Where you can learn to fly in London

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Did you ever dream of learning to fly?

Like so many other people, you might have dreamt of learning to fly and enjoy this exceptional activity letting you take pleasure in observing the World from above.


Flying is a strictly regulated activity to ensure the security requirements for all, and thus needs a thorough and lengthy treating. It also needs costly infrastructure, so the cost even of obtaining a Private Pilot Licence is correspondingly high.

But if flying is your dream, and you are ready to renounce on other pleasures of life to reach that goal – like for instance owning a car, going on vacations, and others, working hard and concentrating to reach that aim may lead you to it.

learntofly 1Before you even start lessons at an approved flying school you can inform yourself about the basics of aerodynamics, the details and phases of flights, the various available flying machines etc. by reading books, specialized magazines and websites. This will make your theoretical learning easier.

Well, let’s suppose you started saving for your flying lessons and want to get more detailed information. Around London there are several flying school with their own airport and training airplanes – and of course highly qualified instructors – who offer flight training. Of course you will need to prove excellent health to be able to obtain a flying licence.

One of the larger flight training centres is the North London Flying School http://www.northlondonflyingschool.com/ , with their activity at Elstree Aerodrome. They offer all types of flying lessons, including of course the Private Pilot Licence.

If you prefer to learn flying on an airport South of London, Biggin Hill Airport has also a renowned airplane and even helicopter flight school – http://www.bigginhillairport.com/flight-training/

largestflightschools Stapleford Flight Centre – situated North-East of London – is one of the largest flight schools – with many different types of airplanes to range from the single-engine Private Pilot training to multi-engine and instrument flight training. It is a choice for many pilots who want to progress to a Professional Pilot Licence. It also offers on-the-spot student accommodation and aerobatic lessons. http://www.flysfc.com/index.php

If you have the chance to be able to afford from the beginning at reaching the Commercial Pilot Licence, you may enrol into the prestigious College of Aeronautical Science & Technology & Flight Academy in the United States, who have a complete two-storey academy building, a large flight maintenance facility, student accommodation with fitness centre, and even a swimming pool. http://aviator.edu/FlightCollege/


learntofly2However, any youth dreaming to fly will probably not have the financial means to aim too high. That’s why some schools offer modular courses, allowing for some working time between the various stages of flight training. Also, enthusiastic youth may try to do some voluntary work in a flight club, like the cleaning and washing of aircraft, and help out in the clubhouse for instance. This will allow them to already experience the “flying environment”, and for sure learn some important information about flying. And maybe – from time to time – an instructor will allow him to sit in the back of the airplane when he instructs his student.

learntofly3In general, the entire Private Pilot course until obtention of the Licence will require at least 35 hours of double flight with an instructor, plus 10 hours solo flight and preparation flights for the final exam. It may cost among a minimum of £4’000 to £6’500. The advantage is that you can rent a single-engine airplane anywhere in Great Britain or even Europe, and share wonderful flights and adventures with your family and friends. You may also do some light work flying.

learntofly4If you think that to be an astronomical figure which is impossible to reach, you still shouldn’t despair. There is an alternative way of flying: flying a micro light plane. There are many types of them, from the mini-version of larger single motor airplanes to motorized flexible wing planes and gyrocopters. To learn flying a miclro-light plane you will need only 25 flight hours – and cheaper equipment – and thus you may get an NPPL (M) licence instead of a Private Pilot Licence. The difference is that it will be limited to the U.K. , and allow you to fly planes up to a maximum weight of 450 Kg. Also, the airspace you are allowed to use is more limited. However, this doesn’t of course need to lessen your pleasure of flying; on the opposite, in a smaller plane you feel the air movements more and can better “play” with turbulences… Flying lower also gives you a closer feeling of being a human “bird”. And you can still progress to Microlight Instructor – allowing you to fly all the time… or continue  to the obtention of your Private Pilote Licence later-on, having already a lot of practical flying experience.

Exodus Airsports is one of the Microlight schools in the North of London http://www.exodusairsports.co.uk/

CloudbaseAviationCloudbase Aviation in Surrey is another reliable microlight flying school. At Cloundbase you will have to train on one of the most advanced microlight aircraft.


