If you have ever wanted to take your aviation hobby to the next level and become a licensed pilot, then this guide is for you. Obtaining a private pilot license (PPL) allows you to fly in many countries around the world with fewer restrictions than other types of licenses. In this guide, we will discuss the prerequisites, requirements, and steps necessary to become a licensed private pilot.
Step One: Acquiring a Student Pilot Certificate
The first step in obtaining your PPL is acquiring a student pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). To do this, you must be at least 16 years old, pass an FAA medical exam with an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), and provide identification and proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence. Once these requirements are met and all paperwork is completed, you will receive your student pilot certificate via mail.
Step Two: Finding An Instructor
You need an instructor who holds an FAA Flight Instructor Certificate in order to log flight time for your PPL application. Most instructors can be found through local flight schools dedicated to aviation enthusiasts like yourself.
At Melbourne Flight School, we prioritize your convenience and offer flexible scheduling for quality flight instruction with our professional instructors. Each lesson begins with a minimum of one hour in the air alongside your instructor so that you have ample time to learn effectively. Plus, since our lessons are tailored around your schedule, there’s no need to worry about fitting us into yours. After your flight instructor deems you competent, it’s time to take the reins and fly solo! Generally speaking, it takes 15-30 hours of practice for a student pilot to become proficient.
Step Three: Logging Required Air Time
Once you have completed all required flight training with your instructor, it’s time to start logging flights on your own! To qualify for a PPL in most countries including the United States, you must log at least 40 hours of total flight time; 10 of which must be solo flights while operating under visual flight rules (VFR). The remaining 30 hours can consist of any combination of VFR or instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) flights conducted solely by the applicant or dual instruction given by either an FAA-certified instructor or another qualified person certified by their respective country’s aviation authority. It is important that all pilots keep track of their flight hours accurately as this information must be included in their application when applying for their PPL license.
Step Four: Passing the Written Exam & Check Ride Test
Once all required airtime has been logged successfully, it’s time to move on to studying for the written exam. The written exam consists of 60 multiple choice questions on topics such as aerodynamics, airspace regulations, navigation, aircraft systems, performance management, communications protocols, weather patterns, emergency procedures, etc. There are plenty of study materials available online designed specifically for those preparing for their written exam. After successful completion of the written test, applicants must then pass a check ride test with an FAA Certified Examiner. This test includes both oral questioning pertaining to specific aeronautical topics as well as practical exercises such as pre-flighting aircraft and performing certain maneuvers during actual flight time under VFR or IMC conditions.
You’re Ready To Fly
You now have everything needed to apply for your Private Pilot License! With your new license comes many benefits such as increased freedom while flying domestically or overseas without needing approval from air traffic control centers each time you wish to fly. Taking on a private pilot license also opens up opportunities such as becoming a charter pilot or earning additional certifications down the road.