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Microlight statistics 2023

In January 2023, the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA) presented the latest statistics on microlight licencing at their annual Instructor Seminar. While the number of licence applications had increased somewhat since its lowest point in 2020, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall trend continued to be a downward one. In particular, flexwing applications saw a marked drop, leaving attendees to ponder the reasons behind the ongoing decline.


Student pilot statistics (2022).

  • Average age to begin microlight training: just over 44 years old (45 years old in 2021 and 43 years old in 2020)

  • Average time taken to complete NPPL training: just over two years

  • Average total hours to complete NPPL training: 57 hours 19 minutes (56 hours 27 minutes in 2020)

  • Average solo hours to complete NPPL training: 13 hours 2 minutes (13 hours 7 minutes in 2020)

  • Licence applications from women for the period 2010 - 2022: 3.6% (3.7% for the period 2010-2020)

  • Number of licence applications: 253

  • Percentage of licence applications which were for flexwings: 14% (35)

  • Percentage of licence applications delayed due to serious errors or omissions: 51%


Microlight licence applications 2002 - 2022.

Over the last two decades, there has been a steady reduction in the number of licence applications. While the COVID-19 pandemic may have distorted the number of applications in 2020, it's clear that even in 2022, the number of licences applied for remains significantly lower than pre-pandemic years.

Bar chart showing the number of NPPL Microlight licence applications each year from 2002 - 2022

Ratio of flexwing to fixed-wing licence applications 2010 - 2022.

The proportion of applications from flexwing students reached its lowest recorded level in 2022 at only 14%.

Bar chart showing the proportion of NPPL Microlight licence applications which were made by flexwing pilots

Percentage of licence applications delayed through errors or omissions.

The number of NPPL applications which contained errors or omissions reduced significantly between 2021 and 2022.

Bar chart of Official BMAA statistics showing the number of NPPL Microlight licence applications which were rejected or delayed due to serious errors

New Microlight Instructor Certificates issued.

It is positive to see that 12 Restricted Flight Instructor Certificates were issued in 2022 which represents an increase over 2021.

Bar chart showing the number of new microlight instructors each year (official BMAA statistics)

The average time taken for an FI(R) to upgrade to a Qualified Flying Instructor Certificate was 18 months.


Other interesting statistics (up to 2019):

  • 17-20 year olds held the highest proportion of female applications at 9%

  • 17-20 year olds completed with the lowest average flight time

  • 60-70 year olds took on average 72 hours to complete training

  • 40-50 year olds held the highest proportion of flex-wing applications.

  • Oldest student was 85 years old

  • Longest course of training recorded was 30 years

  • Most training completed before application was 315 hours 25 minutes

  • 5.5% of applicants take more than 100 hours


What are your thoughts?

We want to hear from you! What's your take on the latest microlight statistics? Do you have any insights into why the number of licence applications continues to decrease, or why flexwing applications have seen a particular drop? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. We're eager to hear your perspective and foster a dialogue around the future of microlight aviation.


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