Which Licence is for you?
EASA PPL(A) This is the main private pilot’s licence, as regulated by the European AviationSafety Agency (EASA). Now, we’re writing this mid-Brexit and it’s not clear whether the UK will continue to be part of EASA although the UK Department for Transport plans to remain in EASA if possible or at least be closely aligned.
However, if post-Brexit sees the UK revert to pilot licences issued and regulated by the UK CAA, then we’re assuming that these licences will be internationally recognised around the world, including across Europe, and in the USA, Africa, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. After all, that’s what happened before EASA took over flight crew licensing a few years ago.
The good thing about the full PPL(A), whether issued by EASA or the UK CAA, is that it is internationally recognised and you can add ratings such as an Instrument Rating (IR). The PPL is also the first step to a commercial career, should you want to go that route. The only downside, if there is one, is that to exercise the full privileges of the licence you will need to pass and hold a Class 2 Medical.
LAPL(A) The Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence (LAPL) is pan-European, though its status post-Brexit is unclear at the moment. The main differences to the EASA PPL are that the training course is shorter, just 30 hours, and the medical requirements less onerous. A LAPL allows you to fly aircraft up to 2,000kg in weight with a maximum of three passengers. You can’t add an Instrument Rating, but you can a Night Rating. The LAPL is perfectly suitable for most leisure pilots and can be upgraded to an EASA PPL with further training.
NPPL The National Private Pilot’s Licence (NPPL) is UK-only and is rarely taught for light aircraft these days. A microlight-only licence is still an NPPL, although you can also fly microlights on either an EASA PPL or a LAPL.