How To Get A Private Pilot's License
See all of those little planes flying through the air and you want to know how to get a private pilot's license? There's good and bad news. Good news: It's very doable and you can start even if you're too young to drive a car. Bad news: It can be very expensive, and can be just as expensive after you get your license as it was during the licensing process.
To get a private pilot's license, you will need:
- Money (Around $3,000 to $5,000, depending on where you are)
- Medical Examination
- Solid grasp of English
Got all those things ready and available? If not, don't worry. It's pay as you go, and it can be drawn out as long as you need. The medical examination is important, though. Arrange a meeting with your physician as soon as possible if you want to get a private pilot's license.
- Find an Instructor. Crack open the phone book or do some searches for a private pilot instructor. Figure out what their rates are and what they expect the total cost to be. Try to get a meeting to see if you get a good feeling from the instructor. You'll be spending a lot of time up in a tiny airplane together. If you don't get along, you won't have fun, and that's the most important thing about being a private pilot. Keep in mind that smaller airports often will be able to better cater to your needs than larger airports, so generally speaking, the smaller the airport, the less time you'll need to get your license.
- Start your lessons. Once you have an instructor all picked out, you can be at the controls in a matter of hours. Your instructor will develop a full course of study for you, but you can expect some time in ground school and a lot of time in the air. You'll be learning how to taxi, take off, navigate, deal with aerial emergencies, communicate, land (always important!), and everything else that it takes to captain your own airplane. If you're sixteen or older, you can solo and complete the required solo time for the completion of your license.
- Get the license. You need a minimum of 40 hours of flight time to get a private pilot's license. Most pilots end up taking much more, oftentimes around 70 or 80 hours, so keep in mind how much time you're going to need. Take your exams, pay the final fees, and go home with a beautiful license. Next time you get asked for a photo ID, be sure to pull out your brand new private pilot's license.
There are a lot of terms and conditions to having a private pilot's license. For example, you can't charge people money to fly them around, and you can get into legal trouble and lose your expensive license if you break the rules. Also, unless you want to buy a plane (which if you buy by yourself can cost upwards of $150,000), you'll need to keep on paying rental prices and following rental rules. This is not a cheap hobby!