Learning to fly
There are a number of licences available depending on what type of flying you want get involved in and your aviation aspirations.
Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL)* – Available for aeroplanes and helicopters, the Private Pilot’s Licence is recognised worldwide and can be ‘built on’ with extra ratings and privileges. More information on getting your PPL.
Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence (LAPL)* – Available for aeroplanes, helicopters, balloons and gliders, the concept behind the LAPL was to create a simplified licence with a shorter training course and less onerous medical standards. In the case of aeroplanes and helicopters it is limited to a maximum take-off weight of two tonnes and no more than three passengers. With some extra training it can be upgraded to the PPL. More information on getting your LAPL.
Sailplane Pilot’s Licence (SPL)* – The primary licence for glider flying (this licence can be extended to include Touring Motorgliders). More information on getting your SPL.
Balloon Pilot’s Licence (BPL)* – For flight in hot air balloons. More information on getting your BPL.
National Private Pilots Licence (Microlights) NPPL(M) – The licence for microlight aircraft. Microlights generally come in two types, ‘flex wing’ and three-axis. ‘Flex wing’ are generally open cockpit and have a single wing which moves around a pivot to control the direction of travel. ‘Three-axis’ are much closer to traditional light aeroplanes but fall below the weight category to be considered one. More information on getting your NPPL(M).
Additionally there is the NPPL (Aeroplanes) but from 8 April 2015 it can only be used in non-EASA aircraft, which means mainly ‘permit to fly’, kit built and a small number of vintage light aircraft such as the Tiger Moth. Unless you wish to train and then be limited to these aircraft, the LAPL(A) or PPL(A) might be more suitable. An NPPL(A) gained before 8th April 2015 can be converted into a LAPL(A) up until that date. More information on getting your NPPL(A).
*These licences are issued in accordance with European (EASA) standards and are equally valid and recognised throughout Europe.