Document clarification and privilege information

• What’s the difference between a UK NPPL Microlight and UK PPL Microlight?

The UK National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL) replaced the UK Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) in 2002. A UK NPPL (M) requires Microlight pilots to complete a minimum 12 hours in the 24 month validity period, with at least one hour of this time (and up to four) as dual training with an instructor entitled to give instruction on Microlights. A minimum 6 hours must be completed in the 12 months leading up to the renewal date, with a minimum total of 12 take-offs and landings. NPPL pilots who do not undertake the hour under instruction can only revalidate to fly in Single-Seat Microlights (not dual-seat Microlight solo).

All PPL Microlights were issued pre-2008, and usually operate on a 13-month revalidation cycle. Microlight pilots are required to complete a minimum of 5 hours, with a minimum 3 hours as PIC and up to 2 of the 5 hours under dual training with an instructor entitled to instruct on Microlights. PPL holders of Microlight ratings can request to change to the 24 month revalidation cycle, but once this has been done it will always remain in the 24 month cycle. Instructional hours on the PPL system are recommended but not mandated.

Other differences include the multiple rating revalidation system only available on UK NPPLs, where the 12 hours in 24 months can be split between more than one rating, with a minimum hour in each rating class. A Microlight rating on a UK NPPL must be revalidated before the expiry date. Once the date has passed, revalidation is only possible with a General Skills Test. However, the PPL system allows you to revalidate after the expiry has passed, providing the minimum hours requirements can be sourced within 13 months of that date, and within the certificate’s expiry date.

NPPL Microlight ratings are usually revalidated on the licence itself, in the grid boxes underneath the original printed rating signed off by the CAA representative. UK PPL Microlights are usually revalidated by a ‘Certificate of Experience’ sticker signed off in the logbook, but there are exceptions.

• I got my licence about 2 years ago. How do I go about getting the rating revalidated?

You need to source a Microlight Revalidation examiner at a local school. Alternatively, the BMAA Pilot Licensing Administrator can perform this function for the cost of postage. 

The examiner will review your logbook hours, and, when satisfied, sign off your rating for a further 24 months. Be aware, on the NPPL you must revalidate prior to the expiry date of the rating. Even one day after this date will require a General Skills Test to be passed to revalidate.

• I’ve just received my NPPL with operational limitations back from the CAA, but it looks as if they have issued it without limitations! Should I send it back?

A  NPPL with operational limitations will not be titled as such. The limitations will usually be printed discreetly in the ‘Remarks’ Section XIII of the document in the form of a CAP804 reference. If you google this reference, it will refer to the relevant restrictions in detail.

• I changed my address on my licence with the CAA, but after receiving the updated document, i've noticed that my Microlight rating has been moved to the back of the licence, in the 'Ratings previously held' section. What does this mean?

This means you cannot utilise the rating at all until it is reissued as an active 'Rating to be revalidated'. Unfortunately, this can only be done by the CAA; a Microlight instructor or examiner is not entitled to simply renew this by writing in a new rating box. CAA procedure information is here.

The reason it has been moved to the 'Ratings previously held' section, is because when you changed your address details, you did not provide evidence of Microlight rating currency to the CAA. The CAA do not specifically advise you to do this, nor will they ask for evidence when they receive the document for reissue, they will simply operate on the information they have been provided with, even if it sometimes means issuing an essentially worthless document.

Knowing this, you must always ensure that when you change details on a licence for any reason (adding FRTOL, changing address/personal details, adding rating or removing operational limitations), the CAA is provided with evidence of rating currency, either in the form of a logbook with rating stamps, or the ratings revalidated on the licence document itself.

• I’ve heard I can fly Microlights without a Microlight rating. How do I do this?

You must hold a UK or EASA licence with a valid Single Engine Piston rating, and undertake control type differences training on the Microlight type you intend to fly with a Microlight instructor entitled to give instruction on that type. When the instructor is satisfied, they will sign off the training in your logbook. This will then give you the privileges to fly the Microlight type on your SEP rating, for as long as the SEP remains current. 

AOPA has confirmed that 3-axis Microlight flight time is now acceptable towards revalidation of SEP/TMG/SLMG Class Ratings included in national UK pilot licences, but not in Part-FCL (EASA) pilot licences.