Learning flying is not an easy task and requires specialized training as well as a lot of investment before you’re licensed. How long does it take to get a pilot’s license? What does it take to become a private pilot?

To get your license you need to pass two schools: ground school and flight school. You need 40 hours of flight hours and 40 hours of ground school to get your PPL.

4 Steps to Become a Private Pilot

You need a Student Pilot License

To be able to fly solo and become a private pilot you will need a Student Pilot License to progress up in the ladder to get your PPL.

To get your Student Pilot License is as easy as filling an application on the website of the Integrated Airman Certificate and Rating Application (IACRA) web site, and FAA form 8710-1 and send it back.

This should take around one to three weeks to get back your license.

You need a Medical Certificate

Before flying on your own, you need to pass a Medical certificate issued by the FAA.

Being able to fly solo is an important thing since it is among the most crucial elements required to be able to obtain the private pilot’s license.

If you have a medical issue that needs further investigation and paperwork before you can receive an official medical certificate you may have to wait a bit longer until you show all paperwork.

You need to pass Ground school

Ground school is the “most boring” of all steps as it is the school where you will learn all about the theory of flying before even touching an airplane.

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You should be prepared to study for 40 hours prior to the examination. The learning materials cover meteorology, navigation, aerodynamics, among other topics related to aviation that are available in the form of videos, books as well as test-taking exercises.

This is around 40 hours in total to pass.

You need to do your Flight training

This is the most fun part of all. In Flight school you will learn how to actually fly an aircraft.

The total of flight training is around 40 hours. You will need 20 hours of those 40 to be dedicated to flight. Another 10 hours to solo flights and one mandatory 150 nautical miles flight.

After that, you’ll be able to take the test called Check Ride.

You could also go for Instrument Rating certification that allows to fly under Instrumnet Fly Rules (IFR). Just be aware that if you do not take the IFR certification, you will be limited to fly only on Visual Flight Rules (VFR).

This is another 40 hours to add to your time.

If you follow all these steps you will be with your private pilot certificate in no time!

What is a Private Pilot License?
What is a Private Pilot License?

The Fastest Way to Get Your PPL

In reality there are much quicker ways to obtain a private pilot certificate. However, the fastest method is not always better. Several aviation schools have private pilot training that can be accelerated within one week. Generally, these programs require that you already hold student pilot certification and have passed the written test. Obviously, ground school will take you about 40 hours before you are qualified for the FAA exam. While these courses may be good for some it might not be a good idea for many others.

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What is a Private Pilot License?

A Private Pilot’s License allows (PPL) you to be the pilot in charge of the majority of single-engine aircraft. This allows you to fly alone or with other passengers in any aircraft. A normal PPL includes general aviation small aircraft generally that have two seats or more. The license permits the pilot’s ability to fly any type of aircraft. However, typically the flight school will require a period of time on a brand new type of aircraft before starting to fly it. It is important to note that you are not able to fly commercially or in exchange for payments.

Average Cost of Getting A Private Pilot License

Between plane leasing fees, instructors, test fees, flight training and equipment, acquiring a private pilot license is about 10000$ per person. The cost varies according to the institution as well as the instructor, aircraft and the location, among other variables.

It takes three to four months to earn a private pilot license. Therefore, you must schedule your budget accordingly.

What’s next after I earn my Private Pilot License?

Many people get a private pilot license as a starting point to become a commercial pilot certificate. If this is you, you should be very excited about this first step!

Now, you have two ways of going up the ladder to become a commercial pilot certificate:

Choose a modular route by paying for further qualifications and experiences when you are able to afford it. It is possible to get a multi-engine or instrument rating, or become an instructor for flight or invest in hour-building kits.

Or, take a class that will cover everything you need to become a commercial pilot. They are appropriate for people who do not have PPLs and are held at commercial training schools with specialized training. There is also the possibility of sponsorships by airlines to fund the course.

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What is the Difference Between a Sport and Private pilot?

There are three basic routes to becoming a pilot in the U.S.: You can become a fully-fledged private pilot, or you can be a little quicker and more affordable by becoming a sports pilot, or pilot on your own ultralight aircraft.

It’s really all about two factors: the type of aircraft you’d like to fly and the number of passengers you want to take along.

Private Pilot

To become a private pilot, you must undergo the highest amount of training (and medical examination). However, it provides you with the highest rights and the smallest restrictions. Private pilots typically fly in two or four-seat airplanes, can fly in the night, and with further training and certifications, fly in bad weather, and fly multiengine planes and more.

Sport Pilot

The process to obtain your sport pilot certificate is much easier, faster and cheaper than a private certification and is ideal for anyone who wishes to fly lighter, smaller aircraft as a solo pilot or with a partner. There is no medical examination required and the minimum training duration is half the time required for a private.


To get your PPL you will need around 80 hours between Ground School and Flight School Training. There are some schools that offer faster routes, which may not be the best option to all.

The cost of a PPL is around 10,000$ and depends on many conditions: mainly the school you go to.

After getting your PPL you are one step closer to become a commercial pilot. You should then start other courses or sponsorship from an airline to complete your training.

If you feel a PPL is expensive or it isn’t what you have in mind, you can go for a Sport Pilot License, which is faster and less expensive to get.

James Blake

By James Blake

Does it fly? Then I am interested!

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