Student Pilot taking off on his first solo flight at Reid-Hillview airport in
San Jose. Pilots never forget the excitement of their first solo!
Student Pilot Requirements
Easy! There are no requirements to start taking lessons. So call
or email us now to get started! Half way through your training, when you're
ready to fly the airplane by yourself for the first time, known as
"solo," you do need to
be 16 years old and pass a
3rd Class medical exam by an FAA designated physician or AME, which also serves as a
student license. You can find a list of
local AME's here. If you have questions about whether specific medical
issues might prevent you from qualifying for a medical, you can check the FAA's Guide
for Aviation Medical Examiners, or join AOPA
and call their technical staff.
You will also need to get the necessary flight and ground
training and pass a pre-solo knowledge exam
prepared by your instructor.
When your instructor feels you're ready to solo, he or she will endorse your
logbook and student certificate. Then you can fly by yourself in the local
area, though you won't be able to carry passengers
until you finish your private license,
Private Pilot Requirements
You must be 17 years old and be able to read, write, and speak English
fluently. You'll need a minimum of 40 hours of flight training,
though the average time in the U.S. is around 60-70 hours. If you fly less than
once a week, it may take longer. Conversely, if you fly twice a week, it will
probably take fewer total hours to get your license. This training
must include a minimum of:
20 hours of dual instruction including:
3 hours of cross-country to airports more than 50 miles away
3 hours of instruments
3 hours of night including a 100 nautical mile round trip and 10 night takeoffs
3 hours of instruction within 60 days prior to your practical test
10 hours of solo flight including:
5 hours of cross-country including a 150 nautical mile round trip
3 takeoffs and landing at an airfield with a control tower
You must pass the private pilot knowledge test with a score of 70% or better.
The test is 60 multiple choice questions from the FAA's
databank of about 700 questions. You can prepare for it in many ways,
including home study with books or DVDs or with a classroom ground school taught
at a local college or flying school.
The final step is
the practical flight test with an FAA-designated examiner. Nationwide, the pass
rate is about 90% for students on their first try! The exam contents is defined
by the FAA's Practical Test Standard (PTS), and it includes both an oral exam and a
flight test. You can view an online
version of the PTS, but it's long so you'll want to buy a copy rather than
try to print it out.
Some common questions are what will it cost to learn to
fly, how do I find an instructor, are small
airplanes safe, and where can I go when I have my
license? If you'd like us to email you our free 2-page "Tips
for getting a Private Pilot's License," fill out our contact
really believe that just about anyone can learn to fly. I started taking
lessons when I was 15, which is a great time to start. But I also know of
people who've passed their private license in their 70's. Today is a good
time to get started!
Start living the dream; Learn to fly now!Or email
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