Private Pilot Licence

Private Pilot Licence PPL UK
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The PPL (Private Pilot Licence) entitles the holder to act as pilot in command (PIC) on aeroplanes in the UK providing the holder has the correct ratings. 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.

Before you begin a PPL, what do you need?

Well, the PPL is the first licence for most people, so the pre-requisites are minimal, in fact, the only requirements are that the student be at least 14 years of age, in order to log the hours. However, for a student to solo, typically after 15 hours of training, they must be 16 years of age and hold at least a Class Two Medical (More on which can be found right here…).

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 45 hours training (25 hours with an instructor, 10 hours solo) you will master the skill of first climbing, descending 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 navigational and instrument training. During this time you will accumulate a number of solo hours including completing a 150 mile trip, landing at two other aerodromes 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:

These examinations under new rules now must be completed within 6 sittings (a sitting is defined as a ten day-period).

After completing these and a 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 fo your Private Pilot Licence, and your Single Engine Piston Rating (which qualifies you to fly single engine aircraft).

Most students will take longer than the minimum 45 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.

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

The holder of a PPL is permitted to:

  • Fly an aircraft with a take off weight that does not exceed 5700kgs.
  • 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.
  • A holder of a EASA-PPL may also, with the correct instructor or examiner privileges receive remuneration for flight instruction for up to PPL training.

Is my licence valid for ever?

Yes, your Private 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 at least 12 hours in the last year before expiry, of which one hour must be with a flying instructor. If you fail to do this you must then re-validate your rating with an approved CAA examiner.

What is the cost of obtaining a PPL?

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:

  • Class One or Two medical fees, with the Class One costing £330 and the Class Two varying from examiner to examiner, usually around the £100-£150 mark.
  • Equipment and study materials. These can be purchased online and usually amount to approximately £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.

Having taken all these costs into 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.

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