Details of the NPPL (M) licence are here, and the NPPL Microlight Training Syllabus is here. To give you a quick summary of the training requirements, the minimum hours needed to obtain an NPPL microlight pilot’s licence are 15hrs flight training, of which 7 hrs must be solo. There are 5 written (multiple choice) examinations, plus a ‘General Skills’ flight test and a ‘Ground Oral Examination’ which is like an interview where you are asked technical questions about the aircraft you have flown during training.
However, that is called a ‘restricted’ licence and means that you cannot initially take a passenger with you, and your flying is limited to certain weather conditions and distance from your take-off point.
An ‘unrestricted’ licence requires a minimum of 25 flight training hours of which 10 must be solo. In addition, there is a requirement (within the 25 hr total) for 5 hrs navigation training, 3 of which must be solo, incorporating 2 cross-country flights where you land out at other airfields. There are also the 5 written exams, General Skills Test and Ground Oral Examination. That might sound rather daunting, but in fact it’s really great fun and we are here to help you through the whole process.
Once completed and your licence in your hands, you have ‘the keys to the sky’.
Can you really do it in those minimum times? Probably not. If you have an extensive background in gliding or hang gliding, you might. Likewise, if you have a background in flying from a young age, such as Air Cadets, you stand a good chance learning the principles quite quickly. Flexwing Instructor Steve Hannaford says “There are certainly pilots I have met who have achieved their licences in 25 – 30 hrs. Unfortunately, age can be a significant factor in your speed of learning, particularly with the skills needed for the landing technique. I have been told, as a guide, you need one hour of training for each year of your age.
To give you an example, I achieved my PPL for single engined light aircraft in 1990, when I was 36 years old. I was solo in 7 hours and gained the licence in 44 hrs (the minimum requirement then was 42 hrs). I started my flexwing flight training when I was 62 years old. It took over 20 hrs to go solo and over 50 hrs to gain the licence.
BUT I was a much better pilot for doing the additional hours, and was far more capable of dealing with difficult situations than when I held my previous Private Pilot’s Licence. During my flexwing training I became quite frustrated and even thought of giving up, such was my slow progress. However, I now look back on my training as some of the best flying times of my life. My message to you is to treasure each and every training hour, and if it takes longer than you hoped, don’t start ‘hour counting’, it is very destructive, takes the fun out of your training and dramatically slows your advancement. If you budget for an hour for each year of your age (bearing in mind the minimum hours required), that will be a good start.”
The written examinations are straightforward and the study is enjoyable. The 5 subjects are: Air Law (you need to achieve a pass in this examination before we let you go solo), Human Performance Limitations, Aircraft Technical, Meteorology, and Navigation. There is one book that covers most of the syllabus, and you’ll be surprised how much you learn. We also provide ground school tuition, and you will need instruction on navigation techniques as a minimum – we don’t want you getting lost!
So, go ahead and buy an experience flight here. You know you’ll be in good hands with flying instructors who can take you from your first experience flight right through your training until you have that wonderful NPPL (M) licence in your hands. Then we can help you acquire your own aircraft or join a syndicate and share one – and it doesn’t stop there. We are on hand to help and advise you as you grow as a pilot. We can provide advanced training, aircraft maintenance and permit renewals, as well as your pilot revalidation every 24 months.