Learn To Fly Guide

How much does a Gyrocopter PPL cost?

In part four of our ‘PPL Cost?’ series, we shine a light on how much it costs to obtain PPL(G)? And let’s not forget… you only need one licence to fly what is, in short, a cross between an aeroplane and a helicopter. Win win!

Want to pilot a gyrocopter? Count on spending between £10,000 and £15,000 to obtain your PPL(G). Yes, that’s a lot of money, but on the bright side, only one licence is needed to fly what’s basically a cross between a helicopter and an aeroplane. And, as you can see from the photos, there are both open cockpit gyrocopters and ones with a fully enclosed cockpit. Plus, you can have side-by-side seating or in tandem, where one sits behind the other. Both types are used in training.

But how is that figure of £10-15k reached? Let’s break it down step by step. As with other forms of flight training, the costs of a PPL(G) can be divided into:

  • Flight training
  • Ground exams
  •  Skills test
  •  Licence application
  •  Equipment

What’s a PPL(G)?

First things first: what exactly is a PPL(G) and what can you fly with it? The PPL(G) is a private pilot licence for gyrocopters.

Also called gyroplane, gyro or autogyro, a gyrocopter is often considered a hybrid between a helicopter and an aeroplane. It has both rotors (which are unpowered and turned by the airflow) and a propeller (which provides forward thrust).

Yes, there is what’s called a pre-rotator motor to get the main rotor turning for take-off but the real lift, where the spinning rotor blades act as a wing, comes during the take-off roll, just as with a fixed wing aircraft.

Once you’re airborne, the motion forwards through the air provided by the rear-facing propeller, keeps the main rotor turning and that keeps you flying. What happens if that rear motor stops? Fear not, just as with a helicopter you put the nose down and gently descend with main rotor still turning.

Let’s look in more detail at the training.

Before you go flying in any aircraft, first you check it over and it's no different with a gyrocopter

Flight training

This is where most of your money goes. To obtain your PPL(G), you’ll need at least 40 hours of flight training, of which at least 15 hours is of dual time and at least 10 hours of supervised solo time. Those are the minimum requirements set by the CAA.

Is 40 a realistic amount? Unfortunately not…

So, budget for 40 times what flight training costs per hour and you’ve got the cost of your flight training? No, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. The average number of hours required to obtain your PPL(G) depends on age and ability.

There are students who manage to do it in 40 to 45 hours. However, most need more. 

“A good average to work on for the training hours required is one hour for each year of the student’s age,” says Tom Galloway from Gyroplane Train.  Keep in mind that many people learning to fly a gyroplane are in their fifties.  

Phil Harwood of the British Rotorcraft Association (BRA) agrees, and claims that there’s no difference between gyroplane and fixed-wing training when it comes to the number of hours needed. For a PPL(A), the UK national average is somewhere between 55 and 60 hours. 

Phil Bennett, who used to own the Gyrocopter Flying Club, states: “Hours to pass a test are likely 60, beyond which there’s a problem either with the student or trainer or weather or long gaps.”

Whereas in the fixed-wing aeroplane world many schools offer PPL(A) packages consisting of the absolute minimum amount of hours, most gyroplane schools just offer training per hour. In fact, the only school offering full PPL(G) training packages, Highland Aviation, has included 45 hours of gyro training in its package, instead of the minimum required 40.

Gyrocopter pilots often talk about the 'Gyrocopter Grin' because it's so much fun!

What does an hour of flight training cost?

What’s the price of an hour of gyroplane flight training? That depends. Not just on the flying school, but also on the machine. Some schools charge the same price for training in an open or an enclosed cockpit gyroplane, for example GyroplaneTrain, where instruction is £200 plus VAT (so £240) per hour.

Most schools, though, have different prices for different cockpit types. At Gyro School, for example, dual instruction costs £150 per hour in an MTOSport open cockpit, £160 per hour in a Calidus tandem enclosed cockpit, and starts from £185 per hour in a Cavalon side-by-side enclosed cockpit. 

