It belongs to the student, not the flying club or school. Alas, when you apply for your "real" license then it is sent in to Transport Canada, never to be seen again.
This morning, after dropping off my wife at the airport for her week-long vacation, I stopped in at the flying school and picked up my PTR. I'm changing schools. I had a brief chat with the Assistant CFI over the service counter, discussing the reasons. But ultimately, it comes down to the fact that I am going to commit a lot of time and money to finishing my PPL, and I am going to be happy doing it. And I didn't think I was going to be happy here.
- They do not have an online booking system. I expect a web-based booking system, which is much faster when it comes to being opportunistic about making last-minute bookings. And I have had inconsistent results with them answering the phone, and even worse results in returning messages, so the absence of an online system is even more problematic.
- They fly the Katana - which is a great little aircraft, easy to handle, but the useful load is minimal. With two adults (one of which is me!) and a full tank of gas, we're over-weight.
- It will be more expensive - a good slice of the flying time is spent getting from the airfield to the practice area. It's a 20-minute flight (at least), not a 5-minute hop. And the Katana flies slowly because of the low power output of the engine.
- The atmosphere - they are a business, operating on the GA apron at a major airport. The atmosphere is a bit sterile. I'm after a rather an additional factor, a casual, social, relaxed dimension to the environment, which a club-style organization can provide. In addition, I need to get my wife engaged in flying (starting with the social dimension), which I can get at Rockcliffe.
- I was really pleased with my first lesson (with the ACFI) - we got along well, he's quit a cheerful guy, and in addition to being a good pilot he is also a good instructor. My second lesson - not so jolly.
So I picked up the PTR, and I'm switching. I'll write a thank-you email to the CFI, describing my reasons for changing.
Time to phone Rockcliffe.