Regarding Tim Reid’s letter in Spring 2019 Airmail, I write to say there is more than one way to skin a cat! I appreciate that GA is not a hobby in the grasp of all those who desire it but just because a PPL is the default route doesn’t make it the only one.
At 27 I started flying and at 28 had my licence. By 29 I had my first (and current) aircraft. Total cost approx £10K. Now that’s not pocket money or loose change for many but was spent over those three years on a method of flying I knew I could afford. I’m a microlight pilot, flexwing to be exact (what traditional GA calls ‘crazy fools hanging from a stretched bedsheet’) but could easily have gone three-axis/fixed wing, although I’d have a share rather than full ownership of an aircraft.
My point being there are ways and means for us all to get airborne, and if propulsion isn’t a concern then gliding is even cheaper still.
I have always known a PPL(A) is out of my reach if only because of the financial requirements. More learning hours at a higher cost, more expensive aircraft to purchase, run (fuel consumption) and maintain, and often higher landing fees. Even now, almost six years on, I’ve no regrets as I know I would still see a PPL(A) as out of my league and would be no further towards a pilot’s licence feeling it all too expensive. But I looked at microlights and an NPPL as my ticket to the skies and, as it happens, I had three microlight schools closer to me than anything with a name such as Cessna or Piper.
Perhaps Tim’s view is too tunnelvision on PPL(A) flying when other options are out there and available − with some compromise but with some significant benefits if he is willing to be flexible. Peter Davies, Newbury