If you are seriously speculating about becoming a pilot, one of the first questions to come to your mind would be – how long before you can actually fly a plane? Well the easiest way to answer that is to say that the more you fly the quicker will you finish your training. However it is not quite as simple as that. A lot depends on your aptitude for flying, your determination to keep at it and of course your instructor.
The Private Pilot License
This is the very basic license which permits you to fly an aircraft without being paid for it. This means that you have attained the minimum qualifications required to fly. You can obtain this license in as little as 3 -6 weeks if you fly every day. However this is just the starting point and how you head from here would depend on how much experience you accumulate and what your goals are.
Many people begin training but do not progress because they do not gather the required flying hours either due to financial reasons or because they have spread out the lessons over a long duration. Some unforeseen constraints and hurdles during this period could put a stop to your training. Completing your flying time as soon as possible will ensure greater probability that you will successfully complete your course.
You need at least 40 flying hours to get your private pilot license which can be achieved in 3-6 months depending on the amount of time you can give for training. If you fly frequently, you’ll grasp faster and be able to retain that much more. Most people get the required proficiency to pass the test only after gathering an experience of 50 flight hours.
The Commercial License
This license grants you the authority to get paid for flying aircraft and carry passengers for hire. To obtain a commercial license you need to attend flight school. The FAR Part 141 flight schools being well structured with a defined curriculum are often of a shorter duration. On the other hand, FAR Part 61 schools are cheaper and without a defined syllabus and are hence require students to gather more number of flying hours. Still neither of the flying schools can claim to complete training faster and the time taken largely depends on the student’s own pace.
According to FAA regulations, an individual seeking a commercial pilot license must accumulate 150 -200 hours of flying time which could take between 2-3 years and an airline pilot needs an experience of 1500 hours which will take even longer.
Weather – another major criterion
An aspect like weather assumes great importance during training operations as private pilot instruction is seldom imparted in turbulent weather conditions or during heavy rain or snowfall. If you happen to be training in an area where weather is usually unpredictable, you should keep aside a wider margin for you to complete your program.