A comprehensive qualification, the PPL syllabus includes both practical flight training and ground based theoretical study.
When you learn to fly, your UK Licence will be valid throughout the UK and Europe and is usually acceptable worldwide subject to individual national requirements. Post Brexit the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) has confirmed that the UK licence will still allow you to fly throughout Europe as we remain part of ICAO (the ‘Chicago Convention’). more information can be found here.
Your Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) will allow you to fly as pilot in command for private use (i.e. not commercial gain). For many the PPL is the first step towards becoming a commercial pilot (CPL), more information can be found on our Hour Building page.
You can learn to fly from the age of 14 years. There are a few milestones to consider: Firstly you must be a minimum of 17 years old to obtain your licence (you may start building hours towards your licence from the age of 14 and complete your first solo at 16). Prior to your fist solo flight you must also hold a Class 2 medical certificate prior to flying solo.
You can obtain this certificate by attending a brief medical examination with an Aero Medical Examiner (AME); we will be happy to advise on how to arrange this when you commence your PPL training.
If you haven’t flown before, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requires that you spend a minimum of 45 hours in the air before you can take your final Skills Test, which is the aircraft equivalent of a driving test.
Of these 45 hours, 25 hours must be dual (with an instructor) and 10 hours solo with you acting as pilot-in-command. 5 of your solo flight hours must be cross-country flights, i.e. away from your base airfield.
As part of your PPL Exams you will complete both flight tests & ground exams. We have both Flight and Ground examiners, which means we can offer a full and independent examination service to both Cambridge Aero Club members and non-members alike.
PPL students can take both their ground exams and final skills test exam ‘in house’ which greatly speeds up completion of the course and helps to improve student confidence.
Multiple choice exams in 9 subjects:
- Air Law (to be passed before your first solo)
- Operational Procedures
- Flight Performance & Planning
- Aircraft General Knowledge
- Principles of Flight
- Human Performance
- Radio Telephony
Our booking ‘slots’ are 2 hours long, which include a pre-flight briefing, the flight and a postflight de-brief.
You may book any number of lessons up to 2 months in advance, subject to our normal membership terms & conditions.
During your first lessons, you can expect to fly for 40-50 minutes. As you progress, flight time will increase to around an hour. Frequent and regular lessons may minimise the overall course duration.
Without doubt one of the biggest moments when you learn to fly will be your first solo! Before you ﬂy solo for the ﬁrst time, in addition to passing your Air Law exam, you’ll need to take a simple medical examination with an Aero Medical Examiner (AME) to ensure that you’re ﬁt to ﬂy. Most students are ready for their 1st solo ﬂight after 10-15 hours of ﬂight training.
The biggest moment in your course so far!
You will be training for a UK Private Pilot Licence with ‘a single engine piston (SEP) class rating’.
This entitles you to fly aircraft within that class up to a maximum take-off weight of 5700kg, in any European country, for private and recreational purposes only.
Your training progress will be significantly improved if you are able to attend regular lessons with minimal time in between.
This will greatly reduce the amount of training needed to reach the required standard for a PPL and will therefore save you a considerable amount of money. The cost of each lesson is based on your flight time, not the overall lesson duration.
Flying time is charged at our normal dual rate and most people pay at the end of each individual lesson, or pay in advance. For hourly training rates see our price list.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q.How do I begin?
Just book your first lesson. We will open a training file for you and advise you on the order of training.
Q.When can I take passengers?
As soon as you have passed your Skills Test and received your licence.
Q.Where can I get books and equipment for my training?
We have all the study material you require for your PPL for sale in our Aero Club shop. Just ask and we'll be happy to talk you through everything.
Q.What happens if the weather is bad on the day?
If the weather prevents your flight from taking place we can re-book your flight for the next available convenient date.