Here at our flight School in Vail Colorado at the Eagle Airport I am often asked, How long does it take to learn to fly?
Probably one of the most common reasons people don’t learn to fly is because they don’t understand the difficulty, costs or time commitments required for the endeavor. Usually, would-be students are driven away from learning to fly because they believe the process will take years of rigorous training. In reality, learning to fly a plane is perhaps just a little difficult than learning to drive a car.
Consider the following example…
Take an average teenager that’s getting ready to get a driver’s license. First they would get a learner’s permit. Next they would spend time with mom or dad driving in parking lots, then on secondary streets, and working their way up to interstate highways. How many hours will this person drive with mom or dad before they are allowed to drive by themselves? Some states require as much as 50 logged hours before they can get a license. Other states don’t have a minimum; however most responsible parents will spend 30-40 hours before letting their child “take the car.” Some teens/parents will drive together for a full year together, taking as much as 200-300 hours before they get a driver’s license.
Now consider learning to fly. A student will generally Solo after 7-15 hours of dual instruction, and 6-8 lessons. After generally 30 hours of dual instruction a student is prepared for a private pilot check ride. Combine that 30 hours of dual with another 15-20 hours of supervised solo practice (a concept that isn’t replicated in the auto learning process) then the student is ready to get a license.
In both the case of the pilot and the driver there were necessary studies of the “rules of the road.” In both cases there was a written test. Both scenarios involved some form of medical evaluation, the pilot’s being slightly more thorough.
So there you have it, generally speaking it takes about the same amount time and effort to train a pilot as it does to train a competent driver. The steps are similar, and the time required is similar. Most of you might respond that it is easier to learn to drive because driving is intuitive. There is some truth to that, but consider; by the time the teen age student driver is 15, they have spend 15 years watching mom and dad drive. On day 1 of their lessons, the teen already has significant knowledge of the vehicle and environment. If you want to think this through a little further then consider using two students that have never seen a car or a plane. Which would learn their vehicle first, the student pilot or the student driver.
If you’re interested in learning to fly, come in for an intro flight. We’re located at Eagle County Regional Airport, a short drive from Glenwood, Vail, Eagle, Gypsum, Edwards, Minturn, Avon. Call 970-401-5105 for more information.