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Hi everyone,

Been a few weeks since my last post, as I took a short break away from everything for school etc.

Im back with a few more questions and to be completely honest with you! With what im going to say, I hope no one gets offended, or feels in anyway lead on.. i apologise in advance if anyone does.

So priddy much what im meaning to say is that im jumping into all of these things too fast and telling people false information. Im 16 as the majority of you guys know and have and always will be so eager in flying and wish some day in the near future to fly commercial around the world. This has always been a dream that I try so hard to get to. The reason for not being on this site for a while was A, for study's and B to try and get my head around where to go next and how to. If im honest when i gave my proposed idea to my Parents, Dad in particular, he was fully supportive of my decision to want to fly these magnificent machines, but questioned me on why i want to fly these, and not save and get my NPPL for the same price. He said that way I would then have a licence i can display to the Company or recruiting service and stand a better chance of getting in. I understood what he meant, and felt I was best to think it through for a while. I came to the conclusion in that i should come to where i get the best information and advice on flying and to speak to the best pilots... hence why im writing this here! I guess my ideal way would be with Paramotor's, as i still get a buzz from looking at the pilot suit and magazines Dave kindly sent me a few months ago, and wish that soon i can put that suit on, and fly a Paramotor. But i have to decide which route is best for me, and thats where im hoping someone can help me!

I know some of you might be completely confused on why im writing this, and some may chose not to talk to me ;) but i guess im asking, whether someone can give me the view, from a neutral opinion on what you would suggest a guy like me to do. Its got me into a little puzzle and i fear im wasting too many people's time with my unrealistic targets.

Thank you for all your help


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As someone who has employed a number of people in the past, I would look at someone who flew a Paramotor (or anything else out of the norm) with more interest than someone who had an NPPL. (loads of people have those!)

That's my 2p's worth.


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I am sorry to say it but you will not be given a job just on the back of having an NPPL or being a Paramotor pilot nothing in life is certain apart from birth and death.

If its a job your looking for as an end result:

Save your cash, and set up a small company doing something you love! :-) Fly when you can afford to, and or find a cheep way of making it happen :-)


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Thanks Simon, i guess i did'nt word that write, what i mean is, give me the best route... would a PPL be valued more than a NPPL, and then over nothing at all, or in todays world, could I buy a paramotor, and enjoy flying! and then not find out, that if i had done a PPL i would of got my dream job? if that makes sense?

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Micheal if you want to fly airliners for a living have you thought about some of the scolarship programs some airlines run?

to be honest flying anything other than open cockpit does not really appeal to me, but horses for courses I geuss.

have you considered joining the RAF, you will need to be well educated and have a high tolerance to things like G forces ect to fly a military jet, I come from a long line of pilots, both military and comercial.

if your goal is to one day fly for a living you wont go far wrong in joing the RAF.

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Requires about £450 a month to own a plane if you fly it or not. (not including the cost of the actual plane)

Shares in a plane / microlight are less but you can still expect an adv of £50ph when all is factored in.

If you wanna fly, do the paramotor thing! If you wanna get a ticket to impress an employer, nppl ppl is not the first thing I would think of.

I am not a life coach of course. But if you want your CV to stand out, do something out of the ordinary anyone who has had to spend hours reading them will tell you that :-)

What ever you do, if your not enjoying it.... Stop. :-)


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Hi Dave,

Im aware of the BA scholarship thats open at the moment offering free courses and a permanent job for successful applicants, which was priddy much what got me thinking more about whether getting a licence or a PPL would be best at this stage, as it says its not needed, but is highly recommended that i have some form of flying experience. Im also an air cadet, and go twice a week, and go on camps. But i kind of learnt from them that i could'nt go into the RAF full time. I love the sense of freedom, and as i was told, if i plan to join the RAF for the flying, then don't bother... as its the lifestyle that im entering for mainly. This is why i turned to Commercial, as i get the free lifestyle without living on base, and yet i get to fly aircraft's for a living on a decent salary. This was my reasoning for kind of dismissing the RAF and choosing to hopefully get onto one of these scheme's these company's are running, as the government have just announced an increase of 93,500 new commercial pilots by 2030, and i hope to be one of those :)

Simon, i totally agree with what your saying, might need to print that and show my Dad ;) im currently a cadet, and have been for 2 and a half years now. I also have been a social member of my local field for 2 years, and spend most of my time in and around aviation, aswell i hope to get an additional gcse's in Aviation study's so i guess i could also stick, flying a paramotor on the CV aswell?

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The enthusiam is great. Keep it up. But realise one thing. It WILL be a long road. If you're going to try ATPL you will need to hour build like crazy and that costs money. If you can get a job doing it then that's a start but the scholarship places are thin on the ground and there are LOTS of applicants.

It's the same for the military, they get LOTS of applications and even many those selected will get chopped during their training. As long as you're prepared to work hard, learn lots and keep yourself out of trouble then you're in with as much chance as everyone else.

if you just want to go flying? then you're already on the road to getting aloft. If you want to get paid for doing it? Just ensure that you're aware of the journey you are about to embark upon.

