Flying Licences Explained

Below is a list of all flying licences explained.  Click on the title to take you to a more in-depth guide on what is required to gain the licence as well as what it allows you to do, and what you will need to do to keep your licence or rating current.

Light Aircraft Pilot Licence

The LAPL (Light Aircraft Pilot Licence) enables the holder to act as the pilot in command of a single-engine piston light aircraft with a maximum take-off mass of 2,000kg or less, carrying a maximum of 3 passengers. A LAPL holder will fly non-commercial operations, and must not be paid for flying.

Private Pilot Licence

The EASA PPL, European Aviation Safety Agency Private Pilot Licence entitles the holder to fly EASA registered aeroplanes registered in the EU and non-EASA registered aircraft in the UK providing the holder has the correct ratings. However, as suggested in the title of the licence, it is a ‘Private’ licence and is purely for private flying only, not for commercial operations that lead to remuneration.

Night Qualification

Any holder of a Private Pilot Licence or those students training towards the PPL may undertake additional training for the issue of a Night Qualification which enables the holder to fly in visual meteorological conditions (fair weather) under instrument flight rules at night time.

Instrument Rating

Anyone who holds a valid PPL or CPL is able to undertake Instrument training, providing they also hold a Class One Medical. It is more common that those holding a CPL or those possibly going on the fly commercially complete an IR, however a Private Pilot can also add an Instrument Rating, to enable them to fly their private aircraft in airways, for example.

Instructor Rating

Any pilot who holds a PPL or a CPL licence is able to complete an Instructor Rating. The main difference between completing this with a PPL and CPL licence is that under a Private Pilot Licence you cannot fly for reward, which means you can only instructor for free, where as a Commercial Pilot Licence holder can charge or be paid for instructing students.


Anyone who holds a Private Pilot Licence or an LAPL can undertake aerobatic training as there is no requirements for a rating issue, as there is no official CAA rating or indeed qualification for aerobatics.

Multi-Engine Rating

A multi-engine rating, as the name suggests allows either a Private Pilot Licence or Commercial Pilot Licence holder to fly a multi-engine aircraft. This rating is a requirement for the issue of a frozen Airline Transport Pilot Licence (f)ATPL. Under a ‘intense’ modular course or indeed an integrated course, this rating is usually combined with the students Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) training, or Instrument Rating course.

Multi-Crew Cooperation Course

Since 1999, the Multi Crew Cooperation Course or MCC for short has become a requirement before the commencement of a frozen Airline Transport Pilot Licence or ATPL holder’s first type-rating course. MCC courses are completed in a simulator, be that a static sim or a full-motion simulator and can be completed on anything from a light twin aircraft through to a Boeing 737 aircraft.

Other Ratings

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