At the GyroPilots Academy, learning to fly in an open cockpit costs £175 per hour and in an enclosed cockpit it’s £215 per hour.

Rates at The Gyrocopter Experience Basingstoke are £178 per hour for an open cockpit Magni M16 and £219 per hour for an enclosed cockpit Magni M24. And at Highland Aviation open cockpit instruction is £214 per hour and enclosed cockpit instruction £264 per hour.

Some more examples: at Oxford Gyroplanes, due to open later this year, prices will be £175 per hour in an open cockpit Magni M16. GS Aviation charges £185 for one hour instruction in a Calidus. The Gyrocopter Experience in Oxfordshire offers training in an enclosed cockpit gyroplane (Magni M24) for £219 per hour. And at the Gyrocopter Experience Caernarfon, it’s £195 per hour in a Magni M24. Most schools offer discounted rates for blocks of 10, 20 or 40 hours training.

Don’t forget to double-check what exactly is included in the hourly training rate – and when the clock starts ticking. Is it when the prop is spinning? Or at take-off? Are times taken from the Hobbs metre? Is it an hour from brakes off to brakes on? Do you pay for taxi time? What about the pre- and post-flight briefing? Is there a fuel surcharge?

This is an Autogyro Calidus with two seats in tandem and enclosed cockpit, as operated by GyroplaneTrain at Shobdon

Add on: Landing and touch-go fees

Got your hourly rate all clear? Then let’s see what else you might need to pay during training. Such as landing and / or touch-and-go fees. At most flight schools, these fees are already included in the costs of flight training or in the club membership. However, in some cases they’re charged separately. Landing and touch-and-go fees vary depending on the airport.

At Beccles Aerodrome, landing costs only £5 and even includes a free coffee or tea in its café. At Damyns Hall Aerodrome and Popham Airfield, landing fees are £10, and at Shuttleworth (Old Warden Aerodrome), it’s £15. At Sandown, it’s £12 per landing and £6 per touch-and-go. At Perth Airport, you pay £16,60 for landing and £8,30 for a touch-and-go. Wellesbourne Airfield charges £15 per landing and £7,50 per touch-and-go. At Newquay, landing fees are £30.

Seeing as you’ll easily do around 100 airport movements in the course of obtaining your PPL(G), these fees add up rather quickly if they’re not included in your flight training. Do realise that even if all landings and touch-and-goes are included at your chosen airfield, you’ll still have to do some land-aways for your cross-country flying, which might have a fee.

Membership fees

Many gyroplane flying schools require you to become a member to train there. Membership fee is usually charged per annum and varies per club, ranging from only £10 per year at Gyroplane Train to £300 per year at the Enstone Flying Club (where The Gyrocopter Experience Oxfordshire is located).

Some more examples: the Scottish Aero Club (where The Gyrocopter Experience Perth is based) charges £105 for the first year (and £210 from year two onwards), Highland Aviation charges £120 per year and  the Spitfire Flying Club (where The Gyrocopter Experience Basingstoke flies from) charges membership fees of £175 per year.

Membership includes access to club facilities. Some flying clubs also have cheaper gyroplane rental, discounted landing fees or reduced training rates for their members.

Some schools, such as The Gyrocopter Experience Caernarfon, don’t have a membership fee, but require its students to be registered with the International Association of Professional Gyroplane Training (IAPGT), which costs £120 for an annual membership.

autogyro MT-03
An open cockpit MT-03 operated by Chris Jones Gyroplanes at Kirkbride Airfield in the stunning Lake District
Lake District
A trial flight over Catbells in the Lake District


Want to fly solo on a gyroplane that belongs to the flying school? Make sure you’re insured to do this. Some clubs require you to contribute towards their added insurance costs for allowing students to fly their machines on their own, others charge a so-called ‘solo insurance premium’. In both cases, the price is usually around £500 per year.