If this sounds a bit disparaging it's not meant to be. But if you're not aware of just how tough the market is then you'll be heading to disappointment. Study hard, work hard, get good grades,

Good luck with all your endeavours.

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Coming at this from a business / employer perspective rather than looking at it from my very limited perspective as a trainer paramotor pilot then my advice to you would be as follows:

Finding your dream job / career can be a little like catching a reluctant horse. A head-on approach is seldom the most effective. You need to sidle up to it and tempt it. What this means in practice is that many vocational qualifications show little more than an enthusiasm for the subject and are of no use at all to an employer. An A-level in business studies is of minimal value compared to one in a 'hard' subject such as maths, English, Geograpahy, science etc. These subjects show your ability to learn and keep your options open. A GCSE in Aviation studies would be a great extra, but certainly not at the expense of an academic GCSE.

A ppl/nppl/ or some paramotor experience just shows you are keen and not totally uncoordinated. So.. if you want a career in aviation, my advice would be get a degree in engineering / physics / maths etc. i.e. related, but not vocational.

If you want to fly in the meantime then paramotors are undoubtedly the cheapest way to do it, although there is an upfront cost that can be quite a hurdle as you already know. Microlights can be relatively cheap, but there is a hidden problem. Once you have qualified, you may find that, unlike light aircraft, it can be impossible to rent a microlight by the hour. This means you would then have to buy a share in the aircraft and pay a share of the maintenance costs too.

I wouldn't confuse your future career with your current hobby, and I would also warn you against starting any sort of flying career until you are sure you can afford it. You really don't want to be yet another one of those people who start to fly, maybe even gain their PPL, and then realise they simply cannot afford to continue.

So..... work incredibly hard....get good A-levels.....go to a decent university.....get a 'proper' degree.... get a good job.... work even harder..... make loads of money.... and then buy yourself a Lear jet, Spitfire, helicopter AND a paramotor.

As a final aside, if you look at PPRune you will see that quite a few 'real' pilots look down their noses at the 'paramotor cowboys'. Their loss entirely, but your father may be correct in thinking that a PPL/NPPL would play better with employers. Having said that, I do agree with Simon that paramotoring does show a greater of degree of individuality and initiative that should appeal to employers. Ironically, it may well be the aviation employers to whom it would appeal least.

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I would think you have read this but if not it might give you an insight.

Entry requirements

You would usually start your career as a first officer after gaining at least an Airline Transport Pilot's Licence (ATPL). This is first awarded as a 'frozen ATPL', which allows you to fly as a first officer. When you have completed enough flying hours you can apply for a full ATPL and qualify as an airline captain. You must be at least 21 years old to have a full ATPL.

You will need to pass a thorough medical check. You should be physically fit, and have good hearing, eyesight and normal colour vision. Some airlines set height and weight restrictions.

The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN) offers an aptitude test for people with little or no flying experience. Although not essential, the test could help you decide whether you are suited to this career before you spend money on training. See the careers section of the GAPAN website for more details.

Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators – Careers Information

Private Training

You can train at a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved training school, but you would have to pay the full cost of the course yourself, which is around £50,000 to £60,000 in total. You can get a list of training providers from the CAA personnel licensing department and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA). See the More Information section below for contact details.

Armed Forces Experience

If you qualified as a pilot in the armed forces, you can take a conversion course to gain a commercial pilot's licence. There is strong competition for pilot training in the armed forces and you must serve a minimum term before moving on to employment with an airline.

Please see the RAF job profiles on this website for more information.


University Route

Several universities offer courses in air transport and operations with pilot training options. Some of these allow you to study up to frozen ATPL level. In most cases, you will have to pay for the flight training modules yourself. To search for courses, see the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website.


The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) and the Air League have details about routes into this career, airline sponsorships, bursaries and scholarships. You can also find careers information on the Royal Aeronautical Society and GoSkills websites. See the More Information section below for contact details.

To find out more about working as an airline pilot, see the case studies on the Careers in Passenger Transport website.

Careers in Passenger Transport – Case Studies

Training and development

Your training to reach the frozen ATPL level could take between nine and 36 months, depending on which entry route you follow (read about frozen ATPL in the Entry Requirements section above). It may take less time if you already have a Private Pilot's Licence, Commercial Pilot's Licence or experience in the armed forces.

Training will include:

flight principles

navigation and communications


operational procedures

aviation law

use of flight simulators and flying real aircraft.

During the training period, you would learn basic flying skills and usually work towards frozen ATPL. You must complete a minimum 195 hours' flying time to achieve this.

You would normally start work as a co-pilot (first officer) alongside a training captain on short-haul flights. This would give you maximum experience of take offs and landings. A full ATPL is normally awarded after 1500 flying hours, with at least 500 of these as a co-pilot. Eventually you could become a fully qualified captain.

