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Which training? Which licence? Complete Newbie

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Which training? Which licence? Complete Newbie

Old 23rd Apr 2018, 17:32
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Join Date: Apr 2018
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Which training? Which licence? Complete Newbie

Hello everyone.

I have been reading the forum for years as an interested amateur. I have been wanting to learn to fly since childhood, and now, finally, I am in a situation where I can afford to get started and have funds available for a little bit of flying once qualified!

My question now is where to start? I am thoroughly confused around NPPL, LAPL, PPL and which licence to start learning on. I have searched and read many threads, but there was been much talk of April 2018 being the deadline for EASA licence conversion, so now I'm not sure if what I've read is current or not. Please forgive me if a lot of these questions seem stupid.

To give you a bit of my thought, I think in the short to medium term I will be very happy flying fixed wing microlights (eg the C42/EV97) - it will let me fly to lots of small out of the way Scottish airports and will be cheapish (at least compared to the light aircraft) and I'm your stereotypical (tight!) Scot. I probably have little interest in flying to the continent at the moment and would say all of my flying in the next 10 years would be in the UK.

However, the other half is from the Philippines and so at some point in the future (probably in quite a while - 10+ years) I would want to fly there as well. The dream would be able to live in a remote area and fly in and out as I please (its a long term dream and isnt going to happen in the next 10 years).

Which brings me back to where to start:

It seems I could train for the NPPL (M) at either Perth, Strathavan or Balado (all about 30mins to 1hr drive from where I live in central Scotland) at a cost of circa 5000. All 3 seem to have a good community which I expect would open opportunities for finding a share once qualified, or at least a good group of others to learn from.

Alternatively I could train at Cumbernauld for the LAPL or PPL. The advantage here is I'm 10 minutes away, although the cost will be around 7000+. I am still very likely after qualifying to want to fly the smaller planes anyway, but I'm thinking the LAPL might (or might not?) give me more flexibility?

Am I better doing the NPPL (M) and upgrading at a later date if I need to? How do you upgrade, as reading it seems to be that you would have to do the full 30 hours training in a class A (?) plane anyway to upgrade from a NPPL (M)? If I do the LAPL can I still use that to fly microlights, or do I have to retrain on them as well (other than just a check flight)?

What would others do in my situation? I think my best option at the moment is to do a trial lesson at each of Strathavan, Perth and Balado and then maybe one at Cumbernauld, and then decide the best route?

Any help, advice or specific recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
stevensanph is offline  
Old 23rd Apr 2018, 22:00
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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Hi Steve - your story mirrors mine somewhat.....in both aviation and personal life (im engaged to a Filipina, and live central Scotland)

Ive been doing my training for NPPL(M) up in Perth with Jim @ Alba Airsports on the fixed wing EV97, just recently done my first solo and enjoying the lessons there

Id say you should visit the likely airfields and see how they feel to you - maybe do a couple of trial flights

I cant really help you with the specifics of upgrading, if you go down the NPPL(M) route, but I imagine a few folk have done that here and will be able to give some more detailed information

Cheers

Cal
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Old 24th Apr 2018, 06:23
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10mins wins for me even if its more expensive.

The PPL your bullet proof with and requires minimal training if you want to fly microlights etc. The PPL is an ICAO license so will have maximum possibilities to use abroad. To upgrade the lesser licenses to international ones will easily cover the extra.

But the big thing is the length of drive. 10 mins you can pop in for an evening lesson if the wx is good. There might also be ground school in the evenings. Bad wx and you haven't wasted the day going for a lesson. Fuel will soon mount up. You can get the first flight of the day early slots before it gets bumpy without having to get up at the crack of dawn.

After your qualified and can take pax driving to say perth is more of a day out and if it doesn't pan out you can go do something else instead so is more manageable if you decide the WX isn't good enough.
tescoapp is offline  
Old 24th Apr 2018, 07:00
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1. Start with a LAPL(A). This can also include a night rating.
2. If you subsequently do some 'differences training' on Microlight aircraft, your LAPL(A) will also be valid for flying Microlights - although currently you would still need to maintain the LAPL(A) validity by flying SEP Class aeroplanes no matter how much Microlight flying you do.
3. If you wish to fly outside EASA member states, you will need to upgrade the LAPL(A) to a PPL(A) (not difficult), then follow whatever other licensing rules the non-EASA member state requires.

Conversion of a NPPL(M) to a LAPL(A) is not (yet...??) possible without doing pretty much the entire LAPL(A) course.
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Old 24th Apr 2018, 08:38
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I think my best option at the moment is to do a trial lesson at each of Strathavan, Perth and Balado and then maybe one at Cumbernauld, and then decide the best route?
Absolutely right. Not only assess the flying experience, but the school/club atmosphere and how helpful people were.

