Commercial Pilot Licence (3)
Pilot Exams & Practical Tests (4)
Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL) (7)
Private Pilot Licence (PPL) (7)
Both the Light Aircraft Pilots Licence (LAPL) and Private Pilots Licence (PPL) can be pursued from the age of 17 and hours. However you can start logging hours from the age of 14 and can fly solo at 16. Both licences allow the holder to fly in the UK and Europe for pleasure. The table below will help you decide what licence is best for you. Be aware that flight hours logged toward a LAPL cannot be used towards a PPL. So if you start training towards a LAPL and decide after 20 hours that you want the PPL these 20 hours don’t count. Potentially a very expensive mistake. it is possible to transfer once the licence has been issued however this is very time consuming not to mention expensive. Also we have separate pages for each licence type where you can get more information.
PPL and LAPL Pilot Licences Compared
Fly any single engine piston plane (non commercial operations)
2000 Kilogram weight limit
Medical can be certified by GP
Can be the basis for a CPL
Can be used in the EU
Can be used in non-EU states
Can add night rating
Can add aerobatic rating
Can add other ratings
Can fly passengers
Up to three
Can be revalidated on a 12 month rolling basis
The LAPL is really designed for the recreational pilot who has no intention of flying commercially. The LAPL does not allow the addition of ratings such as the instrument rating or multi engine and it cannot be used as the basis for a commercial license. However this been said the night rating and aerobatic rating can be added to a LAPL so the holder can still fly at night and perform aerobatics with the appropriate training.
The LAPL requires 30 hours as a minimum as opposed to the 45 hours of the PPL and is much easier to maintain. A PPL requires 12 hours to be flown in the 12 months preceding the expiry of the single engine rating. The LAPL on the other hand is a single engine only licence. This makes things much simpler in terms of revalidation. As long as the holder has flown 12 hours in a 12 month rolling period, the licence remains valid.
If all the holder wants to do is fly for pleasure and take friends out flying with no higher desires a LAPL is recommended. It is easier to maintain. Furthermore, it is easier and cheaper to obtain in the first place. The PPL is ideal if you think that you may want to take your flying further.
Licencing guidance can be found on the CAA website.
How to Get a Pilot License
Summary of Pre-Requisites
- Passed the medical requirements.
- Passed all 9 Theoretical Knowledge examinations.
- Passed the Radio Telephony Practical examinations.
- Have flown the minimum number of hours for your licence type
- Have flown a Qualifying Cross Country flight
- Passed the Flying Skills Test
Meeting The Medical Requirements
The LAPL has lower medical requirements than the PPL. A PPL requires at least a Class 2 Medical Certificate which must be issued by a specialist aero medical examiner. These can be very expensive and also require a reasonably high standard of medical fitness. A LAPL only requires a LAPL medical certificate. This is roughly equivalent to DVLA class 2 standards and is therefore much easier to acquire. A LAPL medical can also be issued by a GP in certain circumstances which means it can be much cheaper to obtain. A current medical certificate will be needed to apply for your licence. Your pilot licence does not expire but is not valid without a current medical certificate which must be periodically renewed.
Further details on the CAA medical can be found here.
Passing the Theoretical Exams
Passing the theoretical Exams is pre-requisite for both the PPL and LAPL licences. There are nine exams to be passed and these are of multiple choice format. All exams can be taken at Almat flying academy which our in house examiner. Our theory school offers 1-2-1 training to help prepare you for them. We also run intensive 5 day ground school courses throughout the year. These are open to all including non-members.
Getting the Practical Experience
Flying lessons provide the hours of flight experience needed to be eligible for a pilot licence skills test. Those interested in flying can take one of our range of trial lessons or pilot experience days. To take regular flying lessons with us you will need to become a member and get access to all the benefits of membership.
Passing The Skills Tests & Keeping Your SEP Licence / Rating Current
To hold a valid pilot licence you also need a FRTOL licence which is applied for at the same time as your pilot licence. To make the application you need to have passed the communications theory test and a practical RTF Communications Test.
The licence skills test is the final step to applying for your pilot licence. You are eligible to take one once you have completed the minimum number of hours and have reached a required standard. This will enable you to apply for one of the following which must then be periodically renewed to keep your pilot licence valid or re-validated if lapsed.
Making a Pilot Licence Application
Once the required hours for the licence have been satisfied and the skills test passed you can apply to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) who will then issue your pilots licence. The application was historically done using paper forms, however it can now be applied for online and this is our preferred method as it is much quicker than using paper.
You will need to send the following:-
- Course completion certificate (which will include details of theory exam completion).
- Certified copy of logbook
- Completed online or paper forms
- Certified copy of medical certificate
The documents which need to be certified can be certified by the staff at Almat Flying Academy.
There is a fee payable to the CAA the details of which can be found on their website: CAA Scheme of charges. The CAA aim to process all applications in 10 workings days, however in practice this can take a little longer.
Once the licence arrives you are good to fly.
Pilot License FAQ
How Long Does it Take?
It is possible to obtain a licence within weeks, however for many people it takes years. It has been our experience that on average most student pilots take approximately 12 months. Most people can reach the necessary level of proficiency with 45 to 60 hours. If training full time over four to six weeks (weather permitting) you would probably need less flying hours than if you spread training over a longer period.
If you can devote two mornings or afternoons each week (with a lesson each day) for flying with some studying in between you could gain your licence within four to six months. If you can only spare one day a week you could take as long as nine or ten months. However this more relaxed pace does allow plenty of time to study for the Theoretical Knowledge examinations. This may well be suited to those who want to fit their flying around their working and family lives.
The Cost of a Pilot Licence
A realistic budget from start to finish for Pilot’s Licence is around £9000. A large part of the cost will be getting the practical experience.
Equipment and other costs
- The club has a selection of headsets for use by students that can be rented for £5 a Day
- You will need to initially allow £25-35 for the purchase of a logbook to record flights plus an aeronautical map of Southern England.
- For navigation a CRP-1 computer (a navigation slide rule used for flight planning calculations) and plotting ruler and pencils are around £45-50.
Can I use my Pilot Licence Abroad?
Yes if you have the EASA PPL or LAPL. We have many trips to France, the channel islands, Ireland and many more. With a simple paperwork exercise you can even get an FAA licence based on your EASA PPL allowing you to fly in the USA.
Can I Fly at Night?
Once you have obtained a night qualification which consists of 5 hours flight with an instructor at night you can fly as pilot in command during the hours of darkness.