Sheffield Aero Club

Pilot Training

Gaining Your Private Pilot's License (PPL)

G-BHCP taxying at Netherthorpe - Sheffield's nearest flying school

Have you always dreamed of being pilot in command of your own aircraft? Or perhaps you were given one of our trial flights as a gift and now you've been bitten by the aviation bug?

Well, you've come to the right place! Gaining your Private Pilot's License (PPL) or National Private Pilot's License (NPPL) is a great challenge which rewards you with an incredible sense of freedom and fulfilment. Many of our students have gained their PPL with us and continued on to careers in the services or as airline pilots. Most have stayed with us at Netherthorpe and continued their aviation adventures as private pilots -regularly touring, competing in aerobatics and air racing among other things.

Why learn to fly at Netherthorpe?


Netherthorpe is a small, friendly airfield operated by us, for us.  You won't spend your time and hard-earned cash queuing on the ground behind commercial traffic or other flying schools.  From the outset, you will learn how to safely operate from and not be intimidated by challenging grass runways with various gradients - this will give you a real advantage compared to those who have learned on long, hard runways!  We are also well placed near the commercial airports of Doncaster Sheffield and Nottingham East Midlands as well as RAF Waddington which provide us with excellent RADAR services.

Following the recent closure of Sheffield City Airport, Sheffield Aero Club is the nearest flying school to the city of Sheffield by a large margin and, since we are situated right on the border of Nottinghamshire and North East Derbyshire, we are also ideally placed if you are based in and around Worksop, Mansfield and Rotherham.

Staff and Committee

Sheffield Aero Club has a number of full-time and part-time instructors and staff who have a amassed tens of thousands of flying and instructing hours between them.  We take pride in offering you the best possible environment in which to train and develop your flying skills and our friendly and helpful staff are a big part of that commitment.  We also have a strong and supportive committee made of up both flying and non-flying members who are here to help you before, during and after you get your license. We encourage our members to get out and fly!


We have a large fleet of aircraft available for training and self-fly hire at very reasonable rates.  If you have the means to own your own aircraft we have on-site hangarage and fuel available to members at discounted rates.

What's involved? How much will it cost?

For the issue of the Private Pilot's License (Aircraft) you must complete 45 hours of flight training, several written exams, a radio-telephony oral exam and a flight test with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved examiner.  For the issue of an NPPL (a simplified version of the PPL which restricts your flying to within the UK) this is reduced to 32 hours of flight training, but is otherwise the same as the PPL.

You can complete your training at a pace that suits your time and pocket.  It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. The written and oral examinations are well within the capabilities of most people and our instructors will be there to help you every step of the way.

The cost of getting your license varies a great deal depending on your ability and the time you take to complete the syllabus itself.  Naturally, those who can afford to fly more often will tend to progress quicker and retain knowledge better than those who don't. The average is probably somewhere between 48 and 60 flying hours.

Don't I need to be in perfect health?

Not at all. Most people are physically and mentally fit to fly. Before you can fly solo you will need to pass a medical examination by an Aero-medical examiner which ensures your eyesight and general health are within the limits allowed.  For most people this isnt an issue, however, the NPPL has slightly less strict medical requirements (similar to those required for drivers of heavy goods vehicles, for example) should you be unable to gain the medical required for a full PPL.

What can I do when I'm qualified?

When you are qualified you can continue to develop at your own pace with full support from our instructors.  You can hire one of our aircraft and fly with passengers to almost anywhere! Our members regularly tour abroad and have been known to fly as far afield as the USA. Popular flying destinations include France, Spain and Portugal.

Many people continue their training with us to obtain a Night Rating which allows you to fly after sunset; the Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) rating which allows you to fly in and above cloud (handy in the UK!) or complete the AOPA basic aerobatics course.

Joining a syndicate with other like-minded pilots is another popular choice. This allows you to reduce the costs of aircraft ownership and fly when and where it suits you.

How do I start?

We advise you to start by taking one of our flight experiences . These offer a great introduction to flying. If you decide you would like to continue on and get your PPL, then we'll encourage you to join the club and begin your training with us at the earliest opportunity. Your flight experience time counts towards your PPL total hours. If you have already made your mind up that flying is definitely for you then we recommend our Pilot Flying Starter package . You could be flying solo after only 10 hours of training.  Within 12 months of your first flight you could have your PPL and be in a position to progress on to an Airline Transport Pilot's License (ATPL) and have a career in flying!

Want to know more?

If you still have questions or would simply like to a chat with one of our experienced flying instructors please contact us or better still, come and see us - we love to talk flying!

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