Many young people look at aircraft in the air and wonder, "How do planes fly, and could I learn to fly one myself?". This article looks at what is involved in learning to fly and what you should do in advance of starting a flying course. It then investigates what is involved in getting a private pilots's licence in the UK.
Things to do before you undertake a flying course
Have a trial flying lesson
Before paying rather a large amount of money to learn how to fly, it is sensible to make sure that you are going to like it. The best way to do this is to go to any flying school and book a trial lesson. This is a first flying lesson, and these flying experiences are designed to show you what flying is all about. Read up about flying
You will do better on the PPL (Private Pilot's licence) course, if you read up about it. So after your trial lesson, ask what books you need, and then buy the introductory ones. Then you will know a little about flying before you start. Get an aviation medical
It is necessary to pass an aviation medical exam before you are allowed to go solo. However, it is a good idea to make sure you can pass this before you start the course. Many people have found that they have problems, which can be sorted out if you have time, but the more time the better.
The private pilot's licence course
What the course consists of
The course to learn to fly consists of a number of lessons, and takes a legal minimum of 45 hours flying time. However, it takes most people between 50 and 70 hours, or sometimes more, so do allow enough money and time to get your licence. What you will learn
You will start off learning the basic manoeuvres, such as how to fly the air plane straight and level, how to turn, and how to climb and descend. Then you will learn how to take off and land. More advanced exercises will cover what to do in emergencies, and how to do more complicated manoeuvres. At some point you will 'go solo', and after that you will learn about navigation and how to use the aircraft radio. The skills test
Finally, when your instructor thinks you are ready, you will do a final flight test, or skills test, with an examiner. If you pass this, you will get a private epilot's licence, which will enable you to legally fly for pleasure and take up passengers. But...don't think now know it all; it is often said that a PPL is a licence to learn. Happy flying!