All the mentioned flight schools – and there are many more all-over Great Britain – offer “trial flights”, letting you get a first impression flying beside the instructor, who even during the trial flight will allow you to do some flight movements by yourself. If you dream of flying, the first thing you may do is ask for a “gift” trial flight – or save some money to finance it yourself. You may even do “trials” in several schools, and on various types of flying machines – to get an overview of the fantastic feelings and joy flying is offering you…. So grow your own wings!


How to prepare yourself for travel

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Things to consider before you leave

Even if you booked a discounted last-minute trip or decided at short notice to take some days off abroad instead spending your week-end in the cold and fog, there are some basic preparations you have to do before travelling.

First, check the validity of your passport – some countries may ask for a validity exceeding 6 months after your planned trip. It would be too bad to be sent back at the airport. It is also wise to take with you a photocopy of your passport, and send a scanned copy to your E-mail. That could be of help in any event your passport gets lost. Do the same with your ticket, or its confirmation. If you are a rather anxious person, it may be reassuring for you to register the phone number of your Country’s embassy at your destination.


Check if your credit card is accepted in the country of destination. With very few exceptions, you will be able to use an ATM during your journey. If you travel to a very far location, you might have to inform your bank so that they don’t block your credit card when you use it. Also change some money before you leave, and make sure you always have local currency with you. In many countries most shops or restaurants are not equipped for credit card handling, people pay in cash. You may also want to buy local products, handicrafts and souvenirs – weight is no issue any more when you come back.


countrytraditionsThan you may spend half an hour on the Internet getting some basic information about the country you want to visit. Check if there are entry or exit fees at their airport – these fees are usually not covered by the airway ticket. Check the currency conversion. And finally, there are many sites giving basic knowledge about the country’s traditions. That will avoid you to unintentionally offend somebody, be it by the use of hand movements or certain words. Always be courteous in your conversations, and leave the “action film slang” at home. You will be treated with more respect and consideration, and avoids teaching local people a bad usage of the language.


Choose some light but convenient clothes, letting you feel at ease without attracting the population’s looks that are suitable everywhere in the World. Avoid clothes with explicit pictures, icons or words; or even better; buy some clothes when you arrive at destination. You will better merge into the population, and it will remain a souvenir. Remember that not in every country looking “sexy” is the best way to dress; it could generate negative reactions or misunderstandings.

As a general consideration, don’t leave your country with suspicions in mind that your bags might be stolen. Such events are rare in touristic places, and often the robbery is performed by other tourists. Avoid taking objects of high value; you will like to be able to enjoy swimming, touring, discovering, without having to stay grabbing your valuable objects. Unless you travel to take photographs for professional purposes, it is better to take a medium-quality small camera that you can easily wear in your pocket. You will be able to take amazing views – even if they are not in high resolution. Some cameras even let you take underwater pictures while snorkelling….

familytravelTake just the most necessary items and clothes with you – if possible in a single portable bag. You will be able to take it with you in the plane, and avoid any loss. Furthermore you will feel comfortable wherever you go. Remember that in any country you can buy some underwear, T-shirts, pants or skirts locally – and very cheap – so you can just use them during your vacation and than throw them away.

Even if you plan to do some camping, you can buy a tent at destination, or rent a tent at many locations. It’s much better than to walk wearing huge backpacks loaded with kilos and kilos of stuff, under a sun of 40 degrees Celsius and more… That would probably destroy the whole pleasure and relaxing benefit of your vacation!

travlingoutTo secure your most important items – your passport, ticket, visa card, some cash, and – if needed – medicine you have to take regularly, you may buy a small flat belt pocket that you will wear directly on your body – under the clothes. But avoid the large black stuffed leather belt pockets some tourists wear over their clothes, that may give the impression they took their whole bank account onto their journey.

travlingparaceSo what is the most important issue? Leave to your journey with a positive and enthusiastic mindset, to enable you to enjoy and benefit fully from this opportunity to discover new places, new worlds, and new people. Any small mishaps that may occur on the way are not significant compared to the delight of travelling. After the first days you may feel some stomach unease, the so-called “tourista” befalling people who change their climate and environment. But these are not of significance and usually resolve very quickly. And keep in mind that everywhere in the World people are living and getting cured. You will find a pharmacy, a doctor or a clinic that can resolve it with a single sting. In some countries you may even be surprised that such services are free of charge…

With these few tips, we hope you will enjoy your next vacation or business travel leaving open-minded, lightweight and wholehearted – keen to enjoy a new adventure!


