Q What do I have to do to get my Private Pilot's Licence?
A To begin with, simply give us a call and arrange a convenient time to come along and have your first flight, we are open 7 days a week, 0900-1800 or dusk in the Spring & Summer. You can have a flight at any age, but the hours will not count towards the requirements for licence issue until you are 14, so we wouldn’t recommend doing much before that. Depending on which licence you decide to train for you must have 'logged' a minimum of 30-45 hours flying time (30 for a LAPL, 32 for the NPPL, 45 for a PPL) plus your qualifying tests, all of which must have been flown under the direction a qualified flying instructor, including a minimum of 6-10 hours ‘solo' (6 for a LAPL, 10 for the NPPL & PPL). Before you can fly ‘solo' you must be sixteen years of age and hold a valid medical certificate (the course you choose dictates the type of medical you require). You must also obtain ground training and pass 9 multi-choice exams on all subjects associated with your practical flying. Please see the Training Courses page of the website for more details.
How often you fly is entirely up to you, we can arrange anything from a full-time intensive course to once a month lessons, although the average student will have a lesson every week or two. As with learning any new skill, the more regularly you practice, the quicker you will progress, however the syllabus is very flexible and can be adapted to suit your individual requirements. For those customers who live some distance away, we usually suggest that they come to us for a day or half-day and have two or three flights each visit, but come less often so they spend less time & money travelling, this has proved quite a popular way of doing it and seems to work well. Most people simply pay as they go, settling their bill at the end of the day for whatever flying has been done. We do however offer a variety of block booking deals, please ask us for details as these do change from time to time.
Q How long does it take and what does it involve?
A You will receive your training in a dual-controlled aircraft; we use Piper Tomahawk, Warrior and Archer aircraft. Each flight will start with a pre flight briefing which lasts about 30 minutes and will be followed by a de-brief to make sure you have fully understood what you have done and cover any questions you may now have. We don't want to baffle you with too much information at once so don't be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to. As for how long it will take, there are many influencing factors involved with this; primarily the weather, financial constraints, how much natural ability & co-ordination you possess and your availability, there is no limit as to how long you take although the theoretical exams do have a validity period. If you can arrange to fly several days a week, it is possible to obtain your PPL in less than a month. If like most people you are unable to take 4 weeks off work, then it is more realistic to expect it to take 6 to 12 months. If you are having a lesson a month, then it is likely to take several years, but you will get there in the end.
Q What exams do I need to do for my PPL?
A There are nine written examinations to be taken: Air Law, Operational Procedures, Human Performance, Meteorology, Navigation, Flight Performance & Planning, Aircraft General Knowledge, Principles of Flight and Radio Telephony (there is also a Radio Telephony oral exam). All of the written exams are multiple choice requiring 75% or higher to pass, please see the licences sections of our Training Courses page for more details. With the help of our exceptional ground schooling in these subjects, you should have no difficulty with passing these, we have never had anyone who couldn’t attain a licence because of the theoretical knowledge requirements. All of the exams can be taken here with us at CFT. Depending on which licence (PPL/LAPL//NPPL) you are doing there are one or two flight tests to be undertaken these can also be done here at CFT with one of our in-house examiners.
Q I want to fly for a career, what do I do?
A Generally, in order to be paid to fly you need to hold a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL) or Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL), there are some exceptions to this rule such as; glider towing, parachute dropping and LAA coaching, however these are best thought of as paid hobbies, rather than actual full-time occupations. As we complete the transition to European regulation by EASA, giving flying instruction will return to the list of things you can be paid to do with a PPL.
However, if an airline job is your goal, then you have to choose between an integrated or modular course; There are only a few places that offer integrated training courses, we believe that for most people the modular option is more appropriate. The first step along the modular route to a professional licence is the EASA PPL, this would be followed by a Night Rating, probably an IMC Rating and some hours (experience) building, all of which can be undertaken with us here at CFT. During the hours-building phase, you would generally study the ATPL theoretical knowledge by distance learning and take the written exams. Then you will do a CPL flying course and multi-engine class rating, followed by the multi-engine instrument rating (IR). After which you can apply for your CPL/IR, for the airline industry you will really have to also complete a multi-crew co-ordination course (MCC) and a jet orientation course (JOC). You may also be required to get yourself an appropriate aircraft type rating to be employable, it just depends upon market conditions at the time. All of our instructors hold professional licences, have had to make these decisions themselves in the past and can discuss your options with you, if you are considering flying for a career we would strongly recommend you give us a call or pop in for a chat with no obligation. Professional licences are VERY expensive to obtain and it is vital to understand what you are getting into before you do anything.
Q I have some medical problems, will I be able to learn to fly?
A Essentially yes, if you can meet the DVLA class one standards to drive a private car, you can fly an aircraft (this applies to the NPPL only), even if you don't you can still fly with an instructor any time you want.
