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Microlight statistics 2024

Updated: Apr 4

At the 2024 microlight instructor seminar, the BMAA provided the latest statistics on NPPL microlight training and licencing, instructor certification and other interesting facts up to the end of 2023.

NPPL Microlight licence applications 2002-2023.

Overall, the number of NPPL Microlight licence applications remained relatively stable in the three years following the COVID-19 lockdowns, but remains significantly below the number of applications received prior to 2020, and around 40% lower than a decade ago.

NPPL Microlight Licence statistics 2002-2023

Ratio of flex-wing to fixed wing licence applications 2010-2023.

The percentage of flex-wing to fixed wing applications remained broadly similar to 2022, with flex-wing licence applications representing 15% of the total applications.

Ratio of NPPL Flex-wing to fixed wign licence applications 2010 - 2023

Number of new microlight instructors.

The number of newly qualified microlight instuctors remained in single figures for six of the last 12 years, with eight instructor certificates issued in 2023, down from 12 in 2022.

Number of newly qualified microlight instructors 2012 - 2023 (graph)

Number of Instructors upgrading from a Restricted Certificate to a full Instructor Certificate.

The number of instructors upgrading from FI(R) to QFI status increased to its highest value since 2015.

The number of Flight Instructor (Restricted) upgrades to QFI status (graph)

Other interesting statistics.

Average age of student pilots when they begin microlight training: just over 44 years old (static from 2022, 45 years old in 2021 and 43 years old in 2020).

Average time taken to complete NPPL training: just over two years (static).

Number of licence applicants converted to BMAA members since 2015: 116

Average total training hours to complete NPPL training:

2020: 56 hours 27 minutes

2021: No figures

2022: 57 hours 19 minutes

2023: 57 hours 44 minutes

Average total of solo hours to complete NPPL training:

2020: 13 hours 7 minutes

2021: No figures

2022: 13 hours 2 minutes

2023: 13 hours

Average age of a microlight instructor: 59 years old

Number of active microlight schools (BMAA estimate):

England: 77

Scotland: 5

Wales: 2

Northern Ireland: 5

Abroad: 4 Total: 93

UK microlight schools by country and county: England: 1.6 Microlight schools per county

(Microlight school every 653 square miles)

Scotland: 0.15 Microlight schools per county

(Microlight school every 6,016 square miles)

Wales: 0.25 Microlight schools per county

(Microlight school every 4,012 square miles)

Northern Ireland: 0.83 Microlight schools per county

(Microlight school every 1,092 square miles)

Existing statistics that have not been updated in 2023:

Percentage of female licence applications 2010 - 2020: 3.7%

Percentage of female licence applications 2010 - 2022: 3.6%

Statistics up to 2019:

  • Percentage of female licence applications in the age group 17-20 years old: 9%

  • Percentage of licence applications with more than 100 hours of tuition: 5.5%

  • 17-20 year olds had the lowest amount of flight trainign logged at the time of licence application

  • 60-70 year olds had an overage 72 hours flight training logged at the time of licence application.

  • The oldest student was 85 years old

  • The longest course of training was 30 years

  • The highest amount of flight training before licence application was 315 hours and 25 minutes

Share your thoughts.

Let us know what you think about the latest statistics and the overall health of the sport. Do you have any insights into why the number of licence applications has declined in recent years? We'd like to know your opinion.

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04 avr.

Here in Australia, our Flex wing governing body, has lost the insurance cover they had which collectively insured instructors, now they have to find their own, and apparently it isn’t viable, hence instructors have closed down in droves. SAFA ( the governing body) are unfazed, saying

“ we’ve seen this in the past and it resolved its self, let’s just do nothing and wait for that to happen again “🤦‍♂️

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