How Long Before You Can Fly?

Let’s take a look here at how long does it take to become a pilot. Usually, the average student can get their private pilot certificate in a year or less. Most students try to fly on average of two times per week.

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Private pilot
Medical- A private pilot is required to have a third-class medical certificate. The medical exam consists of a general physical with an eye exam. A 3rd class medical is valid for 3 years for those under 40 and 2 years for those 40 and over. This medical exam has to be completed before the student’s first solo flight.

Solo- The average student usually will have their first solo within the first 15-20 hours of flight time. During this 15-20 hour period, the student will learn all of the basic flight maneuvers, emergency procedures, takeoffs, and landings.

Cross country- After the solo, the next general phase of flight training is the cross country phase. During this phase, the student learns how to navigate and demonstrates this acquired knowledge by one or two cross country flights with his/her instructor and then will do 3-4 more cross country flights solo, including a long cross country that is 150 miles. (a cross country flight is a flight more than 50 miles)

Written test- A private pilot student is required to take a 50 question multiple-choice test from the FAA. This test covers all the general areas of knowledge required to be a private pilot such as regulations, normal operations, emergency procedures, weather, navigation, and aircraft performance.

Preparation for the flight test- After the student has completed all of the cross country requirements and the written test the final phase of training is concerned with preparing the student for his/her flight test. This normally includes more practice of flight maneuvers but to closer tolerances. It also includes a review of all the areas covered in the private pilot flight test.

This flight test has two parts and is usually taken from an FAA-designated examiner. The flight test consists of an oral examination and flight test. The oral is where the examiner will ask the student questions. This usually lasts 30 minutes to an hour. During the flight test, the student will demonstrate all of the knowledge and abilities he/she has acquired during flight training. The flight test usually lasts about an hour.

The private pilot course is a minimum of 40 flight hours. However, most students have 50-55 total flight hours when they take their flight test. Usually, 25-30 hours of this time is with the flight instructor and the remaining time is solo cross countries and solo practicing of flight maneuvers and landings.

One of the most common training aircraft is the Cessna 152. This is probably the most popular primary flight training aircraft today. It is the first airplane that practically all private pilot s fly. The Cessna 152 is a two-seat light trainer. It has a 115 horsepower engine and can cruise at about 118 mph. This type of light aircraft can provide the student with an economical means to achieve their goal of becoming a private pilot. The Cessna 152 is easy to fly and easy land as well as being a very forgiving aircraft to fly.