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Becoming a private pilot is different than becoming an airline pilot. A private pilot is someone who flies an aircraft for their own purposes and for no compensation. To become a private pilot, you will need a private pilot license. This type of pilot license is the most common type of pilot certification.
To get your private pilot’s license, first make sure that you meet all of the general requirements as outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Next, read below to find out how to get a private pilot’s license.
Get a Student Pilot and Aviation Medical Certificate
Begin your journey towards a private pilot license by obtaining a student pilot certificate and aviation medical certificate. You can get these at the same time from an aviation medical examiner’s office. Upon successful completion of a medical examination, the medical examiner will give you a document that is both a student pilot certificate and an aviation medical certificate in one.
Passing a medical exam is important since you will need to do it before you can fly an aircraft by yourself. Ensure you have a third-class medical certificate issued by the FAA.
Locate a Flight Instructor
Go to your nearest airport and ask an employee for information regarding private flight instructors. There might be a few good flight school options available in your local community as well. Depending on the flight school or instructor you choose, you may need to complete the FAA Private Pilot Written Exam before you can take any flying lessons.
Complete the Private Pilot Written Exam
This exam teaches you the basics when it comes to being a private pilot. It will be a lot easier for you to practice flying when you have the basics down, so it’s best to take this exam as soon as you can. This test will need to be completed before you can take the final examination for your license.
Gain Flight Experience
You need an ample amount of flight experience to fully learn how to pilot an aircraft. You’ll start with the basics, such as taking off, climbing, turning, descending, and landing. From there, you will practice different maneuvers and navigation skills. During this stage, you will also conduct cross-country flights.
Take as much time as you need flying the aircraft solo so you can be as comfortable as possible when it comes time for your final examination. Every private pilot student needs at least 10 hours of solo flight time. In addition to plane maneuvers and operation techniques, you will need to learn emergency procedures as well as effective radio communication.
Take the Final FAA Practical Exam (Checkride)
To qualify for this final license examination, you will need the appropriate number of hours of flight experience. Every private pilot student is required to have 40 hours of flight time, with at least 20 of those hours coming from an instructor’s guidance, and at least 10 coming from your own solo flight time.
Checkrides are conducted by FAA examiners in two main parts. The first part consists of the verbal exam which is conducted while on the ground. If passed successfully, the second part of the exam consists of the flight portion. These checkride lengths vary greatly depending on your examiner’s methods and your own level of preparedness.
After you successfully complete the FAA Practical Exam, you will fill out online FAA paperwork. Next, you will pay your examiner, and he or she will give you a temporary private pilot license to use while your official FAA license is mailed to you.
How Much Does a Private Pilot License Cost?
There isn’t a fixed cost for a private pilot license. The cost will vary greatly depending on which instructor you choose, which school you choose, and how many flight hours you end up performing.
The cost of the license, like a lot of things, varies depending on where you live and how long it takes you to complete the final examination. The bill for your private pilot license can include all sorts of things, like hourly aircraft rental rates, total flight time charges, and even the cost of flight training books and pilot supplies.
Keep in mind that although it only takes 40 hours of flight experience to sit for the FAA Practical Exam, most students end up performing upwards of 60 hours of flights. A lot of circumstances can affect how many flight hours you end up completing, such as flight instructor and aircraft availability, weather delays, and the number of training flights that you need.
All in all, you can expect to spend anywhere from $4,000 to $11,000 for your private pilot’s license. The majority of that cost will come from aircraft rental fees.
Becoming a Licensed Private Pilot Rapidly
There are a couple of things you can do to become a private pilot sooner rather than later. Once you familiarize yourself with the steps required to obtain a private pilots license, build your own personal plan to achieve certification.
Commit yourself to the time it will take to complete all the steps leading to a private pilot license. Everyone requires a unique amount of time to get all the information and successful flight experience down. If you do a lot of studying on your own time, you will minimize the amount of time required to train with a flight instructor. This also decreases the amount of your final private pilot license bill.
Free up your schedule as much as possible before you begin pursuing your private pilot license. Not only are you going to need a lot of time for flight training and examinations, you need to minimize the possibility for breaks in between your training. If you take some time off from your training, you might lose your instructor and forget some of the stuff you learned. A new instructor will not know where to pick up your training once you decide to begin studying again.
Now that you know how to get a private pilot’s license, continue gathering information about things like the different certification requirements and the FAA Practical Exam to decide if becoming a private pilot is right for you.