Who Can Take Lessons
To take private flying lessons, there are some basic requirements you must meet. These include:
- You must be at least 16 years old to fly solo and 17 years old to receive a Private Pilot’s license.
- You must be able to read, understand, and speak English.
- You must pass a Third Class Medical Exam. This physical is given by an FAA-authorized Airman Medical Examiner (AME) to determine primarily if you have any mental or neurological problems or serious medical conditions. The cost for this exam is around $130 and it is good for 5 years for those under 40 years of age, and 2 years if you are 40 or older.
You can find the closest one to you by going to http://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/ or we can recommend one.
Flight Time Requirements
To be able to earn your Private Pilot’s license, there are some flight time requirements. You will need at least 40 hours of total flying time in combined dual and solo flights, as follows.
Dual Flight Time
20 hours minimum of dual-flight with an authorized instructor, which includes at least:
- 3 hours of cross country time in a single-engine airplane.
- 3 hours of flight training on control and maneuvering solely by reference to cockpit instruments.
- 3 hours of night-flying for applicants seeking night flying privileges: including one cross-country flight of over 100 nautical miles total distance with 10 take-offs and 10 landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport. If the applicant fails to meet the night flying requirements, he is issued a license bearing the limitation “Night flying prohibited.” This limitation can be removed when the holder shows he has met those requirements.
- 3 hours of flight training in preparation for the practical (FAA flight) test. This preparation must be taken within 60 days prior to test.
Solo Flight Time
10 hours minimum of solo flight in a single-engine aircraft including at least:
- 5 hours of solo cross-country time. One solo cross country flight must be at least 150 nautical miles with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points with one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50 nautical miles between the take off and landing locations.
- 3 solo takeoffs and landings to a full-stop at an airport with an operating control tower.
The Licensing Process
In addition to achieving a minimum number of practice hours with an instructor, there are some other steps along the way to getting your license that you must fulfill. Here is a rundown of what you must do.
This is a required program of classroom study which encompasses aerodynamics, weather theory, navigation, weather reports, radio communications, FAA regulations, etc. Although it will help you through the FAA written test, its real purpose is to provide you with the knowledge you will need to be a proficient and safe pilot.
When your instructor thinks you’re ready to fly solo, he’ll endorse your logbook and you’ll be cleared to take off and fly around the local area all by yourself. This is usually a little nerve-racking, but also very rewarding at the same time. Traditionally after your first solo flight, your instructor will cut a piece of your shirt tail and write the details of your flight on it, so don’t wear your favorite shirt.
The Written Knowledge Test
This two-and-a-half-hour test consists of 60 random multiple-choice questions taken from a pool of roughly 700 questions. Acquired knowledge for this test is obtained via the ground instruction school and can be supplemented by home study with DVDs, books, or online courses such as the King Course. The passing grade is 70 percent and is good for two years. If you haven’t completed the practical test within that time, the knowledge test must be taken again. A low score on the written will generally make your practical tougher, so study hard.
The Practical Test
The final step is the practical test with the FAA Examiner sitting beside you. The first part is an oral exam which will take several hours. Following this phase, you can taxi your plane to the flight line to begin the flying portion of the exam. You’ll be tested on such things as take-offs and landings, airport operations, navigation, slow flight and stalls, emergency procedures, and simulated instrument and night operations. At the end of a successful test, the examiner will issue you a temporary pilot’s license good for 120 days, enough time until your real license arrived from the FAA’s Oklahoma office.
Privileges and Limits
Once you have a private pilot’s license and have successfully passed the night flying portion of the training, you are allowed to operate an aircraft under visual flight rules (VFR). These are a set of aviation regulations under which a pilot may operate an aircraft by visual reference to the environment outside the cockpit. In other words, pilots flying under VFR assume responsibility for their separation from all other aircraft and are generally not assigned routes or altitudes by air traffic control. Furthermore, there are specific requirements for VFR flight, consisting of minimum visibility, distance from clouds, and altitude to ensure that aircraft operating under VFR can be seen from a far enough distance to ensure safety. This license is typically held by individuals wanting to fly for fun or personal business.
If you’re interested in earning your Private Pilot wings please fill out the form below.