How low can planes fly legally


Women and men, young and old, business people, workers and students can fly. Pilots can be found in all walks of life. Some fly because it is simply beautiful to fly, others because they like to see the landscape from above, because they want to deal with the weather, or because they are fascinated by the technology of airplanes. However, very many also fly because they want to travel straight and quickly to business appointments or on vacation by air. For many, the airplane is simply a bridge to friends in other European countries. ...

The licensing system for aviation personnel has been harmonized across Europe for several years and applies uniformly in the member states of the EU and Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

You must be at least 17 years old to pilot a powered aircraft. The private pilot license is then acquired either for so-called light aircraft, it is called LAPL (A) (Light Airoplane Pilot License) which is valid in EASA country, or as a PPL (A) which is recognized worldwide. It is of course possible to expand the LAPL to a PPL.

A basic prerequisite for the acquisition of any pilot license is first of all the determination of the physical fitness by an aviation doctor. But do not worry: most applicants with normal health will be judged by the aviation doctor to be fit to fly. Even glasses are not an obstacle if the correction is kept within limits. Even physical limitations no longer necessarily block the way into the cockpit.

This is followed by a thorough theoretical and practical training with a subsequent examination. Successful completion of the course gives you the license to pilot single-engine aircraft under visual flight conditions. The LAPL (A) applies to aircraft with a maximum take-off weight (MTOM) of 2 tons and entitles the holder to take a maximum of three people (passengers). The PPL (A), on the other hand, is sufficient for non-complex aircraft up to an MTOM of 5.7 tons and a maximum number of 19 seats, which, however, must not be occupied. You are also not allowed to be commercially active, but you can extend your license to a Commercial Pilot License (CPL). These licenses can also be expanded with additional authorizations, for example for aerobatics, for towing gliders, for night flight, mountain flight up to a test flight authorization or instrument flight (IFR).

For many pilots of airliners, their careers began with training as private pilots in an association organized in the DAeC!

Training locations

One can learn to fly equally well in commercial flight schools as well as in the local powered flight club. He has to decide for himself what is most suitable for the interested party. Most of the time, his wallet and personal inclinations steer him. In general, it can be said: The training on both paths is equally good and safe. In commercial flight schools, things are usually faster, and it is easier to adapt to the flight student's schedule because you act as a paying customer. Training in a club usually takes longer, but is much cheaper. You acquire membership and are right in the middle of it all, between all the pilots, and soon you belong to them. Later you benefit from the lower flight hour prices and are usually much closer to the technology. While in the commercial school you leave the aircraft to the staff to refuel and wash it after the flight, in the club you get to know every detail of the aircraft during the aircraft wash after the flight and develop a more intensive relationship with the aircraft. Learning in a group, experiencing club flight operations intensively and taking advantage of opportunities to fly are further advantages that make training in a club so attractive.

A number of the regional associations (state associations) united in the DAeC operate association flight schools, under whose umbrella training is carried out in the local associations.
In regional associations without central operations, the club flight schools are directly accredited by the regional aviation authorities.

You don't need your own plane to fly! The cheapest way to charter airplanes is as a member of an aviation club (it is also easy to find flyers here for joint ventures!). But commercial rental companies also offer various types of aircraft at many airports. Of course, you can also buy an aircraft, but unfortunately new ones are quite expensive and there is therefore a brisk trade in used aircraft. The average age of motorized aircraft registered in Germany is around 20 years - but older years of construction are therefore no less safe than younger ones: All aircraft are subject to regular, strict technical checks at prescribed intervals, and many parts are completely renewed after a certain period of operation: engines for example in usually after 2,000 operating hours or hoses on the motors after five years, etc.

Most private aircraft are purchased and used by associations or owner groups with two, three, four or even more members. The advantage: the purchase price and fixed costs for insurance, controls or reporting are only incurred proportionally. If there is still someone among the co-owners who can carry out the prescribed maintenance work (this is by no means uncommon and completely legal!), You can save significant costs, which you have to pay as a charterer "with the commercial". A few dozen avid aviators have even built their own aircraft from construction kits or according to their own plans! In Germany, the OUV, the Oskar Ursinus Association, monitors such procedures so that everything goes right. ... But that's a completely different topic.

The performance spectrum of the aircraft is much broader than that of the cars: There are modern, small two-seater school and travel aircraft, for example the "Katana", which with an output of 80 hp can travel at a speed of 180 km / h and have a range of about 800 km plus a safety reserve. Typical four-seater club aircraft, such as the "Piper PA 28-161", have an engine output of 160 hp and travel at a speed of 210 km / h with a range of 950 km. The luxury class includes aircraft such as one of the classics, such as the "Beech A 36 TC Bonanza", which is a six-seater aircraft with an output of 300 hp and can travel at a speed of around 310 km / h and can fly up to 1700 km non-stop.

The acquisition of a private pilot's license in the club costs 5,000 to 7,500 euros with normal training progress. An admittedly larger, but one-time investment, which can possibly be reduced a little, since in some clubs and flight schools it is possible to use cheaper motor gliders for training and the flight instructors usually work on a voluntary basis. In addition, these costs are not incurred immediately and in one sum, but are spread over the entire training period.

Permissions in a license, such as B. "Single Piston Aircraft" (SEP) are issued for two years and must then be extended based on flight experience; so get on the stick! With a powered flight license (PPLA ()) this is at least 12 flight hours in the second of the two years, ... the absolute minimum (!) Is therefore 12 flight hours in two years. To estimate the running costs associated with flying, it is better to assume a higher number of hours.

A simple aircraft, such as a Cessna 150 or a Katana 100, can be chartered at hourly prices starting at around 85 euros. According to the example above, this means spending 12 times 85 euros in the second year to obtain a PPL-A; are 1,020 euros. If you then stretch that for two years, you end up with 1.40 euros per day. ... A pack of cigarettes a day can easily cost five times as much!
Is powered flying supposed to be expensive? ... ... ... No!

Mineral oil tax
Moreover, it is a widespread mistake that no mineral oil tax is levied on aircraft fuels in Germany. Like every driver, private pilots pay taxes on every liter of fuel. It is exclusively commercial aviation that does not have to pay any mineral oil tax on jet fuel!

other fees
In contrast to driving a car, fees are still due for landing, parking and in some cases also for using airways.

Like a car, the fuel consumption of powered aircraft depends on the model, but the economy of these aircraft may surprise some. Here is an example: The distance from Stuttgart to Berlin is around 630 kilometers on federal motorways.

Let's take a comparison of a mid-range vehicle that uses around 10 liters of fuel per 100 km. This results in a consumption of 63 liters for the route, our driver needs an estimated five and a half hours to drive. The "Katana" described above, on the other hand, only has to cover 510 km between the two cities, since the route corresponds to the air line. The pilot needs 2.8 hours of flight time at a cruising speed of 180 km / h. With a fuel consumption of around 15 liters per hour, this aircraft type consumes around 45 liters of fuel for the Stuttgart-Berlin route (this corresponds to a consumption value of around 8.5 liters / 100 km), and that with a journey time of less than 3 hours!
Even older aircraft often do better in comparison than some motor vehicles ...