Learning to fly is one of the most rewarding endeavours you will ever take on. It is also a significant financial and time commitment, so it is crucial to do your research and choose your training wisely, which is hopefully why you are here. You'll receive ground training, exams in various subjects, tandem flying lessons with a professional, solo flying instruction, and a flight test.
Initial flight training
There are numerous varieties of recreational flying available in the UK. Many options suit various interests and budgets, including traditional light aircraft, microlights, gliders, helicopters, balloons, and even gyrocopters.
This section explains how to start getting your pilot's licence, a requirement for almost all types of flying.
Generally, your training will include
- Ground training and exams in a variety of subjects
- Dual flying lessons with a professional instructor
- Solo flight instruction
- Many flying magazines publish helpful guides to learning to fly.
- Associations, clubs, and schools of aviation
- Online pilot/flying forums
Minimum age requirements
- Minimum age restrictions
- To be eligible for a glider or balloon licence, you must be 16 years old.
- To fly an aeroplane or helicopter, you must be 17 years old.
When someone envisions themselves as a professional pilot, they frequently picture snazzy uniforms, expensive jets, high salaries, and far-off vacations. Although seeming rather glamorous, in reality, it's quite a stressful occupation. The good news is that achieving your dream of becoming a pilot is not impossible.
You might have dreamed of being a pilot your entire life and finally want to realise that dream. Or perhaps you want to forge a new career path and escape your daily routine. Whatever your motivation, I would say to do it because the aviation industry offers a wealth of fulfilling jobs.
What Licences Can I Train For?
There are two versions of a private pilot's licence in the UK. The LAPL(A) requires at least 30 hours of training, while the PPL(A) requires at least 45 hours of flight instruction. Both allow you to fly almost all single-engine light Aircraft (up to four seats) in the UK, and you can continue to add things like a Night Flying Rating, Aerobatic Rating, Seaplane or Mountain Flying ratings, and different training for vintage tailwheel aircraft, among other things. There are slight differences between the privileges of the two, but they both cover you to do so.
However, a PPL is required if you intend to pursue commercial training, fly larger Aircraft with more than four seats or more than one engine, or travel abroad (A).
What Aircraft do I get to fly?
Four-seaters Piper PA-28s and Cessna 172s, which are incredibly stable, are options. You can also choose the Pipistrel Virus SW121, a brand-new, cutting-edge composite two-seater trainer with an entire glass cockpit. If you are in Essex, England, you could head down to the Anglian Flight Centre and fly a Robin HR200 which, like the Pipistrel Virus SW11, is a two-seater glass cockpit light aircraft.
Flightpath offers a variety of aircraft types at the same rates, so you can test them all out and choose your favourite. This consistency in aircraft type is one of the secrets to keeping costs low and advancement high.
What About Theory Tests?
There are some theory tests to take. They cover topics such as air law, meteorology, flight planning, and so on, and students typically take them as needed throughout the course rather than all at once. There are a few excellent publishers of books on each subject, which flying schools usually keep on hand. There are also many great online sources, like the PPL Tutor app, which offers simple-to-understand reference cards and practice exams based on actual exam questions.
These are not tricky tests (typically 12-16 multiple choice questions for each subject) and do not take much time to prepare with these resources and some ad hoc help from your instructor on bad weather days for any areas you don't quite understand.
So you won't need to set aside hours of study time; read through the material in your spare time as you would any book. It is unusual to fail every exam on the first try.
What is the cost of becoming a pilot in the UK?
It is expensive. Training to become a pilot in the UK is extremely expensive, so before enrolling in a course, ensure it is the right path for you.
The fees vary depending on the route taken, but we're talking thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pounds. The pilot training typically costs between £8,000 and £12,000 depending on the individual and flight school.