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Why do you have to wait?

Did you ever wonder why, after check-in and security clearance, you have to wait until you can board your plane? Why can’t you take a plane as you take a bus?


Well, as soon as a passenger plane arrives at the tarmac – at the gate through which you will board it – tens, if not hundreds, of specialized personnel start frantically servicing the  plane to prepare it for its next take-off. Unless any other means of transport, airplanes undergo meticulous security checks and preparation to assure their next flight will be safe. That’s why flying is the most secure means of transport…

The maintenance procedures are thoroughly performed according to the International Air Transport Association’s Airport Handling manual. They can be performed by airport services, airline services or outsources to specialized companies.

AIRCRAFTGROUND2First the aircraft is guided to its gate by a “Follow-Me” vehicle, a safety employee visually communicating with the pilots (that is called aircraft marshalling) or towed by special vehicles. Once parked, while the passengers from the former flight disembark and their luggage and cargo are unloaded, the plane having shut down its engines gets tied to a special power supply vehicle, while the cabin service starts to provide the next passengers with best comfort. The cabin is carefully cleaned, consumables replenished, and washable items like pillows and blankets are changed, and wastewater is retrieved.

Catering services meanwhile empty the plan of the meals and trolleys from the former flight, and replace them with fresh meals for the passengers and staff during the next flight. While aircraft engineers and technicians do the scheduled security checks to engines, instruments and steering systems of the aircraft, the field operation service coordinates the activity of the various services; the plane has to be refuelled, the air conditioning checked and prepared for the next flight by a special vehicle, and in cold weather conditions the wings have to be de-iced to assure a secure take-off.

AIRCRAFTGROUND3Once all these services have been performed according to a strict schedule – providing maximum security to the passengers while trying to cut down in time not to bother them waiting – the air gates or stairs are coupled to the ready aircraft, the next passengers are cleared to board the plane and their luggage – in addition to air cargo – is loaded for the next destination. For passengers with special needs, specific vehicles lifting the passenger with his or her wheelchair into the cabin are also made ready. The flight staff meanwhile registers the passengers who boarded the plane, and make sure there is no deviation from their lists. Finally, the airplane doors are closed, air start units – special vehicles as well – prepare the engines to be started, and the whole dance of special vehicles leaves the plane – to the next one.  Finally, after the pilots received the permission for taxiing to the take-off runway from the control tower, air marshallers indicate the plane it is rolling path and you are ready for a fantastic new adventure that is every single flight in an airplane….

Next time you are waiting to board a plane and feel time is lasting long, just try to remember all these activities what are being done for your comfort and your safety, that hundreds and thousands of people gain a living from these services, and that finally – taking into consideration all the effort that has to be made for a flight – the costs of flying are very low


THE Benefits of travelling

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  It broadens your horizon

Travelling is not only one of the most pleasant activities we can do, it also has many other advantages. People who travel “broaden their horizon”, in the meaning that they come into contact with other cultures and traditions, ways of living, and pieces of wisdom and experience that will help them for the whole rest of their lives.

travellingfamilyImagine, for instance, having neighbours from different continents. Their way of life, behaviour and things they cherish will certainly be different, due to their educational and cultural background, and may appear to you strange or sometime even shocking. Even more so if you read about countries in the media, as they are often written by people who look at the World from their narrow window of understanding, being convinced they are right in everything – and convey a very false image about other cultures. However, if you travel to their countries – one by one, taking the time and interest to observe people and even ask them questions which were in your mind – you will get a much broader image and understanding, and may even give them right in several instances.

travellingfamily1Let’s take an example. A woman who lived in the Middle East, and was used from her homeland to swim in a swimsuit, decided to adapt to local traditions when she went swimming on popular beaches in the sea. Over her swimsuit she wore light trousers and a t-shirt.  And… Wonder! Although it felt bizarre at the beginning, she came to like it – as it prevented the sunburns she had suffered during former holidays, that didn’t let her sleep, but also the light clothing gives the body a comfortable feeling of freshness and prevents coral and jellyfish stings. Similarly, under the burning sun,  local people sit in the shadow – instead of roasting themselves under the sun just to get a “tan” that disappears anyway after two weeks…. There are many other such wisdoms of life one can acquire when travelling, and use them diligently in their daily life.

Not only are travelling people known to be open minded, they also have more ease in communication, planning, adaptability and… Teamwork skills.