In addition, go and see an Aircrew Medical Examiner (AME) and discuss the medical options for each licence, against your personal medical situation. We always advise people to do this after their Trial Lesson, before they commit to more expense. There's a list of AMEs on the CAA website.

TOO
TheOddOne is offline  
Old 24th Apr 2018, 09:03
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LAPL(A) is definitely the way to go.
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Old 24th Apr 2018, 09:48
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Hi Stevensanphx,

Welcome to PPRuNe!

You raise some common questions, albeit with a PH twist!

And there have been a lot of changes recently with the alphabet spaghetti of licensing and cross-crediting from one to another.

The first point I would make, just to clarify, is that there are two style of microlight - weight shift (like a hang-glider) and three-axis (like a light aircraft). I am presuming you are looking at the light aircraft-style control system (although a weightshift on floats in the Philippines would be fun!)

The 3-axis microlight aircraft used here at Strathaven and at Perth are, in effect, light aircraft that got squeezed into the microlight category. So they have the same control surfaces, ability to be trimmed etc as a regular aircraft.

But in your circumstances I would first try and find out what the regulations are in the Philippines. Would they insist on a full ICAO-compliant licence, or do they have a microlight-style licence they might allow a UK microlight licence to be credited to.

And what medical would they require?

Of course, like the UK/EU, the licences could all change over the next 10 years.

Personally, I think you may be best going down the EASA SEP route - a full ICAO compliant licence. You will be taught at Cumbernauld by the same people, in the same aircraft, and with the same examiner as you would for the LAPL.

Johnnie Allen at Phoenix in Cumbernauld also does the tests for our microlight students. Whichever licence you go for, he will insist that you are able to handle the aircraft properly and safely.

While there are slight differences in the various syllabuses, proper handing and safety are standard.

Others more up-to-date than me about recent changes may be able to explain the advantages of a LAPL over an EASA SEP, other than the medical.

Other points to make: once you have got your licence, you can look at different styles of aircraft. So if you get a LAPL or EASA SEP you might still buy a (share) in a permit aircraft at another airfield.

To be frank, if you are thinking of going to the Philippines eventually, then learning about the maintenance and repair of a microlight or permit to fly light aircraft might also be a key goal.

To sum up:

Maximum flexibility: ICAO compliant EASA SEP (which will also allow you to fly 3-axis microlights and weigh shift ones after differences training)

Less flexibility: 3-axis microlight. Less costs (for lessons and landing fees!), simpler medical, fewer written exams. Same control systems.

Visit everywhere - not that many to visit in central Scotland! See what suits. See how you feel you fit in. Check opening hours. (after work in summer evenings can be great, but we don't teach on Tuesday late afternoons/evenings for instance)

And enjoy your flying!

ps: Come to tomorrow Wednesday's GASCo Safety Evening at the Strathaven Hotel - there will be pilots from various airfields there - not just Strathaven - including from some farm strips. So you can hear a lot of opinions!

Last edited by xrayalpha; 24th Apr 2018 at 09:52. Reason: added ps
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Old 24th Apr 2018, 10:17
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Join Date: Aug 2007
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When choosing your licence don't aim too low. It is easy to out grow an aircraft very quickly and get bored.
Think about the Scottish weather. A group A aircraft has much more capability.
When I learned to fly I had no idea that 5 years later I would be flying in different countries round the world.
dont overfil is offline  
Old 24th Apr 2018, 14:45
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Originally Posted by xrayalpha View Post
Hi Stevensanphx,
But in your circumstances I would first try and find out what the regulations are in the Philippines. Would they insist on a full ICAO-compliant licence, or do they have a microlight-style licence they might allow a UK microlight licence to be credited to.

And what medical would they require?
Looking into it they seem to currently require a Philippine specific licence. There seems to be a route to convert an ICAO licence to the PH equivalent, but it sounds, in a typical Philippine way, overly complicated. Medical seems to be the same class 2 as in the UK. My experience is whatever it is today, will be completely different in a years time, and therefore I'm not particularly concerned as I can almost guarantee they will have changed the rules in 10+ years time. Looking at microlights (and yes, I was thinking of the 3-axis fixed wing variety) they seem to be able to be flown without any licence at all currently (at least according to the Angeles Flying Club) as long as no more than 800ft high. Again, I would expect this to change before I am in a position where I would worry about their regulations.

