Private Pilots Licence (PPL)
Phase 1 – Basics
The first 10 hours or so are spent in becoming familiar with the effects of the flying controls, learning how to fly the aircraft at a constant altitude, climbing, descending, turning and exploring what happens when the airspeed is allowed to reduce to the point where the wing of the aircraft stalls.
At the end of this stage, you will have become confident in handling the aircraft both on the ground and in the air. You will most certainly have completed a take-off, and this you will be equipped with all the basic abilities required for the next phase.
Phase 2 – The Circuit
The early lessons are conducted away from the airfield, however in order to get the maximum amount of practice in the next section, you will return to the airfield for this phase. A circuit of the runway incorporates all techniques that you practiced in phase 1, viz. A take-off, climb to circuit height, level off, fly parallel to the runway, turn and descend onto final approach, followed by the interesting part – the landing!
Your first attempts at this demanding exercise will, of course, leave a lot to be desired, but gradually your ability will improve to the point where one day your instructor will hope out the aircraft and send you off on your first solo circuit and landing.
You are not will on your way to becoming a pilot!
Phase 3 – Practice
Once your solo flights is completed the rest of the course will alternate between dual flying and solo consolidation, i.e. practicing the exercises you have been taught. By the end of Phase 3, you will have logged 2 – 3 hours solo time and you will have the ability to land the aircraft in different situations, e.g. without the use of flaps or power, and in adverse crosswinds.
This phase includes all the exercises which will make you a self-sufficient pilot who will be able to both navigate the aircraft and to deal with all in-fight emergencies which could be encountered. You will be taught how to land in a field in the unlikely event of an engine failure, how to deal with various system failures and how to fly by reference to instruments if forced into the cloud by bad weather.
You will also be taught visual and radio navigation followed by your solo qualifying cross-country navigational flight. Your course will then be completed with a Skills Test which you demonstrate your new-found skills to a CAA approved examiner.
Written tests have to be passed at appropriate times during your training to ensure your theoretical knowledge keeps pace with your practical flying progress.