A flight experience is often at the top of the wishlist for many, but how much are flying lessons? Some will ask for them in the form of a gift vouchers for birthdays and Christmas while others will simply set the goal of obtaining a private pilots licence and buy them one by one or in block bookings. The cost of pilot training varies up and down the country according to the aircraft type, the facilities at the school, and the time spent learning to fly.
For some, a series of flying lessons may be as far as their flight training goes. Once the amount of work required to obtain a PPL becomes apparent they may abandon any thought of learning to fly. Others will be hooked from the start and will perservere through to completion without looking back. In between those two extremes are those who falter occasionally, take breaks from training, and return to it when the inspiration (and the money) are sufficient again.
Whether the flying lessons are continuous or patchy they all begin with that first flying lesson during which the student pilot will have what is known as an air experience flight. During this first 20-45 minutes a flying instructor will simply fly the aircraft in such a way that the passenger gets a chance to experience flight in a light aircraft, feel the controls, and appreciate the sensation of flight in what is often a small two seater aircraft.
How Much Are Flying Lessons?
Flying lessons are fun and exciting, but how much do they usually cost? In the UK, the cost of flying lessons can vary depending on a few factors. Generally speaking, one hour of dual instruction in a light two seater aircraft will cost around £175-£250. This includes both your pre & post flight briefings.
Trial flying lessons start at about £99 for 20 minutes and increase proportionally with the flight time and flight school.
Other additional flight training costs will include all basic pilot gear a student pilot will need, such as navigation charts and headsets, and a flight bag to carry them all in. As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to budget more than less when it comes to learning to fly – this way you will have enough money available to cover any unforeseen expenses that might come up during your training.
At the time of writing then, the total cost of becoming a private pilot in the UK is about £10,000. It’s difficult to put an exact figure on it, not just because of the variable flight school costs, landing fees, etc but also because the differing amounts of flight time that each person needs to complete the syllabus. Few people will complete the training in the minimum number of hours required (45 hours) and the national average is about 55-60 hours of flying time. Top of the all this are the additional costs associated with rising fuel prices.
If you’re thinking of taking your first steps on a PPL course towards obtaining a pilot licence, bear in mind that flying lessons are an investment in yourself and all associated costs should be taken into account before getting started. With proper preparation and dedication however, the journey towards becoming a pilot can be immensely rewarding.
30 Minute Flying Lesson
- 30 minute trial flying lesson at your choice of location
- All experiences include a welcome and pre-flight briefing. Some schools will also include a personalised certificate
- Once airborne you will get the chance to take control yourself
- Flight times are quoted ‘chock to chock’, ie. from when the plane starts to taxi, to when it switches off at the end of the lesson
Trial Flying Lessons
A trial flying lesson is an opportunity for someone to experience what it’s like to fly a light aircraft under visual flight rules (VFR) i.e. generally speaking, clear of cloud and in sight of the surface. It’s a great way to determine if flying is something you would like to pursue further and can be an exciting adventure.
During a trial flying lesson, the instructor will begin by explaining the basics of operating the training aircraft and giving a pre-flight briefing. The instructor will then take the student through basic maneuvers such as taxiing, taking off, climbing, turning, and landing.
During the flight, there will be plenty of opportunities for observation and learning about safety procedures and aircraft operations. At the end of the lesson, the instructor will debrief with the student and answer any questions they may have about their experience.
Many of the flying lessons offered to those without any experience are packaged as one-off experiences that may or may not be the start of a course. For example, you could opt for a longer lesson that includes a ‘land away’ i.e. you take to the skies from one airfield and land at another, have a quick break there, then fly back again to the starting point.
These types of flying lessons make the perfect gift for someone who wants more than just a 30 minute flight around the local airfield. They are available as flying lessons in a helicopter as well as in two seater aircraft.
Others may be a flying lesson in a vintage aircraft during which you’ll be strapped into a closed or open cockpit. While this may be the perfect experience for anyone wanting to appreciate open cockpit flying, it’s quite different from sitting side by side with an instructor in a comparatively modern aircraft.
Flying Lessons Across The UK
Learning to fly an aircraft in the UK is an exciting and rewarding experience. The UK is an ideal place to start your flight training because of its extensive network of airports and airfields, excellent training facilities and experienced instructors. Getting started begins with finding the right flying school for you and taking trial flying lessons.
