Have you dreamt of becoming a pilot? It’s an exciting idea – and more achievable than you might think.
Whether you want to fly an airplane or a helicopter, fly for pleasure or as a career, you’ll first obtain a Private Pilot License (PPL). A PPL will allow you to fly any fixed-wing or rotary aircraft for which you are rated.
Student Pilot Requirements
Your journey in aviation starts with eligibility and student pilot certification.
To be eligible for FAA student pilot certification to fly solo, you must be:
- 16 years of age or older
- able to speak, read, write, and understand English
To be eligible to earn your Private Pilot License, you must be:
- 17 years of age or older
- able to meet health requirements to pass an FAA Medical
The FAA requires you to hold two certificates to fly as a student pilot:
- You must have a Student Pilot Certificate in hand before you can fly solo. (You don’t need the certificate to begin flying lessons.) Many students complete and submit their applications through their certified flight instructor. Begin the application process early in your training to ensure enough time for approval.
- You also must obtain a medical exam and third-class Medical Certificate through an aeromedical examiner (AME). “Medicals” must be periodically renewed throughout your flight career. If you are interested in a commercial or airline pilot career, it can be smart to proactively obtain a first or second-class medical certificate to ensure you can meet all requirements.
With these two FAA certificates, you will be permitted to fly a fixed-wing or rotary aircraft solo and earn your PPL.
Next Steps for Private Pilot Training & Lessons
So, you meet the criteria to train as a pilot. You’ve chosen an accredited pilot training program that fits your interests and goals in aviation. You have a medical certificate and have applied for your student pilot certificate.
Obtaining Your Private Pilot License
It’s time for flight school! What should you expect?
Whatever your end goal – flying for recreation or flying as a career pilot – ground school is an integral part of airplane and helicopter flight training.
The classic question in aviation is, “Should I start ground school or flight lessons first?” There are advantages to both, and you have options.
Many ground schools offer excellent live classroom experiences with expert instructors. But ground school courses today are also available online in engaging, interactive formats.
Depending on your self-study skills, you can effectively and efficiently home-study for the PPL at your own pace while simultaneously taking flight lessons. For a hybrid experience, supplement classroom lessons with online coursework.
Flight training and pilot lessons require time, commitment, and significant financial resources. Consider your study habits, schedule, finances, and goals. Then work with your flight school and instructors to create a successful private pilot training scenario that best fits you.
Flight Lessons & Building Flight Hours
Ground school is important. But flight lessons are where the excitement really begins!
You’ll fly with a certified flight instructor to gain flight time and experience towards your private pilot certification.
The FAA requires a total of 40 hours minimum flight time in a fixed-wing airplane or helicopter to earn a PPL – a combination of dual and solo day, night, cross-country, and other types of flying and maneuvers.
The actual number of hours student pilots fly while training averages 60-70. The length of training depends on each student. Some earn their private pilot license in as little as 2-4 months; others may take up to a year. Accelerated pilot programs attract eager aviators, but offer pros and cons so do your research.
Private Pilot Training Tests & Exams
Student pilots must pass three tests to obtain a private pilot license:
1. Pre-solo written exam: An instructor-reviewed knowledge test before first solo flight
2. FAA private pilot written exam: A timed 60-question multiple-choice knowledge test
3. Final practical exam/checkride: An oral ground exam followed by flight test with a designated pilot examine
Things to remember: Use your resources wisely and pace your training well. Know your learning style. Take the time to study and prepare for exams. And trust your training.
If you have chosen an accredited flight school, trained and flown with an experienced flight instructor, and have a passion for flying, you’ll do great!
Earn Your Private Pilot License with Pureflight
Pureflight is the flight school of choice for student pilots from around the globe. Our Part 141 flight training program offers aspiring aviators personalized aviation training led by a team of expert instructors and the opportunity to fly state-of-the-art fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. We provide exciting, real-world flying experiences to students of all skill levels from our training locations in Newberg, Oregon, and Klamath Falls, Oregon.
The first step towards private pilot lessons and a career as an airplane or helicopter pilot starts with a simple click. Contact Pureflight today to learn more about our fixed-wing airplane and helicopter training programs and apply today!