FAQs

Are there any age limits? You can start your training from the age of 14, although you cannot fly solo until the age of 16. There’s no upper age limit, providing you can pass the CAA Class 2 Medical Examination – we’ve had students in their 80’s!
How long does it take to get my Pilot’s Licence? There is no set time period to obtain your licence. It depends on how often you fly. It’s possible to obtain a licence within weeks, but some people take years. In our experience, most student pilots take around 6-12 months. Ultimately it’s down to how often you can take lessons.
Is it safe to fly? Flying is one of the safest forms of transport. All aircraft are inspected prior to each flight, and they are checked and maintained regularly by licensed engineers every 50 flying hours, and again annually, to the highest standards as required and regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our instructors are very experienced and fully qualified pilots. Periodically their licences are re-validated by authorised flight examiners.
Am I insured? Yes – you are covered under the aircraft insurance. Our Trial Lesson vouchers are available on some 3rd party ‘experience’ sites, and some of these offer additional insurance for extra cost.
How hard is it to fly? Flying is not difficult, but requires high levels of motivation and dedication.
Will I use the controls? Your instructor will try to give you as much “Hands On” flying experience as possible for you to obtain a better understanding of the aircraft’s handling characteristics. You will truly see how flying is an exhilarating experience.
Can a friend fly with me in the Trial Lesson If you have purchased a voucher for a Trial Lesson in a 4-seater aircraft, then yes. However, this is subject to your Instructor carrying out weight and balance checks for the aircraft, and is entirely at their discretion.
Does the weather play a major role in flying? The weather plays a large part, depending on your type of flight and nature of your training. We adhere to the standards, rules and regulations as laid down by the Civil Aviation Authority, to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.
If my Trial Lesson is cancelled because of the weather, will it affect the expiry date of my voucher? If we have to cancel your flight due to the weather, we will re-book your flight to another date of your choice, and will not affect the expiry date. Strong winds, poor visibility, or low cloud are the main problems. We advise you to call us at least a couple of hours before the lesson time, to check if it’s still safe to fly. Ultimately, your Instructor will have the final word.
I have a flying lesson as a gift – can I transfer the name on the voucher? You will need to check with the issuing ‘experience’ company. If the voucher was bought directly from ourselves, this won’t be a problem.
If I enjoyed my trial flight, and wanted to take more lessons to gain a PPL, will my trial lesson time count towards my training? All our trial lessons are bona fide training flights, so if you did want to continue training, the time will count towards your minimum flying hours.
Do I need a medical examination? If so, can my own GP do this, and is the medical hard to pass? For trial lessons, you don’t need a medical examination or certificate. If you are training for a PPL, you will need a Medical Certificate from an Aeromedical Examiner (AME). The cost varies, and a list of CCA approved AMEs can be found on the CAA website (there’s a link on this site). If you wish to pursue the LAPL, then your GP can give you a medical certificate, or you can use an AME. For either licence, you will need a medical certificate before you can fly solo. The exams are not that difficult, but can involve an ECG and various other complex tests, as you’d probably expect. If you have any concerns, please do give us a call.
I have to wear prescription glasses – does this prevent me from flying? Wearing prescription glasses or contact lenses is not a problem. In most circumstances, vision correction by wearing prescription lenses will fall within the limitations required by the CAA medical standards. You may well have limitations attached to your licence, but this usually means you’d need to carry a spare pair of glasses when flying.
Can I only use my licence in the UK? An EASA PPL is valid worldwide, but you should check for any specific requirements needed, with the country you wish to fly in. A LAPL is only valid in the UK and Europe.
How many exams are there to pass? There are nine written exams, all multiple choice, with a pass mark of 75%. Our Instructors take pride in doing all they can to help you pass.
Can I get help studying for these? Our Instructors are available for ‘Ground School’, where you pay an hourly fee for tuition in a classroom scenario, to prepare for any or all of the examinations.
What do I need to do to keep my licence valid? Your medical certificate has to be valid, and from the second year of your licence’s validity, you will need to fly 12 hours in 12 months, including one hour with an Examiner.
Can I fly at night? You will need to obtain a Night Qualification. This is about another 5 hours of flying with an Instructor, at night. Once achieved, you can fly during the hours of darkness.
When someone gets their licence what do they do with it? Most use it for recreational purposes and treat it as a hobby or life skill. We have previously organised trips to France and within the UK. You can also train for, and add additional Ratings, including Night rating, IMC rating, aerobatic rating, twin engine rating, and several others. Other pilots see it as the start of a commercial licence, which can lead to flying commercial jets with hundreds of passengers.
What sort of aircraft will I be flying? Our current fleet consists of Cessna 152s, Cessna 172s, and Piper PA28s (161). The 152s are 2-seater aircraft, the remainder are 4-seater.
Do I have to become a member of Harvard Flight Centres Flying Club? Yes – after your first introductory lesson.
Do I need any special qualifications, or level of education? No, but a good standard of English Language is required, to international aviation standards, and basic maths. That’s about it.
Is there a charge for cancelling lessons? We normally ask for 48 hours’ notice for a cancellation, but we know emergencies can catch everyone unaware. Please call us as soon as you know you can’t make the allotted time, and we’ll do our best to prevent any additional charges. If there’s simply a no-show, we may charge you for the Instructor’s lost time.
How long does it take before I can fly solo? It largely depends on you, but an average of between 10 and 20 hours of Instruction is usual, but we’ve had students that have achieved it in 5 hours!
Do I have to complete the training course in a fixed time? There’s no fixed time. It’s entirely up to you and how often you can take a lesson.
Are there any books or equipment that I will need? Yes. We sell these, or you can buy elsewhere, and your Instructor or a member of staff will assist you in choosing the correct materials. We have spare aviation headsets for training, but most students prefer to buy their own. We have some for sale on our website and in the office, and we often have reconditioned headsets at reduced prices.
Where do I sit the written examinations? Your Instructor will advise on your progress, and suggest when it’s time for sitting the exams. These are at your convenience, and are sat in our Training Rooms at Shoreham.
Do I need any special clothing? Not usually, but ladies should avoid high heels, as these can damage the aircraft when entering/exiting. Just dress appropriately for the weather. The aircraft have good heating and ventilation.
Will I have to pay a set price for every lesson? The aircraft per-hour price is fixed, as agreed with the student and the school. However, we offer discounts for purchasing hours in advance, or setting up an account with an least £1,000 deposited and available. Please call us to discuss.
Will I have to pay anything in advance? It’s up to you if you wish to maintain an ‘account’, or pay-as-you-go. Most of our students pay something in advance, to enjoy some discounts we can offer as a result, but we are unable to provide a credit account.
How do I book my lessons? By telephone, or in person at the school after a previous lesson.
I have a lapsed PPL how do I get my licence back? You will need to undertake a Refresher Course with an Instructor, which includes general handling, circuits, stalls, use of radio navigation aids, cross-country flying, and instrument flying. You will then need to take the Skill Test. If the lapse is less than 5 years, there’s no fee required by the CAA. If more than 5 years, the CAA will require a fee.