Most people look up when a light aircraft passes overhead. Do you think of the freedom and spectacular views enjoyed by the pilots and passengers ? If you can drive a car and read a map you possess the basic skills that will enable you to learn to fly.
It’s easier than you think!
Working towards your Private Pilot’s Licence is very rewarding, and you cannot beat the sense of achievement on successfully completing the course and gaining your ‘wings’. We have qualified instructors who take great pride in, and enjoy, imparting their knowledge to student pilots.
Throughout your training there are goals to achieve – milestones that mark your progress – your first take-off and landing without the instructor’s hands hovering over the controls, or the ‘once in a lifetime thrill’ of your first solo flight.
Once you have mastered the basic handling of the aeroplane, cross-country navigation exercises give you the confidence and skills to navigate around the country with the speed and freedom that only flying can bring. The Civil Aviation Authority require a minimum of 45 hours of flight training before a licence can be issued. This is divided between dual instruction and solo flights. There is a flight test to be undertaken and some multi-choice ground examinations to pass along the way.
In the UK there are over 200 airfields near major towns and cities. Hiring an aircraft from the club, many members use their licence for business, travelling to meetings around the country. There are Air Shows and Fly-ins throughout the summer months.
Lunch in the French and Belgian coastal towns is very popular and there are the tax-free duty benefits of the Channel Islands. Most of these destinations are only a 1-2 hours flying away.
WHAT IS A PPL?
The Private Pilots Licence is a licence issued by the Civil Aviation Licencing Authority, which allows the holder to fly a single engine aircraft without remuneration. What this really means is that you may fly most types of single engine aircraft for recreational purposes. You may in fact split the cost of hiring the aircraft with your passengers, but you must not personally receive any payment for such flying.
The PPL alone will allow you to fly by day only in good visibility and always in sight of the ground. There are several additional qualifications you may train for at a later stage, such as an IMC (Instrument conditions) rating, Night rating, Multi-engine rating, Instrument Rating, and Aerobatic certificate. You may also use the PPL as a starting point for a commercial aviation career.
Once you have obtained your PPL you have to keep it valid by flying a certain amount of hours, and every two years having a Check Flight with an Instructor. You must also always have a valid medical certificate, usually renewable every 5, 2, or 1 years, dependent upon age.
For those that have the means it is possible to buy a light aircraft. For most people hiring one of our Club aeroplane is a far more practical option, and you only pay for the time when the aircraft is flying.
The freedom and satisfaction obtained when you qualify for your pilot’s licence is second to none, as any of our pilots will confirm. The capability then exists to hire an aircraft and fly with passengers to distant airfields e.g. Isle of Wight and Northern France and return in time for tea!
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN OBTAINING THE LICENCE
The minimum age to attain a PPL is seventeen years, training may begin at fifteen and student pilots may fly solo at sixteen. There is no maximum age limit, although there is a requirement to pass a medical examination. The medical standards are not usually prohibitive unless you suffer from a serious illness or disability. The wearing of glasses or contact lenses is not a problem in itself, although colour blindness may restrict night flying.
If you are in any doubt as to your fitness to fly, you may be better off getting a medical before you begin training. Everybody must have passed the medical before their first solo flight and so it is good advice to get it done early. We have an approved Aviation Medical Examiner we recommend.
The flying training is carried out in accordance with a recognised syllabus, covering basic flying techniques, cross-country navigation, basic instrument flying and practice emergency procedures. The minimum number of hours required to apply for Licence issue is 45 hours in total (35 for LAPL), of which at least 25 must be dual flying with an instructor and at least 10 hours solo flying. There is a flight test to be taken at the end of your training. The Skills Test will examine your ability to navigate to handle the aircraft and comply with normal procedures. There are also nine straightforward multiple choice written exams to be taken at the appropriate stages throughout your training. These will cover: Aviation Law, Meteorology, Navigation, Aircraft General Knowledge, Flight Performance and Planning, Radio Telephony, Operational Procedures, Principles of Flight and Human Performance and Limitations. Textbooks are available from us on all of these subjects and our instructors will be happy to assist you with your studies. A Radio Telephony practical test is also required.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
This depends on how much time you can devote to your training, more than your ability. This is certainly something you should consider in some detail, as it will have a bearing on the overall cost of your training. Some people may be able to devote themselves full time every day for a concentrated course for a few weeks. Others may have flexible working hours allowing them to fly two or three times a week, whilst others may be limited to weekend flying. We are open six days a week, from 08:00 to 18:00 or sunset whichever is earlier. It can be seen that PPL training can take anything from a few weeks to more than a year. You should bear in mind that the written exams are only valid for certain periods once passed. As a result most people aim to finish PPL training within a year from the first exam pass, although the exams may be re-taken if required. Frequent flyers invariably learn faster than those who appear only on high days and holidays, and subsequently spend less on their training in the long run. The 45 hours flying required by the Authority is an absolute minimum and most people should budget for a few more hours
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
Full PPL pricing will depend on personal circumstances and aptitude, typically around £10.000.
In addition to the flying hours you will need some flight equipment which you will use throughout your flying career
A Flight Bag Including essentials for your training:
- Navigation computer
- All required textbooks
- Flight Ruler
- Heading Protractor
- Knee board
N.b This equipment will also be used once you have attained your Licence to fly.
Please remember these prices assume the minimum hours required, it would be safe to assume you might require a few more to be exam ready.