Private Pilot License UK – How To Get Your PPL UK – Guide

A hand signing a document stating 'private pilot license' with a UK flag behind.

Private Pilot License uk - Get your ppl uk - 5 MIN READ

Have you ever thought about getting your private pilot license in the UK? (If you’re looking for a guide for a Private Pilot Licence USA or Europe, then check out those guides)! 

This license will allow you to fly for fun, as well as fly your friends and family all around the country.

It is one of the most exciting and unique hobbies you can possibly do, and something I myself desire to do again in the future (funny thing is I am qualified to fly an Airbus jet but don’t have my PPL license!)

So how do you get your private pilot’s license? In this guide, I am going to explain exactly what you need to do.

Or, if you’re most interested in how to become an airline pilot, you can read our full guide. 

Get your private pilot license today! 

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Examinations and Radiotelephony Practical Examination:

To demonstrate proficiency in the required subjects, candidates must pass written examinations with a minimum score of 75% in each subject. These exams must be completed within six sittings, with each sitting consisting of a ten-day period.

Additionally, trainees are required to complete a Radiotelephony Practical Examination, which assesses their ability to communicate effectively with ATC using standard phraseology and procedures.

This examination ensures pilots can confidently communicate and understand instructions while in-flight.

Theoretical Requirements For A Private Pilot License

A pilot sat down studying with equations, globes and other study topics surrounding him.

Theoretical Requirements: In addition to the practical flight training, obtaining your PPL certificate requires the understanding of various theoretical subjects. These subjects encompass crucial aspects of aviation.

Air Law:

Air Law provides pilots with a comprehensive understanding of the regulations, rules, and procedures governing aviation operations. It covers topics such as airspace classifications, flight rules, licensing requirements, and aviation authorities.

Operational Procedures:

Operational Procedures encompass a range of topics, including pre-flight checks, aircraft documentation, emergency procedures, and the use of checklists. It ensures that pilots are well-versed in the standard operating procedures necessary for safe and efficient flight operations.

Human Performance and Limitations:

Human Performance and Limitations delve into the physiological and psychological factors that can impact pilot performance. This subject covers aspects such as human factors, situational awareness, stress management, and the effects of altitude on the human body.


Navigation is a critical subject that equips pilots with the skills to navigate accurately and safely. It covers topics such as chart reading, pilotage, dead reckoning, radio navigation aids, and the use of navigation instruments.


Meteorology focuses on understanding weather patterns, atmospheric conditions, and the interpretation of weather reports and forecasts. It is essential for pilots to make informed decisions regarding flight planning and en-route weather considerations.

Aircraft General Knowledge:

Aircraft General Knowledge provides pilots with an understanding of the fundamental principles and systems of an aircraft. It covers topics such as aerodynamics, aircraft instruments, engines, electrical systems, and aircraft performance.

Principles of Flight:

Principles of Flight delves into the scientific principles behind aircraft flight, including aerodynamic forces, aircraft stability, control surfaces, and the effects of weight and balance on aircraft performance.

Flight Performance and Planning:

Flight Performance and Planning focuses on calculating aircraft performance, including takeoff and landing distances, climb and descent rates, fuel consumption, and weight and balance considerations. It also covers flight planning procedures and considerations.


Communication is crucial for effective interaction with air traffic control (ATC) and other aircraft. Pilots must demonstrate proficiency in radiotelephony communication, including understanding standard phraseology, making position reports, and receiving and relaying clear instructions.

Flight Requirements For A Private Pilot License UK

Private Pilot License Requirements. A Cessna 172 flies past a hand signing a PPL licences.

Lets look at the flight requirements to get your Private Pilot License.

Requirements for a PPL Certificate in the UK:

Minimum Flight Training Hours:

  • To be eligible for a PPL in the UK, aspiring pilots must complete a minimum of 45 hours of flight training. This training encompasses both dual flight time with an instructor and supervised solo flying time.

Dual Flight Training:

  • Within the required 45 hours of flight training, at least 25 hours must be dedicated to dual flight training under the guidance of a certified flight instructor. Dual flight training provides invaluable hands-on experience and allows instructors to assess and guide your progress.

Solo Flying Time: 

  • As part of the training process, aspiring pilots must accumulate a minimum of 10 hours of supervised solo flying time. Solo flights provide an opportunity to reinforce skills learned during dual flight training and build confidence as a pilot.

Solo Cross Country Flight:

  • A crucial milestone in the PPL training is the completion of a solo cross country flight. This flight must cover a minimum distance of 150 nautical miles (nm) and involve full-stop landings at two different aerodromes other than the departure point. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate the ability to plan and execute a navigationally challenging flight.

Private Pilot License Skills Test UK

The PPL skill test is the final step in the process of obtaining a PPL. It serves as an evaluation of a pilot’s skills, knowledge, and ability to apply them in flying scenarios.

Through this two-hour examination flight, pilots will demonstrate their proficiency in pre-flight preparation, in-flight maneuvers, navigation skills, emergency procedures, and communication.

Successful completion of the skill test signifies that the pilot is ready to be granted their PPL certificate.

Cost Of Getting Your Private Pilot License UK

Two arms stamping a pilot license with a stack of cash behind it.

In the UK, you can expect your PPL pilot license to cost you between £12,000 and £16,000.

The upper end of this cost would include the charges for exams, airport fees, license admin fees, medical certificates, etc.

Medical Requirements For A Private Pilot License

A Class 2 Medical Certificate is required to receive a private pilot license (PPL).

The Class 2 Medical Certificate covers a 60-month period for pilots under the age of 40.

If the 60-month period takes you past the age of 40, your certificate will automatically become invalid at the age of 42.

For those between the ages of 40 and 50, the certificate is only valid for a 24-month period and will automatically become invalid when a pilot reaches the age of 51.

For pilots over the age of 50, this certificate is only valid for 12 months.

The full list of Class 2 medical requirements for pilots can be found here, and you can book an appointment with an AME here.

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