There’s also a returnable bond you’ll need to pay before soloing. This is usually £5,000 and covers any damage to the gyroplane while you’re flying it. If you’ve completed your training without accidents, you’ll get all this money back.

Long story short: when asking for the price of flight training, check exactly ‘what is and what isn’t’ included in the hourly price you’re quoted. Make sure the flight training rate includes VAT – if not, it means you’ll have to add 20%. In the UK, rates for flight training are almost always including VAT and so-called ‘wet rates’ (including fuel), but once you’ve got your PPL and are renting a gyroplane, don’t forget to check if the rental rate is indeed a wet one, and not a ‘dry rate’ (excluding fuel).

Pilot Medical Declaration

There’s no need to have a medical examination to obtain your PPL(G). You just have to fill in a self-declaration form, called the Pilot Medical Declaration (PMD). If you’re fit to drive a car, you’re fit to fly. If you’re in any way unsure about your fitness to fly, ask an Aeronautical Medical Examiner for advice (and / or play it safe and get a Class 2 Medical).

Make your self-declaration application via the CELLMA Medical Records online system (this can be accessed by registering for the CAA Portal). There are no costs involved and once you’ve submitted your PMD, it’s valid until the age of 70 (after that, you have to submit a new one every three years). Be aware: if you haven’t made a medical declaration, your PPL(G) is invalid.

Ground exams

In order to obtain your PPL(G), you’ll need to pass five theoretical exams (Aviation Law, Human Performance and Limitations, Meteorology, Navigation, and Gyroplane Technical) with at least a 75% pass mark.

These are official CAA exams, however, this doesn’t mean each flight school charges the same. At Gyroplane Train there’s no charge for the exam, just for the time spent supervising the student and marking the paper. At The Gyropcopter Experience Perth, it’s £35 per exam. At Gyro School, it’s £40 per exam. At Oxford Gyroplanes, which will open in the next few months, it’ll be £50 per exam. The Gyrocopter Experience Oxfordshire also charges £50 per exam.

Beware: not all schools offer the ground exams. The Gyrocopter Experience Caernarfon, for example, does offer free preparation and study help getting ready for the exams, but doesn’t offer the exams themselves. In this case, you’ll have to find another place to do the ground exams.

Study materials

How much does it cost getting ready for these exams? That depends on how you learn the PPL(G) theory: through self-study or groundschool. Self-studying at home is the cheapest option, especially if you learn from textbooks you’ve managed to buy second-hand or borrow from your flight school.

There’s also a lot of material available online to help you preparing for the exams, ranging from ebooks to training software with question banks and mock exams. A good place to start is the International Association of Professional Gyroplane Training, which has created a Gyropedia, and contains all the training materials and everything about learning to fly a gyroplane. Costs of getting exam-ready by yourself range from absolutely zero (if you can borrow all the material you need) to more than £400 for fancy distance learning packages.


Many flight schools offer in-person groundschool tuition where you study in a classroom-like environment with an instructor.

Prices of this groundschool vary. Some examples: The Gyrocopter Experience Oxfordshire and The Gyrocopter Experience Basingstoke both charge £50 per hour. At Oxford Gyroplanes, which will open in the next few months, it’ll be £55 per hour. Highland Aviation’s fees are £65 per hour. And Gyroplane Train charges £60 plus VAT (so £72) per hour.


Calidus gyrocopter
Hey! Wanna come flying?

Radio licence

You aren’t legally required to have a Flight Radio Telephony Operator’s Licence (FROTL) to obtain your PPL(G). However, you do need a FROTL if you’re planning to use the radio in the aircraft, for example if you’re flying in controlled airspace.

Since the FROTL exam isn’t part of the gyroplane syllabus, not all gyro schools offer this. If your chosen flight school doesn’t offer it, another training organisation at a nearby airfield will. Price of the FROTL exam depends on the training organisation and is usually around £150.

