LEARN TO FLY WITH CLOUDBASE MICROLIGHTING
We fly two types of aircraft, both of which fall under the microlight category
All training uses the National Private Pilots Licence (NPPL) syllabus as set up and approved by the Civil Aviation Authority and the British Microlight Aircraft Association
THE FIRST STEP… THE TRIAL FLIGHT!
If you have never been flying in anything smaller than a large passenger aircraft you will never forget your first trial flight! It is designed for you to have fun, and to familiarise you with the aircraft including safety and the flight controls, whilst taking in the scenery. The trial flight can be either a 30 minute or 1 hour flight and in both cases this will be preceded by a briefing session.
Once airborne at a safe height, you will have the opportunity to take control of the aircraft and fly yourself. Take advantage of the 1 hour flight – you get a lot more time at the controls, time to really get a feel of what it’s like to fly your own aircraft besides being simply a lot more fun!
THE NEXT STEP....DUAL INSTRUCTION
Once you’ve been bitten by the bug, you need to book some lessons. We work on a system of 2 hour lesson slots – this allows for a pre-flight briefing session with your instructor, a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft, 1 hour of flying and then a post-flight debrief. The cost is based on the 1 hour of flying time only, we don’t charge for the briefings.
Your initial flights will all be what we call ‘upper air work’ – your instructor will take you away from the airfield and you’ll work on all the foundation skills needed to fly. Once you’re ready you will move into the ‘circuit’ and put those skills to use learning to land the aircraft. Unlike some schools, we don’t charge you a landing fee each time you touch down!
HITTING THE BOOKS
There are 5 exams you need to pass in order to gain your NPPL(M). Some people like to study at home while others prefer more of a classroom atmosphere, it’s all down to the individual.
We offer ‘Ground School’ by the hour – take a look at the prices and note that you can save by teaming up with other students. You can sit the exams at any stage of your training although your instructor will normally guide you as to when you should be doing each one. None of the exams are too difficult with the answers being multiple choice with a pass mark of 70%.
THE FINAL STEPS...
When your instructor thinks you’re ready, and you agree, you’ll be sent solo. You need a total of 10 hours solo flying to get your licence – you’ll start off flying the circuit on your own and then progress to heading out into the local area and returning to the airfield. You also need to complete two navigation exercises in which you’ll fly to another airfield, have a cake and then fly home again.
With everything in the syllabus done, and all your required hours in your logbook, you can sit your General Skills Test – the flying equivalent of your driving test.
Hour rates are from engine on to engine off, and include the pre-flight briefing and post flight de-brief. Every one hour lesson uses a two hour time slot but you only pay for the engine running time. Parts of hours flown are charged pro-rata. Use our factory-built aircraft with no need to buy a share or pay the insurance.
Remember – no charge for briefings and no landing fees!
Flying Tuition Prices
DUAL tuition in school FIXED WING aircraft
£145 per hour
DUAL tuition in school FLEX WING aircraft
£145 per hour
SOLO tuition in school FIXED WING aircraft
£145 per hour
SOLO tuition in school FLEX WING aircraft
£145 per hour
DUAL tuition in your aircraft
£90 per hour
SOLO tuition in your aircraft
£90 per hour
Exams & Ground School Prices
Ground School for 1 STUDENT
£27 per hour
Ground School for MORE THAN 1 STUDENT
£25 per hour each
£25 per paper
General Skills Test - FIXED WING
£190 including aircraft hire
General Skills Test - FLEX WING
£190 including aircraft hire
Learn to fly with our experienced and professional instructors over the beautiful scenery of Wiltshire
Dave Cox (Coxy) teaches mainly on the fixed wing aircraft at our base at Membury. Coxy is ex RAF and loves all forms of flying. He is a proficient aerobatics pilot, hang glider pilot, paragliding instructor and flexwing and fixed wing microlight instructor/examiner.
Cloudbase Microlighting can train you for the NPPL(M)
To fly a microlight in the UK, you will need a National Private Pilot Licence, with a rating which covers microlight aircraft. This licence is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority, and is called an NPPL(M). An NPPL holder may add more ratings if he or she wants to fly different aircraft, for example motor gliders (SLMG) or larger aircraft up to 2000kg (SSEA). While the NPPL(M) is technically a UK-only licence, most European countries will accept it to fly microlights in their airspace.
Cloudbase Microlighting can train you for the NPPL(M)
There are currently 2 types of microlight ratings available to you – the Restricted and the Full. The vast majority of our students do the FULL licence, but we offer both.
NPPL RESTRICTED MICROLIGHT RATING
A minimum of 15 hours flying instruction of which 7 hours must be solo. The solo hours must be completed within the 9 month period prior to applying for the licence. A general skills test (GST) must be passed; this is carried out by an authorised instructor holding an ‘Examiner’ appointment.
