Learn to fly

Flight training

To the uninitiated, learning to fly seems a formidable task, full of technical terms and abbreviations – almost a foreign language. However once you begin to study for your Private Pilots Licence (PPL) you will find that the syllabus builds steadily into a practical and theoretical knowledge of flying, with guidance from your instructor at every level. No aspect of flight training is difficult but it does require a lot of determination and perseverance to complete your licence so there is great achievement at every step of your flight training.

The UK has two routes to gaining a PPL. Although the basic flight training is the same for both, they vary in the navigation element and the restrictions on the licence.

Private Pilot Licence – What’s involved ?

Medical Exam with an authorised CAA Medical Examiner
(just to make sure you’re fit before you start)

A minimum number of 45 hours training for the PPL or 30 hours for the LAPL
(it may take a few more hours, everyone is different)

A Qualifying Cross Country navigation flight
(this is done solo and is a great achievement)

A Skills Test
(general handling of the aircraft, plus some more navigation)

Completion of 9 written exams

Once you have successfully completed the training, tests and exams you will be able to apply for your very own private pilot licence (PPL) – a fully fledged pilot at last. You will be able to fly at your own discretion into licensed and unlicensed strips at home and abroad, with or without passengers, as long as the flight visibility is above the legal minimum. Our aeroplanes are available for hire and our staff and Club Members will be pleased to pass on their advice and many experiences.

Your first flight

Flights are preceded by a thorough briefing and your instructor will ‘walk round’ the aircraft with you pointing out such things as ailerons, flaps, elevators etc. and explain what is checked prior to flying each day. Your first flight will be to familiarise you with both the aeroplane and the sensation of flight. In the air you will acclimatise yourself with the exhilarating experience of flying and see just how easy it is to climb, turn and descend After a few hours you will be doing all of the flying without prompting by the instructor.

Going Solo

This is a fantastic feeling, and usually happens after around 10 hours of instruction when your instructor feels you are ready! You must 16 or over in order to complete the solo flying requirements for the application of a license, but you can start the dual training prior to this.

After the official certificate and congratulations you will be back in the air again to consolidate on the rest of the syllabus.

Ground School, Exams and Flight Test

There are 9 ground exams to be taken altogether and details of these are given below. It may seem a lot but these can be spread out throughout the course. Finally, there is a flight test taken with an examiner called a “Skills Test” which is the practical exam at the end of all your training. You will have to demonstrate your ability to navigate, general flying techniques, emergency procedures and, of course, your take-off and landings!

As part of the new modern licence syllabus a much greater emphasis has been placed on the Core learning subjects to make sure applicants have gained sufficient theoretical knowledge as more aviation related accidents and incidents are put down to pilot error. In addition to the ground exams there is a requirement for 100 hours ground school to be completed as part of the course.
Air Law
Aviation law is normally the first written exam to be taken. We like you to have this exam out of the way prior to your first solo flight, because air law is like the highway code of the air and although your first flight will usually be one solo cicuit, it is important that you know how to read ground signals and know who has right of way as well as being aware of airspace restrictions etc.

Human Performance and Limitation

This multiple choice exam was introduced in 1992 in recognition that pilot error is the main cause of incidents and accidents. Deteriorating decision making due to stress accumulation or ill health can lead to the development of dangerous situations. The ability to interpret the signs at an early stage makes accidents less likely to happen and therefore human performance and limitations is a vital part of your exam syllabus.


Weather patterns and their interpretation are of great importance to PPL’s and students alike – you will learn how to understand what is happening in the atmosphere and what sort of conditions to avoid flying in (or into). You will learn to read aerodrome weather reports and forecasts and how to apply them to your intended flight to ensure that at all times you remain safe and legal. The exam is multiple choice format with the accent very much on your awareness of flying in bad weather.


Your Radio Telephony RT Licence will allow you to fly, for example, through certain categories of airspace and into aerodromes with higher levels of radio work. We run a complete R.T. course which you can start anytime during your flying training. The course comprises four sessions of practical instruction, written exam and practical oral test.

Aircraft General Knowledge

The Technical paper is also a multiple choice exam which covers the theory of aeroplane systems – engine, fuel, oil and electrical. It gives you a good background knowledge to how an aircraft works and is therefore an exam to sit as soon as possible.

Flight Performance and Planning

This exam was introduced in 1999 as part of the new  syllabus. Similar to the Technical exam, Flight Performance and Planning concentrates on how well the aeroplane performs in differing situations, but with an emphasis on the practical aspects of flying. You will learn, amongst other things, the safest way to load your aeroplane and how to get the best range and endurance out of it.


One of the joys of having a PPL is the ease with which you can get from A to B – if all goes to plan! If you are not well organised and prepared you will find that your workload will be increased to a nerve-racking and possibly dangerous level. However, if you learn how to map-read and use your navigation computer to complete an orderly flight plan, including radio frequencies, alternate aerodromes and a fuel plan, you will find that everything will be safer and smoother, and if anything unforeseen should happen, for example, Air Traffic Control non-compliance or bad weather, then you will be well prepared and able to cope with it. The exam ensures you have covered all of the necessary reading, and by studying the ground exam whilst carrying out the air exercises you will find that Navigation will fall easily into place.

Operational Procedures

This exam was introduced in 2013 as part of the new syllabus. This exam has extracts from some of the afore mentioned exams, but with an emphasis on the Operating rules and safety aspects of flying.

Principles of Flight

This exam was introduced in 2013 as part of the new  syllabus. It breaks down the original former Technical exam, now aircraft general knowledge into more bite sized chunks so you are able to concentrate your study into key areas. You will learn, amongst other things, the theory of flight and aerodynamics.

The Skills Test

The Skills Test is the culmination of all your flying training. The examiner wants to assess your ability to navigate accurately form A to B and to see that if you are off-track, you can regain track, and if you need to change frequency you have that frequency to hand on your flight plan. Once the examiner is confident that you are aware of your surroundings and can cope with unplanned diversions from your intended route and replan your flight swiftly and safely, you’ll move on to the general handling part of the test.

The examiner will want to see a safe and competent level of airmanship, with a demonstration of upper-air work (slow flight, stalling, turning, practice forced landings, etc.).

Trial Lessons

Before you take the plunge, why not book in with one of our instructors for a trial or introductory flying lesson. Your instructor will “walk round” the aircraft with you, then take to the air for an informal lesson on the basic principles of flying, during which you can take the controls yourself and discover the exhilaration of piloting your own aircraft.

The aim of this lesson is to give you an introduction to flying and give you the feel of a small aircraft so you can judge whether flying is for you. If you decide to carry on, your flying time will go towards the Private Pilots Licence so you will already be on your way to becoming a pilot.

Tailwheel Conversion Course


Additional hourly rate

£23000per hour