Light Aircraft Pilots Licence (LAPL)

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL), is a great licence to have if you want to carry your friends or family in good weather within Europe. If you do intend to continue your training into commercial aviation, you want to consider a Private Pilots Licence (PPL) instead.

The LAPL is a recreational licence in which you can fly a simple single-engine aeroplane up to 2000kgs and with no more than four seats. The syllabus is slightly shorter than for the PPL equivalent and the medical requirements are considerably less.

TRAINING

The training requirements are a minimum of 30 hours of which 6 are solo. Please note these are MINIMUM requirements and if doing the training part-time or your training is affected by the weather, it can take a lot longer.

During training, a solo qualifying cross-country is flown. This consists of landing at one separate airfield and counts towards the six solo hours.

  • Minimum of 15 hours of dual instruction
  • Minimum of 6 hours (supervised) solo, including:
  • Minimum of 3 hours solo qualifying cross-country flight, for at least 150km – landing at one other airfield.

MEDICAL

In terms of acceptable risk, the medical standards applied for the LAPL are similar to those of professional drivers i.e. Group 2 DVLA level of acceptable risk for unrestricted certification. Where pilots only meet Group 1 DVLA level of acceptable risk (private vehicle driving), an OPL (No Passenger Limitation) or OSL (Safety Pilot Limitation) would be applied.

However, the aviation environment is very different from driving a lorry or bus and there are medical conditions which may be assessed differently to those set down by DVLA for drivers. An ECG is not necessary for LAPL unless clinically indicated. Those pilots who value having a periodic ECG will be offered one at a reduced rate.

A LAPL medical can be undertaken by an AME, or alternatively a GP in your own practice who has access to your medical records at the time and is happy to take responsibility for issuing an aviation medical certificate.

THEORY EXAMS

There are 9 written examinations to complete which are all multiple choice and require a 75% pass mark.

  • Air Law
  • Human Performance
  • Meteorology
  • Communications
  • Operational Procedures
  • Principles of Flight
  • Flight Performance and Planning
  • Aircraft General Knowledge
  • Navigation

There will be a maximum of 6 sittings available in order to complete all the required theoretical examinations.

A sitting is defined as a maximum period of 10 consecutive days within which one or more exams can be taken.

In addition to these requirements, all the theoretical exams must be completed within an 18-month period (counted from the end of the calendar month when the applicant first attempted an examination). Once they have been completed within this period, the passes will be valid for 24 months for the purpose of license issue.
Applicants shall only take the examination when recommended by the ATO responsible for their training, once they have completed the appropriate elements of the training course of theoretical knowledge instruction to a satisfactory standard.

The recommendation by an ATO shall be valid for 12 months. If the applicant has failed to attempt at least one theoretical knowledge examination paper within this period of validity, the need for further training shall be determined by the ATO, based on the needs of the applicant.
If an applicant has failed to pass one of the examination papers within 4 attempts or has failed to pass all papers within either 6 sittings or 18 months counted from the end of the calendar month when the applicant first attempted an examination, he/she shall re-take the complete set of examination papers.

Before re-taking the examinations, the applicant shall undertake further training at an ATO. The extent and scope of the training needed shall be determined by the training organisation, based on the needs of the applicant.

EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR A PPL

  • Current 1:500,000 chart
  • (relevant) aircraft checklist
  • Kneeboard (consult your instructor on the type)
  • Timepiece – Preferably with countdown function (either a watch or a stopwatch)
  • Plotter and ruler
  • Diversion plotter (CRP-1)
  • LAPL theory books (Trevor Thom manuals 1-7 are recommended)
  • Chinagraph pencils

RADIO TELEPHONY PRACTICAL EXAM

The student will be required to plan a navigation flight which is then ‘flown’ in the classroom, simulating the radio calls that would be required in real-time. Under these simulated conditions, the student will encounter and be expected to deal with scenarios such as the transition of controlled airspace and the relay of a Mayday call.

STAYING CURRENT

To be able to fly you must have completed, in the two years before any intended flight, a total of 12 hours as pilot in command of an aircraft covered by your LAPL(A) privileges in addition to 1 hour of refresher training with a flight or class training instructor.
If you haven’t completed these 13 hours in the last two years, you must rectify the situation before flying again under your own privileges.

If you are merely lacking the hour of training with an instructor in the past 2 years, you are allowed to complete that task to restore your own personal validity (assuming you still have 12 hours pilot in command time in the previous 2 years by the time you wish to fly again).

If you lack some of the ‘pilot in command’ hours in the previous 2 years, you can either opt to complete a proficiency check, and take a flight test with a flight examiner, or you can build your solo hours as though you were flying as a student pilot in command. To do this, you’ll need to contact an ATO and be signed out for solo unaccompanied pilot in command flights by a qualified instructor within the ATO.

In practice, this may require some dual flights before the instructor and ATO is willing to authorise the flight to start building your pilot-in-command hours. Once you have built sufficient hours in the previous 2 years to satisfy the LAPLvalidity rules, you can once again fly under your own privileges.

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