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Private Pilot License Info

This information page is designed to answer many questions related to obtaining a US Private Pilot License.

If you have a foreign pilot licence and wish to convert to obtain a U.S Pilot License, click on foreign pilot.

A Private Pilot License carries a significant level of reponsibility and prestige. It is also recognized as a symbol of achievement and distinguishes an individual at every level. 

Private Pilot privileges include acting as pilot in command of an single-engine aircraft carrying passengers during visual (VFR) weather conditions. Additional instruction will be necessary to operate larger class & types of aircraft.     

The current requirements for a Private Pilot License- Single-Engine Land (ASEL)

  • You must be 17 years old to hold a Private Pilot License. Students may receive flight training and solo at 16. 
  • You must hold a third class medical certificate.
  • Pass an FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam.
  • Pass an FAA Practical Flight Test   

The flight training number of hours will depend on the type of course and the frequency of time the student is able to commit to the program. As a general guide the following flight requirements (Part 61.109) represent the minimum flight time for the Private Pilot Licence. 

  • A minimum of 40 hours of total flight time is required. The total flight time must include:
    • A minimum of 20 hours of dual flight instruction. (Flight with an instructor)
    • 10 hours of solo flight. (Flight by yourself) including:
      • 5 hours solo cross-country time including a cross-country flight of 150 nautical miles.
      • 3 solo takeoff & landings to a full stop at a controlled airport.
    • 3 hours of night flight training.
    • 3 hours of flight by reference to instructions.  
    • 3 hours of flight training preparation for the flight test must be performed within 60 days preceding the flight test.
    • Consult FAF 61.109 for a full and complete list of all of the flight time breakdowns and manditory flight maneuvers required.
  • For students training under Part 141, the minimum flight time is 35 hours. It should be highlighted that the flight times outlined represent the minimum requirements for a student to apply for the Private Pilot License. The instructor will make the final determination if and when the student is prepared enough to take the flight test. A downloadable copy of the Practical Flight Test is available for review.  

Helpful Comments & Suggestions From Students & Pilots 

  • In reality most student pilots will end up with 60 -70 hours of total flight experience by the time of the flight test, so don't get focused on the hour requirements.
  • Most flight training clubs /schools will offer some type of introductory flight that enables any interested individuals to experience a short flight. At the same time, a great Intro to Flying DVD is available called  Start Flying . This DVD will help newcomers understand more about aviation and wonderful experiences flying can offer. (The DVD may be ordered directly by clicking the the Start Flying link). 
  • Learning to fly is like any skill, it takes practice and repitition to become proficient. Students will progress faster and reduce the overall cost if the flight training is focused or follows a regular schedule.(Example 1 -2 flights per week). In the real world this may not be feasible, however long periods of inactivity between flights will demand more review during the follow-up lesson.
  • Every instructor, like every teacher, has their own style and personality. It has been recommended to find a flight school/club and speak with the Chief Flight Instructor, Manager or Owner about your personal goals and needs. This will reduce the odds of becoming linked with an instructor that is randomly selected who may or may meet your expectations. Remember, you are paying the bills and you should demand good service. There is nothing wrong with changing instructors, however you should allow alteast 4-5 hours of training with an instructor before considering a switch. Every Flight Instructor will cover the basics, however each instructor will have their own style and way of presenting the topics and exercises.
  • The total cost of a private pilot license will vary depending on the particular school / aircraft and how many hours the student accumulates, however the following breakdown can be used as a rough estimate:
      • 20 Hrs Dual @ $100 =  $ 2,000
      • 20 Hrs Solo @ $ 70  =  $ 1,400
      • 20 Hrs Ground Briefing  $   800
      • Written Test              $   100
      • Flight Test                 $   300
      • Total                                $ 4,900 

Since this figure uses the minimum number of hours, it is suggested that and extra 20-30% be added to accommodate the extra flight time most students will require.

  • Private Pilot Training Kit contains all of the required training and study materials needed for the course. Ordering the complete Private Pilot Kit will be significantly less expensive than trying to purchase all of the individual items sepatately. Many excellent Training Videos & DVDs are available that can help students in both the flight training and knowledge test phases of the course. 

The staff at Touch & go Pilot Supply encourage everyone to learn more about aviation. With over 20 years experience in the aviation industry we represent both an information resource as well as a major supplier of top quality Pilot Training Supplies.





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