pilot licensing for microlights

The National Private Pilot’s Licence for Microlights (NPPL)

To fly a microlight in the UK you must hold a Pilot's Licence. Read on for more details of The National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL).

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.

The NPPL may include in it aircraft Class Ratings that allow the holder to fly specific classes of aircraft, such as microlights.

To obtain a 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.

Flight Training Requirements

The Microlight Class Rating can be issued with either of two options. The options are Without Operational Limitations or With Operational Limitations.

The minimum flight training required for the grant of a NPPL with a Microlight Class Rating Without Operational Limitations is:

  • Minimum total flight time under instruction            25 hours
  • Minimum flight time solo                                           10 hours
  • Minimum total navigation flight time                          5 hours
  • Minimum solo navigation flight time                           3 hours

The minimum flight training required for the grant of a NPPL with a Microlight Class Rating With Operational Limitations is:

  • Minimum total flight time under instruction             15 hours
  • Minimum flight time solo                                              7 hours

The Operational Limitations at initial issue are:

  1. The licence is valid for flight in the UK only
  2. The pilot may not carry any passenger
  3. The pilot may not fly with a cloud base less than 1000 feet above ground level or with less than 10 kilometres visibility
  4. The pilot may not fly further than 8 nautical miles from take-off.

As part 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 a 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.

To ensure that when your licence is issued your skill level and knowledge is current you must have completed the minimum solo flight time, all the navigation flight training within the twenty four month period, and the GST within the nine month period, immediately prior to applying for your licence.

Ground 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. The examinations must have been passed within the twenty four months immediately prior to applying for your licence.

There is one further examination to complete your demonstration of knowledge of the aircraft type that you have used to complete your GST. This examination is an oral examination and 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.

Applying for your licence

Application for the grant of a NPPL with a Microlight Class rating must be made in writing on the NPPL Microlight Licence application form through the BMAA Licence Administration Centre at the BMAA office address.

Removing the Operational Limitations from a NPPL Microlight Class Rating.

To remove Limitation 2 the holder must have completed at least 25 hours of total flying in microlights and at least 10 hours solo flying in microlights. The holder’s experience is certified in their log book by a flight examiner and the Limitation ceases to apply from that time.

To remove Limitations 3 and 4 the holder must have completed at least  25 hours of total flying in microlights, at least 10 hours solo flying in microlights. 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. Application to have Limitations 3 and 4 removed must be made in writing on the NPPL Microlight Licence application form through the BMAA Licence Administration Centre at the BMAA office address.

Medical requirements

A pilot may only fly microlights as Pilot In Command in the UK if they hold valid medical certification.

The NPPL medical certification can be by a Self-Declaration made on-line on the Civil Aviation Authority web site.

Other accepted medical certification may be available, but applicants should check with their instructor prior to solo flight.

The BMAA strongly recommends 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, and do not wait until just before they are ready to fly solo, by which time they must hold a valid medical.