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What it takes to obtain a pilot license

Becoming an airplane pilot is the childhood dream of many people. Unfortunately, for the majority of them, that’s all it will ever be, just a dream. Why? For starters, it takes tens of thousands of pounds to pay for flight lessons and qualifications. According to BALPA (the British Airline Pilots’ Association) more than half of cadet pilots paid between £75,000 and £100,000 to fund their training.

Having that in mind, you might want to think about finding a legal way to make a lot of money in a relatively short period of time. We won’t blame if you turn to casino gambling or sports betting, in fact here’s a Gala Casino Promo Code 2018 for you to get started.

All kidding aside, there’s one more reason why it’s hard to make this dream come true: the strict health requirements imposed by the licensing body. Nonetheless, it’s all possible, considering there are 10,000 pilots in the UK. This article focuses on light aircrafts as opposed to heavy commercial planes. Let’s see what it takes to become a private pilot in this country.

General steps

In order to obtain a recreational flying license in the UK, you must be at least 16 years old for a glider or balloon, or 17 years old to fly aeroplanes or helicopters. So, the first step is figuring out what kind of aircraft you want to pilot. After that, make sure you are medically fit for this activity. Expect to be subjected to a thorough medical examination. We’ll present some information about medical requirements later on.

Once you find out you are medically fit, you look for a flight school where you undergo training that generally includes dual and solo flying lessons, as well as ground training and written exams. After you complete the course, you need to find a flight examiner approved by the UK CAA. You pass the examination, and that’s it! You are now a licensed private pilot.

Types of licenses

There are 2 main categories: EASA and non-EASA. EASA stands for the European Aviation Safety Agency that basically issues licenses in accordance with European standards and valid throughout the entire continent. We are talking here about the following:

– private pilot’s license (PPL) for airplanes and helicopters

– light aircraft pilot’s license (LAPL) for balloons, gliders, aeroplanes and helicopter with no more 3 passengers and no heavier than 2 tonnes

– sailplane pilot’s license (SPL) for gliders

– balloon pilot’s license for hot air balloons

As for non-EASA licenses, these are regulated and issued by national authorities:

  • National private pilot’s license for microlights NPPL(M)
  • National private pilot’s license for simple single engine aeroplanes NPPL(SSEA)

Medical requirements

These vary depending on what type of license you want. To fly EASA aircrafts you need an internationally recognised Class 2 medical certificate from an aeromedical examiner (AME) (for PPL) or an LAPL medical certificate obtained from a GP or AME (for LAPL). For non-EASA aircrafts, a Pilot Medical Declaration is enough to fly aircrafts of less than 5700 kg MTOM with up to 3 passengers on board.

For flying an aircraft lighter than 2000 kg MTOM, all that’s needed is to not take medication for psychiatric illnesses. Otherwise, you have to apply for LAPL and get examined by an AME to determine your fitness. For aircrafts lighter than 5700 kg MTOM, you must not suffer from:

  • Psychiatric illness
  • Substance and alcohol addiction
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Angina or heart failure in treatment
  • Diabetes treated with insulin
  • Physical disabilities that impair safe operation of flight controls etc.

This is not an exhaustive list, which is why you have to consult an AME.