Have you ever wanted to become a private pilot? Whether your interest stems from a hobby, sports or is your stepping stone to becoming a commercial pilot, it is essential to know what steps you should be taking to start.
1. Be Eligible
Make sure you fit the eligibility criteria to become a private pilot. You should be at least 17 years of age. Aside from that, you should be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language, and you will have to complete and pass the knowledge exam and flight training requirements.
(Read more about eligibility requirements here)
2. Have a Student Pilot Certificate and Aviation Medical Certificate
These two certificates are needed before you can fly solo. You can obtain them by applying through the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website, or you can go to a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and submit an application there. You can obtain one from an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) near you for the aviation medical certificate.
3. Find an Instructor
This is not required if you already have a flight school or flight instructor. To find an instructor, you can go and check at your local airport to see if there are flight schools or FBOs there to find a flight instructor who might be willing to teach you.
4. Pass the FAA Written Exam
This exam must be completed before you can take the final private pilot check ride for your certificate. Some flight schools or instructors will require you to pass this exam first before getting in an aeroplane. But some might allow you to fly as much as you want while you study at home for this exam.
5. Start Flying
You will need to obtain the required flight experience and flight hours for your FAA Practical Exam, which is the check ride. Before you can fly solo, you should have at least 10 flight hours. You’ll start by learning the basic maneuvers such as takeoff, landing, descents, turns, and climbs. You can take your time learning how to operate the plane and the emergency procedures and radio communication procedures.
6. Take the FAA Practical Exam
You have to gain flying experience before this exam. You will need a minimum of 40 flight hours. That includes 20 hours of flight time with the instructor, 10 hours of solo flight, 3 hours of cross-country flying with an instructor, 3 hours of night flying (including one cross-country flight of over 100 nautical miles total distance and ten takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport), and many more flying hours requirements.
The FAA examiner will be the one to give you the check ride, and it will consist of a verbal exam and a flight exam that will take several hours.
7. Getting your License
If you’ve completed your FAA Practical Exam, you will be assisted by your examiner in filling out the FAA paperwork online. You’ll have to pay them, so it is best to discuss this beforehand. The examiner will then give you a temporary private pilot certificate which you can use while waiting for the official document issued by the FAA through the mail.
We hope these will help guide you in achieving that dream.
Just remember to trust the process, and most importantly, keep on believing in yourself.