To be frank, if you are thinking of going to the Philippines eventually, then learning about the maintenance and repair of a microlight or permit to fly light aircraft might also be a key goal.
Yes - absolutely something I would want and need to learn. I was thinking I would be able to pick this up as I go along, and hence why I see a community as being fairly important in whatever I end up doing in Scotland.

Maximum flexibility: ICAO compliant EASA SEP (which will also allow you to fly 3-axis microlights and weigh shift ones after differences training)
Less flexibility: 3-axis microlight. Less costs (for lessons and landing fees!), simpler medical, fewer written exams. Same control systems.
It is the less cost which drives me towards the 3-axis - but the advice of going for the full PPL makes a lot of sense. I like the idea of having full flexibility, if not the upfront costs when I fully expect I'll fly the cheaper planes once qualified (at least in the short term). I think I will try and visit the sites around me (as you say - not that many!) and see where I feel most at home and then take it from there.

Whats the best way - just turn up and say hi, or book a trial lesson? I'm fairly flexible in my work hours so taking mornings off to go training will be doable, so will prob be able to fit into times others can't.
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Old 27th Apr 2018, 10:51
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Hi,

Probably best to phone. For example, here at Strathaven this weekend we have the flying, the hovercrafting AND we are interviewing candidates for our young person's bursary!

So probably don't have as much time for chatting as I would like - although wife says that is because I talk too much!

Weekday mornings are good - weekends can get so hectic instructors hardly have time to eat!
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Old 27th Apr 2018, 20:31
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Join Date: Mar 2011
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From a slightly different angle:
To estimate flying costs, Double the original estimate, triple that and add a bit more. If you intend to fly (rather than fly a this, that or the other,) it may take much more time and money than you hoped. The cheapest licence that allows you to fly a light aeroplane is an NPPL(M). The light aircraft in question is a microlight. A C42 will do almost everything a Cessna 150 will do except for drink lots of fuel and climb very slowly. In many ways it is a better aircraft so there is no real advantage in spending the extra just yet if your priority is to go flying.
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Old 27th Apr 2018, 21:21
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In your situation it's pretty clear, go straight for the 45 hour PPL (A) if you have any interest in flying more than just microlights. Having held a LAPL (A) in conversion from NPPL, it's a pretty pointless licence for a new person unless you have medical issues, as you can't carry passengers for 10 hours PIC after licence issue and to upgrade to a PPL you have to do the 10 hours differences training and another skills test (all ). Any new NPPLs now are dead in the water currently for anything EASA related so steer well clear if you are looking to fly anything other than microlights unless anything changes.

Search round your local schools and see what attracts your eyes, remember to factor in exam costs not just the flying costs, see if you can speak to a few students too.
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Old 28th Apr 2018, 09:39
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Horses for courses

Originally Posted by planesandthings View Post
In your situation it's pretty clear, go straight for the 45 hour PPL (A) if you have any interest in flying more than just microlights. Having held a LAPL (A) in conversion from NPPL, it's a pretty pointless licence for a new person unless you have medical issues, as you can't carry passengers for 10 hours PIC after licence issue and to upgrade to a PPL you have to do the 10 hours differences training and another skills test (all ). Any new NPPLs now are dead in the water currently for anything EASA related so steer well clear if you are looking to fly anything other than microlights unless anything changes.

Search round your local schools and see what attracts your eyes, remember to factor in exam costs not just the flying costs, see if you can speak to a few students too.
This is a great example of why anyone seeking advice, should get as much of it as possible.

Have a look at the Annex II aircraft list, and you will find that they are not all microlights. You can fly the RV7/8, Gnat, Hunter or Jet Provost on an NPPL.

Annex II

There are aircraft like the EV97 at Perth which might fit the needs of the OP for the next five years. History tells us that a large chunk of people give it up in that timeframe anyway. So in my view, the OP should fly as much as he can, while he can, in what he can afford to fly. I don't see the benefit in spending twice the money to be able to do the things that you want to do, but in other countries, when you want to do it here.

The LAPL will allow the OP to fly any of the C172 / PA28 fleet that is out there for hire in Central Scotland. The extra ten hours of solo consolidation, is in my view, a good thing. Get yer early learning done without distractions.

Any experience gained in a three axis microlight will not be a bad thing if the OP wants to "move up" to a full PPL later, as the learning will include r/t skills, airmanship, nav, and situational awareness, which has no relevance to whether you are in an EV97 or a Bulldog.

As for the additional costs of a PPL Medical, compared to a declaration, that adds up to a few hours a year in the air, instead of paying the AME.

There is a huge difference between a C42 at Strathaven, and a C172 at Perth. Not just in price.

