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Learn to fly: Go to Flight School & Get a Private Pilot's License

Updated on September 7, 2014

Learning how to fly a plane and getting a private pilot's license isn't as hard as many would think

Flying a plane is not only an exhilarating experience but can even make financial sense if you travel often. Getting a private pilot license takes work and dedication but is not as hard as one would think. Learning to fly and becoming a pilot offers rewards and bragging rights to those that obtain the certification. Even if you don't feel the need to get a license taking a plane out for a jaunt under supervision from a flight trainer can be the experience of a lifetime. Obtaining a private pilots license is obtainable for anyone who is dedicated and likes to have fun!

Would you like learn to fly a plane?

Would you like to fly a plane?

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What does it take to get your pilot's license?

Getting a private pilot's license takes time and money though is not as difficult to achieve as one might think.

Private Pilot License Requirements

17 years of age or older

Be able to read, speak and understand English

Hold a medical certificate in either the first, second or third class (covered further on)

A score of 70% or higher on the private pilot knowledge test

Pass a practical flight test with an FAA-designated examiner

A minimum of 40 flight hours:

20 hours must be with an instructor including 3 hours flying to airports over 50 miles away, 3 hours of instrument training, 3 hours at night, and 3 hours with an instructor within 60 days of your test.

10 hours must be flown solo including 5 hours of cross-country with a 150 nautical mile trip, 3 takeoffs and landings at an airport with a control tower.

A recreational certificate has even fewer requirements however it has limitations that are not imposed with the private certificate. Some of the restrictions include only being able to fly within 50 nautical miles of your home base, only being allowed one passenger, and you can fly only in daylight during favorable weather. Due to the decreased requirements this can be a good option for someone who wants to fly as a hobby. If interested in taking the family for trips or really traveling far then the private certificate would be the appropriate choice.

How much does it cost to learn to fly?

The average cost to get a private pilot's license is $5,000-10,000. The range depends on the area you live, school you attend and how many hours it takes you to achieve your goal. If you do it all in a short time span you may require less hours than those who spread it out over years because everything will be more fresh. The required flight hours are only 40 to get a private pilot's license however the national average in the US is over 55 hours.

Pilot Logs to track your flight hours

You have to log your hours in an official flight log in order to obtain a pilot's license. The standard flight log is available in black or navy.

Private vs Recreational Pilot's Certification

Would it be worth the extra hours to you to get a private pilot's license instead of the recreational pilot's certifcate?

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Medical Requirements for a Pilot's License

Third Class

20/40 Vision

Ability to perceive color

Pass a hearing test

Exhibit no disease or condition that could inhibit speech

Blood pressure under 155/95

No personality, psychosis or bipolar disorder

No substance dependence within the past 2 years

Second Class

All of the above plus:

Distance vision 20/20

Intermediate vision 20/40

First Class

All of the above plus:

Normal EKG

Note: Vision requirements can be assisted by glasses or contacts

Learn to Fly with Flight Simulator Games - Learn how to fly a plane game

While these flight simulator games won't count towards flight miles or obtaining your pilot's license, they can actually teach you a lot about the principles of flying a plane. They could potentially save you money on flight hours because you may need less real flight miles to obtain a pilot's license after playing these learn how to fly a plane games.

Leonardo da Vinci-

"Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."

Benefits of a Private Pilot's License

There is of course pride and bragging rights that go along with a pilot's license. Most people think of this as a very impressive achievement. Flying a plane is also fun and exhilarating. Yet the convenience and potential cost savings are some of the greatest benefits of having a pilot's license.

Private planes are not subject to the security checks and long waits at a commercial airport. Travel time on a commercial airline is greatly increased due to the extra time needed to arrive at the airport, checking-in, getting through security and then boarding the plane. Flying private eliminates this extra time so it's much faster to get into the air.

There aren't restrictions on what you can bring on the plane so you can bring liquids etc without running into a problem.

When you rent a plane you only need to pay for your flight hours. For instance if you go for a long weekend in Florida you don't have to pay for several days, only the hours you are in the air. It's possible to rent planes for as little as $100/hour. So if you're flying your entire family it can be a very reasonable way to take vacations or go on weekend getaways. Owning a plane can get expensive unless you fly all the time. But there are ways to offset the cost of ownership by renting out your plane to others when you're not using it.

