Selecting a License

PS van Zuydam – 11 March 2015

If you are interested in flying the first consideration is what type of license you need to pursue to suit your mission. Most potential pilots may have someone to guide them in choosing the correct licensing option for them. If however you are new to aviation this article will give you some insight into the options available to you. The article below is my own perspective and is written for interest only.

The first consideration is what you would like to achieve from your flying. If your intention is to fly for fun, locally, by day only, on microlights or light sport aircraft (lighter than 600kg) then a National Pilots License may suit your needs. If you would like to fly further in larger, faster aircraft or at night or if you would like to pursue a career in aviation then the Private Pilot’s License is for you.

The advantages of the National Pilots License are fewer and easier examinations, less flight hours and a lower class of medical is required to obtain the license when compared with the Private Pilot’s License. The disadvantages are that you are limited to an aircraft with a MTOW of 600kg, you cannot add a night rating to this qualification and aircraft in this class might not be fast enough if your intention is to travel.

If your intention is to enter a career in aviation then there is no question that the Private Pilots License which is a prerequisite to a Commercial Pilots License is the way to go. If your intention is to fly for fun then it does not really matter how long it takes to complete the qualification so I would again choose the PPL over the NPL.

The only instance that I would consider a NPL over a PPL would be if you are unable to obtain a class 2 medical. The NPL only requires a pilot to hold a class 4 medical instead of the class 2 required by a PPL.