Learn to Fly

First steps to flying

In the UK there are many different types of recreational flying available. Whether it is in traditional light aircraft, microlights, gliders, helicopters, balloons or even gyrocopters, there are many options to choose from to suit a range of interests and budgets.

At the Ulster Flying Club we train students for their PPL (Private Pilots License).

The First Lesson/Trial Flight

If you haven’t flown a light aircraft before we can offer you an hours taster flying lesson where we can explain fully what to expect during your PPL training. Your trial lesson will consist of a pre-flight brief on how the aeroplane works and how you control it.

Your instructor will show you around the outside and inside of the aircraft on the ground and then when you take to the air the instructor will start to teach you the effects of the controls and you will be able to see if learning to fly is for you.

At the end of the lesson, we’ll issue you with a certificate with all the details of your flight which can be counted towards your total PPL training hours. From here you are ready to become a member of the Ulster Flying Club if you aren’t already and you are ready to book in for your next lesson with an instructor!

You can take lessons at your own pace as and when time or money permits, although it goes without saying that you will tend to learn better if your lessons are closer together so we usually recommend leaving no more than 3 weeks between lessons to avoid going over the things you have previously done.

Trial Flights can be purchased online here.


If you decide after your trial flight that flying is for you and you want to become a pilot, the great! it’s time to start your training! Generally your training will include:

  • Ground training and exams in 9 different subjects
  • Dual flying lessons with an instructor
  • Solo flying training
  • Flight test

Below we have listed the types of license which you can gain in Newtwonards:

  • UK CAA PPL (A) for Aeroplanes – Training Provided by Ourselves
  • UK CAA PPL (H) for Helicopters – Training Provided By Helipower
  • UK NPPL (M) for Microlights (Fixed wing & Weight shift) – Training provided by NIMicrolights

We also provide training for additional ratings which can be added in to your PPL

These include:

  • Night Ratings
  • IRRs

There has long been a misconception that flying is for the wealthy; well this simply is not true! The cost of learning to fly can be spread over a period of time, determined by you. Whether you want to gain you licence in 6 months or 2 years the overall cost will generally be the same.For many, the PPL is the first step towards becoming a Commercial Airline Pilot (everyone in the skies started with a private license) and for others it is purely a hobby. Here at the Ulster Flying Club we love new students regardless of their age, you’re never too young to experience aviation and never too old to learn to fly.

A good starting point is a Trial Lesson, this gives you the opportunity to fly the airplane yourself and see how much you enjoy it. Normally your instructor will give you a short brief before the flight, they will carry out the necessary checks, take-off and once the airplane is established in level flight let you have control. Your instructor will then take control of the aircraft for landing. You will have just completed your first lesson towards gaining your pilots licence! If you decide to continue your training, a course of 45 hours must be completed before your skills test (driving test for airplanes) can be taken. The course requirements and approximate costs are laid out below.

At first glance this may seem a lot but remember you can space this out over any period of time, however it is recommended that you do not leave too a gap long between lessons. We suggest a lesson at least every three weeks to avoid recapping the previous lesson.

PPL starter packs are available from the club and will save you some money as your training begins.

How much will it cost me?

Below is an approximate guide of how much it could cost to learn to fly in one of our Cessna 152 2 seater aircraft, we have 2 such aircraft at the club and a further 3 larger Cessna 172 4 seater aircraft.

Student Membership (per year) £145.00
45 Hours C152 Instruction (45hrs) £8,190.00
Written Ground Exams (9x £25) £225.00
Oral Radiotelephony Exams (Approx) £180.00
Class Two Medical (Approx) £180.00
PPL Skills Test £200.00
CAA Licence Issue Fee £185.00
Estimated Total Cost £9,310.00
The above figures are valid in November 2021 and are subject to change.