How to Choose the Right Pilot Training Program for You

Feb 15, 2022

You’re interested in flying and are considering pilot training programs. How do you narrow down your search and find the right program for you and the license you want?

Getting Started: Narrowing Down Your Pilot Training Options

There are many top-notch flight schools and training programs to choose from. The right fit depends on your needs, goals, and financial resources as an airplane or helicopter pilot-in-training. The first questions you want to answer are:

  • What kind of flying are you hoping to do?
  • What type of aircraft are you interested in flying?
  • What are your long-term goals? 

Are you eager to take to the skies for occasional leisure flights? Do you have dreams of being a career pilot?  You can pursue different licenses and career paths as a pilot. Each brings with it the fun and excitement of flying. And each requires hard work, dedication, time, and monetary investment in pilot training.

At Pureflight Aviation Training in Portland, Oregon, our highly rated, accredited, integrated Part 141 pilot training programs draw students from around the world interested in flying fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.


Pilot in a private training program



Getting your Private Pilot License gives you the freedom to fly friends and family, lets you hone your skills as a pilot, and is a milestone achievement towards acquiring other licenses. Look for a reputable pilot training program that fits your scheduling needs, training style, and financial resources.

Private Pilot License Requirements: To receive your Private Pilot License (PPL), you must meet eligibility requirements, log a minimum of 40 flight hours, and pass written tests and the FAA check-ride. On average, training takes 6-12 months (taking lessons every 1-2 weeks), and the total cost is typically $15,000. 

  • A private pilot license allows you to fly any aircraft you are rated in both solo or with passengers. You may travel for business or vacation, fly stunts, travel distances at night, and can fly internationally.
  • You cannot be paid for your services with a PPL. However, you may volunteer your time for search and rescue or assist in disaster relief. And you can split the cost of flight expenses with passengers (fuel, airplane rental).
  • You have the authority to fly only under visual flight rules and are not allowed to fly in certain conditions that require instrument rating.
  • The number of passengers you can legally carry is determined by the aircraft you are flying, provided you meet all other FAA rules.
  • You may fly whatever size airplane you are properly rated for and can afford to fly. Any airplane heavier than 12,500 pounds requires a unique type rating.


pilot getting commercial pilot license



A Commercial Pilot License is a ticket to an exciting career in aviation as a helicopter or airplane pilot. If you’re just starting out as a student pilot but aspire to earn your commercial pilot license, consider a Part 141 pilot training program that integrates certification pathways for a seamless experience.

Commercial Pilot License Requirements: To achieve an FAA commercial pilot license (CPL), you must meet eligibility requirements, log a minimum of 250 hours, and pass a medical as well as all exams and check rides. Pureflight Aviation Training offers reduced hours Part 141 to achieve your CPL in half the time. 

  • A CPL opens a world of career possibilities. You can become an airline pilot (mainline, regional), corporate/business aviation pilot, cargo pilot, charter pilot, medical/air ambulance pilot, agricultural pilot, flight instructor, or fly law-enforcement, firefighting, media, or military. 
  • There is no limit to the type or size of aircraft a certified commercial pilot can fly. But type rating is costly, so most pilots fly one or two large aircraft types with regularity.
  • Some commercial flying roles require additional training and certification: Airline pilots log 1500 hours minimum to receive the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), and flight instructors undergo training to be Certified Flight Instructors.



An Instrument Rating allows you to fly in low visibility conditions legally and safely. Training to fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) expands your skills as a pilot, increases the ability to fly in varied conditions, and is an important step towards an aviation career.

Instrument Rating Requirements: To receive an Instrument Rating, you must currently hold or concurrently be applying for a private pilot certificate with an airplane or helicopter. You must log at least 50 hours cross-country flight time as pilot in command, 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time including 15 hours with an authorized instructor. You must also complete a cross-country flight of 250 nautical miles and pass all required tests.

It usually takes two to four months to earn the instrument rating, and the cost averages $10,000.

  • An Instrument Rating increases your knowledge and understanding of weather and what to expect outside of visual flight rules (VFR). You’ll learn to fly long distances without using the ground or horizon as visual references, providing an additional level of safety.
  • Getting your instrument rating requires skills like problem-solving, multi-tasking, time management, risk assessment, and the ability to make decisions quickly and confidently.


plane in private training program


How to Choose a Training Program

Narrow down your pilot training program preferences based on your goals as a pilot, school location, cost, instructors, and equipment. The type of training a school offers (Part 61 vs Part 141) and its training policies are also important to consider. Schedule a visit and meet with instructors. Take an introductory flight. The training program environment should feel professional, comfortable, and safe.

At Pureflight Aviation Training, we have helped domestic and international pilots meet their aviation goals for over 40 years. Based in Newberg, Oregon, our all-inclusive Part 141 flight school provides students with tailor-fit training and the opportunity to fly in diverse, real-world environments and conditions. Our machines and facilities are top-of-the-line, and our experienced instructors have a deep knowledge of aviation and a commitment to our students. Pureflight is a great fit for students who are passionate about pursuing a career path as a pilot. Housing and scholarships are available.

Contact our Pureflight team to learn more. Schedule a tour and a discovery flight. We’re here to answer questions and help you on your journey!