1. Hold a valid Class 2 (or class 1) medical from an Authorised Medical Examiner.
- List of AME's Renewing medicals depends on your age. Up to 30, valid for five years, up to 50 valid for two years, over 50 valid for 12 months. The closest AME is in Wateford - Dr Malachy Coleman, The Keogh Practice, 27 Ballybricken, Waterford Tel: 051 855411. You will need a valid medical for the issue of a Student Pilot's Licence for going solo.
- There are nine exam subjects and the pass mark is 75%. You must pass all exams within 18 months. See more on ground school below. List of Exam Dates and Exam Application Form
- Of the 45 hours there must be at least 25 hours dual instruction and at least 10 hours of supervised solo flight time, including at least five hours of solo cross-country flight time with at least one cross-country flight of at least 270 km (150 NM), during which full stop landings at two aerodromes different from the aerodrome of departure are made. Up to 10% of flight experience (10 hours max) can be also be credited for anyone who holds a helicopter, microlight(three-axis), gyroplane or glider pilot license. There must also be a minimum of 5 hours instrument appreciation.
- The test will be conducted by an IAA examiner and must take place within six months of completing flight instruction and within two years of passing the first written exam. You must have at least 5 hours dual or solo in the preceding 90 days.
The minmium age to log dual flight instruction towards the grant of a PPL is 15. To apply for a Student Pilot Licence and therefore fly solo under supervision of a flight instructor is 16. To apply for your skill test (flight test) to be granted your Private Pilot's Licence is 17.
The EASA PPL(A) is an ICAO licence and is valid throughout Europe and internationally. Successful students in the Recreational Flying Club are issued with a TMG (Touring Motorglider) Class Rating with the option to add an SEP (Single engine piston) Class rating. The full acronym if you want to impress your friends would therefore be EASA PPL(A) SPA with SEP LAND and TMG class ratings. It may also be of interest to know that adding a National Microlight licence to this simply involves a 5 hour conversion.
The licence entitles you to fly aircraft in daylight and visual meteorological conditons (VMC) which means clear of cloud, in sight of the ground and purely for private purposes.
Even flying for fun is a substantial consideration for most people. However the Recreational Flying Club has a committed aim to make PPL(A) training as affordable as practical and reviews its costs each year. It is impossible to say how much pilot training will cost a student overall but a quick summary of the current club rates/fees can give an idea:
- Instructor: €40 per lesson
- Aircraft from: €110 per hour
- Ground School: €400.00 (including copy of notes)
- Membership: €300 per year or 12 consecutive monthly payments of €25
- Materials/Equipment: Various but you will need at least - Manual Flight Computer (Whizz Wheel), Plotter or Square Protractor/Ruler, Kneeboard, Sunglasses and Log Book. Many pilots will buy books for the groundschool, a time for distance scale, VFR aeronautical charts, stopwatch, headset, spare sunglasses, flight log pads, magazines and all sorts of other gadgets, equipment etc even if they are not strictly necessary. For your first few lessons however you only need yourself, a pair of sunglasses and ideally a log book to start logging those hours.
- Plus Current IAA Charges
Lessons are booked in two-hour slots of which one hour will be in the aircraft. The rest of the hour involves discussing the lesson with the instructor (pre-flight briefing), preparing the aircraft for flight(pre-flight/walkaround), a review of the flight after the lesson(de-brief) and answering any questions. Your lesson can naturally be hampered by the weather but if this looks likely you will be informed in advance. Even in the introductory flight the instructor will hand controls over to you and you can log the time spent in the air.
There are 19 flight exercises that you will cover in gaining your licence and you will cover some exercises many times like learning the circuit pattern, soloing, navigation etc.
The club has one flight instructor (Peter Tawse) who is dedicated full-time to training you to become a private pilot. One instructor ensures each and every time you have a lesson you don't waste expensive flying time re-tracing something you covered with another flight instructor.
The Ground School
Ground school is offered in the clubhouse during the winter when there are less opportunities to get in the air. To sit your written exams you must complete a course of theoretical knowledge that covers various topics including Air Law, Aircraft General Knowledge, Flight Performance and Planning, Human Performance and Limitations, Meteorology, Navigation, Operational Procedures, Principles of Flight, Communications and General Flight Safety. Exams are held usually in the Gresham Hotel in Dublin. You must sit all four exams on the first attempt. The four exams covering these subjects are:
- Flight Performance and Planning
- Human Performance and Limitations
- Air Law
- Aircraft General Knowledge
It is also recommended that you study the material in your own time as well and some exercises to help you will be provided. There are many textbooks and CD-ROM material that can help and a quick search on the internet will return all kinds of PPL study aids.
Peter Tawse first started flying in the 1970's in the UK. He has instructed in a wide variety of aircraft over the years. Peter holds a Flight Instructor's Rating for both Single-Engine Piston Landplane and Touring Motorglider.