Travelling is good for health

Did you know that? Studies have shown that travellingis certainly beneficial for health. Travelling people usually sleep better. They also benefit from a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones and – as a result – an increased life expectancy.

familyfun275% of executives believe travel is important to prevent burnout. Travellers rate their overall health one full point higher in a scale of one to 5. And 50% of doctors are convinced that an annual vacation can cut a persons’ risk of heart attack! So don’t hesitate any more – increase your health and prevent many health problems with the best medicine… just travel!

Travelling is good for education

Of course! There is no doubt that the best education is real-life, on-the-spot learning of life teachings from various places. When a youth travels, he or she is Travellinggoodeager to see new things, new environments, new people, and is much more receptive to even small details he or she wouldn’t even have noticed at home. In addition to the treasure of languages, there are so many amazing towns and places surrounding Great Britain with fabulous historic buildings, evidences of great lost cultures, and witness of how humanity and our culture developed. A history lesson your son or daughter follows at school or at the university will never be the same after he witnessed by himself the imposing Parthenon in Athens, the Coliseum in Rome, the Pyramids of Egypt… It will bring the whole history to life, letting him or her imagine the mighty Athena being worshipped by ancient Athenians, the philosophers discussing their world view at the Agora, the Pharaohs inspecting the work on their masterwork, or the gladiators fighting for their freedom or death in Rome. It will also further awaken the youth’s interest in history and science.

That being said, 86% of students agree that travelling is a vital part of education, 66% of students who travel overseas achieve higher degrees, and 67% of students who learnt a language abroad still use this language regularly.

Travelling is good for your career

TravellingforcareerAll these benefits also translate into your career. Beside facilitating interpersonal relations, communication, giving you more confidence, self-respect and self-esteem, it certainly widens your professional and intellectual skills as well. That’s why 73% of Human Relations specialists agree that a constructive gap year abroad is worthwhile, 91% of employers recognize the benefits of studying (or having studied) abroad and  83% of women who work abroad believe it will enhance their career.

The choice is yours…

travellingfamily3Now that travelling became affordable, that the Internet offers numberless opportunities for studying or working abroad, take the sweetest medicine in the World – plan several longer or shorter stays in other countries, city breaks, tours into different environments… If you travel with your partner or family, travelling will also provide you with precious time to share together, time you possibly didn’t find amidst the daily routine of working life. So take the chance, appreciate and enjoy your next travel destinations together…


Park with Humour!

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EXTEND the summer

Days are becoming shorter, and the summer is slowly crawling to its end. But you can extend it, by booking one or two summer-end city flights, before the grey for and mist is invading the country again.


There are some excellent offers from London Airports, flight only or flight and hotel – that let you benefit from the last summer sun and shorten the period until next summer is here again.

Consider, for instance, flying to Spain, for amazing prices: Flight to Costa del Sol starting at £40, and hotel rooms are available from £5 per night. To Ibiza you will fly from only £29, and pay from £6 for a night at a hotel. Linarite will cost you £50, and hotel from £7.  Malta is also an excellent option: flight from £48, and hotel nights from £7. And how about Greece? The flight costs you from £53, and the hotel from £11. And to fly to Cyprus you will pay from £47, and will pay £18 a night for the hotel.  You could also fly to Venice, for only £23, but will pay £24 for a hotel night. And there are numberless more options….


So just choose your city break, book your flight & hotel package (or your flight, you might stay at a camping), book your parking and… Leave to the adventure!

That’s certainly better than to drive to holiday like this….


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And Park with Humour!

Most importantly, avoid parking like this…

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But rather like this – artful simultaneous parallel parking!


Or even with an artistic touch….


And if you have a problem finding a free park, you could consider buying a small car…

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Or even a folding car!

 funny1 funny3 funny5 funy2

Why not a car you can carry with you???


Or a solution Japanese style…

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But not everybody likes it small! Some want BIG cars… very big cars!

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Most people think about holidays as a long-awaited break from work, from daily routine, from boredom and from the used-to environment. They start planning since the beginning of the year for these precious two or three weeks away from home. But once the vacation starts, it flies by like a jumbo jet – and once you feel you started getting some rest it’s already time to return to the usual grey and repetitive everyday work. And worst of all, you have to endure a full year again until you will be able to take a new holiday….

