Unless you are from Belgium with experience in flying, you may be unclear on what a ULM License is.
A "PPL", Private Pilot License, is know throughout the world, and the same anywhere. It is established in the ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices.
If you receive a PPL in Belgium, this is meaningful in other countries as well. You can fly non commercial flights with "Single Piston Engine" aircraft.
This is not the case for an "ULM License". The license I will try to get is only known in Belgium. We are more restricted in where we can fly and what type of aircraft we can fly with.
On the other hand, while PPL pilots need to take an exam for all 9 courses (Meteo, Regulations, Radio, ...) we only have to take one official exam. The rest of the courses are tested during the practical exam.
Also, getting a license is possible after about 15 flight hours (depending on the student), so it should be a bit cheaper than obtaining a PPL license.
Technically, we don't even need to be able to use a radio, although I really want to be able to do that.
There are several types of ULM aircraft. What makes a ULM aircraft is the maximum take-off weight and the stall speed.
Here are the criteria:
- Can seat maximum of 2 people
- Take-off weight cannot be more than 300 kg for a single-seater, 400 kg for a two-seater
- In case of an all-saver parachute can be 315 kg for a single-seater, 472,5 kg for a two-seater
- Stall speed not more than 35 knt (CAS)
There are some more rules, you can find the details (in dutch) in the following document, appendix II:
In the club I'm learning, they have quite new ULM places: the Tecnam P29 for training and the Tecnam P2002 for rent to licensed pilots.
With the ULM License, we cannot fly in controller airspace (without prior permission). We cannot fly over cities, industrial areas and gatherings of crowds of people.
Reason to do ULM instead of PPL
Maybe you only want to fly very light craft, like a paraglider.
For me personally, I honestly would prefer the PPL License. I'm just unsure if I would be able to put in the time and money necessary (my main concern is mostly the latter to be honest).
So to keep the investment to a minimum, I want to see how things go with ULM first, and for the future I may consider getting a PPL License after all.
Next Steps for me
My next task, aside from going to class two days a week is going to the docter to get a medical certificate "Class 4".
Class 4 is required for ULM, while a Class 2 is required for PPL. I'm not sure about the difference though. According to the docter I will visit the check-up is actually the same. So he said he can probably clear me for Class 2 as well.
Before I go any further with arranging practical courses, I want my "medical" to be OK.
But that's for a future post.