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Carry on with aircraft ppl or switch to microlights?

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Carry on with aircraft ppl or switch to microlights?

Old 24th Feb 2013, 16:53
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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Carry on with aircraft ppl or switch to microlights?

Hi all, just a quick question as to whether you think it would be wise to carry on with my PPL, or to switch to the micro light PPL.

I have already done 10 hours towards my PPL and have now come to doing my first solo which obviously requires me to do my air law exam also. I have been looking around and have found from the BMAA website that you can expect to budget around 3,500 for the lessons, and as I already have some hours on normal aircraft I would assume this cost would be lowered somewhat.

Anyway my point is with the money I could save, I would be able to buy a decent microlight ( I also have some extra just in case) and actually be able to afford to fly it after I have my license. I have a garage to keep it in and a local airstrip that will allow me to operate out of, so not much extra cost there.

The actual question is basically do you think this is a wise idea?

By the way if it helps I'm seventeen and still at college. Thanks in advance!
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 17:57
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: southern England
Age: 62
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Welcome. Any opinion voiced here will be immediately countermanded by somebody who claims to know better. I took an NPPL(M) because I couldn't afford to fly a PPL aircraft. With good aircraft for under 5000 (Look up Minimax) or two seaters for 10,000 or less (Rans S6) it makes a lot of sense. You gain signifigantly cheaper flying at the expense of being much more weather dependent.
It will be of little help if you want to go commercial. (Don't. Buy a 'plane and enjoy it.) You can't fly at night or on instruments but you can cross the channel.
Three axis microlights are more difficult to fly because their light weight and lack of inertia mean you have to keep your wits about you.
Where you are makes a difference with regard to training. If I were in your position, I would. It is flying for fun; the aircraft are enjoyable to fly and the people are wonderful.
Then again, if you are ready to solo I think you should do that first because it would be a pity not to. It is well worth the cost of an Air Law exam.

Last edited by m.Berger; 24th Feb 2013 at 18:00.
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 18:34
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Assuming you intend to fly for fun, not as the start of a career, then the micro route is sensible. Good two seat three axis control micros can be had for as little as 3k (eg Thruster TST). Look on AFORS site to get an idea. Also they are cheap to maintain and run.

See the club and schools directory on the BMAA website (click on Learn to Fly Microlights - this gives drop down menu with the schools directory). Find one near you and go and talk to them to get an idea of what its all about. Better still visit two or three.

If you are anywhere near the Cambridge, Peterborough or Northampton area send me a pm and I'll tell you who to go to see.
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 19:09
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Thanks for that advice it is really appreciated, with regard to going commercial. It is something I have put a lot of thought and research into lately, and something I would love to do. However I am very realistic and know that unless you have a spare 90 grand lying about going down that path at the moment is very risky. I have been keeping my eye on the cadet schemes by various airlines and intend to apply. I see this as the only feasible way for me to move in to this career at this time, you have the security of a job at the end of it and therefore the money. (I take it I am right that in these cases a PPL is not necessary as you have to do it as part of the course anyway!?)

However! In the short term I see no reason why I should just enjoy my flying for what it is, hence why I am considering micro's.
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 19:31
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: UK.
Posts: 727
I fly micros....a big advantage with the micro scene can be the sociability of it,

Lots fly as club members and lots of friends to be made with lots of priceless advise to go with it,

I fly flexwing which appear un sexy to some but are immense fun,

If your that way inclined and capable you can do your own maintenance...its so satisfying owning and maintaining your own aircraft,

What part of the country are you.

Nick.
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 19:35
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 6,224
Two things to consider, flying the microlight will be cheaper and enjoyable

If you subsequently want the full PPL as well, it will ultimately cost you more than getting a PPL first, remember you can fly either with the PPL but you pay twice if you upgrade from Microlight to Aeroplane.
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Old 24th Feb 2013, 19:37
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Brighton, UK
Age: 42
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I would say yes... go to microlights, the only evidence needed is that you're asking the question.

