This new licence has been specifically designed to meet the
requirements of the recreational flyer and is therefore less
complex, and thus somewhat easier to attain, than the up till now
only of the UK option, the JAR (European) PPL.
A structured course of flying instruction over a
minimum 32 hours, plus Navigational Flight Test, a Flying Skill Test
and a series of Ground Examinations, will result in a less expensive
route to a Pilot's Licence than has been available for some years.
Perhaps the most significant advantage of the
NPPL over JAR is the less onerous medical requirement. Based on the
DVLA 2 (professional driver) and DVLA 1 (private driver) schedules,
applicants will simply sign a declaration of fitness to fly and have
their doctor sign it to confirm they have no reason to believe that
he/she does not reach the DVLA 2 standard. If a medical condition
does not prevent the applicant from reaching this standard but
he/she meets DVLA 1 then he can fly solo with another qualified
pilot only. A series of GP guidance notes are available on diseases
such as diabetes, heart problems, epilepsy etc. But the good news is
that many of the aliments that with JAR are a definite medical
failure need not necessarily rule you out from flying with a NPPL.
Another major advantage with the NPPL is that
pilots of different categories of aircraft will receive credit for
their existing experience should they wish to learn to fly something
different. For instance a glider or microlight pilot wishing to take
up light aircraft flying will not have to complete the full 32 hour
course, thus making it a financially viable option.
The licence does have a few operational
limitations over the JAR licence.
1. As a recreational licence is fundamentally for
flying VFR (visual flight rules or where the pilot can see the
ground where he is going). There is no facility for flying in cloud
2. It is currently confined to UK airspace.
However in time it is hoped that other EU states will recognise the
NPPL, just as they do our car licences, and foreign flight will be
3. A maximum of four people, including the pilot,
can be flown.
To what extent these limitations impact on your
individual requirements is a personal issue but it is a fact that
the vast majority of current PPL holders only fly in VFR and in four
or less seat aircraft. And surprisingly few fly abroad.