In this post I’m going to summarise the similarities and differences between the LAPL vs PPL. That is, the Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence and the Private Pilot’s Licence. If you’re unsure of the differences and therefore which licence you need, then read/watch this post/video to the end as it may clear up some of the confusion.
The right licence for you will depend on your aviation aspirations. If you intend to fly for recreational purposes under VFR in the UK with perhaps occasional trips over to continental Europe then the LAPL is ideal. Theoretically it will take less time and expense to gain due to less stringent requirements.
On the other hand if you want to fly privately, perhaps under IFR, and maybe continue flight training to begin a career then the PPL is probably your best option.
LAPL vs PPL – Reasons
The LAPL was introduced by EASA to enable aspiring aviators to gain a licence with a shorter syllabus and less strict medical requirements than those of the PPL.
The PPL is a globally recognised private pilot’s licence whereas the LAPL is particular to Europe. The only additional ratings that a pilot can add to the LAPL are the Night rating and an Aerobatic rating.
The additional ratings that a pilot can add to the PPL are Night, Aerobatic, Multi Engine, and Instrument ratings. Both licences allow the holder to fly single engine aircraft.
Size & Weight of Aircraft
The PPL allows the holder to fly aircraft with a MTOW (Maximum Take-off Weight) of 5,750 kg with a maximum of 19 passengers.
The LAPL allows the holder to fly aircraft with a MTOW (Maximum Take-off Weight) of 2,000 kg with a maximum of 3 passengers.
You can tell from those figures that all LSA (Light Sport Aircraft) and the majority of single engine training aircraft would be accessible to the holder of an LAPL. For example, with a current LAPL you could fly yourself and three passengers in a Cessna 172 to France and back.
The PPL specifies the single-engine aircraft privilege within the SEP rating which is valid for two years. The LAPL specifies the single-engine rating within the licence itself. The LAPL is valid for life but as with all licences and ratings you have to maintain currency by flying a minimum number of hours every year.
To maintain your LAPL you need to fly 12 hours in the last 24 months as Pilot in Command including 1 hour with an instructor. Those 12 hours as PIC should include 12 take-offs and landings.
To maintain your PPL you need to fly 12 hours in the last 12 months including 6 hours as Pilot in Command. Those 12 hours should also include 12 take-offs and landings.
The minimum training hours for the LAPL are 30 hours of which 6 hours should be flown solo and 3 of which should be solo cross country flying. The cross country flying should include one flight of at least 80 NM during which the student lands at one other airfield.
The minimum training hours for the PPL are 45 hours of which 10 hours should be flown solo and 5 of which should be solo cross country flying. The cross country flying should include one flight of at least 150 NM during which the student lands at 2 other airfields.
That covers the main differences between the two licences. If you want more information about gaining a PPL or LAPL then please check the links in the description below or visit my channel homepage.
This post/video is my understanding of the requirements and I make no claims as to the accuracy presented here. Always check the details of licensing, training, and validation requirements with your Flight Instructor. If you want to check every detail of licencing then please visit:
and check the sections entitled ‘Learning to fly’ and ‘Pilot licences ratings and medical certificates’