Make sure you apply for your FROTL at the same time as your PPL(G). If not, the CAA will charge you £79 for the initial issue of the FRTOL.

Skill Test

The cost of the Skill Test, where you are tested by an examiner, is made up by the examiner’s fee and the aircraft hire. The examiners fee varies from CAA examiner to CAA examiner and usually starts at £200.

However, as it’s a very niche world, there aren’t that many CAA gyroplane examiners in the UK. Since flight examiners can’t conduct tests on their own students, chances are very high the examiner will be located in another part of the country and will charge for having to travel to the flying school’s airfield. This makes the examiners’ fee a lot more expensive, with prices in the range of £400 to upwards of £600, depending on the location.

The aircraft hire depends on the hourly rental rate of your flying school and the time you need the aircraft for. Usually, the flying part of the skills test takes around one hour. Preflighting and technical questions take around two hours.

Licence application

The fee the CAA charges for the initial issue of a PPL(G) is £199.

Make sure you apply for your FRTOL at the same time as your PPL(G) because in that case, the FRTOL application is free. If you don’t, CAA will charge another £79 for the initial issue of the FRTOL.


What supplies do you need during your PPL(G) training? That depends if you’re flying an open or an enclosed cockpit gyrocopter. When flying an open cockpit gyroplane, make sure to also buy a warm flying suit, helmet with goggles, and a pair of gloves.

For the rest: a logbook, headset, timepiece, iPad, knee pad, sunglasses, flight bag, high vis jacket, protractor, NM scale map ruler, Flight Computer (aka Whizz Wheel), an up-to-date chart, some apps and pilot log pads. That’s about the basics.

How much does this equipment cost? That depends. You can buy a decent headset for £150, but you can also splurge and spend £1,500 – or even more – on a superb one. Same goes for the rest of the gear.

To save money on equipment, buy only the supplies that are necessary for your flight training and/or buy second hand. Most flight schools will let you borrow (part of) their equipment for the duration of your training.

Heading out...

Why is it so expensive?

Obtaining your PPL(G) is a significant financial investment wherever you do it. Like most things, the price has gone up in recent years because of inflation. “It hasn’t been a massive increase though,” says Phil Harwood of the British Rotorcraft Association (BRA), comparing the rise in costs to that of a PPL(A) or PPL(H). “That’s because almost all gyroplane instructors are doing this as a passion, more than a commercial venture. Yes, they want to make a fair living, but they’re also teaching for their enjoyment.”

Another thing that’s different when comparing gyroplane training to either aeroplane or helicopter training, is the insurance a student must have when flying solo on school aircraft (usually £500 per year) and the responsibility for any uninsured losses when flying the machine (usually you have to pay a returnable bond of £5,000, and maximum liability is £7,500). 

“This is because most fixed-wing and helicopter schools have several aircraft, all of which are owned by the school. If one’s damaged, just fly another one,” explains Harwood. “In the gyroplane world, however, most of the schools consist of just one or perhaps two instructors, teaching on their own personal gyro. If there’s an accident and it takes a few months to repair the gyro, the loss of income will destroy your business.”

Differences in cost of flight training mainly depend on the location of the gyroplane school. Being based at a proper airport naturally means higher operating costs than when you’re based at a small grass strip. These higher costs show in training fees. Because the gyroplane world has a single training record system, it’s actually relatively common for students to switch schools.

Visit a flying school at the other end of the country for a weekend, and you don’t have to start from scratch, but can just continue your training. This is great if you want a different experience, do some training in your holiday, or practise flying from a busy airport.

Is it worth comparing the options at different flying schools to save money? Definitely! But don’t let £50 difference in the grand total decide where you’re going for the majority of your training. Instead, aim for the school that feels right for you and the instructor you’ve got a click with. More important than the price, is that you enjoy your gyroplane training.

What does it cost abroad?

