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

Moderator: AndyR

By danb_1985
#1793430
Hi all, first post

I am currently looking into the idea of learning to fly and looking for some advice on possibilities.

I’ve looked at either LAPL and PPL. Obviously, the first question is which should I choose? At the minute, I plan on just being recreational, and using the pilots license as a possible new goal to hit, so LAPL Seems the sensible, cost effective choice, however I wouldn’t mind the possibility of adding to my license and possibly even further down the line, actually using the license to get a job of some sort.

My main questions:

Is there much point in the lapl or should I just go for ppl? Is the lapl to ppl conversion a viable option later down the line or should I just look into the ppl straight away?

I am almost 35, if I didn’t learn till next year so going into 36, what are the chances I could actually go far enough to make a career (of some description) out of aviation?

Where can the ppl lead?

Would 2 lessons a month be ok or should I wait until I could do more?

I’m sure I will have more questions but thanks in advance for any responses
T6Harvard, Flyin'Dutch' liked this
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By Wicksay
#1793439
Hi,

Welcome!

I started at 50, wish I had started a lot sooner, so go for it without delay. The Journey to getting your licence is unpredictable so don't worry to much about any major decisions now, just get up in the air with any opportunity you can grab. In fact get some variety up front. I had a Glider lesson, 4 microlight lessons in Portugal, a trial flight at in PA28 at Shoreham and a Cessna at Biggin Hill. Then I settled on doing my PPL at Headcorn in Robins. It All counts!

Don't think about how many a month a week a year or how long it will take. It'll probably take me 2.5 years to get my licence what with Covid and weather and holidays and family and money.... It'll be what it'll be - said my instructor.

That's lots of great people and stories to read and experience to glean.

Enjoy the ride

Wicksay (Lee)
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By johnm
#1793442
@danb_1985 I would strongly advise PPL, as the UK's membership of EASA is not clear the future of LAPL is also unclear.

Think of the training as part of the experience rather than as a means to end so that essentially you are enjoying flying and learning from the first lesson onwards, the only thing that changes is that eventually you get to fly on your own and take passengers.

Welcome to the Forums! :thumright:
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By danb_1985
#1793451
Thanks to both replies so far. I’ve had a flight experience and that got me hooked. Just the freedom of being up there. I also have been through bad times lately and want this as a focus and something to enjoy.

That’s the first time I’ve seen someone say just enjoy it and just have whatever lessons you can. It’s refreshing
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By akg1486
#1793462
danb_1985 wrote:That’s the first time I’ve seen someone say just enjoy it and just have whatever lessons you can. It’s refreshing

As you can imagine, you're not the first poster with questions like this. If you'd browse through some of them, you'll see that what @johnm says is actually among the most common pieces of advice. And it's true: the training is not a prerequisite to have fun, it's just as fun as any flying you'll be doing later. Most pilots, including those with thousands of hours, will tell you that their first solo flight is among the most memorable of all.

Not being British and therefore not at all up-to-speed of the consequences of the UK's relationship with EASA as regards to LAPL, I can't help you there. I trained in 2003-2004, so I have a PPL: that's what was available then. Whichever way you go, make sure to pick a school/club where you feel comfortable. If you aim for leisure flying, pick a school that mainly cater for such students; it may be difficult to build friendships with 20-year olds who take lessons every day. You'll be assigned an instructor based on the school's schedule, but if you and your instructor don't click, don't be afraid to ask to change.

You'll find that the ground school is not really difficult, but it's a massive amount of things to learn, much of which will be new to you. So don't underestimate the effort it takes. If you can, find someone in your class to study with: it's helpful and makes the homework easier.

Make use of this forum if you have questions about any flying topic. There's a rule here that says that there are no stupid questions.

Welcome to the wonderful world of general aviation!
T6Harvard, danb_1985, JAFO liked this
By T6Harvard
#1793465
Hey Dan, welcome to the forum!

I am much older than you and my flying will be hobby only, but your question is a good one that I am still pondering. I like the idea of PPL but had thought LAPL would be sufficient.

I was a bit concerned that i am focussing on flying lessons as being the main experience, as opposed to actually getting my licence! but I like the way Johnm puts it as enjoying flying and learning. In fact I have just found out about a 'safety pilot' course, 10 hours to enable you to land a light aircraft if the pilot was taken ill. I really
fancy that as an intense intro to most aspects of flying.

I was also hooked thanks to an experience flight. Have since had one proper lesson and my immediate thoughts were a) I love this and b) I can do better next time!

I like the learning challenge, love the flying and I am sure you will too.

Keep us updated and post more questions. Forumites are very helpful.
By johnm
#1793466
Just to put my advice in context, I can't make any comment on career flying, but I learnt to fly aged 52, bought myself an aeroplane aged 58 got my Instrument Rating aged 62 and I'm now 73
danb_1985, Hazel C, t1m80 liked this
By danb_1985
#1793471
akg1486 wrote:
danb_1985 wrote:That’s the first time I’ve seen someone say just enjoy it and just have whatever lessons you can. It’s refreshing

As you can imagine, you're not the first poster with questions like this. If you'd browse through some of them, you'll see that what @johnm says is actually among the most common pieces of advice. And it's true: the training is not a prerequisite to have fun, it's just as fun as any flying you'll be doing later. Most pilots, including those with thousands of hours, will tell you that their first solo flight is among the most memorable of all.

