Your private pilot’s license is a gateway to a whole new universe of adventure. If your ultimate goal is a career in professional aviation, a private pilot’s license is the very first step. Your adventures in aviation may carry you and your family on breathtaking vacations, or you might impress your business colleagues by flying yourself to an important meeting. Maybe you will even go on to earn a tailwheel endorsement and get involved in aerobatics. The private pilot’s license is the starting point for all of this and more.
So, what does it take to get your private pilot’s license? The Federal Aviation Administration requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight time before qualifying to apply for your license; however, the national average is closer to 60 hours as many people taking flight training choose to spread their training out over many months. Flight time is only a component of what it takes to earn your license, however. In addition to flight time, you will spend time on the ground, studying aerodynamics, aircraft systems, navigation and communication, weather, and regulations. FL Aviation Center uses the Jeppesen curriculum, which includes an interactive, self-paced ground study course. Each flight lesson will be preceded by the corresponding ground lesson, ensuring that you are always prepared for the next flight. Your instructor will review the material you have studied, and answer any questions you have, before the flight. After each flight, you will work with the instructor to evaluate your progress, discuss plans for your next flight, and set self-study goals.
Your training will include dual training with your instructor, flying to other airports (cross-country flights), solo practice, an FAA aeronautical knowledge (written) exam, practical test preparation, and the practical test – also known as the checkride. The Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association has an excellent article that reviews this progression and the FAA requirements of the private pilot’s license.
Once you pass your checkride, you have earned the right to carry passengers! But remember – the private pilot’s license is a “license to learn.” The passion for flight that has brought you this far will surely continue as you polish your skills, master more complex scenarios and aircraft, and build your confidence as a newly-minted pilot. While you may not get paid for any of your flying activity as a private pilot, you can take friends and family with you on any flight as long as you maintain basic currency (three landings every 90 days). And, before you know it, you may soon choose to continue on to earn your instrument rating, which will allow you to fly on cloudy days, or get your commercial license, which allows you to be paid for certain flight activities.
I began my quest for a private pilot’s license at the age of 66 (bucket list) when a lot of folks are thinking it may be time to hang it up. It took me a little over two years to pass my check ride which I did on the first try. My association with FL Aviation Center was a major factor in that accomplishment. The staff and instructors are professionally competent and take a personal interest in your success. For anyone who is interested in becoming a competent pilot, I can definitely recommend FL Aviation Center. They are the best and will assist you through the challenges you will encounter along the way.