Training For Your Licence
If you decide that you want to learn how to fly these aircraft yourself, you will embark on a course of two-hour lessons, consisting of one hour's flying and one hour of briefing and debriefing. These will cover handling the aircraft in straight and level flight, turns, climbing and descending, stalls and, most importantly, the art of safe landings in a variety of conditions.
Once your instructor feels that you are completely safe to do so, you will take the big step of 'going solo' (normally after between 10 and 20 hours of training). This is generally a pretty nerve-racking affair, but is really satisfying (I can fly, I can fly!!!) and does entail a round of drinks in the pub for everyone present in the clubhouse at the time!
After that you need to do at least 10 hours' solo flying, practising all the exercises you learned with your instructor, with more dual training to cover navigation and more advanced exercises. You then do two cross-country flights involving landings at other sites, which again will give you a terrific sense of satisfaction.
After you have completed at least 25 hours of training, including your 10 solo hours, you are then ready for the big one, the General Skills Test (GST).
As well as your GST you will also take written exams on the following subjects: Technical, Air Law, Navigation, Meteorology and Human Performance & Limitations. Each winter we run a course of lectures on these subjects which not only gives you lots of extra information but enables you to meet and chat to other student pilots you may not otherwise see at the airfield.
To assist you there is an excellent book written by Brian Cosgrove, The Microlight Pilot's Handbook, which is recommended reading for all microlight pilots and is available from your instructor.
Once you have passed all these exams you can apply for your pilot's licence and, once received, you can take passengers (impress all your friends!) and join in the various trips about the country which are organised.
We are often asked how much it costs and how long it takes to get your pilot's licence.... the answer we usually give is "how long is a piece of string"! This is because everyone learns at a different rate - depending on your age, the frequency of your lessons, natural aptitude, luck with the weather etc. So although the minimum number of hours required by law is 25, in reality it generally takes people at least 45 hours, so you can calculate that, using the school aircraft, the cost will be about 45 x the hourly lesson rate. This is a very rough guide. This amount can be lessened by purchasing your own aircraft just before you go solo - you can purchase a perfectly safe and serviceable 2 stroke machine from as little as £1,500. Dual lessons in your own aircraft cost £20 per hour less than in the school aircraft, but the real difference comes when you go solo - solo supervision in your own aircraft is only £40 per hour, as opposed to the full hourly lesson cost in a school aircraft. Plus you can fly solo whenever you want, so long as an instructor is present and feels that the conditions are suitable for you.
If you find that you cannot make it along to your lesson, we would ask that you give at least 24 hours notice so that we can try to find someone to fill your slot. Unfortunately we have to charge for cancellations within 24 hours, since flying time is at a premium and we have so few good flying days that we have to fill each one. The charge for cancellations within 24 hours of your lesson time is £75 per hour - this is because it is then too late to be able to find someone to replace you, and this is what we will have lost, excluding running costs. If we are able to find someone then we will not charge you the fee so the more notice you can give us the better.
How Long Will The Training Take?
We occasionally get students or potential students who are in a real rush to get their licence - they are often disappointed! We reckon a realistic time scale might be 1-2 years. Some people can do it in less but life (and the weather) often gets in the way of deadlines.