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flight training FAQs (UK)

 What are ‘Hours’ and how are they counted?
 What different types of medical exam are available and what do they allow you to do?
  How many ground exams are there and what is the pass mark for the PPL?
 How long does the PPL skills test take and what does it comprise?
  Is passing the skills test the only requirement before issuing my licence?
  How many hours do I need before I can start the CPL course?
  Why Modular?
  What’s the difference between the CPL and ATPL exams and where can I do them?
 Why should I do a multi-engine instrument rating over a single engine version?
  What do I do after completing my Instrument Rating?
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are ‘Hours’ and how ar

 

e they counted?

 

 What are ‘Hours’ and how are they counted?

Your level of experience and your ability to proceed with various stages in aviation training is established by how much time you have completed in the air. This is counted in hours or divisions of. It is very important that a pilot has a logbook in which he can record the amount of time he has spent in the air. The times you enter into your logbook should be those from when you take the parking brake off at the beginning of the flight to when you put it back on again during shutdown at the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What different types of medical exam

 

 

 

 What different types of medical exam are available and what do they allow you to do?


There are essentially three different types of medical exam and resulting certificate in circulation at the moment. At the most basic level is a letter signed by your GP saying that you are fit to partake in aviation training. Obviously this is the easiest and cheapest to obtain (most doctors charge around £25 for this) but will only be of use to those wishing to limit themselves to an NPPL. The examination is less restrictive than the other types available so would be suitable for a person who may have a medical condition which would cause them to fail the other more restrictive medical exams.

-----Those wishing to undertake a full PPL will need to pass a Class Two medical exam and be in possession of the appropriate medical certificate before going solo. The Class Two can only be issued by an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).

-----The highest level of medical is a Class One which is required by those wishing to pursue the professional licences. The initial exam costs around £400 and can only be undertaken at the CAA headquarters at Gatwick. Once you have passed this you will need to have the resultant certificate revalidated by an AME once a year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many ground exams are there

 

 

 

 

  How many ground exams are there and what is the pass mark for the PPL?

There are a total of seven ground exams for the PPL – Air Law, Navigation, Meteorology, Aircraft Technical, Flight Performance/Planning,Human Performance and the R/T written exam. The pass mark for all exams is 75%. It should also be noted that there is a R/T practical exam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How long does the PPL skills test

 

 

 

 How long does the PPL skills test take and what does it comprise?

The PPL skills test can be undertaken when you have completed at minimum of 45 hours training. However, you will only be released to test according to your abilities. The actual test takes approximately two and a half hours and comprises of two main sections – general handling and navigation. General handling includes stalling, a simulated forced landing and circuit work. The navigation will involve you demonstrating to the Examiner that you can fly from A to B without getting lost and reaching B within the time that you have specified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is passing the skills test

 

 

  Is passing the skills test the only requirement before issuing my licence?

In a word, no! Before you take the test you must have demonstrated your ability to fly as a Pilot-in-Command in other ways. Once you have passed your Air Law exam and reached the required flying standard, your instructor will send you on your First Solo – your first opportunity to fly the aircraft on your own. This will be for one circuit only. Following that, again when you have reached the required standard, you will be released for your Solo Cross Country where you will fly the aircraft on your own to two other airfields, landing at each of them before flying back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many hours do I need

 

 

  How many hours do I need before I can start the CPL course?

If you decide you wish to take your training further and obtain a Commercial licence you must first complete the ground exams (see below). Assuming you have passed all of these, you will need a total of 150 hours before you can start the course. Furthermore, the CAA will only issue your licence once you have obtained 100 hours as Pilot-in-Command. Similarly to the PPL you must also complete a Solo Cross Country in your own time before the licence will be issued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Modular?

 

 

  Why Modular?

There has been a great debate over this subject for many years. To obtain a professional pilot’s licence there are currently two routes. The first, known as the Integrated Method, is aimed at those with virtually no flying experience at all. If you follow this method you will obtain a ‘frozen’ ATPL at the end of a (roughly) two-year course. Its primary purpose is training airline wannabees which may not suit those who only have designs on instructing, for example. There are several other disadvantages – one of them being the cost. Aviation training, particularly if you wish to pursue it to professional levels can be expensive and an Integrated course will usually cost you around £50,000 to £60,000, which you must commit to one training organisation. Furthermore you will have to commit two years of your life to the course, which is sufficiently demanding that doing anything else will be out of the question!

-----The Modular method is slightly different. Its main advantage is its flexibility. The route from zero-hours to a frozen ATPL is made up of a series of modules which although have to be completed in a specific order can be done on a time-scale to suit you. You are entirely free to take breaks in between modules for your own purposes. The modular scheme allows you to attend different training organisations for different modules that can either reflect those that are better for different training elements or to reflect your personal life. Finally the modular scheme does generally work out to be cheaper.

-----Over the years many have accused the Modular method of not being what aviation employers and in particular, airlines want. However this is not the case. Before the introduction of JAA rules and regulations this may have had some basis but in this day and age graduates of the Integrated and Modular schemes are both possessors of the same licence with the same level of experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the difference between the CPL

 

 

 

  What’s the difference between the CPL and ATPL exams and where can I do them?

Essentially, the difference is the level of knowledge required. However, unless you are especially budget-constrained or can never, ever see yourself applying and using an ATPL then there is little point in merely doing the CPL exams. Indeed you will find it quite hard to find an aviation training establishment that still offers an appropriate course. It would be of far more potential use to do the ATPL exams as they leave you with far more options in the future, whatever your current goals are.

-----Many flight schools not undertake the professional ground exams directly but there are several training establishments in the UK who will quite happily offer you the appropriate course and we will happily point you in the direction of the best one for you. There are two methods of completing the course – distance learning or classroom. The former is cheaper and can be done at your own pace, something you might want to consider if you decide to remain working for the duration. The latter is a full-time course requiring you to attend a daily course for approximately six months. It is more expensive but if you lack the discipline to work at home it is probably the better option.

-----One tip though: which ever option you chose, do not underestimate the level of commitment the ground exams will require. They can be extremely academically demanding, particularly for those a long time out of school. Although the exams are multi-choice based they are specifically designed to trip you up in all sorts of cunning methods, and believe me, they will!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why should I do a multi-engine i

 

 

 

 

 Why should I do a multi-engine instrument rating over a single engine version?

The single engine instrument rating is significantly cheaper than the multi-engine version for the obvious reason – the former does not require time in a multi-engine aircraft. However, pursuing the single-engine rating for this reason is really a false economy unless you have a specific purpose for single-engine instrument flying and cannot honestly see yourself multi-engine flying in the future. Ultimately you are far more likely to earn money in aviation with a multi-engine instrument rating than a single-engine rating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do I do after completing

 

 

 

 

  What do I do after completing my Instrument Rating?

This very much depends on you. What exactly do you want out of your potential aviation career? If you want to progress to airline flying then you need to attend a multi-crew co-operation (MCC) course.  You will have to take an Instructors rating course. Just don’t forget one thing: in order to keep your Instrument rating valid you must re-test once a year otherwise it lapses and you may no longer legally make use of its privileges!

 
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