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Pilot Training

Basic License Types

There are two routes to gaining a private pilot’s licence in a fixed wing single engine aircraft in the UK (PPL ‘A’ SEP).  Which route you take will depend on what type of flying you want do do later on, as well as if you wish to fly abroad in JAA member states.

  • JAR PPL (Joint Aviation Regulations Private Pilot’s Licence)

(The JAR Licence came about when the Rules for gaining your PPL changed (1999) to align with the European Joint Aviation Regulations, where there has been an attempt to rationalise the flying regulations for all the European Union countries.

Under JAR PPL Training, you need to undertake a minimum of 45 hours of flying training.

JAR involves a greater amount of ‘base’ training compared to an NPPL, as a foundation towards undertaking further training beyond just gaining a Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL – Class A JAR.),

A JAR PPL allows a pilot to take further training and gain other ‘Ratings’ such as an  IMC Rating or  a Night Qualification. These two ratings respectively allow a Pilot, to fly when poorer weather conditions occur and require the ability to fly safely ‘on instruments’ in the aircraft, and with a Night Qualification, they are allowed to fly at night. Both these Ratings also open the route towards further Training should the participant aspire to train towards a Commercial Pilot’s Licence if aiming to be a pilot for a career.  A JAR PPL also allows international flying.

  • NPPL (National Private Pilot’s License)

The Light Aviation Industry in Britain found that fewer people were learning to fly because of the greater demands of the JAR Licence. After much lobbying by such Flying Organisations, it was agreed with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that there were many people who just wanted to be able to basically fly in reasonably good weather, with no aspirations to take their flying any further than that.

So a new Training Course was formulated, to allow people to gain a  basic ‘Ordinary PPL’ in Britain.

A new Syllabus was ratified where adequate training could be undertaken in a minimum of 32 hours.  This would lead to a new PPL Licence called the ‘ NPPL’  or National Private Pilot’s Licence.

Medical requirements were also changed and are less onerous.

Conditions were applied on this Licence, in that an NPPL pilot is only allowed to fly by ‘Visual Flight Rules – visibility within defined minima, clear of cloud and in sight of the surface.

 No flying will be allowed in ‘poorer weather’ where an IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) exist; the Pilot would not be allowed to fly at night, and there would be a restriction which only allowed an NPPL to fly within the Territory of specifically the British Isles only. No one can fly ‘abroad’ e.g. France, Germany etc.

Initial Lesson or ‘Trial’ flight

Firstly, you want to find out if you really want to learn to fly and achieve your licence. This is best achieved by going for a trial or air experience flight.

If you enjoy your trial flight and are keen to progress and learn to fly then your next step is to have a medical to make sure you are medically fit for flying.  Once you have your valid medical certificate, you will need to join the club as a new member before training can commence.