Before you apply for a licence, you will need to complete a training course at a flight school.
Courses are designed to train you for a specific licence. You will complete all the flying time needed for the
licence and learn all the skills you need.
When you finish your training you will be given all the documents you need to apply for a licence.
Flight schools must be approved or registered with the CAA.
There are two types of flight school. They are known as approved training organisations (ATOs) and registered
training facilities (RTFs). You can train at either type of flight school.
The CAA has a list of both types of flight school including contact details:
Here are some things for you to consider to help you make the right choices in achieving your aviation
A good first start is to visit some schools, talk to the staff and instructors, ask lots of questions and get a tour
of the facilities and aircraft. This will give you a good idea of the options available to you and will help decide if
the environment is right for you.
Those currently learning or qualified pilots are also a good source of advice. Most schools should be more than
happy for you to talk to some of their members and students. From this you will likely gain some valuable impressions
as well as answering questions you may have about the process and what to expect.
Before committing any significant time and money to flying, a sensible option when you are researching schools is to
take a trial lesson to make sure flying really is for you.
The relationship with the instructors that you fly with will have a big influence on the quality of the experience.
It is important that you feel comfortable with them and that they appear motivated and interested in you learning
effectively. Do not be afraid to ask to talk to a few different instructors when visiting the schools.
Prior to starting training for any pilot’s licence it is worth considering the medical standards required, please
see the Medical page for more
Most flight schools advertise a complete price for the qualifications they offer and also a training rate by the
hour. Whilst some schools will offer ‘all inclusive’ packages, this is usually based upon the minimum number of flying
hours set out in the licence requirements. Many students require additional lessons/hours to complete their training.
It is important to understand what is included in the pricing and what is not – for example there may be additional
costs such as landing fees or ground training instruction.
Many flying schools may offer a discount if you pay more money ‘up front’ and whilst you can make a saving, it
should also be considered what will happen if the school or club ceases trading. If payments are made in advance, using
a credit card will usually protect the payment up to a certain amount whilst cheque or bank transfer payments may
result in you losing your money. Many people pay per lesson which limits their financial exposure and also gives added
flexibility should they wish to call a halt to their training or want to change schools.
The CAA’s regulatory regime covers the safety of flying and certain minimum standards in the training and
examination environment. It does not regulate the financial viability of flying schools or clubs so the possession of
the regulatory requirements to conduct flight training should not imply any certification of financial integrity.
The CAA currently maintains two separate lists of flying schools: approved training organisations (ATOs) and
registered training facilities (RTFs). Some training providers are classed as ATOs and others as RTFs.
These documents only list the organisations where the CAA has oversight, flight and theoretical knowledge training
and testing can also be conducted at any non-UK training organisation that holds approval to train for EASA
Governing associations for each kind of flying hold details of their affiliated clubs and schools. Please follow the
links to their websites below:
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