Flight training is available at small clubs at relatively remove grass airfields like Eaglescott Airfield in Devon to larger schools at airports like Blackpool Airport. Trial lessons at grass airfields like Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex will be a different experience to those at larger, busier airfields, even if the aircraft is the same type. When it comes to choosing between different flying courses it’s worth having a few trial flights before deciding on the flight school.
Pilot Licence Training
During your trial lessons, you’ll gain the experience of the basics of flying – from basic manoeuvres such as takeoff and landing, to more advanced techniques like navigation. Before your lessons, your instructor will take you through the pre flight checks, explain safety procedures, aircraft operations, rules of the airspace and any other information that you need to know in order to fly safely.
As you progress through the syllabus you’ll study these subjects in more detail during your ground training. This will be a combination of one to one training with your instructor and self-study using books and e-learning.
Once you’ve successfully completed all the flight lessons in the syllabus including all the solo flying required, you can then start planning to complete the course with the final Skills Test and eventually gain a pilot’s licence.
Ground school is an essential part of flight training, and understanding the topics covered in these classes is mandatory for potential pilots. Classes cover a variety of topics related to flying — including aircraft systems, air law, navigation, meteorology and performance calculations.
Knowing the basics of these topics is essential for anyone starting out in their training journey. Aircraft systems provide an overview of the different components that make up the plane, how they interact with each other and what their functions are in the overall aircraft operation. Air law is based on aviation regulations and helps pilots understand their rights, obligations and general safety procedures when operating an aircraft.
Navigation covers both traditional maps-based methods as well as modern GPS technology. Meteorology focuses on weather patterns and helps pilots interpret meteorological data to better fly through challenging weather conditions. Finally, performance calculations help pilots determine take-off distances, fuel requirements and other such performance metrics associated with flying.
Classes provide a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of flying – from theory to practice – so being knowledgeable about these key topics before you start your training can be invaluable.
Light Aircraft For Your Flying Lesson
Cessna aircraft are some of the most popular and capable airplanes used in recreational flying as training aicraft. The Cessna 172 is one of the most recognizable models, featuring a classic four-seat design for both leisure and training purposes. Other Cessna models include two-seat trainers such as the 152 and 162 Skycatcher; larger cabin aircraft like the 182 Skylane; turbine powered planes such as the 208 Caravan; and higher performance planes such as the 205 Stationair.
Cessna aircraft are widely used by flight schools around the world due to their reliable design, easy maintenance and robust safety features. Their popularity means that they’re widely available in different parts of the world – making them an ideal choice for anyone looking to learn how to fly or just enjoy recreational aerial activities.
Flight schools around the world also rely on Piper aircraft for their recreational and training needs. The most commonly used models include the short-range Piper PA 28 series, which includes single-engine models like the Cherokee, Archer and Warrior. These planes provide reliable performance for both leisure and commercial activities, and are easy to handle both in the air and on the ground.
For longer trips and larger cabin requirements, flight schools can also choose from a range of multi-engine models from Piper. The most popular option is the PA-34 Seneca series – featuring a twin-engine configuration with retractable landing gear and seating for up to six passengers. A four-seat version of this model is also available for crew training purposes.
In addition to leisure flying and commercial operations, Piper aircraft are also commonly used in military basic flight training syllabi across various branches of service. This provides an opportunity for aspiring pilots to get hands-on experience of these popular light detail before they become part of any air force or aerospace corporation.
Overall, Piper aircraft can meet many different requirements on any given day – making them an essential part of almost every flight school’s fleet.
Diamond aircraft are renowned for their quality, performance, and efficiency. Popular single-engine Diamond models include the DA20 Katana and DA40 Diamond Star – both of which feature lightweight construction with metal frames, composite control surfaces and modern avionics. The planes are also designed to be easy to handle, making them perfect for leisure flying and introductory pilot training. These aircraft have exceptional handling qualities which enable them to take off and land quickly in tight spaces – making them great options for both recreational pilots and flight schools.
Cirrus aircraft have become increasingly popular in flying schools due to their modern design and advanced safety features including a whole-aircraft parachute system. The Cirrus SR22, for instance, is a four passenger single-engine plane with a G1000 avionics package that’s easy for students to use and learn from. This plane is also very efficient, giving pilots unparalleled performance and range compared to similar models. Plus, the unique safety features make it an ideal choice for first time pilots as well as experienced pilots who want extra reassurance in tricky situations.