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Old 27th Feb 2008, 12:04   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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Unhappy Not a hope in ppl

Due to a raft of medical conditions (heart surgery at 19) being the least of my problems I never stood a hope in hells chance of being granted a licence. From 16 onwards I bumbled about the sky on the odd gliding holiday having gained A and B certs in the ATC. I took up model flying as poor substitute. Trouble is the older I get the worse the itch becomes it just won't go away. The question is are there many folk out there following a ppl course for the ppl of it knowing that they can never qualify? Yes its daft yes its expensive but I'd like to read personal experiences from anyone in the same boat. If I decide to go for it the likely bolt hole will be either Netherthorpe or Gamston.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 12:16   #2 (permalink)
Upto The Buffers
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How about the NPPL? There are plenty of people flying around who wouldn't have a cat in hell's chance of getting a medical...

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Old 27th Feb 2008, 12:23   #3 (permalink)
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I would second the suggestion to look into the NPPL....

Before it was introduced a friend, at a gliding club, couldn't get a PPL because he had an artificial valve in his heart (he didn't know he had a problem until he went for his PPL medical).

When the NPPL was introduced he investigated and was allowed to fly with the condition that he was either:
- Alone in the aircraft
- Dual control aircraft and the person in the "P2" seat had a current licence

Effectively the only restriction was that he couldn't fly passengers without another pilot in the right seat.

Go for it - you never know.

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Old 27th Feb 2008, 12:23   #4 (permalink)
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If your Doctor thinks you're sufficiently fit (e.g. he's willing to sign you off as fit to drive a car) then there's no reason why you couldn't progress further with your gliding. I'd suggest that civilian gliding is somewhat different from the ATC variety - it's not all up, round and down circuit bashing - we do cross-country flying, racing and aerobatics. Check out the BGA site (www.gliding.co.uk) and find yourself a good local club.

Gliding's as much fun as power flying, only harder.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 12:32   #5 (permalink)
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here here with the NPPL and even better to go and be the best at gliding, can be more fun and will make you a far better handling pilot!! Go for it, you WILL fly....
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 16:56   #6 (permalink)
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Not a hope in ppl

Thanks for the replies guys. Nppl discussed with cardiologist who fell of his chair and nearly choked on his banana butty. The medical gentlemen removed my driving licence for 18 months and I'm very reluctant to go anywhere near them unless on a stretcher again

Last edited by Prangster; 27th Feb 2008 at 16:57. Reason: typo
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 17:35   #7 (permalink)
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Forget get the Cardiologist, all you need is a signature from a GP as far as I know. If you can drive you can fly on an NPPL
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 18:07   #8 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2007
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NPPL Medical

There's a chap at our club who does endless "trial lessons", he enjoys flying but doesn't want a PPL. You could try that.

Much better is to talk to your GP. If he is willing to declare you fit enough to drive a car you can get an NPPL, probably with the restrictions mentioned in post 3. If he thinks you're well enough to drive an HGV you will get an unrestricted NPPL, which allows you to fly UK, VFR, daytime only in an aircraft of up to 4 seats. (There's an MTOW limit but I can't remember what that is, anyway it allows you to fly most single engined Pipers, Cessnas and the like.)

It's your GP's decision. It's nothing to do with your cardiologist.

Go for it!

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Old 28th Feb 2008, 08:58   #9 (permalink)

The Original Whirly
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Not quite personal experiences, but....

An instructor friend of mine enjoys frequent flights with a very elderly gentleman who can't get a PPL. He was a pilot in World War 2, gave up flying, and started again in old age. According to her he's quite good...not that it matters. He flies where he wants to go; she goes along for the ride to make it legal.

So there's an option if you can't get an NPPL - find an instructor you like, do the course, and keep flying, taking the same guy/gal along for company...for ever. It means you can't go solo or get the poo-coloured wallet for which you pay a small fortune, but does that really matter? You can still fly!!!
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 14:36   #10 (permalink)
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Hear hear.

My instructors were (rightly) concerned about value for money, and how much it would cost me to get my PPL. I didn't care. I was getting value for money all the time I was flying - even when conditions were not appropriate for the lesson plan. And I don't think I have ever landed from any flight without learning something.

The privilege of flying solo is not the be-all and end-all of flying. I prefer to fly accompanied - even though it means a lower climb rate and nowhere to put stuff. And if the RH seat has someone useful in it, so much the better. With an instructor I can safely explore my personal envelope - and find out why ill-advised adventures can be very unpleasant experiences.

Even if the paperwork means you can't get a licence, you can still enjoy the learning, develop the skills, and have the satisfaction of knowing you can fly, fly well, and fly safely. Think 0f it as flying, not as flying lessons.
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 21:08   #11 (permalink)
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I can't answer your question directly, but I thought I would share with you my outlook on life and I am sure you might remember similarities with gliding.

Firstly I can't think of anything more boring than flying alone. I have just passed my PPL and now have 1.5 hrs after the test. 1 hour with a friend and 0.5 hours solo. It's a long story but I had to have a checkout after passing my test due to a/c u/s issues, and not knowing what was involved I couldn't invite a friend along for the checkout, otherwise that 0.5 hours would not have been solo.