I started on Cessnas, changed to microlight (Ikarus C42)... bought my own Jabiru microlight... then changed to an NPPL(SSEA) - back to cessnas for 5 hours of training.... now fly group-A. I've achieved the same, but i reckon it cost me less as the bulk of my training was at a far lower rate.

I was only ever interested in 3-axis microlights that looked like light aircraft, where it's a kind of pointless distinction. Some aircraft types are registered as both microlights and group-A... like Kit Fox, Eurostar, etc. I changed to group-A because i found myself wanting the features of the best microlight (CTSW - long range, high speed) and they're so expensive, its actually cheaper to buy a group-A for which there is a wide choice of that kind of aircraft.
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Old 25th Feb 2013, 14:24
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 244
You may want to look into an NPPL A which will allow you to fly group A aircraft and microlights without the expense of a full PPL. I believe that if you have an EASA Instructor you can count all the training hours toward a standard PPL should you fancy going commercial all the same.

If you get your NPPL M and then upgrade that to group NPPL A, then decide to go commercial, the credit allowed is much less.

I found that microlights are great but you are limited to non-aerobatic manoeuvres, which is a little frustrating. Having said that, the CTSW, Jabiru, etc are such great performers that if you don't want aerobatic or instrument flight capability then there is little point in group A machines any more.

I massively recommend buying into a syndicate-owned aircraft when you get your license. It saves you having to maintain it when you're still unfamiliar with the systems. I know this from personal experience, having bought my first flexwing microlight aged 17. You'll get to fly much more if you're in a syndicate where someone maintains the plane for you, but is prepared to teach you how to maintain it also.
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Old 25th Feb 2013, 15:22
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Brighton, UK
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Small correction to your post. An NPPL A (actually called an NPPL(SSEA) ) can only fly group-A and not Microlights. its a rather odd situation but if you want to fly microlights AND group A, you need two ratings (effectively 2 licenses ... 2 tests certainly).

I maintain both myself... and it is weird that my SSEA license doesn't include Microlights, but there you go
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Old 25th Feb 2013, 17:04
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Join Date: Sep 2006
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As M Berger said, everything gets contermanded on here! But my two pennorth. It depends on what you want to do with your flying. If it's purely for the joy of flying then there's no better or cheaper way than gliding. If you want a day out a realistic distance away with a couple of mates in reasonable comfort and with a decent chance of actually setting off and getting back then do your PPL and IMC rating. Even better, do both gliding and powered.

I'm certainly not discounting microlighting at all, but for my personal requirements then the above applies. It's different for every pilot, you have to decide exactly what you want and then taylor your needs to that. It would seem to me though as you are already about a quarter of the way to geting your PPL that you might as well continue. Just my opinion, again you have to decide.

Edit: I agree with Carl, although on the face of it a nice three axis like a Jabiru is cheap to run, they ain't cheap to buy. Group A is usually a lot cheaper, especially a share in a well maintained one. You have to do an awful lot of flying to make up the difference in fuel consumption and servicing.

I'll give you an example there's a share going in a local 172, known service history, full IFR fit for under 5k and it's availability is excellent. Fixed cost is 65 pm plus an hourly cost including fuel of around 65. It's not as expensive as you think. And no I'm not telling you where it is 'cos I might have a dabble in that one myself...

Last edited by thing; 25th Feb 2013 at 17:16.
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Old 26th Feb 2013, 18:47
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Cheltenham
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I would say carry on and get your PPL(A) then you can fly any SEP aircraft. If you want to hire a microlight then all you need to do is a checkout ride same as for any unfamiliar SEP aircraft.
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Old 27th Feb 2013, 17:35
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: England
Posts: 380
It really is dependent on what type of flying you intend to do AND what your ongoing annual budget is.

I would strongly urge you to hunt down a Eurostar and go for a flight in it.

After that, if you still feel you NEED more than two seats and MUST fly outside VFR or at NIGHT then carry on with your PPL. Otherwise go for a NPPL (M).

I fly a 6 month old Eurostar for 55 ph wet. Thats a lot of fun for not a lot of cash. Last time I looked thats about half the cost of a 30 yr old Pa-28.

Last edited by Fake Sealion; 27th Feb 2013 at 17:35.
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