Q Should I get a NPPL, an EASA LAPL or an EASA PPL
A The answer we have to give to this is – it depends! You need to ask yourself why you want to learn to fly and what you think you would like to do after getting your licence. What kinds of aircraft will you want to fly? Will you want to fly abroad? Will you want the additional flexibility of an IMC or Night Rating? Will you want to add other ratings, such as multi-engine or seaplane? Also consider your medical fitness, this may dictate what licence you are able to attain. However, no matter which licence you eventually get, the basics of making an aeroplane go up/down, left/right, faster/slower, take-off/land are all identical, so you don’t need to make the decision until about half way through the course as the syllabi are initially the same, even then you can always change your mind later, although this may have a cost involved. If you get your licence then find that one of the others would be more suitable for the flying you find yourself doing, then you can change from one to another, further training and another medical may be required. We will discuss this with you during the early stages of your training and will be happy to advise you or answer any questions, although it is ultimately your decision.
Q Why should I learn to fly at Carlisle Flight Training?
A At Carlisle Flight Training we care about our customers and always strive to offer the highest standards of training and service. All the fully qualified, professional instructors here at CFT are permanent long term staff, who will take you right through your training and still be here for advice after you get your PPL. Our instructors teach because they want to and because they enjoy it; they aren't just building up flying hours at your expense for a year or so before heading off for an airline job. We are here to make flying fun and enjoyable, while keeping it safe and as cost-effective as we can. Carlisle is an excellent place to learn to fly, benefiting from 2 long, hard surfaced runways, so crosswinds are rarely a problem, full Air traffic Control facilities and navigation aids, but no large areas of controlled airspace (as you might find around international airports), so you can start your lesson more or less straight away, without having to fly 10 miles away first, also we do not suffer from delays holding for airliners, which can eat into your lesson time at larger airports. The airspace around Carlisle is open and uncontrolled, ideal for flying training, we are also surrounded by some beautiful scenery (Lake District, Pennines, Cheviots, Hadrians Wall & Solway Coast), so you can enjoy spectacular views as well as enjoy effective use of your lesson time. We own our own fleet of aircraft, which are maintained here onsite at Carlisle. We have a fleet of Piper models, which gives an easier transition between types, as there is commonality of design and construction. We also have two or more of each type, so your training should not be interrupted if an aircraft has a technical fault or is on maintenance, as there is always a second one available. Please to feel free to come along and give us a try, there is no commitment after your first visit.
Q Will I have the same instructor throughout my course?
A Generally yes, certainly until you reach solo flying standard, although an occasional flight with someone different towards the end of your training can be beneficial, remember though that instructors need holidays too.
Q What do I do after I've got my licence?
A Enjoy it! Initially you will probably just keep hiring the aircraft you learnt on, taking up your friends and family, (and it will be cheaper as you're not paying for an instructor) you might want to check-out on one of the other types of aircraft we have available. We offer a non-equity group scheme you may wish to consider joining, for a fixed monthly or annual payment, you benefit from a significantly reduced hourly rate and no base landing fees, this has proved to be very popular with our members as they complete their licence training. It can be rewarding and interesting to do some more advanced cross country flights, visiting other airfields. Popular destinations include the Isle Of Man, Ireland and the Scottish Isles, many of which have excellent hotels on or next to the airfield. You may even wish to venture into mainland Europe, taking a trip of several days or more, you may travel with friends and family, or with other club members to share the workload and cost. You can also upgrade your licence to include additional qualifications such as a night rating, AOPA Radio Nav. course, or IMC rating. To give you some continuing targets to achieve, AOPA has created the “Wings” scheme to encourage continued development of your skills and experience. Visit the AOPA website for further details.
You could even buy or build your own aircraft! We usually recommend that for at least 6, maybe 12 months you continue to use our aircraft, then once you’ve found what kind of flying you like doing most, find an aircraft that suits your requirements. As always we are here to provide an experienced opinion if we can help.
Q How long will it take to get my licence?
A The average is probably about a year, although it can be done in less than a month or spread over several years. It depends on the individual, their budget and time availability, which licence you are training for, your rate of learning and how much basic ability you have.
Q What happens if the weather is bad on the day of my lesson?
A There is usually something useful you can do, even when the weather is unsuitable for flying. Learning to fly isn't all done in the aeroplane, there is often some classroom theory work than can be usefully undertaken, understanding the weather is a very important part of the process. There are also some exercises which lend themselves to days when the weather is poorer, such as bad weather circuits, instrument flying and low-level navigation, so we will sometimes end up flying a different exercise to that which was originally planned. If the weather so bad everything is cancelled, we will rearrange your flight for another convenient time, there will be no cost to you for this.
Q Isn't learning to fly difficult?
A No, anyone can learn, we have had customers as young as 12 and as old as in their 80's.
Q Will I get my licence in the minimum hours?
A Possibly, it all depends on your ability, how regularly you fly and the weather.
Q Can I use my licence to travel for business?
AYes, if you're sick of congestion, traffic jams and delayed trains, you can hire one of our aircraft for business travel in exactly the same way you would hire a car. You or your business could even buy an aircraft if you travel a lot.
Q Can I charge people to go flying with me?
A Yes, but you are not allowed to make money, so if you take three friends flying, say to the Isle of Man to watch the T-T races for a day you can split the direct cost of the flight four ways and charge them a maximum of 25% each. You must always pay your own share.