More license talk:
I am a Sports Pilot transitioning to be a Private Pilot. With my Sports Pilots License I can fly Light Sports Aircraft with one or two seats and a maximum take-off weight of 475,5 kilograms. I am limited to Visual Flight Rule (VFR) during the daytime in uncontrolled airspace. I can fly in Germany and in a number of other countries, as long as I travel there in my German registered light sports aircraft. Chartering aircraft abroad can be complicated.
The light sports aircraft class is not regulated internationally. The aircraft are similar but not the same. Many manufacturers have different version of the same basic aircraft to cater to the different national markets. The class is relatively new, many of the aircraft are very sleek high tech toys. Flying light sports is fun and affordable. A great way to fly and an excellent entry into aviation.
The private pilots license is a more traditional license for private flying. The training is more complex and it is more costly because of the higher price of flight hours. But it also has many more options and possibilities. Larger aircraft with more seats, access to controlled airspace which means access to more airports and the possibility to upgrade to instrument flying and multi engine aircraft. And it is valid international, so I can charter aircraft at my holiday destination, for example.
The transition to the Private Pilots License is in three steps:
First – and most importantly – the step from the national sports pilots license (SPL) to the national private pilots license (PPL-N). The transition requires a theory exam, an extended radio license, a minimum of seven flight hours and a check ride. I just completed this process and am now the holder of a SPL as well as a PPL-A(nat.). I am allowed to fly single engine piston aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 750 kilogram. VFR, in the daytime.
The next step is heavier aircraft. I have started to train on a Cessna 172. It is a single engine aircraft with four seats. After 5 flight hours and another check-ride I will be rated for aircraft up to two tons maximum take-off weight (MTOW).
The final step for now will be the rating for Controlled Visual Flight (CVFR). This is an additional qualification for navigation. The use of VOR navigation is tested as well as the ability to hold altitude and course by the instruments only. During the training for this, I will fly with an IFR cap for the first time. This is a visor that blocks the view to the outside so that I am forced to only fly by the instruments. The CVFR rating is a first, very brief glimpse into the world of instrument flying.
The CVFR rating requires another 10 hours of flying, a theory exam and a check ride. After all of this is complete, I fulfill all of the requirements of the Joint Aviation Administration (JAA) for the private pilots license. I can transfer my PPL-N to a PPL JAR-FCL. This is the international private pilots license as it is issued in Europe.
I will keep you posted on the progress!
To be continued…
(originally posted on July 4, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/heavier-than-air/)