The Private Pilots Licence
The Private pilots licence (PPL) allows you to fly a single engine aircraft up to 5700 Kg. You can use it to fly in any country, which is a member of the International Civil aviation Authority. You are not allowed to fly when the visibility is less than 3 Km, at night or in certain controlled airspace.
These restrictions can be lifted after further courses such as the Instrument Meteorological Condition (IMC) rating, the Night Rating and the Multi Rating (allows you to fly a twin engine aircraft)
What is involved
The PPL course is a set series of exercises. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) have laid out a set course, the emphasis being on safety. There are various requirements set out by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). When you apply for your licence you will have completed 40 hours of flight training of which a minimum of 10 hours would be solo and at least 20 hours would be of duel instruction. The remaining time can be either dual or solo as long as a few additional minimum requirements are met. There are six written exams to be studied for; if you need extra help with any of the subjects then ground school will be necessary. Initially you will learn the basic handling, climbing, turning, emergencies and stalling.
Then into the circuit to learn how to land, this involves “touch and goes” in which, after landing, you apply full power and take off again without stopping. After a few sessions of this your instructor gets out and its time for your first solo.
You will then continue to practice more landings and consolidate your circuit skills but this time on your own.
Next comes Navigation and other exercises, such as steep turns and instrument flying, where you learn to fly solely from the instrumentation.
There are 3 flight tests: The Navigation flight test, a qualifying Cross Country test on a triangular route, landing at two other airfields, then a General Handling test.
The written exams total 6 in all: Air Law, Navigation, Meteorology, Radiotelephony, Human Performance, and Aircraft technical.
Last but not least you will also need to have passed a class three medical. This is basic and is a check to make sure you are fit to fly.
A class three medical lasts for 60 months if you are under 40, 24 months for a pilot age 40-49, 12 months for 50-69, and if you are over 70, 6 months.