Our Private Pilot Certificate program will take you from zero hours of flight experience through earning your first pilot certificate. The program includes both flight training and ground instruction. Our primary goal is to ensure that you become a safe and competent pilot–not just that you know enough to pass your FAA practical test.
A Certified flight instructor (CFI) will conduct your flight training, using a standard Private Pilot course syllabus. Your flight training will include both dual instruction (flying with your CFI) and solo flights.
Your ground instruction is accomplished primarily through a Computer-Based Instruction kit, and supplemented as necessary by your CFI. Computer-Based Instruction is an entertaining and easy to use ground school course on CD-ROMs that you can work at your own pace, in the comfort of your home or office. Each lesson includes full-motion video instruction, interactive quizzes, and an in-cockpit video preview of the corresponding flight in your course syllabus–helping to make your flight training as effective and cost-efficient as possible.
Training Time Required
The Federal Aviation Regulations require a minimum of 40 hours of flight time to earn your Private Pilot certificate. This time must include:
- at least 20 hours of dual instruction, including
- three hours of day cross-country instruction,
- three hours of instrument instruction,
- three hours of local and cross-country night instruction, and
- three hours of instruction in preparation for the FAA practical test.
- at least 10 hours of solo flight, including five hours of cross-country flight (two flights).
Despite these minimums, most new pilots require more experience to be safe and competent. The national average for Private Pilots is about 60 hours total flight time, including about 50 hours of dual instruction.
Prerequisites to Take the FAA Practical Test
Before you can take the FAA practical test to become a private pilot, your CFI must endorse your logbook to show that you have completed your ground and flight instruction. In addition, you must:
- Be 17 years old (you need to be 16 years old to fly solo),
- Be able to read, write and understand the English language,
- Hold at least a Class III medical certificate, and
- Pass the FAA knowledge test.
Tips for Minimizing Your Training Costs
Fly as frequently as possible. As with any other activity that requires learning new motor skills–such as tennis or skiing–the less time that elapses between your lessons, the more newly-acquired skills your brain and body will retain from the previous lesson. As a result, you’ll be able to spend more time during each lesson learning new skills instead of re-learning old ones. We find that flying at least once a week is the minimum desirable frequency; flying two or three times a week should enable you to earn your certificate in closer to the FAA minimum times.
Come prepared for your flight lessons. Always complete the reading and know what to expect during your flight lesson, and how to perform any new maneuvers. Make a list of any questions that you have, and bring them with you to the lesson so you can discuss them beforehand with your CFI.
Train with a friend. If you have a friend who also wants to learn to fly, schedule your lessons back-to-back. This will enable each of you to fly as a back-seat observer on the other’s flights (weight and balance limitations permitting). By observing when you’re not busy trying to fly the airplane, you’ll reinforce your own knowledge and each learn from the other’s mistakes. You’ll also reduce the amount of flight time spent getting out to your practice area or airport.