What are the basic requirements for an Private Pilot License?
The requirements for being issued a private pilot license for an airplane are governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
To earn a private pilotís license, you must
be at least 17 years
have a current FAA third-class medical certificate
log at least 40 hours of flight
have at least 20 hours of flight with an instructor
have at least 10 hours of solo flight
pass the FAA Private Pilot Airmen Knowledge written test
pass a FAA Private Pilot flight exam
Although the minimum required flight time is 40 hours, achieving it in that amount of time is very difficult and very rare. The national average, according to the FAA, is approximately 65 hours and most additional time is due to instruction.
How difficult is it to get a private pilot license?
Flying an airplane is not particularly difficult, but it will take some practice to develop the skills to maneuver an airplane in three dimensions. Other skills, like radio communication procedures and navigation, are also part of becoming a private pilot.
How long will it take, and how much will it cost?
The amount of flight time necessary to achieve your license is, in part, a function of how often you fly. Students who fly twice a week are likely to earn their license with fewer logged hours than those flying only two or three times a month. It also varies for each individual, but 60-70 hours of flight training is typical. The type of aircraft used is also a factor: you may train in an inexpensive two-seat trainer, or choose to pay a little more to train in an airplane more comfortable and similar to what you will be flying when you get your license. In ballpark terms, expect to pay $7,000 to $10,000 to complete your training. But my serious estimate - expect it to cost $15,000 - and be glad when it costs less... No joke.
What do I need to start flying?
You can begin training immediately, but in order to solo you will need to be at least 16 years old, and have an FAA medical and student pilot certificate. This can be obtained from one of the dozens of designated physicians in the local area.
How do I get started?
Shoot me an e-mail, and we can discuss your objectives, timeframe, etc., and take that first, introductory, flight together. From there, if you want to continue, we will put together a plan of action that will get you to your goal of flying for himself.