Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

Moderator: AndyR

By m.derbyshire1
Hi All.

I'm currently 13 and I have been on a trial flying lesson at EGNF.
Since then I have been absolutely obsessed with watching videos of people's first ever solo on YouTube.
Do you think starting to log training flights at 14 is too early, and is there a certain age at which you can take your exams?

Thank you for any answers :D
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By leiafee
Depending on how often budget lets you fly you might end up doing all of the cross country and so forth before solo but that not automatically a problem.

Have you got a gliding club nearby. Can solo younger in a glider and they tend to have very good deals for junior members.
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By davelee212
CAP804 is the CAA doc that tells you when you can do stuff:
http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/modalapplic ... il&id=6412

The gist is:

- you have to take all your exams within 18 months of each other
- once you complete your exams, you have 24 months to take your skills test and apply for your license
- you can log training from 14, fly solo at 16
- the CAA won't issue a license until you're 17

So.. work that back and you could take your first exam when you're 13 and a half years old and it'll still be valid by your 17th birthday. I don't see anything in the doc that says you can't take the exams younger than 14 but, either way, I'd leave it until later.

A lot of the theory will make more sense once you've done some flying and you don't need the pressure of expiring exam passes looming over you when you come to do your skills test!

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By Bluewings
I had a trial lesson at the age of 14 and have been hooked on flying ever since!
I flew when ever I could from the ages 14 to 16 and built up around 15 hours thanks to lessons for birthday, Christmas and out of the kindness of my parents, then from the age 17 to 24 I didn't fly at all due to money being tight.
At 24 I started thinking about it again and eventually had a trial lesson to get me hooked back on to it, with a full time job and a lot of overtime ive managed to finally finish and get the PPL!

When I started at age 24 all of the training I did years ago really helped and it soon came back and on the second lesson I was in the circuit getting ready for the first solo!

So in my similar experience to you, do all you can whilst your young and enjoy it, even if you don't fly all that often if you learn the basics I think its hard to forget.
Reading up on stuff will help you along the way too learn different checks off by heart IE FREDA, BUMFFICH, HASELL/HELL ect... and the phonetic alphabet.
Also I found using the flying training book with all of the exercises in to be very helpful, learning the order to do things IE power attitude trim.

I know it can be hard to learn the 9 subjects whilst alongside GCSEs at school, so as soon as you think you are in a position to fund the flying that's when I think it would be best to get the exams started and medical certificate sorted.

I completed the PPL about a month ago in 39hours (since starting again in 2015) so those early hours I had when I was around your age certainly weren't wasted when they counted towards the 45 needed.

Best of luck to you! I remember very well being in your shoes.
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By Morten
I like the attitude :thumleft:
I think Leia's suggestion about gliding is one you should look at.
Gliding is great because (i) you can solo earlier, (ii) many clubs have a decent structure in place for juniors (iii) gliding has a strong social aspect to it, and especially if part of (ii), it can make it much 'friendlier' than power flying (iv) there is a whole string of different gliding qualifications you can achieve, keeping you learning and improving, potentially being more engaging than obtaining an SEP PPL and "now what?" and, finally (v) it can be much cheaper.
I think (?) you can in some circumstances carry over 10% of your gliding hours (max. 10) towards your 45 minimum hours' requirement for a PPL, but regardless of that, the experience itself will certainly help you become a better pilot.

Anyway, regardless of what you end up doing, try different types of flying and see what you enjoy (see if you can try a microlight, a trike or even a gyro!). At your age, there is no reason to get stuck on any fixed course, but make sure you enjoy what you do 8) .

By pjl953
I started learning when I was 15, soloed when I was 16, and have my skills test on Saturday - just under a month after my 17th birthday. I am quite glad I didn't start too much earlier, I don't think I'd have wanted to wait until I was 17 to do my skills test had I finished the training any time before then - I would worry about a lack of currency leading up to the skills test - so my advice would be not to start quite yet, but certainly don't leave it too long.

However, it might be useful to get learning some of the theory for the exams (doing that as well as GCSEs/beginning of A-levels is not the most relaxing of things - so do as many before you get to that stage to avoid that!), and possibly having occasional lessons (once a month perhaps), so that you are still flying, but not so often that you will finish way before you are old enough - once a month easily turns into a lot less frequent given the weather here!

Whatever you decide to do, have fun - enjoy it, and don't be put off by people being surprised when you turn up at the airfield with your parents and people start asking which of them flies, and then being totally shocked when its you :lol: (that does disappear once people get to know you though)

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By Nick
You could also look what bursaries are on offer. They may be available for gliding. I am sure they are for microlighting. Try contacting the BMAA.
Edited to add.
You don't say where you are but try speaking to Strathaven or Cotswold airport they will be able to help with advise I'm sure.
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By Ben K
To echo what others have said;

-Go gliding
-Weekend job at airfield?
-PPL lessons as you can afford.

A number of young pilots I've trained did exactly that, went solo on their 16th, and got their license as soon as possible too.