Did you take your first flight as a passenger in a light aircraft and become besotted with aviation? You’re not alone in that experience! Your first step to making this dream come true is to train for your private pilot’s licence, acronym: PPL. We’ve created a detailed guide to help you with these different steps.
1. Choose an airfield & flying club
The first thing that you need to do is choose your aerodrome. This is usually an easy decision: your best bet is to base it on your location. You can choose between multiple aerodromes near you, there isn’t a set criteria when searching for one. Your choice will likely be a good one!
There are lots of factors to take into account when choosing your future flying club: you can choose to take your PPL through a flying club or at a private pilot’s school. Flight school training is occasionally more expensive than that of a flying club. However, it is worth noting that the subscription price can vary from club to club. We recommend getting in touch with the flying clubs that you like the look of and try contacting the president of the club. They’ll be able to give you more information on what life at that flying club is like.
Your decision on which flying club to subscribe to is a personal decision. You ultimately need to feel comfortable with the club that you’re going to choose.
2. Pass your aeronautical medical test
This stage is mandatory in the process of achieving your PPL. You’ll have to obtain your Class 2 Medical certificate. The medical certificate that you will be issued will then be valid for between 60 to 24 months depending on your age. You will then have to renew it where necessary.
3. Subscribe to the flying club and start your PPL
Once you’ve chosen the aerodrome, the flying club and you’ve received your medical certificate, the PPL adventure begins! If you’ve not already done it, we suggest you take a flight as a passenger first… this will allow you to better understand light aircraft aviation.
4. Theory classes
After the first stage, as laid out above, is complete, you will then start the theory classes. There are a total of 9 topics that you will go through in this stage. You’re welcome to take these classes in a group at the flying club or remotely. The topics are, for example, aerodynamics and principles of flying, general aircraft knowledge, meteorology, navigation, etc. All of these topics will help you progress to the final topic: preparing for a flight.
Alongside your theory studies, you can start your practical training.
5. Practical training
The practical training is carried out in generally 5 steps: initiation, improvement, breakdown of specific procedures, emergency situations and finally, navigation.
6. Theory exam
After the completion of your theory classes, it’ll be time to take your theory exam. This will be an in-person exam done either on a computer or on paper. The exam will be based on the 9 topics you will have studied through the theory classes and you’ll have 120 questions to answer in 3 hours. You’ll have to receive a score of 80% or higher to pass this exam. In order to take the exam, you’ll have to prove that you have successfully completed theory training in an approved centre (pilot school or flying club).
7. Practical exam
It is necessary to pass the practical exam in order to receive your PPL. The prerequisites are as follows:
To have at least 45 hours of flying in total:
- Including 25 hours of dual control flying with an instructor
- Also including 10 hours of solo flying as well as 5 hours of field flight and at least one flight of 280 km with a full stop at an airfield different to the one from which you departed.
The format of the exam is a navigated flight led by your instructor. You will be evaluated on your navigation skills but equally on your preparation of the flight.
Once all of these steps have been completed successfully, you will be the proud owner of a PPL and be able to fly on your own with your flying club!