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Home > Blog > Ppl Advanced Training Certifications

Next Steps After Your PPL: Advanced Training and Certifications

Posted 03 Jun 2024

Advanced Pilot Training

In this guide, we will look at some of the certifications and advanced training that you can opt for to further your skills and some of the benefits (and perceived cons) of advancing your PPL.

Congratulations on completing your PPL! If you are looking for the next step in your aviation journey, then you’re at the right place!

Private pilots often don’t stop and keep progressing with their licence to learn more and become even more capable in the air. Whether it is going for a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) or advanced certifications and ratings such as night rating, instrument rating, or even flight instructor rating, you have a lot of avenues to choose from.

In this guide, we will look at some of the certifications and advanced training that you can opt for to further your skills and some of the benefits (and perceived cons) of advancing your PPL.

Advanced Training and Certifications for Private Pilots

Here is a list of all the possible certifications and advanced training that you can get to become an even more capable private pilot.

Don’t worry, we will also go over the details of upgrading your PPL to a CPL later in this guide.

Night Rating

Night rating, as the name suggests, allows you to operate aircraft after dark. With a PPL, you are only allowed to fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) which are a set of rules that highlight the weather conditions during daylight for private pilots to fly aircraft.

However, if you want to fly after sunset, then you will have to go for a night rating. A night rating will extend your flying capabilities and will help you master your aircraft at any time of the day.

To be eligible for a night rating, you will have to log at least 5 hours of flight training which includes topics such as navigation, communication, and circuits.

Instrument Rating

Most private pilots go for an instrument rating because it allows them to fly outside of VFR conditions. This means that you can fly aircraft with a wider range of weather conditions.

For example, normally when there is fog and low visibility, private pilots wait until the weather is clear and visibility is restored to normal – but if you have an instrument rating, you can use the various on-board instruments to fly without visual aid.

Not only does this expand the capabilities of your licence, but it also opens up more flying opportunities! To apply for an instrument rating, you will need to log additional flight hours and go through the required ground school training as well as pass all the theory and practical tests.

Multi-Engine Piston Rating

A MEP rating qualifies private pilots to fly aircraft with more than one engine. This not only opens new flying opportunities, but it is also excellent for thrill seekers looking to fly larger and more powerful aircraft.

Furthermore, a MEP rating is also essential for progressing to commercial or airline careers, if you choose to go for a CPL later.

Flight Instructor Rating

If you want to share your knowledge and skills with your community, then there is no better way than to become a flight instructor. A Flight Instructor rating allows you to teach others how to fly which will prove to be a very rewarding experience!

Not only do you get to help others achieve their goals in aviation, but as an instructor, you will get to build a lot of flight hours while getting paid. Furthermore, becoming an instructor also allows you to learn more about aviation and push your understanding of every aspect of the field.

To become an instructor, you will require 30 hours of flight instruction on various topics such as teaching techniques, ground school training, and skill exams.

Airline Transport Pilot Licence

An Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) is required for becoming a captain for large airliners. This is perhaps the highest level of pilot certification and can enable you to command commercial airliners.

An ATPL can significantly help you progress in your career and earn handsomely as well. This licence has a lot of strict requirements though! You will require a minimum of 1500 hours of flight time including PIC hours and passing numerous exams and skill tests.

Mountain Flying Course

Ever wanted to explore different terrains outside of the domain of a regular PPL, then we recommend that you go for a mountain flying course.

This course provides training for flying in mountainous terrain and is terrific for pilots who want to increase their confidence and understanding of safety measures when flying in challenging conditions.

Aerobatic Rating

If you are a thrill seeker, then we recommend that you go for an Aerobatic Rating.

This rating will teach you about the various complex aerial manoeuvres in aerobatics and is excellent for pilots who have a need for speed.

An aerobatic rating will help enhance your handling skill and if you get good enough, you can also enrol and participate in various air events that are held around the country!

Seaplane Rating

As the name suggests, a Seaplane Rating enables pilots to operate seaplanes. This can not only add versatility to your skillset, but it can also be an exciting addition to your aviation career.

Seaplane ratings are necessary for flying in areas with a large body of water and can be great for adventure seekers who want to explore various terrains without restrictions.


Going for a CPL is the next logical step for any private pilot who wants to make a career in aviation.

Many people are unsure about going for a CPL first because of its list of strict requirements. This is why pilots usually go for a PPL, which is more attainable. A PPL allows you to peek inside the world of aviation and experience the best that it has to offer – and once you’re in, you will likely want to explore more and progress further!

Upgrading from a PPL to a CPL is an excellent choice for pilots who want to earn back the training costs and become highly capable and reputable commercial airline pilots.

The good news is that upgrading a Private Pilot Licence to a Commercial Pilot Licence is quite straightforward.

