Light Aircraft Pilots License
A quick overview of the LAPL
The Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL) is an alternative to the PPL as it requires less flight time.
There is very little difference between the LAPL and the PPL and many pilots find that the LAPL suits most of their needs and can typically be obtained in less hours than a traditional PPL.
What does it allow you to do?
The LAPL offers many of the privileges that a Private Pilots License however the LAPL has a lower minimum number of hours required.
A LAPL allows you to act as pilot in command (PIC) on two classes of aircraft: either a single-engine piston aeroplane (land) or touring motor glider (TMG) with a maximum take-off mass of 2000 kg or less, carrying a maximum of 3 passengers, with no more than 4 persons on board.
You will only be licensed to act as PIC in the class and variant of aircraft in which you passed your skills test, unless you undertake additional training.
What are the requirements?
Students can start logging flying hours at 14, fly solo at 16 and obtain a full PPL licence at 17
You must also be able to obtain a medical certificate from your GP or an Authorised Medical Examiner (AME).
If you don’t already have a licence you will need to complete at least 30 hours of flight instruction on aeroplanes, including at least:
– 15 hours of dual flight instruction in the class of aircraft you will be taking your skill test in.
– 6 hours of supervised solo flight time, including at least 3 hours of solo cross country flight time with at least 1 cross country flight of at least 150 km (80 NM) that includes 1 full stop landing at an aerodrome different from the departure aerodrome.
How long will it take?
The EASA requires a minimum of 30 hours flight time and completion of 9 ground school exams covering Air Law, Aircraft General Knowledge, Flight Planning & Performance, Human Performance & Limitations, Meteorology, Navigation, Operational Procedures, Principles of Flight & Communications
It is worth noting that this is the required minimum number of hours by EASA and every student is different.
For example – a student flying every week is more likely to obtain their license in less time than a student who is flying less frequently.
The LAPL is also only valid throughout Europe, so you may wish to obtain a PPL after completion of your LAPL.
The good news is you can count the hours gained from your LAPL license towards the EASA PPL, should you wish to complete this at a later date.
The required exams for the LAPL are the same for the PPL, so you would not need to pass a different set of ground school exams should you wish to gain a PPL after your LAPL license.
For these reasons, the LAPL is excellent for those with no prior experience.
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What will I learn?
Phase 1 – Basics
The first ten hours or so are spent in becoming familiar with the effects of the flying controls, learning how to fly the aircraft at a constant altitude, climbing, descending, turning and exploring what happens when the airspeed is allowed to reduce to the point where the wing of the aircraft stalls.
At the end of this stage you will have become confident in handling the aircraft both on the ground and in the air. You will most certainly have completed a take-off, and thus you will be equipped with all the basic abilities required for the next phase.
Phase 2 – The Circuit
The early lessons are conducted away from the airfield, but in order to get the maximum amount of practice in the next section, you return to the airfield for this phase. A circuit of the runway incorporates all techniques that you practised in phase 1, viz. A take-off, climb to circuit height, level off, fly parallel to the runway, turn and descend on to final approach, followed by the interesting part – the landing!
Your first attempts at this demanding exercise will, or course, leave a lot to be desired, but gradually your ability will improve to the point where one day your instructor will hop out the aircraft and send you off on your first solo circuit and landing. You are now well on your way to becoming a pilot!
Phase 3 – Practise
Once your solo flight is completed the rest of the course will alternate between dual flying and solo consolidation, i.e. practising the exercises you have been taught. By the end of Phase 3 you will have logged 2-3 hours solo time and you will have the ability to land the aircraft in different situations, e.g. without the use of flaps or power, and in adverse crosswinds.
Phase 4 – Putting it all Together
This phase includes all the exercises which will make you a self-sufficient pilot who will be able to both navigate the aircraft and to deal with all in-flight emergencies which could be encountered. You will be taught how to land in a field in the unlikely event of an engine failure, how to deal with various systems failures and how to fly by reference to instruments if forced into cloud by bad weather.
You will also be taught visual and radio navigation followed by your solo qualifying cross country navigational flight. Your course will then be completed with a Skill Test in which you demonstrate your new-found skills to a CAA approved examiner.
Written tests have to be passed at appropriate times during your training to ensure your theoretical knowledge keeps pace with your practical flying progress.
Should I go for the LAPL or the PPL?
If you just want to fly a small aircraft of up to 4 seats with your friends and family within Europe, a LAPL is more than sufficient and it potentially saves you up to 15 hours of flight training that would have otherwise been required for the PPL license.
The curriculum between the LAPL and the PPL is very similar (the exams are the same!) and any experience gained in studying for your LAPL can be considered for the PPL. So there is nothing to lose by starting out with a LAPL license.
For these reasons most students at the club usually start with a LAPL and decide whether to upgrade to the PPL at a later date.
30 hours minimum
Flying EASA Aircraft within Europe
Valid for Life (with regular flying)
Lower Medical Requirements
Night & Aerobatic Ratings can be added
Aircraft with Max Take-Off Weight of 2,000kgs, carrying a maximum of 3 passengers
45 hours minimum
Flying EASA Aircraft Worldwide
Valid for Life (SEP renewed every 2 years)
Class 2 Medical Required
Night, Aerobatic, Multi-Engine
& Instrument Ratings can be added
Aircraft with Max Take-Off Weight of 5,750kgs, carrying a maximum of 19 passengers