Private Pilot's Licence

Please find below an in-depth view of the PPL Course. 

What's involved?

The European Aviation Safety Agency(EASA) specifies a minimum of 45 hours flying training, of which 10 hours must be solo. Clearly defined exercises cover aircraft familiarisation, climbing, descending, turning, slow flight, stalling and circuits, culminating in your first solo. Steep turns, emergency drills and instrument flying lead on to dual and solo navigation tasks. A 2 hour practical Skills Test in navigation and general handling completes the course for licence issue. Early lessons are usually about an hour in length, although later tasks may require up to 2 hours. Flying is normally booked in advance with the office. 

Are there any exams?

Yes, these are online multiple choice, produced by the CAA but undertaken at Southend.  Studying is self-study with instructors available to help with any sections as necessary.  There is a revision module and mock test before you are recommended to sit the final exam. 

The subjects are as follows: 

  • Aviation Law 

  • Aircraft General Knowledge

  • Principles of flight 

  • Flight Performance and Planning

  • Navigation

  • Meteorology

  • Human Performance and Limitations 

  • Communications

  • Operational procedures

Once complete you take a flying Skills Test and a oral test of your knowledge of the aircraft that you fly.

Age limits

No age limits apply to fly, however 14 is the lower limit for instructional flying. A minimum age of 16 years applies to solo flying and 17 years to holding a licence.

Medical requirements

A medical certificate is required before flying solo. Validity periods are dependant on age, i.e. Up to 40 every 5 years, 40-49 every 2 years, 50+ every 12 months.

Weather restrictions

Good visibility is important, especially in the early stages. Low cloud and strong winds can sometimes restrict operations. You are advised to phone us before setting out for the airfield to check the conditions.

How long will it take?

This necessarily is governed by aptitude, personal commitments, weather, and of course funds. Intensive courses are possible, though a more leisurely pace is usual (typically 8-12 months) when customised around your schedule. 

How much will it cost?

Course price and aircraft hire rates are available on request. It is important to bear in mind that 45 hours is a minimum requirement, extra hours will be charged pro-rata. All our prices include VAT where applicable. Discounts are available for students who are prepared to pay for the whole course in advance, and for lump sum payments towards flying. Conditions apply.

After you obtain your Private Pilot's Licence

Once qualified, you may hire the Club's aircraft and carry passengers (although not for profit). Cost sharing however is possible.

All club aircraft are available for private hire. The PA28-R Piper Arrow, comprehensively equipped for radio navigation and with a higher cruising speed than the trainers, is a popular 'step up' for the new and experienced licence holder alike. Dual differences training will be required; normally 2-3 hours with an instructor.

Maintaining your licence privileges

Your licence will be valid for life but your flying privileges need to be revalidated every two years. This is done in either one of two ways: 

  • The simplest is to have a Proficiency Check with one of our many examiners within the last three months of the validity. This is a flight test of your general handling skills and will normally last about one hour.

  • Otherwise revalidating is done with flying experience. You will require in the last 12 months of your validity period, 12 hours of flying. These 12 hours will need to be a minimum of 6 hours as pilot in command, there will need to be logbook evidence of 12 take-offs and 12 landings and there must also be a signed off dual flight with an instructor of at least one hour.

There are very few restrictions on where you can take a light aircraft. Trips to the continent are popular, or if touring is not your scene, then there is still pleasure to be had flying locally. Once qualified you will find it beneficial to add further ratings to your licence.