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How to get the Private Pilot License

The Private Pilot License or PPL(A) is the best way to get started and take your first steps into the world of aviation. If you are wondering about the process, in this article you will find the answer to the most common questions.


What does the PPL(A) license allow me to do?

The Private Pilot license issued by an EASA member allows its holder to act without remuneration as a pilot in command or co-pilot on aircraft or touring motor gliders (TMGs) carrying out non-commercial operations, as well as to exercise all the rights of a LAPL(A) holder.

Now let’s break down the legislation and see what each thing means:


Despite what is mentioned above, the legislation dictates a series of cases in which we could be able to be remunerated (and thus make money) with our PPL(A) license:


What are the steps to follow to obtain a PPL(A) license?

Choose an appropriate flight school

The first thing will be to choose a flight school or ATO (Authorized Training Organization) that offers this type of course. This is a very important choice, so below we have collected a series of indicators that can be useful to help you take a decision:


Going through the course

The PPL(A) course is divided into three phases.

1. The theoretical phase is made up of 9 subjects. Once completed, the student will sit the official exams in order to attempt to pass them successfully. If you want to know more about how the theoretical phase works, we recommend you to take a look at this article where we discuss everything in detail.

2. The flight phase comprises a total of 45 hours divided as follows:

Added to this, we will also need to have at least a valid Class II Medical Certificate, before making our first solo flight. Note that we don’t need to have a valid medical certificate to enrol, attend ground school or start flying with an instructor.

3. Skill Test. Once the student has satisfactorily completed the two previous phases, the skill test will be carried out with a flight examiner. This consists of a pre-planned flight by the students along a certain route of his choice, where the examiner will try to test out all the skills and knowledge he acquired.

Obtaining the license and rating

Once the skill test has been successfully completed, we will obtain our PPL(A) license in a digital format via e-mail.

On our PPL(A) license, next to field XII. We would read the following: SEP(L) (Single Engine Piston Land). This is the rating that we have obtained during our course, which will allow us to fly single-engine piston aircraft on land. By obtaining the PPL(A) license, we are also automatically given that rating.

It is very important not to confuse a license with a rating. Licenses are proof that we have successfully completed a training course in the past while ratings indicate whether we are still capable of exercising our privileges to a minimum set level.

Our PPL(A) license can have different ratings associated with it if we decide to advance in our training as a pilot by completing other courses:

While the PPL(A) license does not expire, the ratings do. All of them expire after one year and must be renewed, except the SEP, which is renewed every 2 years.


What's next?

From now on we can start flying as a hobby at other flight schools, flying clubs or even by buying our own plane. The license also opens up the possibility of accessing other flight training courses to obtain the ratings above mentioned and thus be able to apply for professional pilot licenses such as the CPL(A) or ATPL(A).

We at Private Pilot Exams really hope that this article has helped you to clear out doubts about the PPL(A) license. Don’t hesitate to share it and in case you want to know more, take a look at some other articles that we think can be as useful.