Those who feel the inspiration to learn to fly will very probably type ‘flying lessons near me‘ into their favourite search engine and begin a process that may last for months, if not years.
While UK airfields are often under threat of closure for a variety of reasons; rising costs, demand for housing, planning restrictions, etc, enough remain active to enable aspiring aviators fo find flying lessons within a reasonable driving distance. There are still enough clubs and schools that are able to provide flight lessons towards a private pilot licence, and additional training for those who wish to become a professional pilot.
What follows is not a comprehensive list. It’s a sample list of airports, clubs, and flight schools offering flying lessons in two seater aircraft, helicopters, gliders, microlights, and paragliders in each region.
Some will provide trial lessons on receipt of gift vouchers and full flying courses leading to a pilot’s licence.
Flying Lessons in England
South West England
- Bristol Flying School: Located at Bristol Airport.
- Devon and Somerset Flight Training: Based at Exeter Airport.
- Voler Aviation: Located at Kemble Airport in Cotswold.
- Henstridge Airfield Flight School: Based at Henstridge Airport in Somerset.
- Flynqy: Located at Newquay Cornwall Airport.
South East England
- Kent Gliding Club: Located in Challock, Kent.
- Goodwood Aero Club: Located at Goodwood Aerodrome, Chichester, West Sussex.
- London Helicopter Centres: With locations in Redhill, Surrey and Biggin Hill, Kent.
- Bucks Aero Club: Based at Wycombe Air Park in Buckinghamshire.
- Euro Flight Training: Based at Solent Airport
Greater London Area
- London Oxford Airport: Located in Oxfordshire.
- West London Aero Club: Located in White Waltham Airfield, Maidenhead.
- Flight Training London: Based at London Elstree Aerodrome.
- Coventry Airport: Located in Warwickshire.
- Sywell Aerodrome: Located in Northamptonshire.
- Wellesbourne Airfield: Located in Warwickshire.
- Leicester Airport: Located in Leicestershire.
- Tatenhill Airfield: Located in Staffordshire.
- Cambridge Airport: Located in Cambridgeshire.
- Duxford Aerodrome: Located in Cambridgeshire, Duxford Aerodrome is home to the Imperial War Museum Duxford and offers a range of flying experiences, including flights in historic aircraft.
- Norwich International Airport: Located in Norfolk.
- Fowlmere Airfield: Located in Cambridgeshire.
- Stapleford Flight Centre: Located in Essex.
North East England
- Teesside International Airport: Located in Durham.
- Newcastle Airport: Located in Tyne and Wear.
- Yorkshire Flight Training: Based at Leeds Bradford Airport in West Yorkshire.
- Humberside Airport: Located in North Lincolnshire.
North West England
- Blackpool Airport: Located in Lancashire.
- John Lennon Airport: Located in Liverpool.
- City Airport Manchester: Located in Barton, Manchester.
Flying Lessons in Scotland
- Glasgow School of Flying: Located at Glasgow Airport.
- Scottish Aero Club: Based at Strathaven Airfield in Lanarkshire.
- Stirling and District Aero Club: Based at Stirling Airport.
- Ayr Flying School: Based at Ayr Airport in Ayrshire.
- Highland Aviation: Based at Inverness Airport.
- Orkney Island Air: Based at Kirkwall Airport on Orkney.
- Shetland Island Air Services: Based at Sumburgh Airport on Shetland.
- Wick Airport: Located in Caithness, Wick Airport.
Flying Lessons in Wales
- Cardiff Aviation: Based at Cardiff Airport.
- Swansea Airport: Located in Swansea.
- Pembrokeshire Microlights: Based at Haverfordwest Airport in Pembrokeshire.
- Welshpool Airport: Located in Powyss.
- Caernarfon Airport: Located in Gwynedd.
- Anglesey Airport: Located in Anglesey.
- North Wales Microlight Centre: Based at Hawarden Airport in Flintshire.
- North Wales Aero Club: Based at the Royal Air Force base in Llanbedr, Gwynedd.
- Snowdonia Paragliding: Based in Conwy.
- Chester Gliding Centre: Located in Cheshire, just across the border from North Wales.
Flying Lessons in Northern Ireland, IoM, CI
- Belfast City Airport: Located in Belfast.
- City of Derry Airport: Located in Derry.
- Ulster Flying Club: Based at Newtownards Airport in County Downs.
- North West Aero Club: Based at Eglinton Airport in County Londonderry.
- Irish Paragliding: Based in County Down.
The Isle of Man
- Isle of Man Aero Club: Based at Isle of Man Airport.
- Isle of Man Microlight Centre: Based at Ronaldsway Airport.
- Isle of Man Gliding Club: Based at Andreas Airfield.
- Isle of Man Paragliding: Based in Santon.
- Isle of Man Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club.
The Channel Islands
- Guernsey Aero Club: Based at Guernsey Airport.