Flying on a restricted rating means that you cannot take off when:-
The surface wind exceeds 15 knots
The cloud base is below 1,000 feet
The in-flight visibility is below 5 nautical miles
You must not fly outside a radius of 8nm from your departure airfield
You cannot carry passengers until you have logged at least 25 hours flight time (10 hours as Pilot in Command)
NPPL FULL MICROLIGHT RATING
In addition to the requirements for the restricted Microlight Rating, a further 10 hours of flying must be obtained of which at least 5 hours must be navigation training under the supervision of a qualified instructor.
During the navigation training you must complete 2 solo cross country flights of at least 40 nautical miles each. During each of these solo flights a landing must be made at an airfield at least 15nm from take off.
A pilot may go straight for the unrestricted licence from the start in which case the navigational cross country requirements must be completed within the 9 month period prior to applying for the licence.
Current PPL(A) / JAR Licence Holders
Under recent JAR regulations you are now required to take conversion training – particularly with flexwing microlights, where the control input is directly opposite to that which you have been accustomed! See the Conversion section for more info, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions.
At Cloudbase Microlighting we fly two types of aircraft, both of which fall under the microlight category. A good comparison to make between the two common types is that Flex Wings can be compared to Fixed Wing (three-axis) microlights in the same way as motorbikes are compared to cars.
The only difference is these machines fly!
For Three-Axis training we use an Ikarus C42. This is a conventional aircraft and is controlled using a centre mounted joystick and rudder pedals. The seating is side by side within an enclosed cockpit ensuring no frost bite in the winter!
Powered by a four stroke Rotax engine the aircraft cruises at around 80mph and has a maximum fuel capacity of 65ltrs burning around 12 ltrs per hour giving a very respectable range.
Our flex wing aircraft is a Pegasus 912. This aircraft stems from the early microlight designs where an engine was attached to a hang glider. Nowadays they have fantastic performance similar to that of the fixed wing microlight aircraft.
The seating arrangement is front to back and the cockpit is open. Flying suits are worn for extra warmth as well as helmets and headsets. These aircraft are controlled in the same way as a hang glider using weight shift.
Microlight Aircraft started in the United Kingdom during the late 1970’s , in the form of hang gliders with small engines attached.
These evolved over the next few years into weight shift microlights, similar to, but more basic than, those we know today; with an undercarriage, three wheels and a seat for the pilot. Three axis microlights, the conventional looking aircraft with a tail and main wing were being developed at much the same time in the USA, and started to appear here a few years later.
At this time there were no design or licensing regulations, but, due to a few unfortunate incidents, it didn’t take long for the authorities to take note. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) stepped in during 1982 and the aircraft became regulated and a licensing system was borne, the ‘Private Pilot Licence (PPL) A Group ‘M’ specifically for Microlight Pilots.
All microlights are now structurally tested and, of course, thoroughly flight tested and approved by the CAA before they can be produced and sold. Microlight aircraft ‘permits to fly’, instructors, examiners and pilot licensing are all now under the wing of the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) and the CAA. Modern microlights can now carry two people for 500 miles in comfort on a tank of fuel and are flown all over the world. The safety record for microlights is as good as any within the General Aviation field.
In the UK a microlight aircraft is now defined as ‘an aircraft having a maximum all-up weight (including pilot, passenger and fuel) of no more than 450kg, and a stalling speed of no more than 65 kph’.
This means these aircraft have relatively short take off and landing capabilities making them ideal for use at smaller airfields. They also normally run on unleaded petrol so refuelling them is as easy as a trip to the garage. Flex wing microlights can be de-rigged at the end of the day meaning minimum hangarage requirements. All aircraft are given an annual inspection just like a car would get as well as being designed and tested to very stringent requirements laid down by the CAA.
TRAINING - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can anyone learn to fly?
Yes. Microlight pilots are a real mixture of all types and from all walks of life.
There is no sex, age or other discrimination, just a passion for flying.
Is there an age limit?
How many hours do I need to fly before I can go solo?
The very minimum, assuming no previous experience, is about 10 hours, although even experience flying model planes can reduce this number. Most pilots fly between 12 and 25 hours before the instructor is satisfied that you are both ready, and going to enjoy the experience.
How many hours do I need before I'm qualified?
The minimum hours before you can be awarded an NPPL is 15 for a restricted licence (for local flying only) or 25 for the unrestricted licence. Most pilots take longer than this – probably an average of about 40 hours, depending on weather as well as pilot ability.
Is flying addictive?
Once I've got my license, what can I fly?
This is where microlights really score over most other forms of aviation. You can buy into a syndicate (sharing an aircraft with like-minded people) or you can spend many happy hours browsing Afors looking for a bargain aircraft all of your own. We currently have a syndicate at our Redlands Airfield near Swindon which provides a very
straightforward and cost effective way to continue your flying. Get in touch to find out more.
With the recent introduction of the new European Light Aircraft Pilot’s License (LAPL) microlights can offer a cheap route to the new license. The new LAPL offers most recreational pilots everything they will ever wish for in terms of ratings
Why train on a microlight?
