Considerations on picking a Flight school for PPL – A Singaporean perspective

Reading Time: 14 minutes

A private pilot once told me “when you write about your private pilot experience online, be prepared to be deluged by plenty of people asking you about your experience and picking flight schools”. I initially didn’t believe him, but after writing many blog posts on this topic, I’m forced to eat my words after receiving many direct messages.

After interacting with more than a dozen people, I realised most of the questions generally revolve around the following which I shall collate here to avoid repeating myself again and again. There are many much more qualified and more experienced people who can write on these topics but I can’t find such topics discussed in the way that would have suited my needs. Hence this post.

FAQ I get

  1. Should I learn in Singapore, Malaysia, USA, Australia or X?
  2. How much does did it cost for your PPL so I can budget?
  3. Why did you take so many hours to solo and pass your checkride? I thought one usually solos in 10-20 hours and checkride in 35/40 hours? Why should I listen to you? I don’t want to be like you take so long and spend 2.5 months in the US.
  4. So what is a Part 61 or Part 141 school?
  5. Can I do a Part 61 program under a Part 141 school?
  6. Can you recommend me a flight school to go to? What do you think of this X/Y/Z flight school? Do you think I should go there?
  7. This school (in some rural place) quotes a lower price and faster time compared to these other schools. Should I take that option?
  8. Should I follow your Flightschool.SG/SDFTI route?
  9. I’m stuck at this FAA/TSA website. Please help me!
  10. Is the theory difficult?
  11. Is flying really that hard? I’ve been playing Microsoft Flight Simulator all my life. I have flown simulated Cessnas, Boeing 747s and even engaged in dogfights with F-16s.
  12. Can I learn a bit locally say at Seletar Flying Club then go to the US to continue so I don’t have to spend a long time there?

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Stock take for my last birthday in my 20s

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Today marks the last year of my 20s. My true age has always surprised people whom I just met. Yeah, I’m actually not that young already. So stock take for what was an amazing year for me!

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Teardown of NDP2019 LED wristband

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3 years ago, I tore down the NDP 2016 LED wristband as I got one during the Singapore National Day Parade (NDP) Preview. 3 years later, I got another one during the NDP preview held on 28 July 2019.

Board internals

Band in original condition

So time for another teardown!

Wristbands in action!

Let’s see how the wristbands perform during the event!

Blue, white, yellow LED

Thousands of bands were synchronised to blink at the same time. Notice that the performers’ drums also blink at the same time.

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Flight trip to Malacca and back to Singapore

Reading Time: 7 minutes

I told a friend I was heading to Malacca over the weekend. Asked how I was going there. Car? Bus? Train? Don’t tell me boat? How about PLANE!

Seletar Flying Club (SFC) had a navigation trip planned for Malacca and back on 13 July 2019. For this trip, I had a “heavily-subsidised” backseat ride on a modern air-conditioned Diamond DA-40.

I will then fly the return trip on SFC’s Piper Warrior under the guidance of safety pilot Dr Fadzil! I was eager also as I have not flown a cross-country flight since I finished my PPL.

This was an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse.

The Plane!

The pilot SFC president Wei Siang and safety pilot Jason doing the preflight-inspection of the sleek plane while I just observe.

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Notes on flying in Seletar Airport and Singapore Training Areas

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Having obtained my FAA PPL earlier this year, I decided to join Seletar Flying Club (SFC) to maintain my flying proficiency and to also rent aircraft to bring friends and family up to the skies.

Before I can rent SFC’s planes to fly others, I have to complete a checkout flight with the club’s instructor to familiarise myself with SFC’s planes as well as the Singapore’s airspace and local procedures at Seletar Airport.

From left, SFC’s instructor Eric, myself and my training buddy Davinder when I was in the US.

After all, my knowledge have all been based on the way the Americans (FAA) do things which will likely differ from how Singapore (ICAO) work.

This blog post was originally meant for my personal notes for how does a General Aviation pilot fly within Singapore from Seletar Airport but I thought why not share it as well as such information seems to be quite scarce online. I’ll also try to list out the differences I learned between FAA and ICAO style.

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Conference Emcee Experience: GopherconSG 2019

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If you asked me 2 months ago whether I would be a conference emcee, the answer would be a clear no. But here 2 months later, I managed to pull off being the conference emcee at GopherconSG 2019.

Making the initial welcome address to the audience before passing over to the Conference Chairperson Sau Sheong.

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Aviation FAQ from my friends

Reading Time: 25 minutes

Ever since I got my Private Pilot’s License (PPL), my friends have inundated me with many aviation questions. So I decided, why not compile everything into a blog post?

With my PPL, I only have the lowest-rated license among the many others higher up the chain, instrument, commercial, airline etc so I’m actually least qualified to answer them but I’ll try the best I can.

Many people’s experience with aviation this days especially in Singapore are only as passengers on commercial airliners. Especially since exposure to General Aviation (GA) in SG is extremely limited relative to the US or Europe. Or worse, shaped through the media and military movies with those fancy CGI aerobatics.

Aviation does not seem to be seen much as a possible hobby thing in this side of the world. So no surprise many questions and misconceptions have surfaced to me.

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I became a Private Pilot and this is my story: Part (1/2) in Singapore

Reading Time: 8 minutes

I finally got my Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Private Pilot Certificate or Private Pilot License (PPL)! It seems so surreal, but I can actually fly a plane with my family and friends. This journey was almost a year in the making which I made immense sacrifices in time, money and much more. 

With my San Diego Flying Training International (SDFTI) instructors Charles and Luke on the Cessna 172R (N2441E) which I did my first lesson, solo and checkride on.

With my training buddy Davinder

Capt Kumeran from Flightschool.SG who gave me foundation training in the Redbird MCX simulator.

My journey is so long that I have to break it into 2 different blog posts:

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