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Hello and help! (PPL or LAPL or UL)

Hi all,

I’m brand new to the forum and this is my virgin post, following much reading of various threads.

Firstly, I can see many similarities (friendly, helpful and enthusiastic members) to a forum I was previously a member of (for my car, which I subsequently had to sell due to moving to the continent as the steering wheel was on the wrong side). No such issues in an aircraft luckily!

Having done much research on this forum, online and with pilots, there are still some outstanding questions that I wondered could be answered by the vast number of experienced members here.

Being a Brit now living in Belgium (many thanks to a fellow Belgian resident – Jan_Olieslagers for already helping to answer some questions), politics aside, I have decided to pursue a life-long dream of learning to fly here, but the question still remaining is; should I do PPL, LAPL (if I can find a school providing it) or a microlight licence?

My objectives of learning to fly are the following:

  • For pleasure, by VFR, not needing to fly at night
  • To eventually be able to take a passenger (one is enough)
  • To eventually be able to buy and keep my own aircraft (budgeting style for it as a second car)
  • To take a small amount of luggage (one bag)

Reading this you may think the obvious choice would be a microlight licence, but here are my last objectives which throw a spanner in the works….

  • I’d also like to be able to fly to other EASA countries, and as I understand it, a microlight licence would technically not permit that. Notwithstanding the helpful document prepared by the EMF on microlight flying in Europe, which reveals the possibilities for flying to multiple countries, the legal and regulatory aspects are often interpreted or implemented differently in different Member States e.g. the long discussion on here concerning the ELP / FLP for radio communications…
  • Whilst my French isn’t bad, I’d be more comfortable taking theory exams for any licence in my mother tongue, and whilst I understand that the PPL and LAPL would be regulated under EASA (and therefore the theory courses could be available in English from some schools in Member States and/or there could be some degree of recognition of theory quaifications between Member States??), would a UK microlight theory pass be recognised in another Member State?

Apologies for the long post and multiple questions, but I thought I’d make my first one a good one! As a way of saying thank you in advance for any help – here’s a crate of my fave Belgian beers, which I hope to be able to bring to some of you on a flight across Europe in the near future (subject to the licence I gain and MTOW restrictions!)

Any advice or opinion would be appreciated!

Jamie

Last Edited by Jamie at 18 Aug 10:55
EBCI Charleroi, Belgium

Hi Jamie,

While I can’t comment on your specific microlight questions very much, I’d like to say welcome to the forum from not so far away.

If you’re ever around the Dusseldorf area and feel like trying out PPL-level flight to help you with your decision or maybe just for fun, do let me know.

We also have very nice local beer:

Hungriger Wolf (EDHF), Germany

Hi Jamie,

And welcome!

I think a lot of this is just personal and there isn’t any right or wrong answer.

But in your three options, I would rule out a LAPL. I just don’t see that there is any real saving in terms of cost in obtaining the licence. Yes the minimum hours is less than a PPL, but generally most people take more than that anyway. So if you have to do enough hours to get the PPL, why bother with a LAPL? Might as well have the PPL.

Regarding the microlight Vs PPL, that’s much tougher. The big attraction to microlights as I see it, is lower operating costs. You’ve noted some of the disadvantages.

But one that you haven’t noted yet is speed. While some microlights can match non-microlight GA aircraft in terms of speed, they usually are much more expensive than most microlights. You might not think speed is a big issue, until you start looking to go somewhere far away and realise that if you take off when your local airport opens, you might not make it to your destination before they close (allowing for fuel stops and time zone changes etc). For me this would be a big issue, but given your location, it might not be such a big issue. Worth considering though.

Colm

EIWT Weston

Welcome to EuroGA, Jamie

Having been hanging out in GA for 16 years, I would not recommend the ultralight route to someone in your position unless it was dictated by financial constraints, and then you won’t likely be doing much flying anyway, beyond the local area.

Go for the full PPL.

In life, you can always downgrade

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Jamie wrote:

No such issues in an aircraft luckily!

Hmm, in an aircraft is a flying machine operated with a stick in the right hand, and a throttle in the left hand

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

Peter wrote:

Having been hanging out in GA for 16 years, I would not recommend the ultralight route to someone in your position unless it was dictated by financial constraints, and then you won’t likely be doing much flying anyway, beyond the local area.

Go for the full PPL.

I strongly disagree. Unless you are going for:

  • Homebuilt (experimental)
  • IFR
  • Acro

- going for “full” PPL is a waste of time and money (in 90% of the cases). You get to fly much more with a microlight – and – you get to tinker all you like with your own aircraft. You can take the PPL Theory in any case.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

Full PPL is way to go. You can fly microlights with it while other way around you can’t and you would have to do everything from the scratch. Price difference is probably negligable, especially when you compare what you get. If you anytime in your life decide to progress PPL is platform to start from while LAPL is dead-end.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

going for “full” PPL is a waste of time and money (in 90% of the cases).

For someone doing local burger runs, definitely.

you get to tinker all you like with your own aircraft

Some want to, some don’t want to, some can, some can’t, some get into a syndicate so somebody else does it (that arrangement usually falls apart) and many would like to but can’t due to airfield politics, etc. But for sure the financial savings of own maintenance are accessible only if, ahem, you do your own maintenance One needs to be aware of where flying costs are actually incurred. It’s a bit of a niche market…

Price difference is probably negligable, especially when you compare what you get. If you anytime in your life decide to progress PPL is platform to start from while LAPL is dead-end.

Totally agree, for a given / adequate level of flying and navigational competence.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Take ATPL exams and PPL. You will at least know something about aviation. Ultralight theory now takes about 2 hours… So it’s a bit dangerous.

Many thanks to all so far for the advice and welcomes.

Some interesting discussions – I have read mixed responses to the LAPL from many sources.

An option I had considered was going for the PPL (or LAPL) and in the long-term scheme of things (considering children will be a planned “cost” in the future), then flying microlights or SSEAs (after differences training).

If my understanding is correct, flying a microlight or SSEA would not count towards maintaining SEP privilages for the PPL, but I cannot find much information on how this would affect recency / currency for LAPL.

Can anyone shed light on this issue?

Last Edited by Jamie at 18 Aug 14:03
EBCI Charleroi, Belgium
107 Posts
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