Polite discussion about EASA, the CAA, the ANO and the delights of aviation regulation.
Forum rules: Please keep it polite!
User avatar
By Paul_Sengupta
NPPL(M) to NPPL(SSEA) I believe is fine, and will remain fine.

However flying a PA28, an EASA aircraft, on an NPPL(SSEA) is currently under a derogation which at the moment is being renewed annually. So at the moment you may be fine but may not be after April next year if that derogation isn't extended. If we leave EASA, if and when Brexit happens, you may be ok for all time.

It's the NPPL(SSEA) to LAPL route which has expired.
By EchoGolf
Yes you can but the PA28 is an Easa aircraft which you can fly presently on an NPPL(A)(SSEA) license under a CAA "derogation" to permit such a licence holder to do so. See here: viewtopic.php?t=112939

For how long that derogation will keep getting extended your guess is as good as mine.

Any NPPL (ssea) obtained after April 2018 can not be converted to a LAPL(a)

Licensing and the present lack of progression with some sort of reasonable credit for the NPPL(SSEA) up is a crock if you ask me.
By TemperatureInversion
Have you made any decisions / progress EchoGolf?

I'm tempted to try the conversion to NPPL(SSEA) from NPPL(M) - though the anxiety of it possibly being just a short-lived experience in flying heavier aircraft does put me off somewhat. Especially as the circa £2k I'd expect it to cost to convert could pay for a multitude of microlight time!

Given the timeframe (between now and Brexit / April 2020) I'd imagine it is one of those:

If you have the money to spend and want to do it for the heck of it - then proceed.

If you have the money but want to be able to continue flying heavier aircraft - possibly wait until after April OR start a PPL?
User avatar
By Paul_Sengupta
I don't see how anything would stop you flying heavier aeroplanes.

1) You can fly UK national aeroplanes, i.e. Annex 1 (used to be Annex 2) aeroplanes, most notably LAA permit aircraft, though it does include some C of A aircraft and CAA permit aircraft. You can fly these forever*.

2) You can currently fly EASA aircraft on an exemption.

Regarding (2), there are three scenarios:

a) We stay in EASA, and the exemption isn't renewed in which case you'll lose that right (but not the right to (1) ).
b) We stay in EASA, and the exemption is renewed, in which case you can still fly EASA aeroplanes.
c) We leave EASA, in which case the aeroplanes will cease to be EASA aeroplanes and you can fly them forever*.

(a) and (b) aren't really related to Brexit, it's related to whether the exemption keeps getting renewed or not.

*Barring any unforseen circumstances.
Irv Lee liked this
By TemperatureInversion
Thank you for the reply Paul.

I should have been more explicit and not trigger happy in my post above.

My personal question / concern would relate to the likes of PA28 / C172 type aircraft - it seems a risk to me to upgrade when not knowing how long it may be possible to operate those types for.

I'm sure there are a few others like me who would like the conversion ability to be able to progress through to EASA PPL - though whether that route may open who knows!

In my particular situation I started flying microlights a few years ago as it was the only type of flying that I could afford. With a bit more money now I could afford the heavier side of flying (think PA28 not B737!) and would ideally like to get things such as night ratings / IR/IMC but acknowledge these would be more for the experience than any real world use.

I do really enjoy the microlight flying but can't help but feel the 'something missing' is the more complex aircraft operation element - things like VOR tracking and/or abilities to conduct instrument approaches....

And so back to my question above - in a situation such as this, with the desire to be able to fly more advanced aircraft - would the best route simply be trying for a EASA PPL or as I only intend VFR flying (until such time as I may win the lottery and get £100k) - take a gamble on the NPPL SSEA side of things?
User avatar
By Paul_Sengupta
I'd have thought that if you're an experienced 3-axis microlight pilot, then an SSEA conversion wouldn't be all that expensive. Alternatively, you can fit the kit to a 3 axis microlight, just not use it in anger! :-)
By EchoGolf
Have you made any decisions / progress EchoGolf?

No progress with the CAA or BMAA (which I recently joined as a student) unfortunately, and I gave up with pursuing it. The CAA neither answered my emails nor the phone despite promising to when I saw them at the Sywell LAA rally where they acknowledged they had my email.

