This qualification allows you to be Pilot in Command (PIC) of an aircraft and to carry passengers. This enables you to make all decisions pertaining to planning and executing a flight, during daylight hours, and in clear weather. Additional qualifications are required to fly at night and in cloudy conditions. You may not, however, receive remuneration for your flying activities. This license is required even if your ultimate goal is to become a Commercial Pilot, as it allows you to accumulate the relevant experience that is essential for any advanced qualifications.
Requirements for the issue of a Private Pilot's License (PPL):
1. You must hold a valid Student Pilot's License.
2. You will be required to accumulate a minimum of 45 hours of flight time, which must include a minimum of 15 hours solo flight and a minimum of 25 hours dual flight instruction (flying with your instructor). The 25 dual flight instruction hours in aeroplanes must include 5 hours of basic instrument flight instruction. These 5 hours may be completed in an approved simulator. Within your solo flight time, you will be required to accumulate at least 5 hours of solo cross-country flight time (flying from one airport to another).
3. You must successfully complete 7 written examinations, which will test your knowledge on Engines & Airframes, Meteorology, Air Law, Navigation, Human Performance, Flight Planning and Principles of Flight.
4. A Radio (Operators) License, which is referred to as a Restricted Radio License must be obtained before you are finally issued with your PPL. It is however a good idea to complete this requirement early on in your training, as the information covered assists greatly with all aspects of your flight training.
5. You will be required to successfully pass two practical flight skills tests. The first being a General Flight Test (GFT), which must be conducted by a Grade One or Two flight instructor, and will focus on your ability to handle the aircraft in all normal, abnormal and emergency flight phases. These are aspects that you will have covered extensively during your training, and this is now your chance to demonstrate your competency. The second flight test will examine your ability to safely conduct navigation procedures, and you will be required to fly yourself and your examiner on a pre-planned triangular route, with at least two "away" landings, and flight in controlled airspace. This is when it all comes together as a pilot, and is immensely satisfying and enjoyable.
6. Once you have accumulated the required flight time in your logbook, and passed all the above mentioned tests, your paperwork will be checked. You can then send all the paperwork to the SA-CAA, with the required fee, and convert your Student Pilot's License to a Private Pilot's License.
It is essential to understand that the minimum hours prescribed by the SA-CAA are exactly that minimum requirements. It is unusual for a PPL candidate to achieve competency within these hour constraints, and it must be understood that having to complete more dual hours is not a negative reflection on yourself or your flight school. Everyone has different rates of learning and understanding, and obviously aptitude plays a major role in your progression.
The flying exercises included in the PPL are:
- Cockpit layout
- Preparation for flight
- Air experience
- Effect of controls
- Straight and level flight
- Climbing and descending
- Medium turns
- Climbing and descending turns
- Spin avoidance
- Take off
- Approach and landing
- First solo
- Side slipping
- Steep turns
- Low level flying
- Crosswind take off and landing
- Precautionary circuit and landing
- Forced landing
You have to pass 8 exams for the PPL
- Air Law
- Principles of Flight
- Flight Planning
- Human Performance
- Aircraft General (covering engines, airframes and instruments)
All the above are CAA on-line, multiple choice examinations, with the exception of radio, which is written. The pass mark for all subjects is 75%.