Yes, it’s possible to obtain your PPL(G) abroad. In sunny Portugal, Kevin Robinson operates as Gyrocopter Algarve and offers training at Lagos Aerodrome. The costs: instruction in an open cockpit MTO Sport is £150 per hour; ground exams are £45 per exam, groundschool is £50 per hour. Robinson says: “I specialise in one-on-one, one-week intensive courses where every single student has managed to fly 10 hours in five days.”

You can dream big… perhaps even Big Apple proportions!

What does a PPL(G) cost for real? Five examples

Let’s assume you need 55 hours for your entire PPL(G) course, including your Skill Test. During this training, you do 50 landings and 50 touch-and-goes at the airfield your flying school is located and spend £50 on away landings. You’ll have to pay £500 for insurance that covers solo-flying the school’s aircraft. Since you have zero accidents during your training, you get the full returnable bond back. 

You choose to self-study and pay £125 for an annual subscription to Gyropedia, which gives you access to the learning materials you need. You pass all exams on the first attempt. You plan on using the radio, so you want a FROTL, which costs you £150. You want to have your own headset and flying suit and manage to get some decent flying equipment together for £350. The examiner needs to come from a different part of the UK and thus charges £400. It takes you a year until you ask the CAA to issue your PPL(G) and FRTOL.



Rotorsport Cavalon
Chris Jones getting his hands on the new Rotorsport Cavalon!

What does this cost at different flying schools?

 1. Chris Jones Gyroplanes (Kirkbride Airfield)

Flight Training:

55 x £145 per hour in an open cockpit: £7,975
Membership fee: £70
Landing fees:  £0
Touch-and-go fees: £0
Fuel surcharge: £0
Away landings: £50
Solo insurance: £500
Learning materials: £125
Ground exams: £125
FRTOL: £150
Skills test examiner fee: £400
Licence application: £199
Equipment: £350

 Total cost:                                                               £9,944

2. Gyroplane Train (Shobdon Airfield)

Flight Training:

55 x £200 per hour plus VAT (open or enclosed): £13,200
Membership fee: £10
Landing fees: 50 x £11: £550
Touch-and-go fees:  50 x  £5.50: £27.50
Fuel surcharge: £0
Away landings: £50
Solo insurance: £500
Learning materials: £125
Ground exams: included in flight training
FRTOL: £150
Skills test examiner fee: £400
Licence application: £199
Equipment: £350

Total cost:                                                               £15,411.50

Tom Galloway (Gyroplane Train) arrives solo at Wing Farm

3. Highland Aviation (Inverness Airport)

Flight training 

1 x standard package in an open cockpit: £9,749
Extra hours: 10 hour training block:                         £2,090
Membership fee: included in package price
Landing fees: included in package price
Touch-and-go fees: included in package price
Fuel surcharge: £0 
Away landings: £50
Solo insurance: £500
Learning materials: £125
Ground exams: included in package price
FRTOL: £150
Skills test examiner fee: £400
Licence application: £199
Equipment: £350

Total cost:                                                               £13,613

3. The Gyrocopter Experience Perth (Perth Airport)

Flight training 

55 x £170 per hour in an open cockpit: £9,350           
Membership fee: £105
Landing fees: £0
Touch-and-go fees: £0
Fuel surcharge: £0
Away landings: £50
Solo insurance:  £500
Learning materials: £125
Ground exams: £175
FRTOL: £150
Skills test examiner fee: £400
Licence application: £199
Equipment: £350

Total cost: £11,404

5. The Gyrocopter Experience Basingstoke (Popham Airfield)

Flight training   

55 x £178 per hour in an open cockpit: £9,790           
Membership fee: £175
Landing fees: £0
Touch-and-go fees: £0
Fuel surcharge: £0
Away landings: £50
Solo insurance: £500
Learning materials: £125
Ground exams: £250
FRTOL: £150
Skills test examiner fee: £400
Licence application: £199
Equipment: £350

Total cost: £11,989


Robson Green
Yup, that's actor Robson Green, right, with Chris Jones

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