I had done a lot of gliding when I was younger like you and what do you do. Spend the whole day on the airfield, eventually get up in the air, fly around in circles and land again (hopefully at the same airfield). Learning to fly for the PPL was a little like that. I asked myself several times why I was doing it since it cost me nearly 10K, but I pursued it because it was a challenge.

Now what I am going to do with it now that I have it. Drive 1 hour to my club, take off, fly around in circles and land again all on my own! I don't think so. For me it's about sharing an experience with someone, and appreciating the freedom that flying gives together, whether that person is a non pilot or pilot.

If I ever fly solo, for me that would be a truly wasted flight. A bit like a party for one.

So ask yourself why you want do to it? If you are anything like me you won't want to fly solo, so it's only a question that you are not PIC and your friend /instructor has to be a pilot.

Good luck.
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 22:11   #12 (permalink)
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From reading what you have written, I suspect that you will be unable to persue the NPPL route, and it is unrealistic to do so. Cardiologists do not fall of chairs easily, nor do driving licences get suspended for 18 months without reason.
I would not expect your GP to sign you off in these circumstances.

I think rightbase has an excellent suggestion.

Best of luck
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 23:24   #13 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: England
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the nppl has 2 states
1 gp signs you off, as per driving a car, allows local flights only, no px
2 gp signs you off as per driving a LGV, allows any flying with px, even to Europe if nppl m
make sure your gp ticks the correct box, ie pencil it in for him / her
any alteration voids the form
good luck
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Old 28th Feb 2008, 23:29   #14 (permalink)
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JP1 makes a good point that it all comes down to WHY you want to do it. Although I would like to offer a different perspective on gliding than the somewhat jaundiced view that he portrays:

- There are two-seat gliders, so if you don't want to fly solo, you can fly with somebody else
- The larger/more professional gliding clubs have moved away from the old model of spending a day helping out on the airfield in return for doing one or two short flights
- The emphasis is on developing handling and soaring skills rather than boring circuit bashing

Have to say that I don't generally have time to have a conversation when I'm gliding but that's because I'm quite busy:

- Racing other glider pilots around the country (yes, we can fly at 100kts+ with a zero fuel burn!)
- keeping a good lookout for other traffic (yes, a second pair of eyes would be useful!)
- Improving my aerobatic skills
- Constantly re-evaluating the conditions (is the day improving, has the wind changed, should I track East or West) and changing my flight accordingly
- Searching for lift, or if low down, selecting a good field to land in (let's face it, in a glider you're pretty much permanently in EFATO/forced landing mode!
- Navigating
- Cloud flying with minimal instrumentation
- Evaluating whether I have sufficient height to make it home or whether I need to search out another thermal

I think if you find yourself getting bored when you're gliding then it means your not developing your skills enough. I suspect the same goes with powered flying too - OK, I don't understand why people spend 100+ to fly to another airfield to have a cuppa and then fly back home. Equally I can appreciate power pilots being bemused by the idea that glider pilots may not actually make it to their destination. All part of the challenge!

It all comes down to what YOU want to achieve and I wish you well with being able to satiate the need to aviate!
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Old 29th Feb 2008, 20:06   #15 (permalink)
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Hmmm, I hope Jeremy Vine's listeners aren't reading this!!!
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Old 1st Mar 2008, 09:30   #16 (permalink)
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Age: 69
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Not a hope in ppl

To answer the many questions arising. Am I sure the GP won't sign NPPL forms answer is yes darn sure, I've asked him her and a locum! As to why I'm bent on persuing this, like most things in life it goes back a long way 17 to be precise, staff cadet on a gliding school and bogging about in AEF Chipmunks. In those happy days the AEF's ran I think a small 8 part syllabus for senior cadets and to my utter chagrin already being on the waiting list for heart surgery CFI casually mentions to my CO that 'I' meet lots of good pilots but few naturals, that lads one of em'. Boys, it still bug me. Gliding isn't an option as I can't spare the time at weekends and need a bookable weekday system. I did dabble at Gamston gliding club coming back to solo standard PDQ. Happily I was able to bring their eviction from theri much loved site to the BBC's attention and we made a short film about the situation. (not that it stopped them being evicted) Time constraints mitigate against 'standing around' all weekend (all right I know we all do) but you get the point. You have all been most helpful and I thank you for the pointers I will stick my toes in the water and see what happens. Thankyou all.
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Old 1st Mar 2008, 11:53   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by ben177
(There's an MTOW limit but I can't remember what that is, anyway it allows you to fly most single engined Pipers, Cessnas and the like.)
MTOW for NPPL is 2000Kg
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Old 1st Mar 2008, 13:41   #18 (permalink)
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If you have a heart problem I would suggest comparing the length of the runways at Netherthorpe and Gamston.
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Old 1st Mar 2008, 18:33   #19 (permalink)
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: London
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I believe that you don't even need a pilots licence, let alone a medical if you fly a powered parachute, I've seen video on UTube of them taking off and landing within a few metres.

I think the correct term may be paramotor.

Hope this helps.
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