Updated: Apr 19, 2020
Are you interested in becoming a Microlight Flying Instructor? Let's take a look at what's involved.
To start with you'll need an NPPL Microlights. You'll also need to have held it for at least eight months and have logged 100 hours Pilot in Command. This is a minimum and I think you'll find the course tough if you go in with 100 hours. That's not to say it can't be done - it is regularly! But a bit more experience won't do any harm.
You'll have to sit an entrance test which consists of a flight and a written exam.
The written exam is comparable in difficulty to the tests you took during the NPPL training and covers all subjects including Microlight Air Law, Navigation, Meteorology, Aircraft General Knowledge and Human Factors. Of course you can practice all of these exams here on QuizAero .
The flight test is akin to a GST that you took at the end of your NPPL course. The examiner will be checking your airmanship, captaincy and handling abilities. They will not be testing you on your ability to teach as you haven't done the course yet. Oh and don't worry, you'll still be sitting in the left hand seat (if you fly fixed wing).
Once you've passed the entrance test, you'll enrol on the course. Most providers offer the course over four weeks which can be broken up as required. Some providers offer the course in three weeks but this will be a tight schedule.
You will complete a minimum of 40 hours ground training, and 15 hours flight training. The ground training will be spent watching briefings, preparing your own briefings and practicing them in front of the instructor and other students. You will also research ground subjects and learn them thoroughly.
The flight training is spent observing your instructor as they pretend to teach you and then practicing teaching the instructor as if they were a student. Diagnosing mistakes, coordinating your speech with the timing of your manoeuvres and learning 'the patter' is all part of the fun.
Don't expect to complete the course in minimum time. Most people take longer. You should also not underestimate how tough the course actually is. It has a high drop-out rate.
Once you've completed the course and the instructor thinks you're ready, you will book your test with an FIE (Flight Instructor Examiner).
They will expect you to act like an instructor and teach them an exercise of their choice. You will be required to brief them, take them flying and then debrief them afterwards. Following this, you will sit an oral exam which touches on all of the theoretical subjects.
The examiner will be looking for airmanship, ability to impart knowledge, understanding of the rules and your qualification as a flying instructor.
If you pass, you will be granted a FI (R) certificate from the CAA.
The FI (R) is a restricted instructor certificate. You must be supervised by an unrestricted FI whilst teaching and cannot send a student on a first solo or first cross-country solo. You'll need another 100 hours before you can be retested to remove the restrictions from your certificate. This effectively means that you cannot start your own school immediately after gaining your certificate.
I would budget for approximately £6,000 for the course.
How much does a microlight flying instructor earn? There are so many variables that it is difficult to say. A newly qualified instructor will not earn much. Perhaps £25-£30 per flying hour if they are lucky, but it is not unheard of for restricted instructors to work for free or even pay the school for supervision! How much work they will get depends on how busy the school is and how lucky they are with the weather. One thing is for sure: there are no rich flying instructors.
Are you a student pilot working towards your pilot's licence?
Take a look at our online ground school, video courses and practice exams. We have tailor-made products for the NPPL microlights and those studying for the EASA PPL / LAPL. Click here for more information.