The unique modular cadet programme
- Flexible training choices
- Training duration from 12 months
- Leading to employment
- Outstanding value – typical training costs £50 000 to £60 000
- Part-time and full-time options at various locations of your choice
Who is it for?
If you want the benefit of outstanding value, high-quality training, organised for you and leading to employment, and a bespoke programme designed around your individual needs, this is the programme for you.
The Wings Alliance Flexible Programme is truly unique. Other flight training programmes offer little or no choice; you have to fit into their location and timescale requirements. While this makes purchasing decisions relatively easy; you either do or do not step onto their production line, it sometimes does not fit your own circumstances or priorities.
The traditional alternative is self-organised modular training. While this is flexible, it misses out on the advantages provided by a ‘packaged’ training programme. Most importantly, quality assurance and a single training record, both of which are important to prospective employers.
The Flexible Programme offers the best of both worlds. This is how it works.
Initial planning meeting
Like all our programmes, entry is subject to success in selection. For more details about the selection process, have a look at our separate selection guide.
After successful selection, we will arrange a meeting (which may be online) with a training advisor. We will go through with you your constraints and preferences. Factors that will affect your training choices might include:
- budget: is low cost your primary consideration, or do you just not want to waste money;
- urgency: are you in a rush to complete or in no hurry;
- employment: do you want to or need to remain employed for some of the training;
- your availability: full-time or part-time and, if part-time, how much can you commit to training;
- location: do you want to remain at home as long as possible to cut costs and/or remain with your family, or are you prepared to re-locate for training; and
- preferences: is there a school you particularly want to train with?
Once we have worked though these questions with you, the range of options will have reduced to a more manageable list. We will help you construct a training plan showing who you’ll train with, when and what to budget for your training. We’ll make sure that you have thought of everything and there are no surprises.
If you have some flying experience already, that may count towards the licencing requirements. However, assuming no hours, a typical training plan will show:
(1) Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) theory and flight training
We’ll help you choose a school and will advise you in detail what the training will involve and how long it might take. This could range from 8 weeks full-time to many months. At the end of this you’ll probably have just under 50 hours total flight time including 10 hours pilot-in-command (PIC).
(2) Theoretical Knowledge Training
Enrolment with a theory provider to start ATPL theory training comes next. Many of our trainers do their training with Bristol Groundschool. Their course involves a combination of distance learning and classroom-based revision courses. They are also an examination centre for the UK CAA and Austro-Control; most of our students opt for the latter because there are no Brexit uncertainties with the Austrians and the costs are lower. The training is typically planned to last 7-8 months, but anything from 6 -18 months is possible.
(3) Hour Building
By the time you do your CPL/ME/IR training you’ll need 157 hours flight time, and just short of 100 hours Pilot-In-Command (PIC). Therefore, after your PPL you’ll need to log about 107 hours including 90 hours PIC. You will also need to include a night rating, and advanced ‘Upset Prevention and Recovery Training’ (UPRT) course and a ‘qualifying cross country’ which is a three-sector flight involving 2 stops and 300 nautical miles between destinations. We recommend very strongly that you make good use of this ‘hours building’ phase of your training. While quite legally, you can hire a cheap aircraft and go off and have fun, doing that may cost you in the long run, as you are quite likely to inadvertently develop bad habits that might cause you difficulties later, and you’ll also have missed the opportunity to develop your skills. Therefore, we recommended that you conduct this training under the supervision of a school or flying instructor who can periodically check your flying skills and help you plan gradually more stretching flights, exposing you to more demanding and adventurous flying. Your ‘hours building’ may be done concurrently with your theory training, before, after or you may do blocks of each. The most common choice is concurrently, perhaps with a final block of hours building after completion of the exams.
(4) CPL, MEP and IR
When you have completed your ATPL exams and gained enough flight time, you’ll be ready for your CPL course, multi-engine class rating and instrument rating. There are many ways to complete this training. However, we will recommend only a small number of schools and we do not recommend that you attempt this training part-time. This is the point, if you have been training part-time, for you to bite the bullet, resign from employment and commit. Most organisations will offer a combined course, lasting between 2 and three months. At the end you’ll have an EASA CPL/MEIR with ATPL theory credits.
The final stage of your training is the Wings Alliance Airline Pilot Standards Multi-Crew Cooperation course (APS-MCC). Whereas there are choices of who to train with for the previous stages, this is a mandatory course. The reasons for that is it is our last and only chance to assure the quality of our training output, and that quality assurance is an essential ingredient in the integrity of the promise we offer to employers: our graduates are of the highest quality and, not only are they great pilots but excellent employees too.
