Light Aircraft Pilot Licence

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.

Before you begin a LAPL, what do you need?

The LAPL is often completed by recreational pilots, that’s people who have no intentions of continuing on to fly commercially or even no intentions of flying at night or in bad weather conditions. Before applying for a LAPL, the applicant should be at least 17 years of age.

What will I, and what am I required to do during the training?

Well, once again there is an age restriction, although a student can solo at 16, they must be 17 years of age for the issue of a licence. During the training, which must consist of a minimum of 30 hours total flight-time training (a minimum of 15 hours with an instructor, 6 hours solo) you will master the skill of first climbing, decending and turning, before complete many ‘circuits’ which are essentially small rectangles flown around your home airfield, consisting of a taking off, en-route and landing section, this perfects all phases of a flight before you solo and then move on to naviagtional and instrument training. During this time you will accumulate a number of solo hours including completing a 80 mile trip, landing at one other aerodrome other than your base, all solo.

Once all the above requirements have been satisfied along with passes (pass mark of 75%) in all 9 multiple choice examinations (Air Law and ATC Proceedures, Human Performance, Meteorology, Communications, Operational Procedures, Principles of Flight, Flight Performance and Planning, Aircraft General Knowledge and Navigation) and after completing practical radio examination, you will complete a Licensing Skills Test (LST) with an approved CAA examiner who will asses your flying, just like that of a driving examiner, with a typical test lasting around 2 to 3 hours, bringing all your flight training together.

You will then be able to apply to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for the issue of your Light Aircraft Pilot Licence.

Most students will take longer than the minimum 30 hours with averages varying from school to school, be sure to check this average out when considering flight schools, of which you can find your local in our Flight School Directory.

Do I need a medical certificate?

Yes you do require a medical certificate for a LAPL however this certificate is less stringent than for an EASA PPL. This can be conducted by your GP who will issue a Part-Med LAPL medical certificate.

So, what are the specific privilidges of holding a Private Pilot Licence?

The holder of a LAPL is permitted to:

  • Fly an aircraft with a take off weight that does not exceed 2000kgs.
  • Carry up to 3 passengers such that there is no more than 4 people onboard.
  • Fly during daylight hours in visibility greater than 3km remaining in sight of the surface at all times.
  • You may carry passengers but you are not allowed to fly for reward, but you may cost-share your flying with passengers.

Is my licence valid for ever?

Yes, your Light Aircraft Pilot Licence is valid for lifetime but your Single Engine Piston Rating is only valid for two years, to keep this ‘current’ you must fly atleast 12 hours in the two years of currency, of which one hour must be with a flying instructor. If you fail to do this you must then revalidate your rating with an approved CAA examiner.

What is the cost of obtaining a PPL?

A LAPL is a cheaper option to a full EASA PPL, due to the less hours required during training, however, once again there is no fixed cost when gaining a licence, it is set by the cost of a number of things, we’ve completed a list below, be sure to ask your prospective school how much each of the below cost before embarking on your training as some schools may avoid explaining the extras!

  • Hourly aircraft hire rate including an instructor.
  • Landing fee and Touch & Go fees for the entire course.
  • School membership fees.
  • Exam fees, including ground exams and flight test fees.
  • Cancellation and no-show fees.

As well as the above costs there are also a number of other fixed costs to take into account when making your calculations:

  • Part-Med LAPL medical certificate, costing around £150.
  • Equipment and study materials. These can be purchased online and usually amount to approxiamtely £400-500 depending on whether you decide to purchase your own headset, which on their own can cost as much as £600 for the advanced sets.
  • Examiner fees and licence issue fees, these can be found on the CAA Scheme of Charges document, by clicking here, at present the licence issue fee is £131. (October 2016)

Having taken all these costs into account a LAPL dependant upon your location and choice of school can cost between £5000 and £9000, this of course would be with the minimum 30 hours of training.

So once I have a PPL, is that it?

Not quite, you can upgrade a LAPL to a full-EASA PPL at any time providing you meet the requirement and then you are able to add on a number of ratings described below. If you don’t fancy that then you can change aircraft types with just a few hours differences training with an instructor.

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