Private Pilot License
There is often an impression that general aviation is
elite and expensive - a fantasy or a pipe dream out of
reach for the average person. The reality is that just
about anyone can become a pilot with an investment
of time, money, and personal commitment.
Learning to fly opens up a whole new world of
adventure and will teach you more than you imagined
about yourself along the journey. You are never too old
to learn, and almost never too young!
How do I become a private pilot?
The ingredients to becoming a pilot are:
1. An investment of your time. The FAA specifies a minimum amount of required training, but the standards for completion are performance-based, not time-based. The total hours required for you to meet the standards for certification will depend on your time available to dedicate to training as well as your personal aptitude and consistency. In general, the more frequently you can fly, the faster you will acquire the required skills.
2. A dedication to learning. In addition to each hour spent at the airport, you can expect to spend three to four hours studying at home. You will have much to learn about aircraft systems, regulations, navigation, weather, the national airspace system, and more. These materials can be learned independently, through an online course, through a structured in-person ground school, or one-on-one with your flight instructor.
3. Becoming a pilot will cost you some of your hard-earned money — expect to pay anywhere from $12,000 to $15,000 (or more) to complete your training, which can take six months to a year or even longer, depending on your choice of training aircraft, personal progress, and available time. No flight school can guarantee a fixed time or cost. Our fleet, instructors, and facilities will be your primary resources, but your commitment to steps one and two above will determine your outcome. Visit us and we can help you arrive at a reasonable estimate based on your circumstances. Click here for a $ breakdown.
4. You will have to pass a routine medical examination. Depending on whether you intend to fly for a career, there are different levels of medicals. A private pilot needs only to be in good health and have good eyesight. Some medications may be prohibited, so please refer to this page for more information before you begin your journey.
5. Last but not least, you will have to pass several tests: an informal written exam before your first solo, a computerized multiple-choice FAA knowledge exam, and a checkride with the FAA Designated Pilot Examiner. The checkride includes an oral exam and a flight test, both of which are guided by the performance criteria set out in the Airman Certification Standards.
Learning to fly is like any other investment. You may buy a house in a growing market, have taken a job or course to prepare you for the next step in your career, or earn a pilot’s license; each of these will help you create a future that is better than yesterday. You can look at flying the exact same way. If you’re flying for pleasure, you’ll find that learning to fly enhances your communication, critical thinking, and confidence. If you will fly professionally, then this opportunity will enhance your skillset, competitiveness, and eligibility for your career. Regardless, you are investing in a better you.
Flight training scholarships are a great method to pay for flight training. AOPA, EAA, and WAI are among organizations that offer the most scholarships, and new scholarships pop up all the time – so search frequently, and apply often.
You can also obtain a personal loan for your flight training, either through your own bank, or through a bank that specializes in flight training loans. Several options include: