Since smaller aeroplanes are key when it comes to training, this article will mainly discuss aircraft belonging to the microlight variety.
If you have dreams of becoming a pilot, training is absolutely necessary. Just like you would be required to undergo vehicular training in order to acquire a driving licence, you will need to log in a certain number of flight hours to ensure that you are capable enough to take to the skies.
There really is no limit to the kinds of aircraft you can fly. You can fly absolutely any type you wish, given you have the appropriate amount of training and certification, as well as Instrument Rating, to do so.
When it comes to training, the best approach is a step-by-step one. So, it is best to start small when it comes to aircraft. If you wish to obtain an aeroplane rating, which is what most hobbyists, as well as professional pilots, hope to acquire, then you should start your aviation journey with a smaller, light aircraft, such as the traditional microlight.
Once you have mastered the microlight, which is relatively easy to pilot given the smaller size and simpler controls, you can make your way to the larger, multi-engine variety. Eventually, you can climb up all the way to multi-crew passenger aeroplanes such as the ones operated by commercial airlines. However, since smaller aeroplanes are key when it comes to training, this article will mainly discuss aircraft belonging to the microlight variety.
Pilot training is perhaps the most important part of your aviation journey. Even if you wish to pilot aircraft solely for recreational purposes, a strict training regimen is necessary to ensure you have the experience necessary to take to the skies without becoming a threat to yourself or those on the ground.
Different types of licences require various levels of training. For example, while a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) requires only 45 hours of training, a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) requires a total of 200 hours, which is quite a jump.
Private pilot training is usually the first step for anyone wishing to fly an aircraft, regardless of whether they eventually wish to do so in a professional capacity or not. Hours can later be added to the initial 45 when a pilot wishes to upgrade to a Commercial Pilot Licence.
TYPES OF LICENCES
There are quite a few different types of pilot licences issued by the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority. The most widely sought out are the Commercial Pilot Licence and the Private Pilot Licence.
Commercial Pilot Licence
The Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) is the licence of choice for those who wish to pursue aviation as a full-time career, such as those who wish to become pilots employed by commercial airlines, jetting from one nation to the next with an aeroplane full of passengers.
The CPL has stricter requirements as compared to other licences due to the greater responsibility involved, as well as the higher level of complexity of the aircraft that holders are required to pilot. Holders of the CPL are allowed to demand monetary compensation for their piloting services, and can thus easily pursue a prosperous career in aviation.
While the CPL allows the holder to pilot pretty much any aircraft, in order to command those aeroplanes belonging to the multi-crew variety, further certification may be required. For pilots that are positive about wanting to pursue a career in the airline industry, the Airline Transport Pilot Licence may be a better option, since it is focused on commercial passenger flights.
The age requirement for this licence is at least 18 years old. In order to comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation requirements, the pilot must also be proficient in English and pass a series of theoretical exams.
Private Pilot Licence
The Private Pilot Licence serves as a gateway to the world of aviation. It is the first step most pilots take on their journey to the skies. The PPL is the least stringent licence in terms of requirements, with the exception of the Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL), which is a national general aviation licence issued specifically for smaller aircraft.
Unlike the CPL, a PPL holder cannot demand monetary compensation for their piloting services, making this the licence of choice for those who are in it for the joy of flying alone.
Much like the CPL, the PPL is not specific to the United Kingdom, and so holders are free to fly in most nations outside of the UK, given they have the correct documentation to show for it.
WHAT PLANE WILL I LEARN TO FLY
The PPL is the licence that is opted for by most hobbyists, and the kinds of aircraft that can be piloted by its holder are many. However, since this is a licence opted for by beginners and recreational pilots, the aircraft of choice is usually of a smaller variety such as microlights.
It makes sense to start your aviation journey on a smaller aircraft since it is far easier to pilot and the margin for error is reduced significantly. If a beginner was to start off in a multi-engine jet, chances are they would be far too intimidated by the size and power of the aircraft to pilot it correctly.
The kind of aircraft beginners use to familiarise themselves with aviation and train on belong to the fixed-wing variety.
While the term may sound technical, fixed-wing aircraft simply refers to an aircraft with a fuselage, wing, and stabilisers such as the traditional aeroplane. These are the kinds of aircraft you will encounter most frequently on your aviation journey, although the exact type may differ. The fuselage refers to the cylindrical body of the aircraft, which houses the cockpit, passenger seating, and cargo space.
The size of the fuselage varies from one fixed-wing aircraft to the next, with some, such as commercial airline aeroplanes, having greater seating capacity than others. Smaller aircraft like microlights usually seat no more than two people.
Single vs multi-engine planes
Fixed-wing aircraft can be divided into two broad categories. These are multi-engine planes and those of the single-engine variety. Multi-engine planes are usually larger and more complex, which is why they require a greater amount of training to master.
On the other hand, single-engine aeroplanes are much easier to pilot. They are smaller in size and their controls are fairly simple, making them the aircraft of choice for beginners and hobbyists.
If you have just begun your aviation journey and are training to become a pilot, private or otherwise, you will be learning the art of flying an aircraft via single-engine aeroplanes.
The most popular type of single-engine aircraft is referred to as microlights. These are 1- or 2-seat fixed-wing aircraft used in ultralight aviation that are widely popular in the United Kingdom for training and recreational purposes.
Due to the smaller size of the microlight as well as the beginner-friendly controls, this light aircraft serves as a great entryway into the world of aviation. The traditional microlight carries no more than two passengers at a time and is a very safe, modern, and affordable form of aviation.
The maximum take-off mass for a 2-seat landplane cannot exceed 450kg, or 472.5kg when equipped with a complete recovery parachute system.
