Questions & Answers

Frequently Asked Questions

Below we answer some of your frequently asked questions, but if there’s a question you can’t find the answer to please just ask! You can reach our team on 07708302803 or via info@alba-airsports.co.uk and we will be happy to have a chat and answer any questions you have.

Who can learn to fly?

Flying is a much more affordable and accessible sport than most people realise, and almost anyone can learn to fly. As long as you are over 14 years of age and fulfil the height and weight requirements for each aircraft, you can learn to fly with us. 

Is learning to fly expensive?

Flying is a much more affordable and accessible sport than most people realise with flight experiences starting from as little as £80. A flying experience is an affordable gift option for a milestone birthday or other special occasion when you’re looking for something unique and memorable. Pilot training starts from £120 for a two hour experience including an hour in the air and an hour safety brief, introduction to the controls etc. Training can be done over a period of time so you can spread the cost of achieving your license. 

Is there an age limit for flying?

In order to fly with us you must be over 14 years of age and there is no upper age limit so as long as you are fit and well you can continue flying with us for life!

Can I take my camera?

Yes, you can take a camera into the cockpit with you on an accompanied flight experience to take photos of the stunning Scottish scenery you’ll pass during your flight experience. For safety reasons all cameras must be tethered e.g. to your wrist with a strap or round your neck attached to a lanyard.

What is a microlight aircraft?

A microlight aircraft is simply a small aircraft with no more than two seats which has a maximum total weight authorised (MTWA) of not more than 450kgs, or 472.5kgs if equipped with a ballistic parachute recovery system. Microlight aircraft have a stall speed not exceeding a calibrated airspeed of 35 knots.

There are three main types of microlight:

  • Fixed wing (or 3-Axis) which looks more like a conventional aeroplane.
  • Flexwing (Weight-shift) which consists of a delta wing similar to a hang glider with a trike unit suspended underneath.
  • ParaTrikes (Powered Parachutes) have a ram-air or parafoil canopy, below which a suspended wheeled power unit carries the pilot and passenger.

At Alba Airsports we offer flying lessons in Fixed wing or Flexwing microlight aircraft. 

Do I need a licence to fly a microlight aircraft in the UK?

Yes, to fly a microlight in the UK you must hold a Pilot’s Licence. The National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL) with a microlight class rating is the most time-efficient and cost-effective method of gaining your wings. 

The NPPL is a UK specific pilot’s licence developed in 2002. It is not an internationally recognised licence and does not automatically entitle the holder to fly aircraft in other countries. 

To obtain an NPPL with a microlight class rating you must complete flight training with a UK Civil Aviation Authority authorised flying instructor entitled to instruct on microlights like Alba Airsports. 

What are the medical requirements to pilot a microlight aircraft?

A pilot may only fly microlights as Pilot In Command in the UK if they hold a valid medical certificate. The NPPL medical certification can be completed by Self-Declaration on the Civil Aviation Authority website. Other accepted medical certification may be available, but applicants should check with their instructor prior to solo flight. We strongly recommend that student pilots obtain their medical declaration at the start of their training to ensure that they will be able to hold such a medical.

What are the NPPL microlight flight training requirements?

The minimum flight training required for the grant of an NPPL with a microlight class rating without operational limitations is a minimum flight time under instruction of 25 hours. This is made up of dual flight training with an instructor including navigation exercises and solo flight which includes solo navigation exercises.

At the end of your flight training, you must take and pass a test with an authorised flight examiner to demonstrate your ability to fly a microlight through all the manoeuvres that you will have learned during training. The test is called the General Skills Test (GST). The flight time of the GST can count towards the minimum total flight time required to obtain the NPPL but not towards the solo minimum time.

What are the NPPL microlight flight training requirements?

The microlight syllabus lists the subject matter that an applicant for a microlight class rating must understand. There is no minimum requirement for training by an instructor to achieve this knowledge, but the applicant must have demonstrated a knowledge of the subject matter by passing examinations.

There are written examinations in five subjects. Meteorology, Navigation, Aviation Law, Human Performance and Limitations, and Aircraft Technical subjects. These examinations must have been passed within the twenty-four months immediately prior to applying for your licence.

There is a final oral examination to assess your knowledge of the aircraft type that you have used to complete your GST. This examination must be conducted by a flight examiner entitled to examine in microlight aircraft. It is usual, but not required, that the examination is conducted at the same time as the GST by the same examiner. The ground oral examination must have been passed within the nine months immediately prior to applying for your licence.

How do I apply for my NPPL microlight licence?