Not being British and therefore not at all up-to-speed of the consequences of the UK's relationship with EASA as regards to LAPL, I can't help you there. I trained in 2003-2004, so I have a PPL: that's what was available then. Whichever way you go, make sure to pick a school/club where you feel comfortable. If you aim for leisure flying, pick a school that mainly cater for such students; it may be difficult to build friendships with 20-year olds who take lessons every day. You'll be assigned an instructor based on the school's schedule, but if you and your instructor don't click, don't be afraid to ask to change.

You'll find that the ground school is not really difficult, but it's a massive amount of things to learn, much of which will be new to you. So don't underestimate the effort it takes. If you can, find someone in your class to study with: it's helpful and makes the homework easier.

Make use of this forum if you have questions about any flying topic. There's a rule here that says that there are no stupid questions.

Welcome to the wonderful world of general aviation!


Thanks for the response. I fully intend, if/when I get started to take the ground work seriously. I hate failing, sometimes too much, so once I start I’m all in.

I had seen posts, not necessarily on this site, that claim you need to be taking lessons every week. As much as I intend to have the money to reduce gaps in lessons, it’s still a big monetary commitment so I was a little worried that was all. Watching youtube and reading some of the threads on here, is giving me a massive buzz to make this happen and get that first solo, then the license itself. I can imagine both give a massive sense of achievement
By danb_1985
#1793472
T6Harvard wrote:Hey Dan, welcome to the forum!

I am much older than you and my flying will be hobby only, but your question is a good one that I am still pondering. I like the idea of PPL but had thought LAPL would be sufficient.

I was a bit concerned that i am focussing on flying lessons as being the main experience, as opposed to actually getting my licence! but I like the way Johnm puts it as enjoying flying and learning. In fact I have just found out about a 'safety pilot' course, 10 hours to enable you to land a light aircraft if the pilot was taken ill. I really
fancy that as an intense intro to most aspects of flying.

I was also hooked thanks to an experience flight. Have since had one proper lesson and my immediate thoughts were a) I love this and b) I can do better next time!

I like the learning challenge, love the flying and I am sure you will too.

Keep us updated and post more questions. Forumites are very helpful.


I’ve not heard of the course you mentioned.

The challenge is what is motivating me to want to do this
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By Rob P
#1793473
The "you need lessons every week" thing is bollox unless you have some kind of strange memory issue.

Taking it at a leisurely pace may mean you take a couple of extra hours to reach your first (ppl) qualification. So what? It's all flying.

Top tip though, book your lessons in pairs if you'll be training at weekends. The weather will almost certainly bin one of them.

Rob P
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By T6Harvard
#1793474
It's the AOPA Flying Companion course. I have been studying lots of the theory that is required and the flying aspects of the course look great. Just to get me started :mrgreen:

Link https://www.aopa.co.uk/training-safety/ ... urses.html

If you can, go for the PPL. (The above course is not going to get you any sort of licence!).

My understanding is that you can't carry passengers with LAPL until you do 10 hours post-licence, so that's min of 30 hrs plus 10hrs, you may as well go for PPL at min 45 hrs and get more flying as part of the whole experience. :thumleft:
By danb_1985
#1793476
Rob P wrote:The "you need lessons every week" thing is bollox unless you have some kind of strange memory issue.

Taking it at a leisurely pace may mean you take a couple of extra hours to reach your first (ppl) qualification. So what? It's all flying.

Top tip though, book your lessons in pairs if you'll be training at weekends. The weather will almost certainly bin one of them.

Rob P


Cheers this makes me feel better about it being a hobby actually. Going at my own pace without monetary pressure
Rob P liked this
By danb_1985
#1793477
T6Harvard wrote:It's the AOPA Flying Companion course. I have been studying lots of the theory that is required and the flying aspects of the course look great. Just to get me started :mrgreen:

Link https://www.aopa.co.uk/training-safety/ ... urses.html

If you can, go for the PPL. (The above course is not going to get you any sort of licence!).

My understanding is that you can't carry passengers with LAPL until you do 10 hours post-licence, so that's min of 30 hrs plus 10hrs, you may as well go for PPL at min 45 hrs and get more flying as part of the whole experience. :thumleft:


That’s a very valid point actually. PPL seems the way to go
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By skydriller
#1793489
danb_1985 wrote:I had seen posts that claim you need to be taking lessons every week.

Rob P wrote:The "you need lessons every week" thing is bollox unless you have some kind of strange memory issue.


Id say both these statements are correct, it just depends how long you want to take to get your PPL and how you youself learn best - there are several discussions on here about immersive courses and taking breaks from learning, but be aware that I believe the written exams do have a validity period (2years?). As mentioned, do bear in mind that the weather plays a big part in this., so booking a lesson a week may mean you dont fly for several weeks, especially in winter. Additionally, dont get caught up in the "30hrs" or "45hrs" thing - These are the minimum requirements, it takes as many hours as it takes, I think 50-60hrs is average but everybody is different and as RobP says - "its all flying".

Regards, SD..
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By akg1486
#1793508
Another thing you can do is to hang out a lot at the airfields and get to know the local pilots. There's nothing a pilot likes better than to talk about flying, in particular to an interested and captive audience. (Don't believe everything you hear, though! :lol: ) It won't be long until you'll be offered the right-hand seat. Most pilots will be happy to accept a piece of cake as full "payment", but make sure up front there are no other expectations. If you go with someone to a different airfield, offer to pay the landing fee. It's flying, so it'll be fun and also educational. (However: do what your instructor tells you, not what you've seen some random pilot do.)

Later, when you have your licence in your pocket, extend the same courtesy to others. "Don't pay it back, pay it forward" as I like to say.
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