up to a maximum of 40 hours (if no night rating held) or 45 hours (if a night rating is held). The actual number of hours credited is at the discretion of the head of training. For every hour granted, an amount of £220 would be credited to your training account*. If you already have your PPL and some hours and want to know exactly how much your course will cost, contact our admission team who will be able to advise as per your personal situation. Please note: all course fees are subject to review and for the most up to date prices, you should contact the admissions team.

 Flight training at FTA

What is the difference between integrated and modular training?

  • FTA’s integrated course allows you to go from little or no flying experience to a “Frozen ATPL” in approximately 21 months. It is a full-time programme completed from our base at Brighton City Airport.  FTA’s modular courses enable cadets to complete training around their lifestyle or other commitments. This is a popular route for students learning to fly while working or studying. Modular pilot training courses can also be taken as and when desired, as long as course pre-requisites are met. Take a look at our training programmes on the FTA website for more information.

 How long does modular take?

  • From zero experience to holding a frozen ATPL, modular training would take around 2 years to complete. This of course depends on the commitments you have in addition to your study. You can find out more about the modular route to Frozen ATPL on the FTA website.

 Which planes do you fly at FTA?

  • FTA's training fleet grows year on year. The current fleet is comprised of both single-engine piston (SEP) and multi-engine piston (MEP) aircraft – all maintained in accordance with exceeding stringent regulations. Students on the Integrated Flight Deck Programme fly a single-engine aircraft such as the Piper PA28, before completing the advanced phases in our Diamond aircraft. More details on our airport and fleet can be found here.
    • Diamond DA40: The Diamond Star DA40 is a four seat, single-engine Diamond Star DA40 ideal for training commercial pilots. It has 135 Horse power and features similar systems found in modern commercial airline jets.
    • Diamond DA42: The Diamond Twin Star DA42 is a four seat, twin-engine, propeller-driver aircraft, considered as one of the most advanced light aircraft in the world. Made of carbon-composite materials, the DA42 is a strong aircraft featuring controls found in commercial airliner flight decks, making it a perfect aircraft for trainee commercial pilots.
    • Piper PA28: The Piper PA28 is a four seat, single-engine aircraft with a robust aircraft and a proven track record when it comes to flight training.


 Do I have to pay all in one go?

  • You pay the balance of your Integrated Flight Deck training over 18 months (after an initial payment of £10,000). 
  • To enrol on our ATPL Theory (full time ground school) you need to pay the full £9950 fee prior to the course start date. £5000 is required to book your course place, and the remaining £4950 at any point before the course start date.  The cost includes all associated learning material, uniform and exam fees. 
  • For other modules, the payment procedure varies. The PPL programme requires an initial payment of £1500, and the rest in instalments over the duration of the course. The combined course similarly requires an initial payment of £5000, with the rest to be payed in instalments over the duration of the course. The hour-building package, however, requires a single, upfront payment.

Are there any additional costs that aren’t included in the course prices?

  • Any additional training over the standard course syllabus would be charged at our standard rates. Whilst first attempts at ground and flight tests are included in package prices, additional costs for re-takes (including additional aircraft hire) would be charged in addition.

 Does the course fee include accommodation costs?

  • Accommodation costs are not included in any course fee. However our student services team have a list of registered accommodation providers in the area. We are able to help you find the right accommodation for you, whether it be a host family, B&B, shared accommodation, or private apartment. Please contact us if you’d like to find out more about accommodation options whilst studying at FTA.

Career development and job prospects

Do you have connections with airlines to help me get a job after training?

  • We do not tend to have links with specific airlines, instead focusing on supporting our cadets to be best placed for career development within the industry. This is why former students fly for over 30 different airlines across the globe, ranging to private airline charter companies to global commercial airlines. This means that you do not have any contractual obligations to specific airlines and, when you graduate, can apply to whichever role you have the correct experience and training for. 
  • You can read up on where some of FTA’s past cadets are now working in our Pilot Stories.
  • Our partners in airline preparation, AirlinePrep and Jet Masterclass, deliver all essential training expected by the airlines. They offer specialist training to our ATO and major international airlines. 

Who do your graduates work for?

  • Our students have gone on to work for a diverse range of airlines including EasyJet, Ryanair, Loganair, Whizzair, Aurigny, Turkish Airways, Jet2 Holidays and many more.  


Will COVID-19 affect my ability to study effectively?

  • As a school, we have worked hard to minimise the effects of coronavirus on our students training while remaining safe, and our 2020 ATPL results indicate our success at doing so.
  • Our ATPL students excelled themselves last year and in our last round of exams we had a first-time pass rate of 95% and an average pass mark of 90%. The majority of modules were delivered throughout COVID-19 using remote instruction (instructor-led classes delivered via Microsoft Teams), underpinned by computer-based training and self study.  

What are my career prospects likely to be in light of COVID-19?

  • We have been offering our graduates and students additional support and training during COVID-19 and have invited airlines to speak in virtual sessions and offer advice and support to trainee cadets. The expectation is that the airlines will recommence recruitment in 2022. Their advice to potential students has been to complete training to the highest possible standard and to stay relevant by getting work experience in any part of the industry, which will allow you to gain essential skills. 


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