Application for an NPPL with a microlight class rating must be made via application form through the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) Licence Administration Centre at the BMAA office address. This is much easier than it sounds and your instructor can support you with the relevant paperwork. 

To achieve a license with microlight class rating without limitations, the following is true:

To remove Limitation 2 the holder must have completed at least 25 hours of total flying in microlights, at least 10 hours of which must be solo flying in microlights certified in their logbook by a flight examiner.

To remove Limitations 3 and 4 the holder must have completed at least 25 hours of total flying in microlights, at least 10 hours of which must be solo flying in microlights certified in their logbook by a flight examiner. The holder must have completed the navigation training requirements specified in flight Exercise 18 within the twenty four month period immediately prior to applying to have the limitations removed. 

What will I need to gain my NPPL microlight licence?

1) Complete a minimum of 25 hours of flight training of which:

a) a minimum of 15 hours of dual flight training with an instructor

b) a minimum of 10 hours of solo flight training which includes 5 hours of solo navigation training, including 2 qualifying cross country land aways.

2) Complete 5 ground school examinations, including Navigation, Meteorology, Air Law, Human factors and Aeroplane technical.

How much will it cost to complete the course?

The average student will spend from £3,500 to £4,500 to complete the full course of training. Students are charged for flight lessons based on ‘engine time’ (from engine start to engine stop). The current rate for a 1 hour flying lesson on a school aircraft is £120 for flexwing aircraft.

All flight lessons include a pre-flight classroom briefing that will cover theoretical and practical elements of the upcoming air exercise. The pre-flight brief takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes and there is no charge for this classroom briefing.

There are also nominal administration and processing charges for each exam when taken. Where a student feels s/he needs supplemental ground school tutoring, this can also be arranged on an hourly paid basis.

Can I fly any type of microlight aircraft with my NPPL licence?

Yes, you can fly any type of microlight aircraft with an NPPL license as long as you have conducted sufficient training with an instructor qualified to give instruction on the type you intend to fly.

What are the requirements to achieve a full PPL(G) rating?
  • A minimum of 40 hours flight training (Dual & Solo) for ab-initio students or a minimum of 25 hours flight training for converting pilots, of which 
    • a minimum of 15 hours of dual flying training in gyroplanes and 
    • a minimum of 10 hours of solo flying in gyroplanes including a minimum of 3 hours of cross-country, defined as a flight which takes the aircraft a straight-line distance of more than 10 nautical miles from the departing airfield, a minimum of 2 cross-country return flights where a landing is made at an airfield different from the point of departure and the return flight is made to the departure airfield on the same day. The route taken to the destination airfield must be more than 25 nautical miles. Each cross-country flight must follow a different route.
  • 5 ground exams covering Air Law, Meteorology, Navigation, Human Performance & Limitations and Gyroplane Technical (only Gyro Technical required for converting pilots).
  • Ground Oral and Flight Skills Test on completion of the course with an approved flight examiner.
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If you’re interested in getting your license, don’t be intimidated by the licensing requirements. Our instructors will work with you to prepare you for every step in the process and you can complete the process at your own pace with our support. We are proud to have a 100% pass rate. 

Will I need to buy my own aircraft?

You can self-hire the school aircraft G-DTAR, although most students eventually purchase their own aircraft outright or join a syndicate of owners. Good condition second-hand machines cost less than you would normally spend on a second-hand car. New machines are also relatively inexpensive compared to conventional aircraft.

What is the cost of aircraft ownership?

Under the CAA Permit to Fly scheme, microlight aircraft owners can perform most scheduled maintenance requirements on their own. This keeps the cost of ownership to a minimum. An annual inspection by a certified inspector is required to ensure the aircraft is safe and airworthy (similar to a vehicle MOT) and the cost for this inspection is approximately £100 for flexwing or £150 for fixed wing aircraft. 

Microlight aircraft operate from airports, airfields, farm strips, private fields etc so cost of hangarage varies depending on the location and facilities. Monthly hangarage rates for a fully rigged flexwing microlight aircraft average around £110 – £120 per month at Perth Airfield where Alba Airsports is based. For those in syndicate ownership, the costs are shared by agreement amongst the aircraft owners keeping the cost of ownership lower still.

Alba Airsports offer suitably qualified pilots the option to self-hire our school aircraft from as little as £95 per hour including fuel and insurance, so even if you don’t have the means or desire to purchase your own aircraft, you can still fly regularly. 

Covid 19 News

Update 16/04/21: - The flight school is now open and accepting bookings for Experience Flight voucher holders and PPL(Gyro) and NPPL(Microlight) flight training.

Thank you everybody for sticking around with us here at Alba Airsports.