Our Summer operating hours are:

Monday to Sunday - 9am - 7.30pm

Opening hours will be reviewed and may be subject to change. Any changes will be notified to the Members in advance.

Outside these times please email: flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com
Home > Blog > Lapl To Ppl Upgrade

LAPL to PPL upgrade

Posted 07 Jul 2022

LAPL to PPL upgrade

If you are looking to understand how this works, read on for all you need to know about how licensing works and how easy it is to upgrade from one type to the other! 

Have you always dreamt of flying across the sky in an aeroplane? If you have the passion to pursue your dreams and the will to commit your time and energy to learn a new skill, it may be time to turn it into a reality. To those on the outside looking in, flying an aeroplane may feel like a near-impossible feat that requires immense technical prowess.

While it is indeed true that you need dedication to master the art of aviation, it truly isn’t as complicated or inaccessible as many make it out to be. With a good flight instructor, a welcoming learning environment, and the freedom to take to the skies, you can actually be taking off all on your own in no time!

Flying is a spectacular hobby to have, and it is one that is not shared by too many others. This makes it a unique skill to have, in addition to being a truly life-altering experience. If you have made up your mind about pursuing aviation recreationally, or if you wish to test the waters and see how you like flying before committing to a career in the industry, then you should waste no time in applying for your pilot licence.

The wide variety of licences to choose from may seem overwhelming at first, but with a little bit of knowledge about the ins and outs of the world of aviation, the choice will become much simpler. If you would like to experience flying a light aircraft and do not wish to initially invest too much time and financial resources into aviation, you can opt for the Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL), which is one of the easiest and most low-maintenance licences around.

A major plus point of the LAPL (and most other pilot licences) is that it can just as easily be upgraded to a higher-level licence such as Private Pilot Licence (PPL) as well! If you are looking to understand how this works, read on for all you need to know about how licensing works and how easy it is to upgrade from one type to the other! 



 The Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL) and the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) both fall under the category of general aviation. For those who are new to aviation, there are two broad types of flying.

The first type is commercial aviation and the second is general aviation. The main difference between the two types is that while the commercial licences, such as the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), allow you to fly an aircraft in exchange for monetary compensation, the ones under general aviation do not allow this to occur. If you wish to pursue a career in aviation, the CPL may be the right choice for you. However, if your main aim is recreational flying and you wish to pursue aviation as a hobby, then the LAPL and PPL are more than enough.

Apart from this key difference, another factor that sets general aviation licences apart from commercial licences is the fact that they are far easier to obtain. This is mainly because of the fact that they do not require too many hours of logged flight time in addition to having relatively relaxed medical requirements.



When it comes to general aviation licences in the UK, the LAPL and the PPL are the most popular. However, both these licences serve a particular type of hobbyist. Both the Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL) and the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) are issued by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority.

However, while the PPL can be upgraded to Part-FCL, allowing its holder to fly into Europe, the LAPL is a strictly national licence, with the pilot allowed to fly within the UK only. Before Brexit, LAPL holders could also fly into EU territory since the UK was still a part of the alliance. The CAA was under the jurisdiction of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). However, with Brexit, the CAA became an independent body, and the LAPL issued by the authority became a UK-specific licence.

The LAPL is a great option for hobbyists who are looking for an easy-to-obtain licence that can allow them to fly small aircraft within the UK borders. However, for pilots who wish to expand internationally or would like to fly larger aircraft, a PPL upgrade may be necessary.




Getting a Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL) is fairly easy, especially when compared to the requirements of other licences. Here is a breakdown of the number of flight hours you will need, the medical certification required, as well as the exams that must be cleared in order to obtain a LAPL.



When applying for a LAPL, the aspiring pilot must have logged in a total of at least 12 hours of flight time, with a total of 12 take-offs and landings. The applicant must complete a training program at a CAA-licensed training organisation. This training must include dual instruction with a certified flight instructor (CFI) as well as some hours of solo flight time. The minimum age for this licence is 17 years old.


Medical clearance

The medical requirement for the LAPL is fairly relaxed, with the applicant not needing to provide either the Class 2 or Class 2 medical certificates. Instead, they must only provide a part-MED LAPL medical certificate. Compared to the other medical certificates, this licence is less strict and pilots who are not eligible for a Class 2 medical certificate can apply for the part-MED LAPL medical certificate and be able to operate small aeroplanes with ease.

However, it must be understood that the aeroplane being flown cannot exceed a maximum take-off weight of 2000 kgs and cannot carry more than 3 passengers. Holders of the LAPL can easily fly aeroplanes such as microlights, which are smaller and are focused on hobbyists.


Theoretical exam

 In order to qualify for the LAPL with an aeroplane rating, the applicant must clear nine theoretical exams. These must be cleared with a minimum score of 75% each. Subjects tested include Air law, Human performance, Meteorology, Communications, Navigation, Principles of Flight, Operational procedures, Flight performance and planning, and Aircraft general knowledge.



 One of the best features of aviation training is that it is cumulative. This means that you can easily add on top of existing flight hours and ratings in order to upgrade to a higher licence. The same is the case with the LAPL and PPL. For those pilots who wish to broaden their horizons and try out different types of aircraft and fly to places outside of the UK, an upgrade to the PPL is necessary.