- Jersey Aero Club: Based at Jersey Airport.
- Alderney Flying Club: Based at Alderney Airport.
- Channel Islands Microlight Centre: Based at Guernsey Airpors.
- Channel Islands Gliding Club: Based at Guernsey Airport.
All these and other flight schools offer a range of flying lessons and pilot training programs, including Private Pilot’s License (PPL) courses, Commercial Pilot’s License (CPL) courses, and instrument rating courses.
It is a good idea to shop around and compare different schools to find the one that best meets your needs and budget. You should also make sure that the flight school you choose is accredited by the appropriate aviation authorities and has a good reputation.
How to gain a UK Private Pilots Licence
Here’s a very brief reminder of what’s involved in obtaining a licence.
To obtain a private pilot’s license in the UK, you will need to meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 17 years old to fly solo, or 16 years old to fly with an instructor.
- Be able to read, speak, and understand the English language.
- Hold a valid Class 2 Medical Certificate.
- Pass the written and practical exams, which test your knowledge of aviation theory and your piloting skills.
To prepare for the exams, you will need to complete a minimum of 45 hours of flight time, including at least 25 hours of solo flight time and 10 hours of cross-country flight time.
Once you have completed all of the requirements and passed the exams, you will be issued a private pilot’s license by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and you’ll be able to fly light aircraft under VFR (Visual Flight Rules).
The maximum weight of an aircraft that a holder of a UK Private Pilot’s License (PPL) can fly is 2,730 kg (6,000 lbs). This applies to single-engine aircraft that are used for non-commercial operations. If you have a PPL and want to fly a heavier aircraft, you would need to obtain a Commercial Pilot’s License (CPL) and meet the additional requirements for operating larger aircraft.
It all starts with one or more trial flying lessons and that subject is covered in this post.
How much does it cost to learn to fly a plane?
The cost of learning to fly a plane can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, including the type of aircraft you are learning to fly, the location of the flying school, and the length and intensity of the training program.
In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from several thousand to tens of thousands of dollars to obtain a private pilot’s license. For example, the cost of obtaining a private pilot’s license at a flying school in the United States can range from around $10,000 to $15,000. In the United Kingdom, the cost can range from around £7,000 to £12,000.
What do you wear to a flying lesson?
When attending a flying lesson, it’s important to dress in comfortable, practical clothing. Here are a few things to consider:
- Avoid clothing that is too loose or baggy, as it can get caught on controls or other equipment in the cockpit.
- Wear shoes that are comfortable and provide good support. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for safety reasons.
- Dress in layers, as the temperature in the cockpit can vary significantly depending on the altitude and weather conditions.
- If you are flying in colder weather, consider wearing gloves to keep your hands warm.
- Consider the weather and any specific safety requirements of the aircraft you will be flying. For example, if you will be flying in a small, open-cockpit aircraft, you may want to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind.
Overall, the most important thing is to be comfortable and able to move freely in your clothing so that you can focus on your flying lessons.
What should I expect from a flying lesson?
During a flying lesson, you can expect to receive both ground instruction and one to one training aboard the aircraft from a certified flight instructor. Here is a general overview of what you can expect:
- Ground instruction: This typically involves learning about the principles of flight, aircraft systems and controls, navigation, weather, and regulations. This may take place in a classroom, using instructional materials such as textbooks, videos, and computer-based training programs.
- Pre-flight briefing: Before each flight, you will receive a briefing from your instructor on the specific objectives of the lesson, the aircraft you will be flying, and any safety procedures or emergency procedures you need to be aware of.
- Practical training: During the flight, you will have the opportunity to practice the skills you have learned on the ground, under the guidance of your instructor. This may include takeoff, landing, navigation, and basic flight maneuvers.
- Post-flight debrief: After each flight, you will have a debrief with your instructor to discuss your performance, address any questions or concerns you may have, and plan for the next lesson.
Overall, the goal of a flying lesson is to give you a hands-on understanding of what it takes to operate an aircraft safely and effectively. The specific content and structure of a flying lesson may vary
How long does it take to learn to fly?
The length of time it takes to learn to fly can vary significantly depending on a number of factors, including the type of aircraft you are learning to fly, the intensity of your program, and your natural aptitude for flying.
In general, it takes most people around 40 to 60 hours of flight time to obtain a private pilot’s license (the average in the UK is about 55 hours). This typically involves around 20 to 30 hours of solo flight time, as well as a certain number of hours of ground instruction and supervised flight time with an instructor.
However, some people may be able to complete in fewer hours while others may take longer to learn to fly the light aircraft of their choice. The key is to find a program that is tailored to your needs and goals and to stay focused and dedicated.
So, if you only fly one hour per week on average it could take an entire year to complete the syllabus. In the interests of continuity you should aim for 2-3 hours per week as it will shorten the amount of time required and thus save you money in the long run.