Last Pass of the decade!

Hot on the heels of Stacey came Joshue, originally from Central America, but now calling New Brighton his home. Joshue celebrated New Years Eve by coming back from his driving test with a nice shiny pass. Joshue could already drive, so there were no real control issues to sort out, but we did need to do a bit on his observation skills, and on how he was structuring his driving. He took it all on board and both he and this driving school finished 2019 on a high!

Well done to all of our pupils that passed over the last 12 months. We’ve had some real success stories, and turned quite a few nervous caterpillars into confident and competent butterflies.


Stacey was not a confident driver when she first came to us. She’d had quite a lot of lessons but things really weren’t happening for her. She knew straight away that our way of teaching was going to work for her. It took a bit of time, but she put in the work, and got the pass she needed.

Thanks Stacey! It’s been a pleasure.

And another…!

What is it with Liams? Two in a row and a third within a month.

This Liam hails from Neston, and he did his test from the Chester test centre. Nailed it. Two minor faults, and a big compliment from his examiner. “A nice tidy drive” he declared after taking Liam around a route that covered a huge variety of situations.

Another Liam

Liam lives in Moreton, but works anti-social hours in Chester, so a full driving license would be right up his street thank you very much. He put the work in and reaped the dividend this morning. I took the pic from inside the car, because it was piddling down. Just 4 minor faults despite the seasonable weather.


The happy lady in the picture below is Ellie, who this morning went out and earned herself a first time pass.

We had a little bit of work to do on roundabouts, but doing roundabouts wasn’t helping – too scary!, so I had to try something a bit different. We worked on T junctions instead, and having improved her preparation and observation on approach to those, we were able to then translate the same skill-set onto roundabouts. It worked. The penny dropped, and she was able to employ these new found methods, despite the test day butterflies.

Well done, Ellie. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to teach you!


I’m not a pilot. I really don’t like heights. But I do find teaching interesting. To a degree, the subject doesn’t matter, the process is the same.

As I was surfing the interwebs, I stumbled upon the website of a gliding club in South Wales, and they had a page about learning to glide. I thought it was worth sharing. You can read the original here:


How long does it take to learn to glide?

We’re often asked ‘how long does it take to learn to glide’. It’s a difficult question to answer as everyone learns at a different rate and have different pressures on their time and budget.

A keen and capable person who can get to the gliding club once per week, sometimes flying twice per day, will progress quite quickly and could be flying solo in six months. This might be reduced if some intensive ‘course’ type training can be mixed in.

Someone with other forms of flying experience could get to the same point in half the time or less, while those only able to get to the airfield every couple of weeks might find that it takes over a year to get to the same point.

Some people do take longer, but the learning experience is a good one and you’ll be flying with engaging and friendly people that love to teach people to fly. It’s an enjoyable process!

In terms of ‘learning to glide’? Everyone regardless of experience is still learning. But, as a general guide, for the keen beginner, you should be soaring solo and having prolonged flights in thermal and ridge conditions after a year.

Like many things in life, what you get out of gliding is proportional to what you put in!

Getting Started in Gliding

If you have previously experienced gliding or have paragliding, hang gliding, microlight or general aviation experience you will progress quickly. Much of your past experience is valid. A lot of pilots at Black Mountains Gliding Club have converted from other aviation disciplines.



Filip, from Birkenhead got through the process of learning to drive in just a couple of months. He was one of the easy ones for us. He had the co-ordination, cleverness and confidence, despite driving initially being something he was learning because he needed to, rather than because he wanted to. This changed. What was a bit of a chore when he was first learning became something he looked forward to doing as he developed a mastery of the craft of driving.

A comfortable first time pass was the result.


The handsome devil below is Adam, from Leasowe. Adam really got his head around driving, to the point where we had to reduce the frequency of his lessons, as he took a while to get the theory test out of the way. Work commitments were mainly to blame for this, but theory test pro certainly helped him clear that hurdle.

No surprise though that he passed on his first attempt, with just two faults.


Liam splits his time between his home in Ellesmere Port and his partner’s home in Woodchurch.

He took his test with another instructor, and fell a little short of the standard required. He works with one of my previous pupils, who kept urging him to “go with Paul!”

Eventually he did. There was work to do. Really he should never have took that first attempt, because if he’d somehow passed, he would not have been a confident driver.

We changed all that within just a few weeks. Liam passed first time with us, with just a handful of faults. Apparently he now can’t get enough of driving – He’s offering to give people lifts to work just so that he can show of his new found skills!


Another first time pass. Just three faults, and a lovely drive throughout.

Kieran, who hails from Bebington is on the high end of the autistic spectrum. He flourished with the structured and ordered approach we put into his driving. Autism is not in itself a barrier to becoming a driver. Instructors should take the time to learn about the condition, and to be able to adapt how they teach accordingly.

I got a hug and a tub of chocolates from his mum too! Love days like this.