• Becoming a Private Pilot

Obtaining Your Private Pilot Airplane Rating

Becoming a Private Pilot requires a certain commitment of time and money, both of which are discussed below. Of course, you may always contact one of our instructors directly if you have additional questions!

Note: As is customary for beginner students, training is done in a “single-engine land” aircraft. This will certify you to fly only that category and class of airplane.

14 CFR 61.113

PRIVILEGES AND LIMITATIONS OF A PRIVATE PILOT

  • Fly friends and family for fun, day or night
  • Fly anywhere in the United States or to another country
  • Fly for charitable or non-profit organizations (with some limitations)
  • Fly during periods of good weather, otherwise known as “VFR” or Visual Flight Rules
  • Split the costs of flying with friends or family. That is, a Private Pilot must pay his/her pro rata share of a flight

  • Be paid or compensated to fly (except under very limited circumstances)
  • Fly during periods when weather restricts visibility, otherwise known as “IFR” or Instrument Flight Rules
  • Fly above 18,000 feet

Requirements and Prerequisites

Before your first lesson, you will need to:

  1. Present a copy of your unexpired U.S. passport OR government issued photo identification AND birth certificate in order to verify U.S. citizenship
  2. Request your New Pilot/Customer information sheet (we can provide this in hard copy or e-mail)
  3. Training can begin at any age, but under FAA regulations, you must be at least 16 years of age to solo, and 17 to obtain your license.
  4. Must be proficient in the English language (contact us for more information)
  5. Please purchase a pilot logbook and headset as soon as possible (but preferably prior to your first lesson) as you will want to bring both of these to each lesson

Training

For the private pilot rating, the Federal Aviation Administration requires the following:

  • 40 hours of total flight time, 20 of which must be with an instructor, and 10 of which must be solo
  • 3 hours of “cross country” time (i.e. more than 50 miles between airports)
  • 3 hours of night flight, that includes one cross country flight of over 100 nautical miles total distance
  • 10 takeoffs and landings in an airport traffic pattern at night
  • 3 hours of flight in simulated IFR conditions
  • 3 hours of flight in preparation for the practical (final) test with an FAA examiner
  • 10 hours of solo flight that includes 5 hours of solo cross country time
  • One solo cross county flight that exceeds 150 nautical miles total distance, with landings at three different airports, and at least one leg of this trip that exceeds 50 miles straight line distance
  • 3 landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower

These requirements are very specific and may even seem overwhelming, but your instructor will help guide your training in the most safe and efficient way. That is, many of these hours can be completed simultaneously or concurrently. Likewise, the above hours are MINIMUMS, and most individuals take considerably more time to complete them for their certificate.

Costs

The cost of flight training can and will vary slightly from person to person, but below is OUR best estimate of what it’ll cost you to get your private pilot rating, using our instructors and equipment:

Private Pilot Certificate Costs (Minimum)
FTX Aviation Rate Hours Price
Airplane rental (Piper Tomahawk PA-38)* $93/hour 40 hours $3,740
Instructor Fees $60/hour 40 hours $1,200
FAA Written Test $165**
Book, Charts, and Study Materials $200
Headset*** $250
Practical Test Fee $500
Total $6,035
* Airplane rental rate varies based on current fuel prices
** Payable directly to an FAA testing center
*** Headset cost of this can vary widely, a good beginner headset should be $200-300
Private Pilot Certificate Costs (Reasonable)
FTX Aviation Rate Hours Price
Airplane rental (Piper Tomahawk PA-38)* $93/hour 60 hours $5,580
Instructor Fees $60/hour 40 hours $2,300
FAA Written Test $165**
Book, Charts, and Study Materials $200
Headset*** $250
Practical Test Fee $500
Total $8,995