Well, if you are convinced that you need to change your environment – and possibly your way of life, and are a little bit courageous, you can benefit from a holiday during which – or part of which – you are working in a foreign country, or in a different profession, or in a completely different part of the World. Yes, that’s easier than you thought! And there are many ways to achieve this goal.

YOUR HOLIDAYFirst of all, you have to leave at home the thought and feeling that you can survive only in your hometown or home country. I often heard people saying: “What if I get sick abroad? Can I eat local food abroad without getting poisoned? How will I be able to communicate?” Well, almost all these doubts and fears are futile. In every country people get sick – and they find medicine and hospitals or doctors to cure them. Everywhere people eat in local restaurants – and they usually are very well up. And everywhere people contact each other – even if they are not fluent in the language. And with today’s mobile technology, it became very easy to find what you need and to communicate. So leave your misconceptions at home.


Rather imagine the adventure, pleasure and experience you will enjoy living for some time abroad. If you plan your journey well, you can even combine stays in several countries. Ever wondered how is life in Canada? Or in the U.S.A.? Or did you dream to visit South America? Maybe you prefer to discover the new powers China, India, Singapore, or Malaysia… Or have a look at Australia and New Zealand! You might even prefer to get some firsthand experience in Africa or the Middle East. Wherever you choose to go, you will tie new friendships, learn and better understand that country’s peoples’ traditions and living, broaden your horizons…. and possibly learn new languages!


Go even further: Change your occupation
Are you an accountant crunching figures all day long? Or a secretary copying word by word what your boss dictates you? Certainly you also have other interests, hobbies, a passion for history or science, or would have liked to experience how it is to live as a construction worker. Maybe you like farming and want to experience by yourself what efforts farmers have to do to provide us organizations readywith food. Now you don’t need any more to be a doctor or a nurse to work abroad. If you are playing an instrument, you could perform at local cafés, and if you are a sports champion, you could coach, teach or help out in a local club… If you like ancient history, you could join archaeologists in their on-site excavations… Of course, there are also the “classic” holiday activities like working part-time in a hotel or camping, at a café or restaurant, against free lodging and meals – or teach languages. If you are an IT specialist, you could also do some computer maintenance, programming, website design, graphic design or video advertisement for the place you are staying in instead… or continue working as freelance online – without the stress of a fixed working time!

There are organizations ready to help you…

If you are interested in this idea – but are still hesitating, you can get a deeper look at the numberless options through the many websites of organizations that offer “working holidays”.  One of the best such sites may be the BUNAC site, which organizes full working vacation packages to worldwide destinations! Have a look at http://www.bunac.org/uk?version=2. You will find all the information you need on it.  The U.K. Mobility Scheme also gives you some ideas about the costs and obtaining a visa http://www.visafirst.com/en/working_holiday_visas.asp .

Global Work & Travel http://globalworkandtravel.com/ offers several options.


If you prefer working in a humanitarian field, you can find all the answers to your questions with United Planet: http://www.unitedplanet.org/volunteer-abroad?gclid=CIrs3q_bhscCFQnLtAoda0oD0g . GlobeAware suggests activities in many countries worldwide http://www.globeaware.org/, and OneWorld organizes humanitarian assistance for volunteers in even more countries. http://www.oneworld365.org/activity/humanitarian-projects . If you work in a byyourselfhumanitarian field, not only will you enjoy a highly rewarding work and gain a new outlook on the World and the need for food and development for many of its peoples, but you may possibly even find a new vocation!

 Or you can try it by yourself!

Even without resorting to such an organization, if you went on holiday to a place you liked and wish to stay for a longer time, you can ask around you in the country itself and will most probably find a way to earn your stay and maybe also meals, while enjoying the country, the sunshine and the new environment for several more months.

As you see, travelling while earning some money or free stay is in the reach of (almost) everybody. Of course you may need to obtain a long holiday from your workplace – or give it up entirely until you come back. Or you might try to exchange your place and work with someone from another country who would like to live for some time in the U.K.! You may also have to renounce on some luxury you are used to at home, and possibly sell some possessions to finance your travel. However, you will find out very soon that – finally – you can live very well without all the material goods and gadgets with which you surrounded yourself at home – and feel free!

Don’t forget that travelling, discovering the World, gaining new friends, seeing new cultures and peoples are treasures that can hardly be equalled by material objects!


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