Looking at what the OP wants to do, why would he spend the extra money on a PPL instead of flying?
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Old 28th Apr 2018, 15:50
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Originally Posted by airpolice View Post
Any experience gained in a three axis microlight will not be a bad thing if the OP wants to "move up" to a full PPL later, as the learning will include r/t skills, airmanship, nav, and situational awareness, which has no relevance to whether you are in an EV97 or a Bulldog.
Experience is great, but lets deal with the fact that currently the NPPL(M) cannot be "moved up" to a PPL (A) anymore, spending 5k doing an NPPL (M) and then suddenly 6 years later, another 5k to do a PPL (A) (that's including maybe some microlight hours credited) sounds totally unviable.

I am also well aware of the Annex II list, I fly some of them myself, but why limit (as the CAA website states) yourself to them unless you are completely certain you will never fly anything else, LAPL/PPL allows the flexibility.

The OP must think in the long term, If all he wants to do is fly an EV97 or something to that regard in the UK then sure an NPPL (M) may suffice, but he raised questions about flying abroad and the flexibility of the licences, if there is at all any doubt in what or where he wants to fly in the future, then go EASA, a few extra medicals aren't going to cost the same as having to pay thousands to almost start from scratch on a LAPL/PPL (A) if/when he suddenly decides he wants to fly abroad or in Cessnas in addition to microlights, all this has changed in the last 2 months.
planesandthings is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2018, 09:43
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airpolice wrote:
You can fly the RV7/8, Gnat, Hunter or Jet Provost on an NPPL.
You most certainly CANNOT fly a Gnat, Hunter or JP using an NPPL! The NPPL may include SSEA, SLMG and/or Microlight Class Ratings, but that's all.
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Old 29th Apr 2018, 10:12
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As can be seen from the recent posts, it is really complex!

Every recommendation has to be personally tailored, hence I - as someone who runs a NPPL (M) flying school - suggesting that the best route for the original poster might be the full-fat EASA SEP.

But many "rules" can be overcome.

Here is one Strathaven chap flying across the USA in the ultimate permit to fly aircraft - no doubt here that it is a microlight - with an NPPL(M) !

www.c2c2c2018.com
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Old 29th Apr 2018, 14:31
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Wow. Glad I asked! Have spent the weekend watching a few youtube channels and that's just made it a harder choice!

Having researched Philippines aviation, currently it doesnt seem to matter what licence I have, so I'll discount that for now. I would like the flexibility however, but reading up it seems qualifying in the minimum hours is fairly rare, which may make the full PPL a bit prohibitive for me at this stage. Therefore it sounds like a NPPL(M) would let me qualify comfortably within budget, and then be able to fly around the UK quite happily to start with. I would assume if I then went for a full PPL I should be able to relatively comfortably qualify in the minimum hours, or is that a poor assumption to make?

I also assume that the NPPL(M) would be limited only to UK microlight flight and wouldn't allow flying in Ireland, or elsewhere in the EU, and if I wanted to do that I'd need the LAPL? If I do a PPL, what additional cost is there then to switch to 3axis microlights? Or can I just jump straight in (with a check flight?)
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Old 29th Apr 2018, 18:02
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Ah! That's the bit we microlighters don't tell the big boys. You can fly abroad. There is a reciprocal arrangement in force with several European microlighting organisations where national licences are cross recognised. There is even a flexwing pilot currently flying across America on an NPPL(M)! Ireland is no problem.
France in particular is good for microlight flying. Qualifying in budget may even leave some lolly for a share in a machine. That gives you a lot of cheaply gained experience.
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Old 29th Apr 2018, 21:17
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Why not just do the LAPL (A)

Privileges and conditions

A LAPL for aeroplanes will allow you to act as pilot in command (PIC) on two classes of aircraft: either a single-engine piston aeroplane (land) or touring motor glider (TMG) with a maximum take-off mass of 2000 kg or less, carrying a maximum of 3 passengers, with no more than 4 persons on board.

You will only be licensed to act as PIC in the class and variant of aircraft in which you passed your skill test, unless you complete further training – see extension of privileges to another class or variant of aeroplane section of this page. Examples of different variants include additional aircraft complexities, such as a constant speed propeller or retractable undercarriage.
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Old 5th May 2018, 19:46
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Originally Posted by m.Berger View Post
France in particular is good for microlight flying.
Depending on taste and preference - to each their own! - Germany may be even better. And, of course, the low countries BE and NL. (though NL tends to be expensive)

Last edited by Jan Olieslagers; 7th May 2018 at 16:02.
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