The private pleasure of flying
Note: This is a four-part series of features by Brookmans Park resident Jet, about the pleasure of flying. Part one offers an introduction. Part two deals with preparation and examinations. Part three includes practical flying instructions. Part four talks of the joy of earning your wings and includes some frequently asked questions.
Preparation and examinations
The majority of training aircraft have enclosed cabins, with rudimentary heating and ventilation systems.
Special clothing, such as helmet, goggles and scarf with coat hanger wire, is not required.
Sensible shoes are a must for rudder/brake control. Trainers and high heels are not advised.
Whilst a handlebar moustache can certainly give kudos to the wearer in the club bar, it is not a requirement, and in the case of lady pilots, a distinct disadvantage.
As one progresses, itís worth purchasing a head set; a matching pair will be needed when you are in the position to take a passenger.
You will also need a flight case, not for appearances, but to be a safe container for your headsets, together with the navigation equipment and other items that will be needed.
How It Was
Up until recently, the standard type of private licence was the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) United Kingdom Private Pilot's Licence (PPL). This had a minimum requirement of 40 hours flying before it could be issued and qualified a pilot to fly anywhere in the world, subject to minor additional requirements depending on the country.
With the harmonisation of rules between many countries, this has now been replaced with Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) licences, designed to provide a Europe-wide level of competence. Click here for a PDF file of member countries. As usual a simple thing that worked for almost a century has become complicated.
Thereís a choice of two types of initial licences, which the novice will be aspiring to. The first is the JAR PPL (Aeroplanes) which requires a minimum of 45-hours flight training before issue, together with regular medical examinations by an aviation doctor. This type of licence can have further ratings issued to cover night flying, instrument flying, and aerobatics, etc, again all subject to additional training.
The increased cost of this alteration to the original PPL led to another type of licence being agreed to by the various professional bodies involved in aviation.
This licence, the NPPL or National PPL, requires a minimum of 32 hours flight training and limits flying to the UK in good weather conditions during daylight only.
The NPPL can be upgraded to a standard PPL after additional training. It has the advantage of being a qualification for pilots who wish onlyto fly in clear conditions in this country, and has the bonus of needing only a GPís certification of fitness similar to that issued to HGV drivers.
To understand the nature of aviation, it is a requirement to pass examinations in various subjects. These can be undertaken by private home study and/or specialised classes, organised by the flying school. It is a distinct advantage to attend individual subject classes with examinations at the end of each class. The subjects are all interesting and readily understood. They comprise seven separate examinations.
The examinations are the same for either licence option.
Full details are available at www.nppl.uk.com. They appear complex, but are, in fact, quite straightforward.
Once the examinations have been passed, the practicalities of learning to fly can be concentrated on -- and this will be the subject of the next article.
© Jet - January, 2003
This is a four-part series of features by Brookmans Park resident Jet, about the pleasure of flying. Part one offers an introduction. Part two deals with preparation and examinations. Part three includes practical flying instructions. Part four talks of the joy of earning your wings and includes some frequently asked questions.
The three nearest airfields offering flying lessons are Panshanger, Elstree and Stapleford. There are a number of flying schools operating in the area including the East Herts Flying School, The London School of Flying and Firecrest Aviation and Stapleford Flying Club
Finally, the author wanted it pointing out that the four features on flying are based on his own experience and he accepts no liability for any damage that may occur in the pursuit of aviation following the reading of these articles.