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Obtaining Private Pilots License

Updated on August 30, 2017

Orville And Wilbur Wright Inventors of First Airplane

Wright brothers testing a glider
Wright brothers testing a glider | Source
Civil Aviation License
Civil Aviation License

Wright Brothers Famous Airplane Inventors

An introduction to the origin of airplanes

Leonardo da Vinci was famous for painting the Mona Lisa and many more inventions, among other he also made sketches of airplanes by studying birds in flight, but the first airplane that actually made a flight was invented and built by the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, on December 17, 1903.

Procedure For Obtaining PrivatePilot's License

This hub is about the procedure to obtain a private pilots license and how I obtained mine I always had a dream of flying and in 1987 I decided to make this a reality. I lived in Potgietersrus South Africa and the closest flight training was at Pietersburg. The flying instructor was contacted and an appointment was made to see him at his offices at the Pietersburg Airport the following Saturday.

Saturday arrived, I met Garry the instructor, and after introductions and a short conversation about the ins and outs, he took me on an introductory flight. I asked him where the parachutes were and he explained that you don't need them, if the engine cuts out you do an emergency landing in the closest field.

He showed me the various instruments in the cockpit and after flying a while He went into a stall , the left wing dipped down, and all that was between me and mother earth down below was a small door and window. The nose of the plane then tilted forward and we went into a spin down to earth. He then kicked right rudder forward, out of the spin and stick gently back and we levelled of and returned to the airport runway.

Back at his offices he asked me if I wanted to continue ?, and without hesitation I answered yes.

He explained that I had to go for a medical exam and get a certificate of fitness from the doctor before we could proceed. These check ups are done once every two years and if over 30 years of age once a year.

Image credit to Raymond Eagar

Requirements For Obtaining Pilots License

Health certificate from a doctor appointed by the Aviation Department

Radio operators license

A flying instructor.



Flight Training Starts

The health examination was done and passed. A week later the paper work was done back at the airport.

The following Saturday my training started and the average time I could book was two hours because he had many pupils.The training plane was a Cessna 150 which we called " I O D " .

Airplane Checks Before Takeoff

Before flying checks must be done on the airplane for safety required by aviation department.

We started by going through the check list on the outside of the plane, flap hinges, loose rivets, fuel tank levels engine oil level and a few more.

Inside the cockpit the altitude level is set to the airports height above sea level , very important this step can prevent you flying into mountains .Then there are a few more checks, fuel, fuel selector, brakes, undercarriage, flaps. rudder .

Taxing to runway

The engine was started and we taxied next to the runway and stopped. The brakes were put on and the engine revved up and the fuel mixture adjusted until the engine was purring smoothly like a cat, you soon got the hang of it and knew when it was just right.

I asked the tower for permission to take off by radio and was given permission, taxied onto the runway into the wind, put on brakes revved up full throttle, released the brakes and off we went gaining speed and when it felt like the wheels were starting to float I slowly pulled the stick back and we left the runway gaining altitude. I was instructed to do a right hand climbing turn and straighten out when at 90 degrees to the runway and when at one thousand feet level out and turn 90 degrees parallel to the runway. This was going to be my first landing.

We flew on at one thousand feet and when the end of the runway was behind the starboard wing, do a 90 degree turn right and begin your decent with flaps to break your speed and controlling the throttle, if the speed is to slow increase it or you will crash. When the runway is on your right do a 90 degree turn towards it still going down, and when inline over the runway about ten feet above it close the throttle and pull back the stick, the plane will slowly settle down until the wheels touch the runway, brake and taxi back to the hanger.

Stalling A Plane And Recovering

A stall is activated by closing the throttle and pulling the stick back, the plane tries to climb looses speed and stalls, the wing dips and the plane goes into a spin, to come out of the spin if it was the left wing which dipped, kick the right rudder forward until it stops spinning and then pull stick back to level out, and open throttle and fly on.

Radio license certificate
Radio license certificate

Radio Operator License

A radio operator license is compulsory,

Emergency landings

A radio operators license was compulsory,the exam was passed and the license was issued. The next couple of weeks we flew away from the airport to a area designated for flight training.

Here stalls and emergency landings were practiced for the next few weeks.

As we flew along the instructor would suddenly reach out and close the throttle and calmly tell you to do a emergency landing. The engine idles and the plane looses speed .

The first step is to push the stick forward slightly to get the plane to slowly glide down then quickly search for an open field not to close and not to far. It could be in front of you or behind or on the side parallel to the plane. If it is on the side you have to do two 90 degree turns gliding down. you must glide past it far enough before turning back to it so you are not to high when you reach it which will cause you to overshoot and land in the trees on the other side, and not to far because then you wont reach it and land in the trees in front of it.

A lot of judgement is required.

Cessna 150 - Photo credited to green castle aero club/

How to obtain a Pilots license, Cessna 150
How to obtain a Pilots license, Cessna 150

Solo Flying

Learn to fly. Pilot's Log book
Learn to fly. Pilot's Log book

Solo Flying

If all the tests are passed it is time to go solo

The instructor decides if you are ready and then sends you on a solo flight, starting with take off and landings.

I was very nervous the first time I entered I O D alone, but everything went smoothly. The following Saturdays I flew solo and continued practicing. The photo is taken from my log book.

Stalls Emergency Landings Circuits

The next few weeks stalls and emergency landings are practiced in the designated training area. There after solo circuits are done. Solo circuits are when you fly on a triangle circuit across country, from hometown A to town B, turn to town C, and turn back to A.

A B and C could be 200 kilo meters apart.

Before a solo circuit a route must be marked out on your map in degrees to B to C and back to A, a few degrees out and you will end off course by many kilo meters.

Cessna 150 cockpit - Photo credited to free stock fotos

How to become a pilot .Cessna 150 cockpit
How to become a pilot .Cessna 150 cockpit | Source

Photo Cessna 150 cocpit

The cock pit of a Cessna 150. The controls are duplicated, the flight trainer sits on the right hand seat and the apprentice on the left.

Flight Test

The big day arrived, I was to be tested for my license .A commandant from the South Africa Air force was to test me. After sending in the flight plans and the normal plane inspections , we took off at 8 am . We did a circuit and was tested for everything and arrived back at 2 pm in the after noon. after we had landed he marked his test papers and told me I had passed.

That evening we celebrated.

Ten year old flight training in Cessna 172

10 year old pilot in a Cessna 172

Ten year old boy takes flight training in a Cessna 172 and flies like a professional.


Cessna 172
Cessna 172 | Source

Pilot license Conversion To Cessna 172

I then later on made a conversion to a Cessna 172 which was bigger and faster .

Time to vote - Flight Test

Who took me for the test

See results

All comments welcome .

Flight Training


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    • Raymond Eagar profile image

      Raymond Eagar 2 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Adventuretravels.

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from Perth UK

      Very interesting article - it's all so exciting. I'd love to learn to fly!!

    • profile image

      James 3 years ago

      Must be nice up there

    • Raymond Eagar profile image

      Raymond Eagar 4 years ago

      @jan93: Thanks for the visit .

    • profile image

      jan93 4 years ago

      I love to travel also and this is very helpful for me .