It’s a simple question of economics. We can train you right up to the NPPL(M) at a fraction of the costs of training on an equivalent Group A aircraft. To then gain your LAPL(A) you will only require five hours flying time on a Group A aircraft. Once you have reached the required standard you would then be issued an SSEA rating to add to your NPPL.
With this you then have the right to apply for a LAPL at a cost of around £45 to the CAA and a bit of form filling. You would then hold both an NPPL and a LAPL and can take advantage of the additional privileges that brings. In short you are likely to fly a similar number of hours but at a much reduced cost.
We are able to train pilots for an NPPL(M) Microlight rating. Pilots can then add an SSEA (Simple Single Engine Aircraft) rating to that NPPL. The SSEA rating comes with restrictions. It allows you to fly an aircraft of up to a maximum of four seats and a maximum take-off weight of two tonnes. However the SSEA rating is restricted to flights within the UK and also restricted to Annex 2 aircraft. These are typically aircraft flown on a permit to fly rather than on a full Certificate of Airworthiness. The new EASA LAPL however allows you to fly any EASA aircraft within Europe as well as non EASA aircraft (annex 2) in the UK as long as they fall into the SSEA category.
Does a LAPL restrict your flying?
If you are purely a recreational pilot there are few benefits of training for the full JAR PPL. It requires more hours, a more costly and stringent medical and tighter currency requirements. The only benefit is it allows more ratings right up to commercial ratings to be added. The LAPL is always going to limit you to two tonnes, single engine and four seats. Most recreational pilots however never fly anything bigger due to the costs involved.
For more details about the NPPL (SSEA) read our conversion training section.
CONVERT FROM PPL
With the recent developments in microlight aircraft more and more pilots are looking to convert their existing PPLs to the NPPL(M) or to fly fixed wing microlights on their existing licences
Why Would I Want To Fly A Microlight?
The benefits of the modern fixed wing microlights are obvious. Not least the enormous cost savings with hire rates from £50 per hour wet and second hand fixed wing aircraft available from as little as £4000. The performance of aircraft such as the Ikarus C42 and Eurostar is comparable to a Cessna 152 with a fraction of the running costs. The aircraft are also more modern and offer more space and comfort than the bottom end Cessnas and other similar aircraft. Add to that the short field performance of these aircraft as well as their acceptance into the larger airfields and airports the scope is enormous. Of course you can enjoy the best of both worlds by adding an SSEA (Simple Single Engine Aircraft) rating to your NPPL with as little as 5 hours training, making the fixed wing microlight route a viable and cheaper way of obtaining your LAPL.
What is Involved In Converting From Group (A) Aircraft To Fixed Wing Microlight Aircraft?
For most people some type-specific differences training will be required. This can take as little as an hour but of course will depend on previous experience and aptitude. For those who will require a General Skills Test you can expect further training to ensure you are up to speed on what will be required of you in the test.
You can either fly a microlight under the privileges offered by a valid JAR-FCL Pilot Licence or a UK PPL (A) or you can opt for an NPPL. The NPPL route will involve a GST and Ground Oral Exam but can offer benefits.
Why might I want to change my licence to an NPPL?:
Much cheaper and less stringent medical requirements
Easier hours requirements to keep your licence valid
You can still fly SSEA as long as you do a minimum of one hour on type every 24 months
The SSEA rating is limited to Annex 2 aircraft. But take a look at the new LAPL for info on that…
How do I decide which licence to go for?
The factors that will influence this decision are mainly what you want to do with your flying in the future. You cannot add an instrument rating to an NPPL and hours flown on an NPPL do not count towards hours for a commercial licence. However if your flying is VFR and you are flying the SSEA type of aircraft then an NPPL is a good option. You can maintain your hours for SSEA by flying microlights as long as you complete at least one hour on each type that you wish to keep valid.
What are the revalidation requirements for an NPPL?
You must have flown at least 12 hours in the last 24 months six of which must have been within the last 12 months. A minimum of 8hrs must be PIC and you must have flown a minimum of 1hr with an instructor. To maintain different type ratings you must have a minimum of one hour PIC on each type you wish to revalidate.
How do I change my licence to an NPPL(M)?
Assuming you want to take advantage of the cost saving benefits offered by the modern fixed wing microlight aircraft and the benefits of maintaining an NPPL(M) you are going to need to do a GST and ground oral exam. The amount of training required to do this will depend entirely upon personal ability and will typically range from four hours to ten hours with most current pilots passing their GST in somewhere around six hours.
How can I maintain my SEP type rating?
You can exchange your JAR-FCL Pilot licence (Aeroplanes) or your UK PPL (A) for an NPPL (SSEA) however you will loose any additional ratings such as IMC or FI(A). To fly a microlight on an NPPL you will still need to complete a GST and Ground Oral exam.
Where can I find more information about licence allowances?
There is a detailed break down of all the licence allowances for the NPPL on the NPPL web site Licence Allowances section.
If you have any questions or would like to know more then feel free to call the office or pop in to the office to discuss your options further.
Inspired? What to become a Microlight pilot?
Give us a call on 01793 790183 to find out more about learning to fly with Cloudbase Mightlighting