Everyone who studies for their PPL finds the flight training part of the course the most exciting; you should be aware that you will need a great deal of determination, motivation and patience, particularly in the early stages.
During your flying training you will have to complete a minimum flight time of 45 hours. Of this 45 hours, a minimum of 25 hours will be under dual instruction, and at least 10 hours of solo flying must be carried out including at least 5 hours solo ‘cross country’ time; this will include a qualifying ‘cross country’ flight of at least 270 km (150 nm), during which you will land at two aerodromes other than Welshpool.
The minimum dual and minimum solo hours equal 35 hours, which leaves 10 hours to be completed as either dual or solo flight, or partly of each.
Prior to each flight throughout the course, whether dual or solo, you will have a detailed pre-flight brief with your instructor here at Welshpool Flying School, who will go through each element of the exercise. After the flight, there will be a thorough debrief, when you will be encouraged to discuss the flight with your instructor and when he/she will answer any questions you may have.
The early parts of your training will be spent in local areas around Welshpool, when you will learn how to handle the airplane in a safe fashion. This is followed by ‘circuit training’, this is where you learn how to take-off and land the aircraft safely. When you have confidently flown your first solo circuit, you will then progress; learning how to navigate your aircraft from point to point.
There are no real age limits in learning to fly. Providing you are 14 years old or over, you can log all your flying towards the PPL course, although you must be at least 16 years old to be able to fly solo. The minimum age for the issue of a PPL is 17 years. But you can never be too old! All pilots must undergo an aviation medical (Class 2 for PPLs) conducted by a CAA authorised medical practitioner – You can see a current list of names and addresses of AME’s (authorised medical examiners) at the CAA’s Safety Regulation Group website under the section ‘personnel licensing’. Providing you meet the medical requirements, there is no upper age limit at all.
Theory Ground Exams
Learning how to fly the aircraft is only one part of the course. There are a number of theory subjects, which you will need to know in some detail in order to pass nine written exams. The subject matter is not difficult, although at first glance there may seem to be quite a lot of it!
Nevertheless, having a good solid understanding of all aspects of aviation will make you a safe and competent pilot, as well as adding to the richness of a fascinating and fulfilling pastime.
Once you have taken your first written exam, you will need to complete the other eight written exams within an 18 month period. If you successfully pass the theoretical exams for the issue of a private pilot’s licence, they will be valid for 24 months for you to submit an application for the PPL issue. This period is counted from the date you complete your last theoretical knowledge examination. Within these 24 months you must complete the flight training and pass the skill test, otherwise these exams will expire, and you will have to retake them.
You will need to take each exam at the flying school. The exam topics are:
• Air Law (Must be passed before doing your first solo flight).
• Human Performance and Limitations
• Navigation (Must be passed before first solo navigation flight).
• Flight Performance and Planning
• Aircraft General
• Principles of Flight
• Operational Procedures
All written examinations are in a multiple-choice format, with a pass mark of 75%. Most students choose to work towards the written exams under a programme of self-study, with guidance from their instructor. You can, however, make use of our ground school tuition and courses available here at Welshpool. There is also a practical Radio Telephony exam, which can also be carried out at the school by our in-house examiner.
Completing your PPL licence
Once you have completed your flight training and all the written exams, and you have reached a safe and competent standard, your instructor will put you forward for the final test – the Skills test. This is conducted by one of our authorised CAA examiners. If you have completed the course and prepared yourself well, you will have no problem with this final test. Once you pass, Welshpool Flying School will provide you with test certificate which you will send to the CAA for your PPL licence application. After approximately 2 to 3 weeks your PPL license should arrive.
Welshpool Flying School maintains a skills test 100% pass record.