There is an alternative available to the Private Pilot’s Licence if all you want to do is fly smaller helicopters and do not have any thoughts about progressing to larger machines or earning a living as a pilot. The Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence for helicopters (LAPL(H)) is designed for those who do not want to undertake a full PPL programme, and is also suitable for those who would like to fly who do not quite meet the medical requirements of a PPL.
The medical examination for an LAPL candidate is not quite as rigorous as the Class 2 medical needed for a full Private Pilot’s Licence. If you think that you might not be awarded a Class 2 Medical Certificate, don’t despair – you may still be able to fly! Have a chat with the Operations team at Central Helicopters for guidance – and don’t forget that we have an Aviation Medical Examiner visiting regularly, so advice is available.
The training programme for an LAPL(H) is slightly shorter than the PPL programme. You will need a minimum of 40 hours flight training, of which at least 35 must be on the helicopter type you take your Skills Test on. You can, therefore, do the bulk of your training on the Robinson R22 and give the R44 a try during the programme, which will stand you in good stead if you decide to do a type rating later on. At least 30 hours of the training must be dual (i.e. with an instructor) and at least 10 hours must be solo, including 5 hours of solo navigation training including an 80 Nautical Mile navigation exercise. You will still need to pass nine ground school exams. With the lower flight hours requirement, and the reduced medical requirements, there are limitations to the privileges on the licence. You can only fly EASA helicopters registered in the EU of less than 2,000 Kg Maximum Take Off Weight. You can only fly with a maximum of three passengers (plus pilot), so you would be limited to the R22 and R44 – or an aircraft like a Jet Ranger if there were never more than three passengers on board. You cannot be paid for any flying on an LAPL, so if you ever wanted to become a flight instructor or commercial pilot you would need to upgrade your medical certificate and undertake additional training to qualify for your PPL, CPL or FI licences. Central Helicopters are authorised to offer LAPL, PPL, CPL and Flight Instructor training. For advice on which is the best licence for your needs and aspirations please call 01664 823846 or pop in to see us for a chat. We will be more than happy to talk things through with you, without any obligation.