If you’ve decided to kickstart your aviation career or are simply interested in the thrill of flying your own aircraft, then your first step in the process must be to acquire a pilot licence.
Regardless of whether you wish to undertake aviation more seriously as a professional pilot or you would like to pursue aviation simply for recreational purposes, getting your hands on the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) should be the first thing on your to-do list.
The PPL serves as the gateway to your aviation dreams, and it can later be upgraded to a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) if the need arises. All you have to do is add in a few extra hours of training and acquire a higher level medical certificate, and you should be good to go.
When it comes to piloting an aircraft, a licence is mandatory. Just like a driving licence is necessary for you to operate your own motor vehicle, a pilot licence ensures that you have the required training to fly an aircraft.
The pilot licence also ensures that you are in the right state of health, both mentally and physically, to take to the skies without becoming a danger to yourself or others.
WHO IS THE PPL BEST SUITED TO?
When it comes to pilot licences, the PPL really is the easiest to obtain of the lot, with the exception of the Light Aircraft Pilot Licence, which is issued specifically for the piloting of smaller aircraft.
One of the key differences between the CPL and the PPL is that with the latter, the holder may not ask for monetary compensation for their piloting services. Due to this, the holder cannot pursue a career in aviation on a PPL.
This reason makes the PPL the perfect licence for those who wish to pursue aviation as a hobby. If you are interested in flying an aircraft for recreational purposes only, then the PPL is best suited to you.
The PPL is a gateway licence, and it is recommended that you acquire a PPL before a CPL, even if you wish to pursue aviation professionally in the future. The reason behind this is simple, and it has to do with the fact that the PPL is less expensive, and the requirements for it are also not as stringent as that for a professional licence.
Careers in aviation are demanding, requiring a large investment of time and finances, so it is possible that several people who start off with dreams of becoming commercial pilots switch to other professions.
Due to this, it is best to not invest in the CPL, which is more costly and also requires a greater amount of training, right off the bat.
Going step by step is the correct way to go. Upgrading a PPL to a CPL is very easy, all you will need to do is add in a few more hours of flight training to your log and pay an added amount when the time comes.
WHERE CAN YOU FLY WITH A PPL?
EASA vs CAA licences
Prior to Brexit, licences issued in the United Kingdom by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) were in accordance with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and holders were thus allowed to fly across the European Union without the need of any additional documentation.
However, with Britain’s exit from the EU, licences issued by the CAA are now solely national licences, and flying across the border into EU territory now requires some additional paperwork.
Despite this, Private Pilot Licence holders still have the freedom to travel pretty much across the world, except for some nations such as North Korea. However, it is necessary to keep in mind the customs and immigration requirements of different countries before entering their airspace.
Most licences issued by the UK, the PPL included, are compliant with regulations set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), so travelling across the globe with a CAA-issued licence is fairly easy.
Flying within the UK
Flying within the UK is simple and not much documentation is necessary apart from your licence and related certifications. However, some rules must be followed when piloting an aircraft with a PPL.
It is absolutely imperative that the pilot is not flying an aircraft in an overcrowded area, as this may put the lives of residents at risk. It is also, under any circumstances, not permitted to drop anything from the aircraft mid-flight, as it may cause serious injury and material losses.
With a PPL, aircraft can be flown only at certain altitudes and they can't be operated at night without the relevant night rating. Pilots must also ensure that they are flying aircraft within permitted jurisdiction only.
If you plan on taking a trip overseas, it is necessary for you to have the required aircraft documentation as well as equipment. It is also imperative that you carry with you the required safety and survival gear, especially if you plan on flying over the sea and/or for an extended amount of time.
When it comes to flying abroad, an ICAO-compliant licence is necessary, and since the PPL qualifies, you should be able to take a flight to pretty much anywhere in the world.
You must carry your medical certificate issued by the CAA along with you. In order to acquire a PPL, a Class 2 medical certificate is necessary. This is the less stringent medical certificate, with the Class 1 coming out on top. A Class 1 certification is necessary if you wish to take to the skies in a professional capacity.
You will also need to have the necessary rating for the aircraft that you are piloting. For example, if you are flying a three-axis, an aeroplane rating is necessary.
Where can you depart from and arrive in the UK?
There are three different types of areas from where you can take off and land in the United Kingdom. The first of these are airports that fall under the authority of customs and the border force.
Second are non-designated airports that are operating under a certificate of agreement, and the third are small airfields, helipads, and landing strips.
Where can you depart from and arrive abroad?
When it comes to international arrivals and departures, pilots can land and take-off from any designated airport as specified by the customs authority of that state. However, it is necessary to file a flight plan with the designated authorities and alert them beforehand about your landing and take-off schedule.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A PPL?
