The Basics of Flight Training
How do I get a pilot's license?
Why Should I Learn to Fly?
Learning to fly is an exhilarating hobby with a sense of accomplishment that few other activities can provide. Most newcomers to aviation begin by obtaining their Private Pilot’s License (PPL). There are a few other options, including a Recreational License with less training and restricted privileges, and a Sport Pilot License for lighter aircraft, less stringent medical requirements, and certain restrictions to the license.
What does a Private Pilot’s License allow me to do? What are the limitations? What’s Next?
The PPL is an internationally-recognized license regulated and issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You will earn your PPL in our Cessna 172, M model, giving you a license for all similar complexity, single-engine, land-based airplanes and the ability to fly in good weather (or Visual Meteorological Conditions). You will be able to fly yourself and with passengers for private use--able to share costs evenly, but not charge for flying.
Once you obtain your PPL, you may want to continue your training with an Instrument Rating--allowing you to fly by reference to the instruments when in bad weather (or Instrument Meteorological Conditions); obtaining your Commercial Pilot's License—allowing you to fly for compensation or hire; or a Certificated Flight Instructor rating--allowing you to perform flight instruction. The “PhD of flying” is the Airline Transport Rating, allowing you to carry larger groups of passengers and eventually fly for the airlines. You can also expand the types of airplanes you can fly with any of these licenses by adding endorsements for complex, tailwheel and high powered airplanes; obtain additional airplane licenses, such as multi-engine, and seaplanes; or learn to fly different types of aircraft like helicopters, hot-air balloons and larger jets.
What is the process of learning to fly?
Learning to fly is an exciting adventure. It can seem complicated at first, but we are here to answer any questions that you have. There are several categories of requirements to obtain your license.
1. Flight Time Required – these are the minimum required by the FAA, however most people will exceed these hours. The final amount of time will depend on your training schedule, weather, airplane maintenance, and most importantly, your personal dedication to putting in the work to get your license. The national average is approximately 55 hours.
40 hours minimum, of which some of the basic requirements are:
20 hours “dual” Instruction (with an instructor)
3 hours at night
10 hours “solo” (by yourself)
5 hours “cross country” solo (flights to airports more than 50 nautical miles away)
One solo cross country flight to three airports with a total distance of 150 nautical miles
2. Practical Exam with an FAA Designated examiner
Oral Portion - discussion with the examiner usually lasting ~2-3 hours
Flight Portion – flight with your examiner ~1.5 hours
3. Academic portion - this can be done through various possible methods of Instruction
One on one instruction with your flight instructo
Group classes available at most larger flight schools
Self-study with books, videos, or software
FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test – must be taken at an FAA-approved facility (usually on an airport)
4. Medical Exam
Must be given by an FAA-approved Aviation Medical Examiner (AME)
Minimum “3rd Class” Medical
How long will it take?
The length of time that it will take depends on many factors. There are external factors like weather, and maintenance of the airplane which can affect your timeline. However, the most important factor that will shorten the overall amount of time taken to obtain your license is how much time you are willing to devote to your training. The more academic study you put in at home, the more prepared you will be for each lesson, increasing their efficacy. If you are able to fly, on average, once a week, you should be able to finish your training in 4-6 months.
How much will it cost?
Just as it is difficult to estimate the time it will take, the cost of getting your license can vary largely based on how many hours it takes to finish your training, and how much you are able to learn on your own.
Estimated Costs** for a Private Pilot's License - $11,250 ($10,500 with block rate)
Aircraft Rental (50 hrs) - $7,500
Purchasing aircraft time in $1,000 blocks will secure a 10% discount - $6,750
Flight Instruction (30 hrs) - $1,500
Ground Instruction (20 hrs) - $1,000
Exam Fees - $500
Supplies/Equipment - $600
Medical Exam - $150
**Estimated cost only. Actual cost will vary based on effort you put forth, flying frequency and other factors.
How do I start?
This is the easy part. To start with Takeoff Aviation, send us an email or give us a call to schedule an introductory flight. We will set you up for a 30-45 min flight which will include an introduction to the airplane, the airport and the steps required to getting your license. We will be happy to answer any questions you have on the process. We look forward to flying with you!
- Take Off!