Frequently Asked Questions
PPL or LAPL?
Here at PFT we offer training towards either the PPL or LAPL. Which one you choose to go for very much depends on what sort of flying you wish to do following your license issue. The differences are summarised below:
How long will my PPL take?
The 45 hours described above is a legal minimum number of flight-hours. Most students will complete their PPL between 45 and 60 hours. However, this is just time in the air and you will need to put in about two hours of ground-study for each hour flown to prepare for the lessons. This, alongside study for the 9 theory exams, means that the course is in fact a larger commitment than maybe first thought.
As a rough guide, the PPL might take 18 months if flying once a week, or can be done in 6-8 weeks if the student is able to fully commit. This will of course be subject to uncontrollable factors such as weather and the student’s capacity to take in the information.
How often should I fly?
At Pilot Flight Training, we pride ourselves on flexibility for our students. As such, we can tailor the course around you. At one end of the spectrum, we can be flying you 2-3 times a day, 4-5 days a week. Any more frequently than that, and you will likely start to burn out and not be able to devote sufficient time on the ground to prepare for each lesson.
At the other end of the spectrum, we would suggest that students fly no less frequently than once a week. Otherwise, a portion of each lesson will be spent revising the previous. We can of course cater to any time-frame, but if flying less than once a week, we would expect the total number of hours required to be higher than the 45-60 hour estimate.
Are there theory exams?
To accompany the flight training, there are 9 theory exams, in the following subjects:
- Air Law
- Operational Procedures
- Flight Performance and Planning
- Principles of Flight
- Aircraft General Knowledge
- Human Performance and Limitations
These exams are multiple choice, and taken here at PFT. You don’t need to be amazing at maths or physics, you just need to be able to out in the time to study the content. We offer 1-1 or group classroom sessions, and also offer an online Computer-Based-Training course to assist with the exams.
Students are encouraged to make a start with the study as soon as possible, as there will be certain points of the flight training that cannot proceed unless enough exams have been taken.
Do I need to meet a medical standard?
Before the issue of your License, and before you fly solo, you will need to be issued with a medical. You will need a UK-issued Class 2 Medical for a PPL, or a LAPL medical for the LAPL. Depending on your age, these have different requirements and validity periods. More information can be found here
A Class 1 medical includes Class 2 and LAPL privileges. We cannot accept EASA medical certificates
We can organise the initial issue and renewal of Class 2 and LAPL medicals with our in-house examiner
What is the Night Rating?
We offer instruction towards the Night Rating which can be added on to a PPL or a LAPL. It consists of just 2 hours of ground school and 5 hours of flying, of which 4 are dual and 1 is solo.
Following completion of the course, the holder of the rating will be qualified to fly and take passengers at night.
This rating is valid for life.
What is the IR(R)?
The course for the Instrument Rating (Restricted) can be take an PFT and the rating can be added onto a PPL or CPL
The course consists of 15 hours of flight training, followed by a skills test. The rating allows the holder to fly in Instrument Conditions (Cloud, low visibility etc), and conduct instrument approaches to equipped airfields.
The rating offers the pilot vastly incereased flexibility for their flying, meaning planned trips away will be more likely to be able to go ahead, and provides a useful “get-out-of-jail” card if the weather starts to close in while flying. For those pilots looking to go on to commercial training, the training hours conducted on this course can be credited towards a full Instrument Rating, thus saving you time and money.
This rating must be renewed by a skills test every 25 months.
I’ve achieved my PPL, now what?
Becoming a member
Now that you have your own License, you can become a PFT member and access the full benefits of solo-hire. We have an expansive and varied fleet allowing total flexibility to fly at any time from 6am to 22:30pm. Take your family for a picnic lunch on the Isle of Wight and be back for dinner, visit friends in Scotland for the weekend and turn a 10 hour drive into a 3 hour flight, impress your friends with a day-trip to France, the possibilities are endless. We have an active group of license holder members so you are bound to meet like-minded pilots to share the skies or buddy-up with.
Are there limits for how long I can hire for?
We encourage as much flexibility as possible for our members and therefore don’t impose rules or limits for hire periods. You can take an aircraft for a day or a week and fly for as long as you’d like. In order to be fair to other members, we suggest a minimum usage of 2-3 hours per day that the aircraft is away. Flying less than this is absolutely fine, but there may be a daily surcharge to cover the aircraft down time.
Do I pay for the whole time the aircraft is away?
Members just pay for the time that the aircraft is flying. If you fly two hours to Jersey for example, then fly two hours back the following day, although the aircraft may have been away for two full days, you just pay for the four hours that the aircraft is flying.
Progressing your aviation career
If you are looking to go on and complete your commercial training, here at PFT we can give you all the resources you need to prepare. We offer the Night Rating and IR(R) course which will greatly advance your flying skills while setting you up well for the CPL courses and beyond. We also offer competitive hour building packages to meet the CPL minimum hour requirements.
Becoming a Commercial Pilot
Can I train to become an Airline Pilot at PFT?
We train towards the issue of a Private Pilot’s license (PPL) or Light Aircraft Pilot License (LAPL). These are pleasure licenses and can not be used for commercial flying. However, the PPL can be considered the first step on the Modular Route towards becoming a commercial airline pilot.
Integrated or Modular?
There are two main routes to becoming a commercial pilot (excluding military): The Modular Route or Integrated Route.
The modular route involces adding together several licenses and ratings one-by-one that, together, will culminate in a “Frozen” ATPL (fATPL) which can then be used to apply for commercial pilot jobs. The specific courses can be seen in the below flowchart, along with rough prices for each course. The below flowchart demonstrates the route towards a commercial pilot. We offer all components of the PPL and Night Rating courses and can also facilitate hour building towards the CPL requirements.
Following all the steps below will result in a combination of licenses and ratings called a “Frozen ATPL” (fATPL). With a fATPL, you will then be in a position where you can apply for commercial pilot Jobs such as Airlines, Corporate Aviation, Air Taxi. Survey Jobs etc.
The modular course is cheaper than integrated, and allows flexibility to complete the courses over a longer period of time if desired. If committing to the training full time, an estimate of 1.5 – 2.5 years would be realistic
Alternatively, some organisations offer the Integrated Route.
This consists of a single course with a single organisation. The course is usually full time over around 18 months and will consist of training to cover all of the above elements.
Organisations offering integrated courses often have ties to airlines which can result in access to jobs not available to other non-integrated students. However, integrated courses are less flexible and considerably more expensive. PPL training can rarely be credited towards an integrated course.
Brexit and Licensing Confusion
Since Brexit, we now teach towards UK-Issued Licenses. These licenses can only be used to fly UK-registered aircraft. You do not need to be a UK citizen to have a UK License, but you do need to consider where you wish to use your licenses. For example, if you have a UK CAA (UK-Issued) license and wish to fly EASA (European-registered) aircraft, you may need to re-sit certain exams and skills tests. The same applies for FAA (USA-issued) Licenses. If this may affect you, more information can be found on the relevant EASA/FAA/CAA websites.
Medical certificates also need to issued by the licensing authority that will be issuing your license. Therefore, to train at PFT, you will require a UK-issued medical certificate