What are the main Pilot Licences?
PRIVATE PILOT LICENCE (PPL)
The minimum age to get a PPL is 17 and you will need to hold a Part MED Class 2 Medical Certificate.
A PPL for aeroplanes will allow you to act as pilot in command (PIC) in non-commercial operations on aeroplanes or touring motor gliders (TMGs). The exception to this is for holders of a PPL(A) with instructor or examiner privileges who can be paid for the following:
- Flight instruction for the LAPL(A) or PPL (A)
- Conducting skill tests and proficiency checks for the LAPL(A) or PPL(A) and any associated ratings or certificates.
- Flight instruction and crediting
You will need to complete 45 hours of flight instruction on aeroplanes, 5 hours of which may have been completed in an approved flight simulator (an FSTD – flight simulation training device), including at least:
- 25 hours of dual flight instruction,
- 10 hours of supervised solo flight time, including at least 5 hours of solo cross-country flight time with at least 1 cross country flight of at least 270 km (150 NM) that includes full stop landings at 2 aerodromes different from the departure aerodrome.
INSTRUMENT RATING (IR)
You will need an instrument rating attached to your licence if you want to fly under instrument flight rules. The instrument rating enables you to fly the aircraft solely with reference to the in-cockpit instrumentation. This means you will be able to fly in cloud and other circumstances of reduced visibility. You can complete an IR for the following aircraft categories:
Once you have completed you IR, you will be able to fly under IFR with a minimum decision height of 200 feet (60 m) on instrument approach procedures.
Before applying for an IR you need to have met certain pre-requisite requirements. These are explained below. You will need to hold a current and valid Class 1 Part medical or Class 2 medical with a valid audiogram to apply.
Aim: To gain an instrument rating by completing a standalone training course and operate aeroplanes under IFR and in IMC conditions.
COMMERCIAL PILOTS LICENSE (CPL)
The minimum age to get a CPL is 18 and you will need to hold a Part MED Class 1 Medical Certificate. If you hold a CPL you can, on the appropriate aircraft category:
- exercise all the privileges of the holder of a LAPL and a PPL. (To exercise LAPL privileges you will need a LAPL licence)
- act as pilot in command (PIC) or co-pilot of any aircraft operations other than commercial air transport
- act as PIC in commercial air transport of any single-pilot aircraft, subject to some restrictions
- act as co-pilot in commercial air transport subject to some restrictions.
Training requirements differ depending on the aircraft category and training route you take. These are set out below. However, in all cases, you must fulfil the class or type rating requirements for the aircraft you take your CPL skill test on. For example, if you are taking the skill test on a multi-engine piston aeroplane (MEP) class, you must have met the relevant flight training requirements. You must successfully complete theoretical exams and flight instruction at an approved training organisation (ATO).
AIRLINE TRANSPORT PILOTS LICENSE (ATPL)
The minimum age to get an ATPL is 21 years old and you will need to hold a Part MED Class 1 Medical Certificate. If you hold an ATPL you can, in the appropriate aircraft category:
exercise all the privileges of the holder of a LAPL, PPL and CPL. (To exercise LAPL privileges you will need a LAPL licence) act as pilot in command (PIC) of aircraft flown for commercial air transport operations.
Applicants for the issue of an ATPL shall have fulfilled the requirements for the type rating of the aircraft used in the skill test.
If you are applying for an ATPL (A) you will need to already: hold an MPL, or hold a CPL (A) and a multi-engine IR for aeroplanes and have completed instruction in multi-crew co-operation (MCC).
MULTI ENGINE PISTON RATING (MEP)
If you have not held a multi-engine piston (single pilot) rating before, you will need to complete at least 70 hours as pilot-in-command (PIC) on aeroplanes in addition to the below requirements. You must have a valid and appropriate class or type rating in order to do any flying other than flight instruction, skill tests or proficiency checks for the renewal of type or class ratings.
If you hold a type or class rating, you can act as pilot on the class or type of aircraft specified in the rating.
Training and testing
You will need to complete the following at an approved training organisation (ATO):
- at least 2.5 hours of dual flight instruction in multi-engine aeroplane operations under normal conditions
- at least 3.5 hours of dual flight instruction in engine failure procedures and asymmetric flight techniques
- You will need to take 7 hours of theoretical knowledge instruction in multi-engine aeroplane operations at an ATO.