Friday, December 21, 2007
How to obtain a Microlight Pilots License (MPL)
I received 17 messages asking me for advice on how to get an MPL and where to start. It can be quite confusing digging for information online. Here's a step-by-step guide that should give you a good idea:
1. Visit the Civil Aviation Authority web site and read up on the minimum entry level standards for a PPL and a MPL. Click here for the root page of this info.
Additionally check out the MISASA, the Microlight Association of South Africa, website; "The representative body for Microlight Pilots in South Africa, representing some 3000 pilots and 25% of all aircraft registered on the South African Civil Aircraft Register." They have a one pager describing how and what you need to obtain a MPL - check out all the other information published on their site. [warning : site is slow]
Suggestion - navigate all the relevant docs on the CAA and MISASA web sites - it'll give you all the information regarding regulations, limits, laws, exams, and procedures.
2. RELAX - you may be intimidated by all the information - don't be! There are many people that have done it, know how it works, and will guide you through all the steps. These folks you will find at the best Microlight schools. I highly recommend SkyRiders located in Bapsfontein at the Microland flight center. IMHO; Fanie, Mervyn and Henk are the best instructors you'll find, the school has had minimal incidents, and they're the most popular MPL school in SA!
I just showed up at Microland at 5am one morning, asked for Fanie, and told him I wanted to become a Microlight pilot...he helped me with EVERYTHING and did the handholding throughout the practical and theoretical procedures. These guys are magnificent and make the entire experience a pleasurable ease! SkyRiders is operated by aviation professionals and have all the maintained trikes needed to teach you how to fly, the facilities to do the lectures, and have even compiled their own more comprehensive MPL courseware/documentation.
[Click here and access their click by click intro to completing your MPL]
How much does it cost? Depends - really does! Flying a trike is all about feel and your ability to develop the sense of handling the aircraft - some folks do it very quickly, others take a while - you will be billed per lesson but I suggest you get the approx total costs, deposit at least 50% after a couple lessons (first ensure you actually want to do it and enjoy it)...then you're forced to complete it ;)
The SkyRiders website has some great links - video of landing on runway 03 and 21.
Click here for links to several local MPL websites.
Completing your MPL is not very difficult but it will challenge your physical capabilities, endurance, require significant commitment and sacrificing many early mornings sleeps - I suggest you do it during summer! I logged my student hours during winter and some mornings I literally froze solid - still so much fun though :)
Apart from the exciting hurdles to overcome...this is the ticket to the sky and many incomparable adrenalin fixes! What could possibly beat cloud hopping at 8,000ft on a Saturday morning with your fellow trikers? - [No Graeme, don't answer this! It's meant to be rhetorical boet! I'll tell you later what rhetorical means. Ha!]
Ok - done - don't really have time to clean this up but hope it helps one of you folks wanting to hang with the birds ;) Send me an email if you need any more help - goodnight!