Legal Law

Learn to fly in the UK

Interested in learning to fly in the UK?

What do I need to know and what will I have to do? The basic license you will train for is called a Private Pilot License (PPL). There is another license called the National Private Pilot License (NPPL), but it has more restrictions—-More details on both later.

Well, some basic requirements first. You must be at least 17 years old to obtain a private pilot’s license, but you can start training earlier. You will not be allowed to fly solo (on your own) until you are 16 years old. You will need to obtain a medical certificate stating that you are fit to fly alone. It’s not a difficult medical test, but occasionally people will fail. I am not going to attempt to give medical advice here and it is best to contact a doctor. The biggest problems would be heart disease, strong medications, diabetes or epilepsy. Wearing glasses is not a problem, but you should carry them with you along with a spare pair. To get the medical exam, you must see a doctor who has been approved by the civil aviation authority. These are called aviation medical examiners (AME). Any school can provide you with a list of them.

It is worth noting that the medical requirements for an NPPL are less stringent than for a PPL. I would suggest getting the doctor as soon as possible because if there is a problem any training would have been a waste of your money.

When you’re ready to get started, you need to find a good flight school. Most airfields have a school and, in fact, you’ll probably be surprised at how many there are. You can find details on the internet or just go to your local airfield and ask. It’s worth taking a look at more than one school, as they vary enormously. Some are much better than others. Some quite formal, some relaxed. Some busy, some quiet. It’s really about finding the one that works for you. Obviously you have to check the prices of the training and these also vary a lot. Check what is included in the price: membership, landing fees, equipment, ground school. All schools are different. So shop around!

You have to do at least 45 hours of training to get your license, pass 7 written exams and a flight test.

Of those 45 hours, at least ten must fly alone. Remember that these are minimal and depending on capacity, further training may be required. The written exams are multiple choice and coverage;

-air law
-Meteorology (weather)
-Flight planning
-Aircraft, Technician
-Human performance

The final flight test is with an examiner who will normally come from your own school, so chances are you already know them. This is a two-hour flight that includes navigational driving skills and emergency drills.

So that’s it, fill out an application form and mail it to the Civil Aviation Authority!


The NPPL, like I said before, is a bit easier to get but more limited in what you can do with it.

The doctor is less strict and you only need to do 32 hours of training.

However, it only allows you to fly in good weather and during the day. You can only fly UK registered aircraft and only in UK airspace. (So ​​no trips to France!) You also can’t add a night rating to it.

The flight test is the same as the PPL.

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