Books on learning to fly and obtaining a pilot's license

These books on learning to fly and become a pilot have some highly valuable information. It may be a good idea to read a couple before starting lessons to ensure you understand what you're getting into and to come packed with some knowledge in advance.

Aviation Fun Facts

In the 1920s a plane ticket cost $5.00

Black boxes are really bright orange

Airbus developers are currently working on plane designs where passengers have a 360 degree view

The US airline industry report about 170 billion dollars in revenue each year

The 747 has a tail height that is equivalent to a 6 story building

© 2012 Melissa Miotke

How do you feel about learning to fly a plane and getting a pilot's license?

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    • norma-holt profile image


      4 years ago

      I started flying at 16 and it was the great love of my life. At that time I worked at Qantas, was in the Air League and in the Flying School. Great lens and good on you for sharing your passion. Well done.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I would love it!

    • CampingmanNW profile image


      5 years ago

      Loved it. Learned to fly right after leaving the military. Still only single engine, but instrument rated. Our family plane is a Cessna 172. Thanks for a fun read.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi look like you are having fun. Good for you.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You look like you really had fun doing this. Congratulations.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Wow! Now this is what I call a project. I am afraid my vision would disqualify me, but still... Wow!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Id love to do it!... but first I have to get over the fear of heights and flying :D

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      5 years ago

      If I had stayed in Alaska I'll bet I would have gotten my pilot's license as a youth.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @harold79: sorry... sharing your knowledge! ;p

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      It definitely has to be one of the most exciting experiences in life. I would do it but just for the fun of it! Hopefully one day Very nice Lens, thanks for cheering your knowledge!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      thanks for the details. i love to fly

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      5 years ago

      It sounds like a fun idea. I would just need to get up the nerve,

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Was a dream to be a pilot when I was a lot younger! Guess it is still a pipe-dream for me! Nice and encouraging words you have here! Cheers! :)

    • mrsclaus411 profile image


      5 years ago

      This sounds very exciting.

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      One of my favorite movies about flying is "Fly Away Home" (both people and geese flying) because the focus is on the benefits of flying for people and birds. SquidAngel blessings.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My husband learned to fly a some years back. It's been a wonderful experience getting up in a plane and flying to destinations for a weekend. Wonderful article. Stay safe up there.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I would love to slip the surly bonds of Earth, as John Gillespie Magee, Jr. wrote in "High Flight." Love this lens.

    • NibsyNell profile image


      6 years ago

      Oh I would love to do this! One day...

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      Great lens, takeoff to landing! COUNTRYLUTHIER blessed.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It sounds like a fun experience for future years.

    • TheBLU26 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens. One of my brothers is a pilot and the rest of us skydivers...we jump out of planes!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have flown umpteen times, but as a passenger in commercial airplanes!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Too bad that I'll never fly a plane because of my vision, but I enjoy flying anyway:). Nice lens.

    • LornsA178 profile image


      6 years ago

      I have aerophobia, but I sitll fly, I could not imagine myself flying a plane!

    • Commandrix profile image


      6 years ago from Benson, IL

      This sounds like fun. I want to get my pilots' license...Maybe someday.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I found that the fun part of flying was aerobatics.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I never learned to fly, but I spent countless hours inside airplanes at various stages of production, having worked in the aircraft industry for over 30 years.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I would love to fly a plane, perhaps in my next birth !! Who knows I might become a pilot.

    • Melissa Miotke profile imageAUTHOR

      Melissa Miotke 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      @anonymous: It's worth it:)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I haven't flown a plane but I can be convinced to try..hahah

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      6 years ago from Vermont

      I've flown many times in large commercial aircraft (as a passenger) and once in a small twin engine plane as a passenger but I'm not confident enough to try for a pilot's license. I might have when I was younger though - you go girl!

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 

      6 years ago from USA

      I've always wanted to learn to fly, and this lens has given me reason to believe that my goal can be achieved. Thank you for sharing this information.


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