Ever imagined taking friends and family out on a ride in an airplane? You could visit cities and even countries in the shortest possible time and be back home in time for dinner! This could well be possible if you earn your private pilot’s license. If flying fascinates you and you would love to fly for recreation, it would be worthwhile to know how to become a Private Pilot.
A Private Pilot license is like a permit that authorizes you to fly for pleasure or personal business and to carry passengers without being paid to transport them. You need to be at least 17 years old, be physically and mentally fit and have good fluency in English which is the international language of aviation.
Preparing to train
Your first step towards training would be preparing the groundwork like choosing a location and a flight school. Most cities have a general aviation airport within city limits; select one that would suit your convenience as well as your budget. You need to zero in on a flight school and you could judge using parameters like type, age and number of aircraft that the school owns. This would determine the frequency of flying lessons you would be able to avail.
You would also need to buy study materials and FAA handbooks which can either be downloaded from the FAA website or bought from a bookstore. Other essential equipment could include headsets to help reduce noise interference from the sound of the engine. You should also consider buying an E6B which is a flight computer that would come in handy for a variety of purposes.A
- All training begins with an introductory flight where you will be able to assess your own aptitude for flying. The cost of this lesson is usually half of that of a regular flying session.
- A medical certificate from a Certified Aviation Medical Examiner can be obtained on passing a thorough medical exam. Vision, physical dexterity and mental alertness are the main aspects stressed upon. Clearing the medicals is not difficult if you are reasonably healthy and fit
- According to the stipulations of the FAA, you need a minimum of 40 hours of flying time comprising of 20 hours with an instructor and 20 hours solo. However most people take between 70 -80 hours to complete the training with 57 hours being the national average. The more frequently you fly, the lesser amount of time would be needed to complete the training.
- The trainee pilot gets the first chance to fly solo on completion of 15 hours of flight lessons.
- The trainee pilot will undergo a written examination after achieving 40 hours of flight time. This exam tests the candidate’s knowledge about flight dynamics, basic aircraft operating procedures, navigation and meteorology. If you have been studying regularly from the beginning of the course, the test shouldn’t be a difficult hurdle to cross.
- Once you get past the written exam successfully, you will have to clear the practical flight test. If you pass this test, you will be awarded the private pilot’s license which allows you to fly single engine aircraft for pleasure and recreation. You are not yet ready to handle jets and multi engine aircraft for which you will need more flying experience and additional ratings.
- The entire training till you earn your Private Pilot’s license costs between $8000 & $12000. The number of hours you need to complete the course will also determine your expenditure.
So you now know that all it needs to make flying your hobby is plenty of motivation, time and adequate financial resources. Go ahead and plan well and enjoy all the thrills of being able to fly and treat your loved ones to a ride in the skies as well!