Private Pilot Licence – PPL(A)

The Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) – in short PPL(A)

The dream of flying while piloting the aircraft yourself regularly begins with the PPL or PPL(A) private pilot licence. Obtaining this licence allows you to charter and pilot single-engine piston aircraft such as a Cessna 152, the more powerful Cessna 172 or, for example, a Piper PA-28 for private daytime flights. With the PPL as one of three entry-level licences, you directly get more freedom in aircraft charter or your travel planning and are not limited to light or ultralight aircraft. You can easily upgrade your licence later for night flying, instrument flying or aerobatics – and you can also upgrade your licence to pilot multi-engine or even turbo-propeller and turbine-powered aircraft.

Requirements for the acquisition of a private pilot licence PPL

Training for the PPL(A) can be started at the age of 16, just like for the PPL(H) for helicopters or the balloon pilot licence BPL.

  • After successful training, licences are issued from the age of 17.
  • This also requires a Class 2 medical fitness certificate from an aviation physician. This class certifies nothing more than a normal state of health. Glasses with average vision correction are not an obstacle to airworthiness. Even with some other physical limitations, up to the need for a wheelchair, there are no problems in obtaining a medical certificate.
  • In addition, you need an extract from the central traffic register that is no more than three months old, as well as
  • especially in Germany, a passed background check with proof of your reliability according to the Aviation Security Act (LuftSiG).

Training as a pilot with a private pilot licence

A PPL training includes a theoretical and a practical part.

The theory includes at least 100 teaching hours – among others in:

  • Aerodynamics
  • general knowledge of aircraft
  • flight planning
  • air law
  • meteorology and
  • human performance or
  • navigation

The knowledge is mostly taught in classroom training at the many flight schools in the country. With computer-based training, you can additionally deepen what you have learned privately.

Important: You also need a radiotelephone certificate in German (BZF II) or in German and English (BZF I).

You will receive this certificate from the Federal Network Agency after passing the theoretical and practical examinations. Because the theoretical content is very similar to the theory in the PPL training, it makes sense to complete both in parallel. In the practical exam, you then demonstrate your radio skills during a simulated departure and approach.

The practical part of the private pilot licence then comprises 45 flying hours at least.

  • You are allowed to practice in a simulator for up to five hours.
  • You will fly with your instructor for a minimum of 25 hours, after which he or she will supervise you for at least ten hours of solo flights.
  • Another five hours or more are for cross-country flights.

You will go through three phases. In the first, you are allowed to fly laps in the area of the airfield. The second phase requires you to have passed the theory test and allows you to fly solo cross-country flights. If you have completed all the necessary flying hours in the third phase, you are ready for the exam.

Validity of your private pilot licence PPL(A)

Your private pilot licence is valid for 24 months after the successful examination. It includes the SEP Land class licence for Single Engine Piston Landing Aircraft. In the last twelve months you need for an extension for another 24 months

  • twelve verified hours of flying as a pilot and
  • a short practice flight with a flight instructor.

Without the flying hours, you must complete a full exam flight to retain your PPL for the next 24 months.

Your licence and training are based on the guidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and so you can use them to rent SEP aircraft from flying clubs worldwide or charter them from other providers if you do not have your own aircraft to fly.