Private Pilot Training Requirements

by dwaymire on March 6, 2010

Have you ever wanted to become a licensed pilot so that you can fly airplanes and travel to cool places? It’s much easier than you think. There are a few little things you need to know before you go to your local flight school and hop into the cockpit. The FAA(Federal Aviation Administration) is the governing authority for aviation. The rules and regulations are determined by the FAA. This include the training, knowledge and physical requirements for a person to become a licensed pilot. Outlined here are the basic requirements for you to begin flight training.

Age Requirements
There is no minimum age at which you can begin taking flying lessons. Kids as young as 10 or 12 years old have done this. Some even younger! You must be 16 years old to be able to fly solo. At some point in your flight training, your instructor is going to sign you off to allow you to fly the aircraft with no one else in the plane, not even the instructor. You of course will not be able to carry passengers quite yet. You will also have limited rights such being restricted to the airport where the flight school is located, or a limited set of airport that you might be familiar with. To become a fully licensed private pilot, you must be 17 years of age.

Language Skills
To train for your pilot’s license in the United States, you are required to read, speak and write in English fluently. The flight manuals, aircraft instrumentation and sectionals(maps) are all in English. All communication over the radio is in English. The tests will be administered in English.

Medical Exam
To hold a private pilot license you must pass a medical exam from a doctor that is approved by the FAA. You will be required to have this exam completed no later than your second or third flight lesson. If you think you might have medical concerns, you can opt to get your license in the Sport Pilot rating. This does not require an exam, but you will be more restricted the types of planes you can fly as well as other restrictions. It is also important to know that if you fail a medical exam, you cannot automatically become a sport pilot. Any concern over failing an exam needs to be addressed as you will be grounded from flying.

Funding the Training
Getting a pilot’s license can be an expensive endeavor. Renting an aircraft will cost at least $100 per hour of flight time. Flight instructors are usually paid $40 per hour for instruction. Plus there are additional costs of books, a headset, sectionals, a flight bag, and any other flight or faa test prep material you might need. If you take 60 hours of flight time, and have an instructor with you for 30 of those, you are looking at Well over $7000 just for the plane and the instructor.

Finding the Time
Taking the jump to getting your pilot’s license will be a time consuming venture. You will spend many more hours on the ground learning about flying than you will in the air. The written FAA test exam is lengthy and detailed. Understanding aviation theory, the rules and regs, and flight planning will take lots of time too.

Once you complete your flight training and become the newest private pilot, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment. The skies will be open for your enjoyment!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Trevor March 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm

There are many variables to consider when figuring out the cost of learning to fly. These include how frequently you take lessons, and how quickly you develop the required skills and knowledge and the cost of airplane rental and instruction in your area, so how much you’ll spend on becoming a private pilot can vary a lot depending on where and how you train.

To try some “what if” scenarios based on costs in your area and how much flight time you think you’ll need, try the learn to fly cost calculator at

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