As a pilot, you must renew your instrument rating (IR) and take skills tests for specific aircraft every six to twelve months. You also have to pass regular medical examinations.

Skills and knowledge

To become an airline pilot, you will need to have:

the ability to follow spoken instructions from air traffic control

the ability to give clear, confident instructions to crew members and passengers

good teamwork skills

the ability to work with technology

good hand-to-eye coordination

the ability to read maps and 3D displays

good written communication skills

the ability to remain calm, and take charge in an emergency.

More information

People 1st

2nd Floor

Armstrong House

38 Market Square




Tel: 01895 817 000


Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN)

Cobham House

9 Warwick Court

Gray's Inn




Royal Aeronautical Society

4 Hamilton Place



Tel: 020 7670 4300


Air League

Broadway House

Tothill Street



Tel: 020 7222 8463


British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA)

Balpa House

5 Heathrow Boulevard

278 Bath Road

West Drayton



Civil Aviation Authority

Personnel Licensing Department – Flight Crew

Aviation House

Gatwick Airport South

West Sussex



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Thanks alot for all if your advice

There's certainly alot of things im going to have to consider. My hobby and goal for next year is to get airbourn so I guess my best bet would to choice the cheapest way. I'll have a think and write a longer reply when I get home from school.



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I've had a thought on what i should do. I think personally the best thing to do would to enjoy flying in what ever form possible, and as much of it before i get to the age where i get caught up in work/ study. Take the oppitunity now and grasp it with both hands i think :L Im just going to total up the cost of this, NPPL and PPL, so could anyone just listed fully the average for everything one last time. The sum i came to was £3500 if i get lucky with a second hand wing and motor. Any further information on this?



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Hi, realistically, I think £3500 would be difficult.

Back of a fag packet here but,

Training £1000

Motor £1500 for a cheapo

Wing £1500 second hand

Helmet £100

Not essential but advised

Reserve £400 second hand

GPS / altimeter £100 second hand

Air map of your area £20

Once you have your training and kit, please don't under estimate the potential of needing a new prop or two, or some welding of your frame. Props are £150 - £250 generic wood or carbon.

I think nearer £5000 realistically. Remember, you are young and have all your life to enjoy this. A local pilot to mee is still enjoying his flying and he just turned 70!

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I was just like you a long time ago (well late 80's/early 90's actually. ) I cycled evey weekend and holiday to the local airfield and washed aeroplanes and generally made myself useful.I didn't get paid but I was fortunate that this was the Tiger Club and the people I met there helped me greatly in life. Kids doing what I did were known as 'hanger rats' and I was following in the footsteps of others who had done this since the 1950's. I was once told that every single hanger rat had gone on to be a professional pilot either military or civil. My best pal who helped me somedays went on to instruct on stealth bombers and I went on to be a commercial pilot.

I have employed young commercial pilots in the past for various flying jobs. if your'e purely talking about making the best use of funds now for a future airline job-seeking situation and the choice is to buy a paramotor or do a PPL then.......... go do a PPL. Paramotoring is awesome but just doesn't prove you can do well in a structured training and testing environment as with a PPL. You will also find that some in the airline world will actually view paramotoring and other deregulated airsports negatively and this may affect your chances.

If you are determined (and clearly you are) you will get where you want to be.


PS - I also won the first GAPAN PPL scholarship in 1991 and then got on the Air Atlantique pilot training scheme so I've got some previous in this area.

If paramotoring itself seems more exciting and interesting right now than that airline career then buy a paramotor now as you may be run-over by a bus next year. But if the dream of a flying career is the strongest feeling you have right now then buy a paramotor when you have your third or fourth airline pay packet.

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Thanks for the response :)

I guess im a hanger rat aswell then, or i used to be, and will soon continue :) To some sweeping the hangers and just watching the aircraft is boring, but to me its the most thrilling thing, being able to be in and amongst the noise, the smell and the sight of aircraft is what keeps me happy! What you've told me sounds exactly like me! Me and my brother spend hours cycling from our house, maybe 5 miles to the airfield, and sitting by the runway, before i got enough courage to cycle through the gates to see what i could do... and 2 social member years later, and I've experience loads from those 2 years, and several great flights with the guys that fly there, including a guy giving me the controls of a PA28 for 30 mins on the way back from Duxford, when it was raining... i was fixated for those 30 mins and didn't want to hand the controls back :L from that moment onwards it became a need to beable to do that myself, and never have to give the controls back and to soon hopefully turn that social into a flying membership whether a Paramotor or PPL. I guess if im honest with everyone here, my aim and dream is commercial, and ideally for me PPL is my best route, but I've been told i would need to raise £10,000 for all the training and a few hours rent, let alone sharing the aircraft and becoming a regular flyer! This is why i opted for paramotoring, it was the cheapest way of getting airborne and looked so much fun! I guess if i won the lottery I'll do both ;)

Thanks for your response, thats really got me thinking again!!

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