Almost anyone can fly an aircraft with a Flight Instructor, however, to fly an aircraft alone, their are some requirements. Firstly, a medical certificate is required, there are a number available depending on how far you would like to go with your flying. Secondly, you will need to pass some ground school examinations, and thirdly, to fly solo, you need to be at least 16 years of age. Find out more by visiting out ‘Starting Out’ section.
In the United Kingdom you need to be at least 17 years of age to hold a Private Pilot Licence for aeroplanes or helicopters. However, you can start to learn to fly from the age of 14 and you can fly solo during your training at the age of 16. There is no upper age limit, however you must be able to pass the required medical examination.
To get the feel, why not try taking a 'Trial Flying Lesson' which most flight schools offer. Find your local school in our directory.
This question depends on how far you would like to go with your training. A private licence, to take your friends and family flying for fun can cost between £5000 and £9000. If you would like to become a commercial pilot then the cost can vary a lot, following a modular route may cost around £50-60,000, or an integrated route to take you from zero to airline pilot could cost you as much as £120,000.
The Private Pilot Licence allows you to fly a light aircraft, for non-revenue purposes, in fair weather conditions. This licence is generally for those looking to fly for fun. Find out more...
Taking all associated costs in to account a PPL dependant upon your location and choice of school can cost between £8000 and £11000, this of course would be with the minimum 45 hours of training.
As a requirement, you must complete a minimum of 45 hours before you are able to apply for your licence. This will consist of instructional flights as well as some solo flying. You will also be required to complete what is known as Touch & Go's (take off and landings in a big circuit), cross country flights and also land-away flights where you will land at another airfield. With regard to timings, some people have completed their training in as little as 3 weeks even with the UK's weather. It all depends on your flexibility, financial situation and commitment as well as your chosen school's aircraft and instructor availability.
You are unable to fly alone with passengers until you have a licence. However, if you are learning to fly in a four-seat aircraft then whenever you fly with an instructor, in theory you are able to take a passenger in the rear-seats. This will depend on your individual school's rules and regulations.
You don't have to be a particular age to start taking flying lessons, however you do need to be 16 years of age to fly solo (a requirement of the training) and 17 years of age to gain a licence.
There is no maximum age for the PPL, it is purely determined by whether you can acquire and maintain a valid medical certificate.
There are a number of medical requirements that need to be met for you to gain an aviation medical certificate, and you will need this certificate before you go solo. To find our more about medicals, visit our medical section.
A Private Pilot Licence is valid for life as long as the accompanying medical remains valid. The currency of you rating which is called a Single-Engine Piston rating is however different, you will need to meet the following criteria: For a PPL:
- Pass a proficiency check in a single-engine aeroplane with an examiner. The proficiency check must take place within the 3 months immediately before the rating’s expiry date.
- 12 hours of flight time in single-engine (single-pilot) aeroplane within the 12 months preceding the rating’s expiry date, including the following:
- 6 hours as pilot-in-command (PIC)
- 12 take-offs and landings
- a training flight of at least 1 hour
- At least 12 hours flight time as PIC, including 12 take-offs and landings; and
- Refresher training of at least 1 hour of total flight time with an instructor.
- Complete a proficiency check with an examiner before you exercise the privileges of the licence; or
- Complete the additional flight time or take-offs and landings to meet the requirements above, flying dual or solo, under the supervision of an instructor.