Triple chal­lenges

Pilot - - PITTS MODEL 12: PART TWO -

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

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