Learning to Fly

Information about the different types of licences that are available

A private pilot licence is all you need to fly as a hobby. There is a choice of private licences and which one you want usually depends on whether you see the need to fly in any country in the world, restrict yourself to Europe, or simply fly locally in the UK.

There are different categories of licences to fly a helicopter, gyroplane, balloon, airship, glider or aeroplane. Even if you only intend to fly in the UK, it is worthwhile assessing all licence options and not restricting yourself unless you have to.

Minimum age requirements

You have to be:

  • at least 16 years old before you can take a solo flight during your training (14 for balloons and gliders)
  • at least 17 years old before you can apply for your private pilot licence.

Apart from flying instruction or examining for private licences you’ll need a commercial level licence if you want to make a living as a pilot.

If you are a new starter wanting to learn to fly your flying school can offer advice on training, licence types and ratings.

If you want the exact requirements and more detail then you can download the CAA publication CAP 804 Flight Crew Licensing: Mandatory Requirements, Policy and Guidance www.caa.co.uk/cap804