Individual Training Plan and Budget
At the end of your planning meeting you and our training provider will have produced a written training plan and prepared a budget.
When we have agreed a training plan and budget with you, we can help you arrange the training with your chosen schools, or you can liaise with them directly yourself. We will ask them to provide us with periodic reports on your progress and performance, which we formally review in a fortnightly meeting. If you are deviating significantly from either your plan or the performance levels expected at that stage we will become involved; otherwise we will stay in the background, monitoring your training and available to help you, up to the point where you are ready for the APS-MCC.
It’s not unusual for your training plan to be amended in the light of reality. Your plans might change, and you may find that the time you commit to training in practice may be different to your expectations. That’s not a big issue from our viewpoint, but it is helpful to re-plan rather than letting your original plan drift into disuse.
Intervention is not common, but sometimes schools, particularly non-Wings Alliance schools, can struggle to deliver what they have promised and occasionally we our trainees have found the quality of training unacceptable. In these cases, we can help the student and, ultimately, arrange to switch their training to a more satisfactory training provider. However, this is rare, and generally occurs when a student has strong preferences to train with a school who we have no knowledge of. If you stick to our recommendations this sort of problem is most unlikely.
So, the Flexible Programme is a great choice if you have individual needs. The only downside is the likelihood that you will not progress through training with a ‘class’ of other Wings Alliance students following the same path as you. However, we will be there to support you all the way and you will find that at stages of your training, particularly the ATPL theory and the latter two stages (CPL/MEIR and APS-MCC), you’ll have a peer group.
The exact breakdown of the training hours will vary a little, as different EASA regulators interpret the regulations in subtly different way. However, in a typical course you will end up with the following hours:
Due to its very nature, the costs of each student’s Flexible Programme are unique. However, all benefit from the outstanding value offered by Wings Alliance members. Uniquely, we will help you budget for every part of your training so here are no surprises (except perhaps if you do not use up your contingency budget). We have prepared the detailed examples showing real training plans and budgets for two student pilots which show training costs in the range of £50 000 to £60 000. You can access them here.
The first step in any of our training programmes is to apply for selection. You are not commited to this or any other course until you finally sign-up, which can only happen after sucessful selection and a planning meeting. If you’d like to discuss things first, please contact us, or you may apply now.
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to do my flight training with Wings Alliance member schools?
Wings Alliance member schools are of known quality and have all signed up to our values of honesty, professionalism and integrity. Therefore, we encourage Flexi Programme students to train with our members. However, we are aware that it is not always convenient, so we do not insist on it except for the APS-MCC, as that is part of our quality assurance.
If you wish to train with a school who are not a member of the Wings Alliance but are known to us, we will give you an honest opinion of the service they have provided to other students, so you are able to make an informed decision.
If you do decide to train with a non-Alliance school, we will contact them and ask them to cooperate with our reporting requirements so we are able to monitor your training progress and performance; however, be aware that the cooperation of non-Alliance schools is variable and our ability to help you through training may be affected.
We find increasingly that our students get good training and service from quite a limited number of schools for ATPL theory training and CPL/MEIR courses, and suggest strongly that Flexible Programme students stick to these recommended schools.
Do I have to do my APS-MCC with Wings Alliance?
While we do allow flexibility in ATO choices during flight training, it is a requirement that you do your APS-MCC course with us. The reason is that the output from all our programmes is quality assured; the credibility of our recommendations to employers is based on their trust that we control standards. We are also completely confident that it is the best course in the industry, and offers unrivalled value, so why would you not want to do it?
I have already done some training; can I be credited for my experience?
Yes, you may count previous training (except multi-crew training) towards the programme. However, there is always a word of caution. If you have flown in a very different environment to the school you join and/or have had a long break in your training, you may need some refresher training; be prepared to budget for this.
Do I need to do a Class 1 Medical before the CPL?
As you may realise, you need a Class 2 medical for PPL flying and a Class 1 for the CPL. The danger of getting a (cheaper) class 2 for training them the Class 1 just before your CPL course is if you pass the Class 2 but fail the Class 1. This is uncommon but would be a disaster. Therefore, we always recommend that you get a Class 1 before committing to the time and expense of commercial training. If it lapses during your training, it will revert to a class 2 automatically and then you could renew just before your CPL course.
Can I defer selection to just before the APS-MCC?
Yes, you can join the programme at any stage up to the APS-MCC. However, to benefit from the programme mentoring, you must pass selection first.
How much is Wings Alliance membership?
You need to be a student member of Wings Alliance while training on our flight training programmes. Membership covers things like the general overheads, the cost of training advice, mentoring, etc. There is a joining fee of £375 then monthly membership of £35/month, payable annually in April (pro rata for part years).