The three-axis is perhaps the most popular out of the four. It is the closest to the traditional aeroplane, complete with a fuselage, tail, and wing component. The three-axis seats a total of no more than two passengers.
Due to this aircraft's sturdy build, as compared to the parachute-like parakites and flex-wings, it is the aircraft of choice for most hobbyists and beginners.
While the flex-wing and parakite are relatively cheaper and far easier to master due to their small size and basic controls, dedicating the extra hours into learning how to fly a three-axis is bound to give far more fulfilling results.
The stability of the three-axis makes it better suited to strong winds and rain, and the high speed at which it can fly makes it a thrill to pilot.
A newer type of microlight referred to as the light sport aircraft (LSA) has recently been added by the United Kingdom’s Civil Aviation Authority. With a maximum take-off limit of 600 kgs, the LSA is larger than the three-axis and is relatively more powerful.
The added size and power of the LSA also makes it pricier than the three-axis. It is a great option for those wishing to upgrade from the latter to an aircraft that is more powerful and complex. Microlights now fit into the general aviation performance category and, in certain cases, overlap and outperform traditional aircraft such as the Cessna and Piper. They are also less expensive as compared to larger aircraft, and for hobbyists who are in it for the fun of aviation, they may be a good option.
With exceptional performance and a great STOL (short take-off and landing) capability, a microlight licence is easily accessible to individuals who may not be able to qualify for a PPL due to its medical requirements. There are different types of microlights available in the United Kingdom, out of which the most popular is the three-axis due to its speed, reliability, power, and compact size.
Some examples of typical training microlights include the Eurofox, Breezer, C42 Icarus, CT, and Eurostar.
At Sherburn Aero Club, we pride ourselves on our fleet of aircraft, perfectly suited to the needs of trainees as well as those interested in aviation for recreational purposes.
Our fleet includes the Piper PA-28 Cadet, Piper PA-28 Warrior, Aero AT-3, and Robin 2160. For those looking to purchase their own aircraft, whether on a shared or individual basis, our marketplace is home to a variety of light aircraft suited to different needs.
Sherburn is also home to a vast airfield where you can perfect your take-off and landing to your heart’s content. A community of aviation lovers is also at your disposal at the Sherburn Aero Club.
WHAT LICENCE SHOULD A BEGINNER GET
If you are someone who wishes to pursue a career in aviation, chances are you’ll want to jump right in and begin training for the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).
However, it is necessary to understand that aviation is rather demanding, and it is best to test the waters before jumping right in. A CPL is also relatively more expensive, so before investing the time and money into something that you may not wish to pursue full-time in the future, it is best to start small with the Private Pilot Licence (PPL).
As discussed, this licence has less strict requirements, from fewer training hours to less stringent medical certifications. The minimum age to the PPL is also lower, with the applicant needing to be no more than 17 years of age.
PPL or LAPL?
If you are a hobbyist who has no intention of pursuing aviation professionally or flying outside of United Kingdom airspace, the Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL) may be a better option for you as compared to the traditional Private Pilot Licence (PPL).
The LAPL has requirements even more relaxed than the PPL, with the applicant having to log in only 12 hours of total flight time. You can only pilot aircraft belonging to the light aircraft variety such as microlights on this licence. However, if you wish to broaden your horizons in the future, the option of an upgrade is always available.
Going step by step is a great option for those who do not want to get overwhelmed by the intense requirements of an aviation career.
In order to obtain a PPL, the applicant must log in a total of 45 hours of flight time, 10 out of which must be of the pilot flying solo. In addition to this, the applicant must log in a cross-country flight totalling no less than 270 km.
If an applicant wishes to get the privileges of flying at night, they must further apply for a Night Rating, which will allow them to pilot an aircraft after dark. Mastery of nine subjects is necessary, which include Meteorology, Air Law, and Navigation. You must pass the corresponding exams, which are of a theoretical nature, with 75% marks at least.
In addition to this, a Flight Radiotelephony Operators Licence (FRTOL) is also necessary, which has to be obtained along with the regular pilot licence. This ensures that you have the ability to communicate via radio from the aircraft.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A PPL?
While you may not be able to ask for money in exchange for your piloting services, there is so much more you can do with your Private Pilot Licence (PPL).
The first, and perhaps most noble, use you can put your licence to is through volunteering your services for search and rescue operations. There are several non-profits that require pilots who can rescue people caught in life-threatening circumstances from areas not easily accessible to motor vehicles.
In addition to this, you can also use your PPL for enjoyment purposes, taking a joyride in the sky with your loved ones or travelling to another state (with the necessary customs documentation) to your favourite restaurant across the border! You can also add to your flying experience by getting a seaplane rating and experiencing the thrill of taking off and landing in a body of water.
Lastly, you can also offer your services to marketing companies as a skywriter or wave a banner across the sky!
WHY CHOOSE SHERBURN AEROCLUB
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 licenses, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.
Breeze Aviation, our microlight training facility, is based at Sherburn in Elmet and has a unique training environment based at a licenced airfield.
It integrates seamlessly with large scale GA training and hire, helicopter training and charter, commercial and advanced flight training, and classic tiger moth experiences.
With an extremely special aircraft fleet that consists of brand-new, high-performance microlights such as the latest factory-built Eurofox 3K, Breeze Aviation is one of only two microlight flight schools in the UK to offer training on the amazing Eurofox!
Call us on 01977 682 674, email us at email@example.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on the private pilot training services, aircraft fleet, and airfield available at Sherburn.
Photo by Daniel Eledut on Unsplash