If you read this month's (November 2019) MF magazine you will find a table of average hours to qualification by age group for an NPPL(M) within the "Training tips" article at page 20. Even the teenagers take 40+ hours and the average is 56 hours. There is also a very wide range of standards operated with the BMAA microlight schools and acknowledgement by them that there are more than a few unsatisfactory schools and instructors operating out there which continue to be allowed to do so, even made CFI. Then consider that the NPPL(M) because of the NPPL(SSEA) dead end is a license to nowhere if you want to progress up.

I have therefore reached some conclusions. I found that there remain professionally run PPL training schools in the UK training for less or about the same hourly rate as the microlight schools in aircraft such as the Grob 115 even 4 seater PA28. Such aircraft are also readily available to hire by the hour everywhere. Therefore if one is going to take 45+ hours to qualify, which the stats suggest, the right thing to do is to do the full international PPL from the beginning because that license is fully recognised internationally for a light aircraft not just a microlight within the UK. It can then also be readily endorsed in minimal time within the provisions of CAP804 to also get you your microlight rating if that is what you want to fly so you can then spaff £40k+ on a reasonable second hand rag and tube 3 axis microlight capable of actually going distance or £70k+ on a new one!

I now regret having started the NPPL(M) and wish I had known all this at the beginning and started with the full PPL instead and then sought the microlight rating afterwards, assuming I then still wanted to fly one. I've done 30 or so hours and 4 hours solo microlight training. I'm seriously considering writing off that training and starting a PPL even now.

Microlighting started as a cheap way to get airborne for your ordinary man. Unfortunately it no longer is and depending on the flying you want to do, starting with a GA PPL will certainly afford you more options going forward and may yet be a lot cheaper, internationally recognized, much more flexible and convenient.
By TemperatureInversion
Personally I think it'd be a shame to write those hours off but understand where you are coming from. It's not helped by the fact that previously there'd have been a way to upgrade through the licensing types to a full PPL via conversions/training/GST.

Microlighting works for me because I have a modest income and it is still cheaper to rent a microlight aircraft than a GA powered machine.

Whether in reality it results in more flyable time when considering weather vs cost of renting and available money - I've not tracked that - though expect the number of days where you could fly a SEP GA machine VFR versus a microlight out of 104 days due to weather a year is quite small.

From a renting / running point of view for me microlight flying still works out cheaper.

The lack of recognition internationally for an NPPL(M) is an annoyance for sure, -not so much for flying for me as I don't see myself VFR flying in France but just that there isn't the same level of freedom to be able to fly a plane in another country. A bit like if you had a UK only car driving licence!

While the cost would be large if it were possible, the lack of being able to operate a microlight at some airfields / airports in the UK is also a shame. In a GA SEP many more airports (though with large fees) would be open to you. However I'd very much like to think that in an emergency situation they'd make an exception and accept a microlight too!

On the other hand however a microlight can operate from fields where a GA SEP would be unable to do so, so arguably it depends on the type of flying you want to do.
By Bathman
There's some very professional microlight schools as there are some very professional flying schools. In no way is one better than the other.

Personally I would just finish the nppl(microlight) off then add an SSEA rating and see what happens.

Even with Brexit out of the equation and who knows what's going to happen there? The date when you can no longer fly EASA aircraft on a NPPL has slipped numerous times.

But even if it doesn't you do get credit from your nppl training towards your LAPL. That amount has to be decided by the flying school with a minimum of 15 hours dual and 6 hours solo.

So again I would suggest you finish the npp(microlight) add an SSEA rating and then see what happens.
Irv Lee liked this
User avatar
By Irv Lee
it's probably been mentioned but I've not noticed it on a quick scan read, but in case any other microlight pilots are reading this later and get the impression that a LAPL is actually needed for flying an SEP Eurostar in the UK, then it isn't. The only reason for a LAPL and a Eurostar would be to go abroad, in this case, EASA countries (subject to Paul's future options on EASA membership). An NPPL-SSEA would be right for UK use (permanently, as far as anything is permanent), and the conversion M-SSEA is not huge.
Of course, once you have an NPPL-M and SSEA together, even if you didn't fly SSEA at the moment, you can revalidate both by combination, eG; 11 hours in a microlight over 2 years plus 1 refresher training hour in an SSEA (subject to the "usual" NPPL revalidation rules of how hours are split over 2 years and how many take offs and landings). A few SSEA pilots I know have decided to fly microlights now do this - they only fly microlights for the moment, but keep their SSEA active by doing the 2 yearly training in that and get both revalidated with the combination.
By Nick
And don't forget the moves to up rate microlight to 600kg and the BMAA/LAA merger may well change everything. Therefore I would continue with the NPPL M