While it is true that you cannot pursue aviation professionally, i.e., ask for monetary compensation for your piloting services, there is still so much for aviation lovers to do with a PPL!
Visit far-off destinations on a whim
Do you wish to access a far-flung location that isn’t accessible by motor vehicles such as certain natural sites like waterfalls, or visit your favourite restaurant in another state?
Well, you can put your Private Pilot Licence to good use and take a flight to any of your favourite destinations (in half the time it would take for you to get there via road).
While you will have to comply with certain customs regulations and present documentation wherever needed, you will be free to travel anywhere in the world with a PPL. All you’ll need is a licence, an aircraft of your choice, and a love for the skies to take off whenever you wish.
Get a seaplane rating
Who says you need to stay limited to land-based aircraft? While the thrill of landing on a runway is quite an experience in itself, you can take things up a notch by opting for a seaplane rating.
A seaplane is an aircraft that has the capability to take off from and land in a body of water. The experience seaplanes offer is completely unique and is one all pilots should try at least once in their aviation journeys.
Make someone’s wish come true
Do you know someone who has always wanted to take to the skies in a private plane, but hasn’t been able to make their dreams a reality yet? Well, that’s where you come in with your PPL.
You can take your romantic date to the next level (quite literally) by jetting through the skies, or you can volunteer with various non-profits to make a child’s wish to fly across the sky come true.
Volunteer your services
Apart from volunteering your services for experience flights, a great way to make use of your PPL is to volunteer with non-profits engaged in rescue work.
Sometimes, aerial assistance can make the difference between life and death for someone caught in a dire situation in an area where motor vehicles cannot easily reach.
A private pilot can also offer to carry passengers from one country to the other in times of medical need, especially those patients who can't afford air travel due to financial issues.
Pilots can be a great help when it comes to marketing! You can volunteer as a skywriter, or fly a banner across the sky. Apart from marketing, you can also help out your near and dear ones on birthdays and proposals, making the occasion all the more special and memorable.
Experiment with aircraft
If you are a hobbyist, there is no need for you to stay limited to traditional aircraft such as the three-axis or other aircraft in the microlight variety. You can have a lot of fun with what you choose to fly, with the experimental route available to you whenever you wish to take it.
You can even build your own aircraft and take it to the skies, given you have the relevant skills and the aircraft is deemed fit for flight!
REQUIREMENTS FOR A PPL
Compared to the Commercial Pilot Licence, the PPL is much less stringent. The minimum age for the PPL is 17 years, and in order to apply for the licence, you must have at least 45 hours of logged-in flight time under your belt.
10 hours out of the 45 must be dedicated solo flight time. A cross country flight totalling at least 270 km is also necessary, especially if you wish to go across borders into international airspace.
In addition to this, a Class 2 medical certificate is necessary, as well as a familiarity with aircraft general knowledge. The applicant should also pass the theoretical exam component of the training with at least 75% marks if they are to qualify for a PPL.
A proficiency in nine different subjects is required, which include meteorology, air law, navigation, and principles of flight.
WHAT CAN YOU FLY WITH A PPL?
When it comes to the PPL, you can pilot pretty much any aircraft, given you have the required rating and certification for it.
While PPL holders are more than capable of piloting heavy multi-engine aircraft, these are generally expensive to buy and maintain and require far more Instrument Ratings. Due to this, the aircraft of choice for PPL holders are smaller aircraft known as microlights.
These kinds of aircraft are fairly easy to operate due to their small size and relatively simple controls. While larger aircraft, like those belonging to the multi-engine variety, feel like a useless expense for hobbyists, the microlight, with its lower cost and functionality, is the perfect aircraft for hobbyists.
There are a wide variety of microlights available in the UK market, divided into four categories. The most popular of these is the three-axis. This factory-built fixed-wing aircraft consists of a fuselage, traditional wing and tail, and is usually the aircraft of choice for most aviation enthusiasts.
Parakites and flex-wings are also different types of microlights, and while the parakite is a powered parachute, the flex-wing relies on weight-shift for navigation purposes.
The light sport microlight is the newest addition to the microlight variety, with the CAA recently adding it to its official definition of microlights. These are the most expensive of the lot, weighing 600 kgs.
Sherburn aero club has a variety of different types of aircraft on offer as part of our fleet for hobbyists, as well as those looking to train for their Private Pilot Licence. Our fleet of aircraft includes the Piper 2A-28 Cadet, Piper 2A-28 Warrior, Aero AT-3, as well as Robin 2160.
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.
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 email@example.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on the Private Pilot Licence, as well as the training facilities and airfield available at Sherburn.