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Thread: Hopefully a new NPPL(M) learner!

  1. #1

    Hopefully a new NPPL(M) learner!

    Hi all,

    I'm hoping to start to study to earn an NPPL(M) license in the nearish future. I'm a huge aviation fan and have always dreamed of flying myself. I'm 31 so thought that now is a good time. I have about 6 hours of real life hands on time, flying Grobs in the Air Cadets more recently a Ikarus C42 (trial lesson) and Cessna 152. I really like the look of the Eurostar and a local club (Eshott) flies them. I have another hour experience booked next week in a CT2k which will be my first flight in said aircraft.

    Back to learning... I have a few concerns; the main and most obvious is the cost. I appreciate that it is far from a cheap hobby but relatively speaking, the NPPL is the cheapest. If my immediate goal is to get NPPL and fly for fun, what's the best way to go about it? Fly as funds allow and pay on a per lesson basis, then investigate shares in an aircraft? My research into costs has illuminated how training pans out, but I'm a little clueless as to what happens after that. Realistically, time and money would only afford me 1 flight a month, but I'd happily do more if circumstances were to change. Do 'graduates' tend to join a club and just fly at the hourly rate?

    Secondly, I'm Type 1 Diabetic. My control is going through a bit of a rough patch so my current goal is to get that improved. My DVLA license is still valid and I'm perfectly safe to drive, but all T1 diabetics are limited to a 3 year license that has to be renewed. According to CAA docs I can find, this shouldn't affect my eligibility of getting an NPPL license but would anyone be able to confirm that self-cert is still valid for me?

    Ideally, I'd love to go for LAPL or even PPL, but I think realistically, it's better for me to go for NPPL due to cost and medical concerns. I don't wish to intrude on the finances of others, but I'm on ~30k with good savings, but not married nor do I have a mortgage (the better half owns the house) so I haven't decided if now is the best time to start either. I still have no idea if I'm 'rich enough' to pursue a license; it's quite daunting knowing that I'll be chucking a good 8k into a hobby!

    Anyways, regardless if I start this summer or in a couple of years, I'd like to start studying the theory. Can anyone recommend any invaluable resources? I'm about to buy The Microlight Pilot's Handbook (8th edition) and have been watching many VFR NPPL videos.

    Sorry for the very long post, and I look forward to hearing from you!


  2. #2
    Member Settling in
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Sarf-east UK
    Hi Harry,
    welcome to the mad bunch (ie microlight pilots).

    I can't advise on the medical side, but the nice people at the BMAA headquarters might. In terms of learning I'd suggest you consider amongst your options to learn in the way I learnt; by treating 'learning to fly' as your hobby as and when time/funds/health permit. Enjoy every lesson for what it is: a flight, a bit more experience, and a step along the road towards your licence eventually. It's not usually the quickest, nor overall the cheapest, way to get to your licence - but hey! it's flying, and as an active member of a microlight club you might even be able to blag passenger flights with qualified pilots.

    Doing it that way also avoids the need to commit too early to a path within the sport. As you get to know more about what's involved you'll also start to work out which aspects of flying you find most enjoyable and concentrate on those.

    have fun
    Last edited by Joan Walsh; 6th December 2018 at 16:23. Reason: minor change to text
    The pilot formerly posting as MadamBreakneck
    One-to-one ground school, ground exams , and certificates of experience. PM me for details.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 500 Club
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Dorset or Mayenne
    The medical requirements are to self certify your medical declaration. Basically if you can hold a car licence, you should be eligible for an NPPL. There are exceptions though but from what I read your diabetes is not one of them.
    Read this.
    Joan is right. Fly for fun. If somebody offers you a flight -take it. Whilst a student I was offered a flight one bank holiday with somebody who wanted a practice flight before a long trip. He asked if I would like to fly back. Bolt Head to Old Sarum took 90 minutes - on a bank holiday!
    The experience helped my flying confidence no end and helped me greatly. I started 20 years older than you and I am no sky God. I had to work at it.
    Do it. It will never be so cheap again. You will learn as much about yourself as you will about flying and if you can commit funds enough, then you are talking to the wrong people if you want us to talk you out of it. I now fly a single seater homebuilt that cost about 4K and have had years of fun out of it.
    In terms of useful advice, DON'T pay up front and burn all the receipts sight unseen. You can't put a price on achievement.

  4. #4
    Diamond geezer 500 Club
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    As you will discover, once the bug truly bites it will be like this:
    "How much money do you spend on flying?"
    "All of it..."

    The serious answer that I give people is that if you reckon you could afford to buy and run another car then you can buy and run a microlight aeroplane. The costs will be about the same and the range from cheapest to most expensive is similar.
    Martin Watson
    Microlights in Norfolk
    Fixed Wing Instruction - Exams and GSTs - Revalidations
    07805 716407

  5. #5
    First welcome!

    There is a lot of good advice above and Joan is dead right in that if you are short on cash treat the learning as the hobby and just enjoy it.
    When I started to learn all the wisdom was that it was way beyond my means, it didn't help that I had no talent for it whatsoever either. However I plugged on and must have tested the patience of my instructors as I aimed at what I could afford, that was initialy half an hour a month. That is a very slow way to learn, but it gave me half an hour of near paradise every month, sometimes if the weather had been poor for a month I had a whole hour. It took a very long time but hey, I was flying.

    That was many years ago, but I have no regrets for along the way I met with some fantastic people, some of whom I still know. When you hold that precious piece of paper in your hand there are still many ways forward. Full ownership of a posh piece of kit is only one of them, there is syndication, ownership of an older machine or even syndication of one of those. Also worth a look are SSDR machines, many of these are very simple aircraft, simple and cheap to run and look after.

    Your flying world is what you make of it so tailor it to yourself and have fun

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