By dall1234
Having done exactly the route you describe, NPPL (M) --> NPPL (SSEA) --> LAPL, I really would recommend continuing to get your (M), then get the SSEA, then decide future actions.
Assuming you trained on 3-axis micro, then the training to SSEA can be surprisingly quick, and also very enjoyable. As Irv mentioned, the advantages of being able to revalidate across types within the NPPL is invaluable. Although training costs are very similar as you say, don't underestimate the freedom of being able to own an aircraft - that's when the microlight route comes into its own compared to owning or even renting the EASA types.
Nick liked this
By EchoGolf
dall1234 wrote:Having done exactly the route you describe, NPPL (M) --> NPPL (SSEA) --> LAPL, I really would recommend continuing to get your (M), then get the SSEA, then decide future actions.

The original grievance of the dead end of the NPPL(SSEA) following the change to not allow an upgrade or any kind of progression path to the LAPL (and beyond) for anyone who qualified with it after 7 April 2018 was the reason for my original post and your post suggesting otherwise is misinformed. There is no way around that unless a bigger person than me is able to get the CAA to agree that a full credit for the NPPL(SSEA) licence, rather than just the hours on type, is allowable against the LAPL when commencing training for the LAPL. Failing that, one is required to throw away all ones NPPL(M) hours when starting a LAPL. In effect you have to start again if you want a license valid outside of the UK. Your NPPL(M) microlight hours are worthless.

Furthermore at least the French will not recognise an NPPL(SSEA) at all even by concession, unless all of your hours for it have been completed on type.

Instead you should simply start with a fully internationally recognised PPL(A). Then having got your PPL(A), if you want to then fly microlights you just have to pass the microlight GST and Ground Oral exam (see CAP804, Part 2, Section 4.1.1. If you download it, it's page 872 within Adobe reader), maybe 2-3 hours additional microlight training. Better fully international license, a progression path up, internationally recognised and you have spent little or no more money than you would achieving the NPPL(M) on its own.

In short, the NPPL(M) and NPPL(SSEA) training and licenses are fantastically poor value as they are useless towards anything else. Add to that they are essentially invalid outside of the UK other than by concession, good luck with the French and why make life hard for yourself? Given the stats, it will likely take you more hours to do and NPPL(M), cost you more and the training standards will be at best a lottery over completing a PPL(A).

There is absolutely no reason to start flying training on microlights even if you ultimately want to fly microlights as things stand.

32 hours into an NPPL(M) (strictly speaking a NPPL(A) Microlight) I have realised I have been sold a pup, was misinformed by the Microlight instructor I have mostly trained with, who assured me in June 2019 that there was a progression path at the beginning to an international license. There isn't and there hasn't been unless you achieved your NPPL(SSEA) before 7 April 2018 and so can convert it to a LAPL(A).
User avatar
By flybymike
I do really enjoy the microlight flying but can't help but feel the 'something missing' is the more complex aircraft operation element - things like VOR tracking and/or abilities to conduct instrument approaches....

Not sure how much longer VORs will be around.

Just follow the magenta line, it’s easier and more accurate. :wink:
User avatar
By Paul_Sengupta
EchoGolf wrote:There is no way around that unless a bigger person than me is able to get the CAA to agree that a full credit for the NPPL(SSEA) licence

Well, it's EASA rather than the CAA. Our CAA would if they could. EASA aren't very keen on recognising national licences. Which leads me onto something which I know has been mentioned on here before without much reply...

The Full UK ICAO non-EASA PPL is still gurgling away beneath the surface and some of us are still on them. It may take some persuading, but there may be a way of getting one of these licences as an upgrade from an NPPL(SSEA). I don't know if anyone's tried talking to the CAA about this. The full UK PPL is generally only available for new applications on the back of an EASA PPL application. But it might be worth a chat with someone. Long shot, but it might be possible.

EchoGolf wrote:Furthermore at least the French will not recognise an NPPL(SSEA) at all even by concession, unless all of your hours for it have been completed on type.

They recognise an NPPL (M) though don't they? If you want to go abroad, take a microlight! :D