Learn To Fly

How much does it cost to learn to fly ?

Its the first question we get asked so lets hit it head on. At GS Aviation we offer the lowest cost route there is into flying powered aeroplanes. We achieve this by conducting all of our training on Microlight aircraft but, before you get dragged into the general mis-conception of the term 'Microlight' please take a look at our Myth Buster page - HERE.

Once you have obtained your licence you will be able to fly any of our aircraft and, if you decide you want to fly aeroplanes with 4 seats or more then there are upgrade paths available. By using this low cost training route we are able to shave thousands off the cost of learning to fly. A more in depth look at the figures is on our training packages page .

The Pilot’s Licence

The National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL) is a UK specific pilot’s licence developed in 2002. The NPPL may include in it aircraft Class Ratings that allow the holder to fly specific classes of aircraft, such as microlights. To obtain a NPPL with a Microlight Class Rating you must complete flight training with a UK Civil Aviation Authority authorised flying instructor entitled to instruct on microlights. An upgrade path then exists if you want to fly larger aircraft at national (NPPL) or international (JAR) levels,

Age limits
 
The minimum age to start flying training towards the grant of the licence is 14 years. There is no maximum age. You can go solo at 16 and be granted your licence when you are 17.

Time and cost 

The hours quoted below are minima that only the most naturally talented young students achieve. The rest of us normally take a little longer. A few achieve their licences within weeks, others take months, and those on a tight budget sometimes take a year or two.


When budgeting for flying training, it is wise to calculate the cost of the minimum number of hours required and then add between 50 and 100% of that cost, depending on how confident you feel of your own ability.


Realistically, a budget of £3.0–4.5k should cover your training. It may be possible to learn for less by using your own aircraft for your training. We offer a number of packages to help you to reduce the overall costs - for more details see our
training packages page.


Don’t forget groundschool. In addition to flying training the student pilot must also learn a number of groundschool subjects that are considered vital to becoming a safe and competent pilot. The best results are always achieved by a combination of attending lessons and private study.


For more information visit the National Private Pilot’s Licence website at
http://www.nppl.uk.com/ , where the syllabus is available for download. Also see our own guide to the Training Syllabus 



 

Are all your instructors qualified?

All of our instructors are qualified to British Microlight Aircraft Association and Civil Aviation Authority standard and are frequently tested to ensure they are meeting the standard required. They have many years experience, and are career Microlight instructors (many instructors at larger 'general aviation' airfields are building flying hours to try for an airline career - this is not an option for our instructors so you know you are learning from someone whose only 'aim' is to teach you).

Is there a weight limit ?

Each aircraft has a maximum seat loading and so the weight limit will depend on the aircraft type that you fly in. As a guide a maximum permitted weight would be approximately 110 kilos. If you are in any doubt don't hesitate to give us a call.

How fast do your aircraft fly?

Some older models fly at 45mph and some of the latest at 120mph! Our fleet fly at between 60mph and 100mph and use modern 4 stroke engines from 80hp to 100hp similar to a family car. All our engines have dual ignitions (every part of the electronics is duplicated for increased reliability). These Rotax 912 engines are specifically designed for aviation and have a well proven track record in thousands of aircraft.

How high do you fly?

We tend to fly at between 1000 and 4000 feet for cross-country flying. It is possible to fly much higher than this but once above 10,000 feet the pilot and passenger would require oxygen. A Microlight has been flown over Mount Everest in the past! The official world record set by a UK pilot, flying a GT-450 flexwing is 24,258ft (7395m)


Are microlights safe?

Microlights are extremely safe, you are much more likely to have an accident in your car! There are more than 4500 Microlights flying safely in the U.K


What is the difference between a flexwing and a fixed wing aircraft ?

A flexwing is an open cockpit aircraft. It comprises a tandem seat trike that is suspended underneath a hang glider type wing. This is the aircraft if you are looking for that wind in your hair feeling, and is an airborne motorcycle. NOTE: We no longer keep a school flexwing aircraft for training so instruction is only available on this type if you have your own aircraft.

A fixed wing is an enclosed cockpit aircraft. It comprises side-by-side seating and looks like a conventional light aircraft. This is the choice if you want the luxury of a heater and the security of having a door between you and the outside world. Our standard training aircraft is the Ikarus C42.


Flight Training Requirements

The minimum flight training required for the grant of a NPPL with a Microlight Class Rating With Operational Limitations is:
Minimum total flight time under instruction 15 hours. with at least 7  Solo hours - See our guide to
the Whole Syllabus HERE

The Operational Limitations at initial issue are:

    The licence is valid for flight in the UK only
    The pilot may not carry any passenger
    The pilot may not fly with a cloud base less than 1000 feet above ground level or with less than 10 kilometres visibility
    The pilot may not fly further than 8 nautical miles from take off.


The minimum flight training required for the grant of a NPPL with a Microlight Class Rating Without Operational Limitations is:

    Minimum total flight time under instruction 25 hours
    Minimum flight time solo 10 hours
    Minimum total navigation flight time 5 hours
    Minimum solo navigation flight time 3 hours


As part of your flight training you must take and pass a test with an authorised flight examiner to demonstrate your ability to fly a microlight through all the manoeuvres that you will have learned during training. The test is called a General Skills Test (GST). The flight time of the GST can count towards the minimum total flight time required to obtain the NPPL but not towards the solo minimum time.
To ensure that when your licence is issued your skill level and knowledge is current you must have completed the minimum solo flight time, all the navigation flight training and the GST within the nine month period immediately prior to applying for your licence

Ground Training Requirements

The Microlight syllabus lists the subject matter that an applicant for a Microlight Class Rating must understand. There is no minimum requirement for training by an instructor to achieve this knowledge but the applicant must have demonstrated a knowledge of the subject matter by passing examinations.
There are written examinations in five subjects. Meteorology, Navigation, Aviation Law, Human Performance and Limitations and Aircraft Technical subjects. The examinations must have been passed within the twenty four months immediately prior to applying for your licence.

There is one further examination to complete your demonstration of knowledge of the aircraft type that you have used to complete your GST. This examination is an oral examination and must be conducted by a flight examiner entitled to examine in microlight aircraft. It is usual, but not required, that the examination is conducted at the same time as the GST by the same examiner. The ground oral examination must have been passed within the nine months immediately prior to applying for your licence.
Removing the Operational Limitations from a NPPL Microlight Class Rating.

To remove Limitation 2 the holder must have completed at least 25 hours of total flying in microlights and at least 10 hours solo flying in microlights. The holder’s experience is certified in their log book by a flight examiner and the Limitation ceases to apply from that time.

To remove Limitations 3 and 4 the holder must have completed at least 25 hours of total flying in microlights, at least 10 hours solo flying in microlights. The holder must have completed the navigation training requirements specified in flight Exercise 18 within the nine month period immediately prior to applying to have the limitations removed. Application to have Limitations 3 and 4 removed must be made in writing on the NPPL Microlight Licence application form through the BMAA Licence
Administration Centre at the BMAA office address.

Medical requirements

A pilot may only fly microlights as Pilot In Command in the UK if they hold a valid medical declaration.
The NPPL medical declaration is now a self-certification form which is filled in online and filed with the CAA. There is no longer a requirement for you to see a doctor or have the declaration countersigned and, as long as you are medically fit to drive a car, you will be able to satisfy the requirements of the declaration. This is now valid up to age 70 and then needs to be renewed every 3 years.