PPL Course overview

The purpose of this blog is to replicate an European (EASA) PPL training course for use with a flight-simulator. Courses may vary a little with different schools, always refer to your own school’s training manuals for real world flying.

Hello ladies and Gentleman, this is Flightinstructoronline,
and welcome to this virtual-PPL course.

Before I start, just a quick disclaimer.

Although the content of this course is based on actual flight training standards set out by EASA, and I am in fact a licensed flying instructor. This course is for your leisure only and cannot replace actual flight training.

That having said, instead of flying with real aircraft, we are going to use X-plane or MS Flight simulator, and in the virtual skies everything is allowed!

The purpose of this online course is to either prepare you for real PPL training, or improve your flying skills in your home flight simulator.

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.

Here is what you need to know before you can start a PPL training course:

Who said I need a licence?

First of all, you need a licence to fly aeroplanes. In Europe, it is EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, that mandates all pilots to hold a valid pilot licence.

In the USA for example, it is the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and most other countries have their own aviation standards.

What can I do with a licence?

With a  Private Pilot Licence for Aeroplanes, or PPL(A) you may fly as Pilot in Command or Co-pilot on aeroplanes, But only in in non-commercial operations and without remuneration. If you want to get paid for flying, you need a Commercial Pilot Licence CPL. You can choose to upgrade your PPL later.

Your EASA Licence is valid for the rest of your life and can be used all over the world, but only on European registered aeroplanes. It is only valid if you carry it with you, in combination with a valid medical certificate and a photo-identification.

On your licence, you need to have a valid rating for every type of flying that you are going to conduct

We will start with the SEP, or single engine piston rating, which allows you to fly with most light propeller aircraft, with one piston engine.

After the initial course you can upgrade your licence with more ratings, like the instrument rating, a night rating, multi-engine rating, instructor rating, et cetera.

Most ratings have a validity of one year, the SEP class rating is valid for two years, after which you need to take another check flight to renew it.

All legal requirements are described in the EASA Part-FCL (Flight crew licencing)


For your own safety and that of others, you need an Aviation Medical Certificate Class 2 before you can fly solo. You will be checked for function of your eyes, ears, heart and a few other things. Most people that are reasonably healthy can pass the test, even if you wear glasses. The class 2 medical is valid for up to two years.

All the legal requirements are described in the EASA Part-MED (medical)

How do I get it?

You must be at least 16 years before you can fly solo, and 17 years  complete a PPL(A) training course at an Approved Training Organisation (ATO).

An approved theoretical course will be at least 100 hours of instruction covering the subjects:

  • Air law (everyone’s favourite :P)
  • Human performance
  • Meteorology
  • Communications
  • Principles of flight
  • Flight performance and planning
  • Aircraft General Knowledge
  • Navigation

The practical bit:

  • A minimum of 45 flying hours of which
    • at least 25 hours with an instructor (dual instruction)
    • at least 10 hours solo of which at least
      • 5 hours cross country
      • one 1 cross country flight of at least 150 NM (270km) with landings at 3 different aerodromes.
  • The Licence check ride and class-rating exam (usually one flight of 1.5 hours)

Link to EASA Part-FCL, Subpart C – Private Pilot Licence

The cockpit is a very harsh learning environment, so we don’t expect to learn much during the flight.

  • A class room briefing
  • Pre-flight briefing
  • The actual flight
  • De-briefing

First we start with the class room briefing, which contains in-depth information about the exercise, this can cover all theoretical subjects. For example, a technical explanation of aircraft systems and aerodynamic secondary effects of flight controls, etc.

The pre-flight briefing contains more practical information about the exercise, like in which are we flying today and how will the weather effect us.

The actual flight is all about experiencing the exercise, demonstrating that you understand the it and are able to execute it, and then repeating to gain routine.

The de-briefing is an evaluation of the flight. It is mostly a self-assessment and if your instructor agrees with your own verdict, then you are on the good way.

I hope you will enjoy this on-line course, see you at exercise 1a!


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