Once you enrol into a CPL programme, you will have to essentially build on your PPL training, log more flight hours, and get in-depth ground school training on more or less the same topics that you are already familiar with.

However, the training process can be gruelling. For example, a PPL requires 45 hours of training, but a CPL requires a total of 200 hours!

The benefit here is that you can add the time you have flown during training for your PPL and also log the hours that you fly for leisure purposes. Flight hours quickly add up when you become a private pilot and if aviation is truly your passion, logging extra flight hours will not be a problem.

A CPL also requires a comprehensive medical certificate. This means that you will have to upgrade your Class 2 medical certificate to a Class 1 medical certificate. Don’t worry, if you are enrolled at a great flight club, like Sherburn Aero Club, you can get through all these tasks under one roof!

Once you have the required documentation and flight hours, you can submit your application with the Civil Aviation Authority for a CPL.

Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of upgrading a PPL to a CPL:



A PPL is essential for giving you a solid foundation for further training. Once you become a private pilot, you can quickly log flight hours and get a taste of everything that aviation has to offer.

 Commercial Pilot Licence training is more focused and relatively more intense. So if you have already built the tolerance and discipline required for flight training, going for a CPL will be relatively easier.

A Commercial Pilot Licence will not only add versatility to your skillset, but will lead you to the top of your field, and if you are looking to master the art of flying, then there is no better way than to become a commercial pilot for a large airline.


Quick Progression

This is the biggest benefit of upgrading your PPL to a CPL. You can not only save time but also money by upgrading your private licence to a commercial licence. CPL training requires extensive training. This is why many people opt for a PPL first and then build on their skills and flight hours for a CPL.

 This way, you can quickly progress your training and even use the time for leisure flying to log flight hours. It’s the quickest and easiest way to become a commercial pilot! Furthermore, once you get your PPL, you will be in a better position to determine whether upgrading your license is worth it or not.

Some students take a leap of faith and jump straight into commercial flight training. While most succeed, some realise that commercial flying may not be as good for them as flying as a hobby.


Less Costly

A PPL requires far less financial investment which is why it is the usual choice for people with limited means but big dreams. Once you become a private pilot though, you can smartly structure your training to quickly log flight hours and get additional ground and flight training to go for a CPL.

 While a CPL generally costs more than a PPL due to its training requirements, if you have a passion for aviation, then you will almost certainly land a great job at an airline and begin earning back from your passion!  


PPL to CPL: Drawbacks

Takes Time

Even though you will have a head start over fresh candidates when upgrading your PPL to a CPL, you will need to adjust your expectations accordingly. While it is generally quicker to get a CPL with a PPL, you will still need to make sure that you put in the hours for flight training without losing focus.

Most private pilots are hobbyists who take up aviation for fun. However, when you decide to become a commercial pilot, you will have to devote your life to aviation. This means that you will have to be in class on time and make time for all your flight training sessions.

PPL pilots looking to become commercial pilots usually end up taking more time because they can’t take out time from their usual routine for full-fledged training. For example, if you already have a job then it may take you more time since you will have to break up your training sessions according to your availability.

Limited Autonomy

Private pilots have the freedom to choose when they fly and how they fly. In other words, private pilots have the luxury of picking a date, choosing an aircraft of their liking, and flying to wherever they want as per their capabilities.

However, commercial pilots don’t have this level of freedom. Since commercial pilot training is more gruelling and stricter, you will have to wait until you get your commercial pilot licence to practice the same autonomy as you did when you were a private pilot.

You will still get to fly for leisure, but you simply won’t have the time outside of your routine and commercial flight training to fly for fun.

Don’t worry though, if you are capable, then you can quickly progress through training as well as find time for a quick flight or two over the week!


If you wish to advance your PPL with additional certifications and training then you have to go for a comprehensive flight school.

A flight school like Sherburn Aero Club can provide additional private pilot training and you can also choose from a fleet of well-maintained aircraft. Sherburn also has a licenced medical examiner (CME), so even if you decide to upgrade your PPL to a CPL, you get all of these additional services under one roof.

For commercial pilots, Sherburn’s partner organisation Advanced Flight Training offers courses in CPL training, Multi-engine Piston Rating, as well as Night Rating. Sherburn also has a world-class faculty with all the necessary facilities (including simulation training) and amenities (like a café and common hall) to make advanced training not only easier but also fun.


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

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.

We offer comprehensive PPL (A) training as well as dedicated CPL training and the required experience for operating aircraft at night.

With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we also offer 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.

Sherburn also offers pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward. 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 in 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 at 01977 682 674​​​, email us at flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on private pilot licences (PPL), commercial pilot licences (CPL), and how you can upgrade from a PPL to CPL.

Photo by Jose Antonio Jiménez Macías on Unsplash



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