The following is a brief description of the different pilot licenses.
Only an excerpt of the most important provisions is included. If you are interested in a complete description of certification regulations, you may find them in: "JAR-FCL 1" for airplanes and “JAR-FCL 2” for helicopters. JAR publications can be downloaded from: www.jaato.com
JAR = Joint Aviation Requirements.
JAR provisions are common European rules regarding certification procedures for pilots and applicable to all JAR member states.
PPL = Private Pilot License.
Certificate privileges and Conditions. A PPL certificate can be used for pleasure or company flying in any airplane class/type in which you have received specified training. That means that you are allowed to fly with your family or friends and also for the company where you are working and with your colleagues. (as long as it is not against rewards).
Operation of another aircraft class/type, different from the one used for PPL training and skill test will require specified additional training applicable to that particular class/type.
As a pilot holder of a PPL, you are not allowed to fly against remunerations/fees, which means that you are not allowed to fly with people who pay for their transportation or with cargo against rewards, as this requires a commercial certificate (CPL).
As a pilot you are not allowed to fly at night or in instrument weather conditions (poor visibility or in clouds) until you have obtained a night approval or instrument rating.
Previous knowledge. There are no specific requirements for commencing pilot training in order to obtain a PPL.
Medical fitness. Acquisition of a PPL certificate requires that you pass a medical examination made by an authorised aviation physician and achieve minimum “Medical class 2”, which is a less demanding medical class than “Medical class 1”. The latter is required for Commercial Pilot Licenses (CPL) but is also valid for PPL.
It’s not necessary to be a "superman" to pass an aviation medical test. The use of e.g. glasses, colour blindness, minor hearing-impaired or the like, don’t automatically preclude you from achieving a pilot license.
There is no minimum age for commencement of PPL training. However the minimum age for solo flying is 16 years and the minimum age for issuing a PPL is 17 years. There is no maximum age limit in order to exercise the privileges of a PPL.
Training for PPL includes theory courses, a radio communication course, and practical flight instruction.
- Theory course
Includes approx. 48 hours of classroom lessons in the following subjects: Air law, aircraft general knowledge, navigation, meteorology, flight performance and planning, operational procedures, principles of flight and human performance and limitations. Apart from classroom lessons you must anticipate some home studies with exercises in problem solving.
The theory course ends with a written test in all subjects. The written test includes approx. 100 tasks of multiple-choice type. Passing the test requires at least 75% of the answers being correct. You can find examples of theory tests under the menu option: “Theory test”.
- Radio course
Includes lessons in various subjects like: Air traffic radio phraseology, operation of aviation radio equipment, radio waves radiation, frequency spectrum, phonetic alphabet, distress call, and exercises in transmission and reception of air traffic radio communications. The radio course will be in either a national language or in English and will be completed with a theoretical and oral test in air traffic radio communication.
- Flight instruction
Includes minimum 45 hours of flight instruction of which a minimum of 25 hours must be dual instruction (student flying with a flight instructor), and at least 10 hours must be solo flight (student flies alone). Practical flight instruction is usually performed in small 2 or 4 seat single-engine aircraft, in which the student will practice general flight manoeuvring, take-offs and landings, visual navigation, simple instrument flight, emergency procedures etc.
Finally you will be recommended for a skill test including both an oral and a practical part.
A PPL certificate with rating to fly single engine piston airplanes (SEP) is valid for 2 years. Before the date of expiry, the certificate can be revalidated for another 2-year period by conducting a training flight of 1-2 hours duration with a flight instructor. There is no requirement that you fly a minimum number of hours annually, but if you fly less than 12 hours in the last year of the validity period of 2 years, you must pass the above training flight as a test with an authorised examiner.
Medical certificates must be renewed every 1-5 years depending on your age.
Privileges of a PPL license may be expanded with e.g.: night flying, instrument rating, parajump flying, towering flight and multi-engine aircraft. These rights give the certificate even more applicability. A PLL licerse is a basic certificate, which by further training can be extendet to a CPL certificate.
CPL = Commercial Pilot License.
Certificate privileges and conditions.
A CPL license gives you the same privileges as a PPL license. Moreover holding a CPL you attain the right to act as pilot in command (captain) on any single-pilot aircraft (aircraft approved for operation by only one pilot) performing commercial flight (flights with paying passengers or cargo).
On aircraft engaged in commercial operations and limited to operation by 2 pilots, as a CPL holder you are allowed to act only as co-pilot.
There are no formal requirements regarding previous knowledge, but you must have a good knowledge of the following subjects: mathematics, physics, and English. Furthermore as a CPL student you must hold a PPL license and have obtained at least 150 hours as pilot.
CPL pilots and applicants applying for a CPL license must hold a "Medical class 1". Colour-blindness will often indicate that you don’t meet the medical requirements for obtaining an instrument rating, and without an instrument rating your use of a CPL license will be limited.
Applicants applying for a CPL certificate must be minimum 18 years old.
Training for CPL includes ATPL theory courses, English radio operator course, and CPL flight instruction.
- Theory course
Theory for the CPL Course includes training in the following subjects: Air law, general aircraft knowledge, flight performance and planning, human performance and limitations, meteorology, navigation, and operational procedures. Study books will be in English and the course includes classroom lessons and private studies at home (distance learning). Every subject will be completed with a written test in that particular subject.
- Radio course
If you don’t already have a radio operator certificate in English communication, you must accomplish this course and pass the applicable skill test. The course includes training in: Operation of aviation radio communication- and navigation equipment, radio waves radiation, frequency spectrum, phonetic alphabet, electronic navigation equipment, emergency procedures, and exercises in transmission and reception of English speaking air traffic communication. The course ends with a written test, a test in reception of English speaking air traffic communication, and a test in the Morse alphabet.
- Flight instruction
Practical flight instruction includes minimum 25 hours of dual flight instruction (with instructor). If you don’t already have night rating, you must accomplish 5 hours of night rating flight instruction. Practical instruction is normally performed in small 2 or 4 seat aircrafts with retractable undercarriage and adjustable propeller, and these are more advanced aircrafts, than the types of aircraft typically used for PPL flight instruction.
Validity and renewal are similar to a PPL certificate.
Pilots engaged in commercial flight operations in a company must undergo a flight test every half year, as required by internal rules of the particular company.
A CPL license can be extended with e.g. instrument rating, multi-engine aircraft types, and ATPL certificate.
ATPL = Airline Transportation Pilot License.
Certificate privileges and conditions. The ATPL certificate gives you the same rights as a PPL or a CPL license. Moreover, as an ATPL holder you have the right to serve as commander or co-pilot in any aircraft you are qualified on, also in commercial air operations.
CPL license and greater flight experience with minimum 1500 hours as pilot.
Applicants applying for an ATPL must be minimum 21 years old.
ATPL pilots and applicants applying for an ATPL license must hold a "Medical class 1".
Course. -Theory course
Applicants applying for an ATPL license must have completed the ATPL theoretical course. This course includes the same subjects as the theory course for CPL and IR.
- Radio course
Same as CPL/IR.
- Practical training
Obtaining an ATPL license requires no specified practical training, but greater flight experience. Applicants must have obtained a minimum of 1500 flight hours of which at least 500 flight hours must have been obtained under multi-pilot operations.
Same as for CPL.
As the ATPL licence is the certificate with the most extensive privileges, it can’t be extended to any higher certificate. But rights of the holder can be expanded with rights to fly other – bigger or smaller – aircraft types.