Now you've flown an aircraft solo for the first time, it's now time to start working towards your Private Pilot Licence, or as we call it in the industry, your PPL.
From your first flying lessons you would have learnt the basics of flying an aircraft, i.e. straight and level, banking, stalling etc. However, all of your solo flying has only taken place within the confines of your airport circuit area. This is where your PPL training comes in.
It's now time to fly to different destinations!
Your PPL training is essentially learning to navigate, and yes, this involves reading a map! While your aircraft may have a certified GPS system installed, you're not allowed to use it, because on occasion these systems may fail.
You will also get taught how to complete pre-flight planning. This usually involves mapping out your entire flight, measuring the tracks and distances of each 'leg', and calculating the estimated flying time. You can then use this information to calculate the fuel required for the flight. Once you have this information you can then calculate your useful payload - the number of people or boxes of freight you can carry. Then it's time to go flying!
You usually complete about seven navigation flights, both with an instructor, and without! These flights generally range from two to three hours in duration. Once you have become proficient at navigating to different airports by yourself, you will sit your PPL examination flight.
The examination flight involves exactly what you have been taught during your NAVEXs (navigation exercises), and it is also generally around three hours in duration. You will also have to complete brief written and oral theory examinations, but don't stress, with the proper text books and instruction this isn't too onerous.
Once you have completed your PPL examination flight you can now exercise the privileges of your licence and carry friends and family to any airport you desire - as long as you do not charge or make money from these flights.
To perform the duties of a pilot for hire or reward, you are required to posses your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).
-- Stay tuned for the next blog in this series:
How to obtain your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL)