Andrew recommends Aviation South West !!
I passed my Commercial Pilot License with Aviation South West at the end of Oct 2019.
Matt Culverhouse was my CPL instructor and he was amazing! I had Mark Annete for my 170a and he had a few nuggets of information to make my flying that little but better (fine tuning).
Mike Beeston was my examiner, and he is an absolute gent! Settled my nerves beforehand and said all he wanted to see was that I was professional, safe and accurate (Which is what the CPL is about).
He was so happy with how my test profile was flown, and he’s put my name forward to an operator to make employment that bit easier.
The aircraft never went tech (common with other schools). And I flew every day in Sep (hour building or CPL lessons), and aircraft availability was good. The PA28R I used for training was very well equipped and systems easy to use.
Airport and surrounding airspace
Exeter International is a great place to learn, with a long flat runway and tower/radar service you’ll go through the same motions as an airline pilot. In fact you’ll be sharing the same taxiways and radio frequencies as the likes of TUI, Ryanair, Flybe (Virgin Connect) and Skybus. As well as business jets and helicopters.
Weather is generally very good down that end of the world. I was unlucky to get hurricane Humberto and Lorenza delay my test for 6 weeks, but this would happen at any school in the UK.
One huge factor is that the airspace is so easy to work with in Devon/Cornwall. Very different to flying around London (where I did my MEIR beforehand). Exeter controllers are very good and friendly!
Management and office staff
Friendly and efficient, I was made to feel very welcome from day one. And you’ll always find ex-students dropping in for a catch up which speaks volumes in itself.
A key is that Aviation South West don’t bite off more than they can chew, I was able to fly everyday as they weren’t over subscribed.
Some schools will accept you for training and allow you to book 3 slots a week to keep it fair between students – Aviation South West ensures you keep current by flying as much as possible.
I’ve met some great guys at Aviation South West, I’ve back seated a few students to make learning a little easier and have returned the favour. Appreciate this is an ever changing group of people, but I think the ethos is encouraged from instructors and management.
Other students have graduated and walked into airlines afterwards, so their reputation within the industry must be good.
I don’t regret my decision of learn with Aviation South West one bit – I’d choose them again.
Drop in one day and say hello to the guys, and talk to students and instructors – I’m sure you’ll sign up.