pilot licensing FAQs - FLYING INSTRUCTORS AND FLYING INSTRUCTORS (RESTRICTED)


[Note: Minimum requirements and definitions of ratings can be found in the here and here] Detailed guidance and rules for instructors can be sourced in the BMAA Instructor & Examiner guide, available here.

I’m looking to prepare to become a FI[R], but want to clarify the hours requirements. Do my NPPL training Pilot-in-Command hours (under supervision) count?

Yes. All legitimate PIC hours in Microlights can be counted towards the FI[R] minimum hours threshold.

How long will my FI[R] rating last for?

36 months to end of month of issue.

I’ve become a FI[R] on Flexwing Microlights, but now I’d like to try 3-Axis Microlights. How can I do this?

There are two ways to do this. If you wait until your revalidation instructor test date, you simply request that the test be done on the alternate control type. Passing this will then remove the control type restriction, so you can be an FI[R] on Flexwing and 3-Axis Microlights.

If you don’t wish to wait until the revalidation test, you can request an Additional Control Type test with a Microlight FIE. This works out slightly cheaper and does not incorporate all of the elements of a typical instructor test.

I’m a FI[R] and I’m wondering how long I should wait before upgrading to a full Flying Instructor. What is the average time most people take before upgrading?

You should be in constant dialogue with the Flying Instructor who supervises you on your progress. They will be best placed to judge when to put you forward for an upgrade test, assuming you meet the hours minima (see link at top of page). For a general comparison, the average length of time FI[R]s take to upgrade currently stands at 18 months.

I’ve just had my FI[R] document sent, but it’s a full instructor rating. Is this a mistake?

No. Much like the restricted NPPL, the reference to restrictions will appear in the ‘Remarks’ section of the document, rather than the title page of the document.

 I’m a Microlight instructor on flexwing Microlights only, but the bad weather is really hindering my business. How can I expand my instructor rating to teach on 3-Axis Microlights?

As above with the FI[R] case, there are two ways to do this. If you wait until your revalidation instructor test date, you simply request that the test be done on the alternate control type. Passing this will then remove the control type restriction, so you can be a Flying Instructor on both Flexwing and 3-Axis Microlights.

If you don’t wish to wait until the revalidation test, you can request an Additional Control Type test with a Microlight FIE. This works out slightly cheaper and does not incorporate all of the elements of a typical instructor test.

I was previously a Microlight instructor some time ago, but circumstances meant I drifted out of the sport. I’m now semi-retired and would like to instruct once more. How do I go about this?

The requirements are dependent on the period of expiry. If your instructor rating has lapsed by less than 5 years, you will only need to pass an instructor test with a Microlight FIE and send the paperwork into the BMAA, though some refresher training may be prudent.

If your rating has lapsed by more than 5 years, you are required to undertake discretionary refresher training with an FIC instructor, until they recommend you for test. You would then need to pass an instructor test with a Microlight FIE.

I am a retired airline pilot and former instructor on various aircraft types. I’d like to become a Microlight instructor. Is there a way I can convert my instructor rating?

It is not possible to simply convert or transfer an instructor rating to Microlights. If you are a current SEP instructor, you only require differences training on Microlights to be able to then instruct on them. However, any other instructor rating needs to be examined by the BMAA, and a possible Microlight FI course reduction considered. The BMAA would put together a proposal for a reduced course, and this would then be suggested for approval by the CAA.

I’m looking to set up my own Microlight school operating from a farm strip, but am wary of how much work would be involved complying with regulation. Aside from associated insurance requirements, what do I need to do to comply with BMAA standards?

First of all, the national regulatory body is the Civil Aviation Authority. The BMAA administer regulations, they do not create or enforce them.

Setting up a Microlight school is remarkably simple, and you are only legally compelled to comply with two strict requirements: that any instruction is only undertaken by current UK Microlight instructors, and that these instructors are teaching to the current UK NPPL Microlight syllabus.

It should go without saying that any aircraft you use for instruction must be legally allowed to be operated as such under the terms of the aircraft’s Permit to Fly.

More information can be found in the ‘BMAA Code of Good Practice’ in the Microlight Instructor & Examiner guide, available from the BMAA online shop.

What class of medical would I require to become a Microlight instructor?

Medical requirements are exactly the same as for NPPL pilots. See FAQs for medicals for further information.

I’m a Single Engine Piston instructor, and have been asked to teach at a local Microlight school. Where do I stand?

Current Single Engine Piston instructors only need to undertake differences training on the type of Microlights they are looking to instruct on, with an instructor entitled to teach on the Microlight type. Once this has been signed off in the logbook, SEP instructors can teach on Microlights for as long as their SEP FI rating remains current.

How can I keep abreast of the latest developments in Microlight instruction?

By regularly checking the BMAA website ‘Instructor Bulletins’ and ‘Instructor Newsletter’ links, as well as having a BMAA Instructor & Examiner guide to hand. You should also ensure that BMAA LIAC has your correct e-mail address and you have opted in to receive important updates and other relevant information.

Can you clarify the rules on ‘Introductory Flights’?

Links to the CAA ‘Introductory Flight’ criteria can be found here and here.

I understand that I can’t instruct on amateur-built Microlights. Is that right?

The understanding of the rule is that any student undertaking ab initio training on an amateur-built Microlight must be a registered owner of the aircraft, or have a registered share in the aircraft (‘Registered’ in this sense means having registered their ownership with the CAA, not simply making an agreement with other owners). The share may be as little as £1, as limits to shared ownership has now been removed.

Can you clarify the rules on charity flights?

CAA guidance can be found here.

Can my instructor revalidate my NPPL Microlight rating?

Only if your instructor also holds a Microlight Examiner Authority at a minimum of ‘R’ level. An instructor with no Examiner Authority cannot revalidate ratings.

Do you have a list of all UK instructors so I can find one who offers flexwing instruction in my area?

Data Protection laws prohibit us from holding this sort of information, but you can search for schools near to you through our geographical search function and check the websites, which normally list instructors and their control types.

I was a Restricted Flying Instructor on Microlights many years ago, and now have the opportunity to work at a school again. I have completed the requirements as stated by the BMAA, but after the successful test, my FIE noticed that the FI[R] Microlights rating appears at the back of the licence rather than the front. What does this mean?

It means that the FIE cannot revalidate the rating themselves. You must provide the evidence you have to the CAA, and request that they reissue the licence with the FI[R] rating as an active rating at the front of the document. More details on CAA procedure here.

This will have happened because at some stage you had your licence document reissued, and the CAA would not have had evidence of FI[R] currency, so assume it is expired and move it to the back of the document. Only they can make it an active rating again.