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What Everyone Should Know About Private Pilots

by John M. White |  | 2 comments

Most of us will sooner or later encounter a friend or acquaintance with a Private Pilot’s License. And, in all likelihood, you will receive an invitation to take a flight with them. But is it wise or safe to accept the invitation? Let’s find out. If you are interested in learning how to fly, and to get your own Private Pilot license, but don't know where to start, let me suggest you get the Jeppesen Private Pilot Manual or the Gleim Private Pilot Manual. These fine books can help you understand what is involved, how to start and how to prepare for the Private Pilot Certificate.

What Is A Private Pilot?

A private pilot has a pilot’s certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which allows him to fly an airplane for which he is both qualified and current in, and to carry passengers and baggage. However, a private pilot cannot receive compensation for flying an aircraft. In order to obtain a private pilot certificate the applicant must accomplish several things: • Pass a written examination by the FAA • Accumulate a certain number of flying hours in various aspects of flying like cross country, night and performing specific maneuvers • Be recommended for the private pilot certificate by a licensed flight instructor • Pass an oral examination by an FAA examiner • Pass a flight test with an FAA examiner When I look at the searches on the internet I see a lot of questions about “how much money can a private pilot make” and “private pilot salary” which indicates to me that many people don’t understand what a private pilot really is. This does not, however, mean that passengers can’t share operating expenses with the pilot.

What Is A Private Pilot License?

The license is actually called a “Private Pilot Certificate” which is issued by the FAA upon completion of a rigorous training program, passing a medical examination by an FAA medical examiner, and passing a flight test administered by a representative of the FAA. In the old days a pilot certificate was a piece of paper you would carry with you when you flew, but today it is similar to a credit card. On this pilot certificate are details about yourself similar to what you will find on your driver’s license, but in addition it contains information about what types of aircraft the pilot can fly and limitations as to when and under what circumstances he can fly.

What Are The Requirements For A Private Pilot Certificate?

For an airplane single-engine rating. Except as provided in paragraph (k) of this section, a person who applies for a private pilot certificate with an airplane category and single-engine class rating must log at least (1) 40 hours of flight time (2) 20 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor (3) 10 hours of solo flight (4) 3 hours of cross-country flight training (5) 1 cross country of over 100 nautical miles total distance (6) 1 cross country of over 150 nautical miles total distance with 3 full stop landings (7) 10 takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop (8) 3 hours of flight training on the control and maneuvering of an airplane solely by references to instruments (9) 3 hours of night flight training (10) 3 takeoffs and landings at an airport with a control tower (11) 3 hours of preparation for the flight test Learn To Fly – It Is Easy, Fun and Very Useful! While flying an airplane is more difficult than driving a car (after all, you are operating in 3 dimensions), anyone who is in reasonably good health with good eyesight can learn to fly. As an instructor pilot I have taught students as young as 12 years old and as old as students in their 70s, so anytime is a good time to learn to fly. Once you attain your pilot’s certificate you will discover that you have joined an elite group who share a love for all things aviation, and that not only is flying fun, but it can help you expand your horizons by making it possible to travel large distances in a short time without all the hassle of traffic on the highways.

Where Do You Start If You Want To Learn To Fly?

To start go to your local airport and find the fixed base operator’s facility. This is where aircraft owners store and have their aircraft serviced. Take an introductory flight to see if flying airplanes is something for you. If you like it, the next step is to locate a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) and arrange for your flying lessons. From there the CFI will help you with getting your Student Pilot’s Certificate, your flight medical certificate and outline a plan for your lessons.

Learn More From The FAA

To learn more visit "Become A Pilot" on the FAA website. To learn more you should get Flying Airplanes: For Fun and Money! (A Practical Guide to Becoming a Professional Pilot) which is a great read! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

Comments (2)

  • Dave Brough on June 24, 2019

    I think you’ll find that the majority of testing is not performed “by the FAA” at all, but by the private sector through ‘Designated Pilot Examiners’. Does the FAA even do any testing at all…?

  • admin on June 24, 2019

    That is true; however, for certain things the FAA does do the testing. For most Private Pilots the test is administered by an FAA designated examiner.

    Thanks for the comment.

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