While the LAPL requires the holder to have at least 12 hours of total logged-in flight time, the PPL is a bit more demanding. The total number of flight hours that must be logged in in order to qualify for a PPL is 45 hours.

You can add the hours on top of the existing 12 that you already have for your LAPL and any added hours you may have accumulated when flying on the licence. Out of the 45 hours required for the PPL, ten must be of solo flight, while the rest can be completed via dual instruction in the presence of a certified flight instructor (CFI). Five hours out of the 10 of solo flight time must be dedicated to cross-country flights totalling at least 270km.

There are many flight schools, such as the one housed in Sherburn Aero Club, that helps train pilots towards getting their PPL. In fact, many of the pilots at Sherburn go on to become commercial pilots working with major airlines as well!


Medical clearance

The LAPL has very relaxed medical requirements, but this is not the case with the PPL. While the Class 2 medical certificate needed for the PPL does not have requirements as strict as the Class 1, it is still more thorough when compared to the LAPL requirement. The Class 2 medical certificate is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the applicant is checked by a licensed medical examiner.

This is done in order to ensure that the pilot is fit, both mentally and physically, to take to the skies without becoming a threat to themselves or to those on the ground. The Class 2 medical certificate is not an EASA-approved medical certificate, and if the holder wishes to upgrade to Part-FCL in order to travel to Europe, then an EASA-issued medical licence is also necessary. 

Theoretical exam

 The theoretical exam requirement for the LAPL and the PPL is the same. If you have cleared the exams for the LAPL with a minimum of 75% on each test, then you will not need to give any further exams. When giving the exam, it is important to note that the applicant is allowed to retake the test four times. They are presented with a variation of the test each time.

If the applicant is unsuccessful even after the fourth attempt, they will be barred from taking the exam for the next three months, after which you can attempt to take the exam again.



There are many reasons why upgrading your LAPL to a PPL is a good idea. However, it is important to note that the upgrade is not necessary, and if you feel the LAPL suffices when it comes to what you want out of aviation, then you can continue using the LAPL.


Increased variety of aircraft

For those who are looking to broaden the scope, the PPL will give pilots access to a greater variety of aircraft. While the basic PPL allows its holder to only fly single-engine light aircraft, with some additional ratings, the pilot can fly larger aeroplanes belonging to the multiengine variety.

With the LAPL, the holder can only fly small aircraft such as microlights, with no access to larger aircraft. For those who wish to branch off into faster, more powerful aircraft, an upgrade to the PPL is the right way to go.


Access to more ratings

When flying with a LAPL, the holder can only get two further ratings on top of the licence to increase the kind of conditions they are permitted to fly in. The LAPL holder can get a night rating, allowing them to fly after dark and aerobatic training that is good for performing stunts with the aircraft.

PPL holders can additionally upgrade with a Part-FCL rating, which allows them to fly into Europe as well as internationally, a multi-engine rating, which allows them to fly larger aircraft, as well as instrument ratings, which permit the pilot to fly during conditions of reduced visibility.


Flying outside of the UK

Not only can the PPL holder fly to Europe with a Part-FCL upgrade, but the fact that the PPL is compliant with the regulations set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) means the pilot can travel all over the world given that they have the right certification and ratings.


Greater skill set

One of the best parts of having a PPL is just how diverse the licence is. It is not limiting, allowing its holder to experiment with a wide variety of aircraft in different weather conditions, as well as in different places all over the world.

This makes it a great licence for those who wish to refine their aviation skills and step outside of their comfort zones. While a pilot cannot make money off of a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), it is perfect for thrill-seekers and those looking for adventure.

If you are a pilot who is serious about investing in their hobby or if you are someone who would like to have the opportunity to skip the long queues for commercial airliners and travel internationally on your own, then the PPL is definitely the way to go!



 Sherburn Aero Club, which has been operational since 1964, is the ideal place for most of your training and flying needs.

It is one of the largest flying clubs in the North of England and also one of the largest in the country. With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we cater to brand new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.

If you wish to begin your career in aviation or wish to take to the skies as a hobby, Sherburn’s flight training school offers private and commercial licences, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.

Sherburn also offers a dedicated day-long Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) course for those wishing to get the certification, running the first Sunday of every month. For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight for fun or to help fuel their aviation dreams, Sherburn offers experience flights for the newbie, as well as the veteran.

The flight experience option is also available for people who wish to take to the skies for special occasions, even if they aren’t into aviation for the long run. In addition to that, if you are looking for a hangarage for your own aircraft, need servicing or repairs, want to buy a new aircraft or aviation equipment, or are just looking to enjoy and watch the aircraft, Sherburn Aero Club is the place to be.

Call us on 01977 682 674​​​, email us at flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on the LAPL, PPL, as well as the training facilities and airfield available at Sherburn.

Photo by Victor Zhuk on Unsplash 



Latest Posts

Contact us

GDPR - By clicking submit, you agree that Sherburn Aero Club will hold the details you have provided in the form above to enable your enquiry to be addressed in a timely manner. Your details will not be passed on to any other organisations and will not be used for marketing purposes. If you wish these details to be deleted from our system at any time, please contact us.