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Requirements for Obtaining Your Private Pilot Certificate


1.       You must be at least 17 years of age when you finish your training and take your FAA practical (flight) test.

2.       You must be able to read, speak, write, and converse fluently in English.

3.       You must obtain a student pilot certificate and at least a third class FAA medical certificate.

a.       You must be at least 16 years of age to receive a student pilot certificate.

b.       You must undergo a routine medical examination that may only be administered by FAA-designated doctors, who are called aviation medical examiners (AMEs).

1.       A third-class medical certificate is valid for 5 years if the date of the examination was before your 40th birthday, or 2 years if the date of the examination was on or after your 40th birthday. The medical certificate expires on the last day of the month issued (when another medical examination is required).

c.       Your certificated flight instructor (CFI) or fixed base operator (FBO) will be able to recommend an AME.

1.       An FBO is an airport business that gives flight lessons, sells aviation fuel, repairs airplanes, etc.

2.       Visit for a listing of AMEs by state and city.

d.       Even if you have a physical handicap, medical certificates can be issued in many cases. Operating limitations may be imposed depending upon the nature of the disability.

4.       You must pass the private pilot knowledge test with a score of 70% or better. All FAA tests are administered at FAA-designated computer testing centers (AvTest, CATS, or LaserGrade).

a.       The private pilot knowledge test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions selected from the 700+ airplane-related questions in the FAA's test bank. Each question and answer is reproduced in Jeppesen, ASA, or Gleim Private Pilot FAA Written Exam test prep books and related FAA Test Prep software and include a complete explanation of the question’s correct answer as well as explaining each incorrect answer. The questions test the following topics:

1.       Airplanes and Aerodynamics

2.       Airplane Instruments, Engines, and Systems

3.      Airports, Air Traffic Control, and Airspace

4.      Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs)

5.     Airplane Performance and Weight and Balance

6.       Aeromedical Factors and Aeronautical Decision Making

7.       Aviation Weather

8.      Aviation Weather Services

9.      Navigation: Charts, Publications, Flight Computers

10.    Navigation Systems

11.    Cross-Country Flight Planning

5.       You will receive flight training arranged  with each lesson building your aviation knowledge and skillsets on previous ground and flight lessons. Many of the lessons will require more than one flight to make you comfortable and proficient. The lessons/topics are shown below.






Stage One


Stage Two


Introduction to Flight


Second Solo


Four Fundamentals of Flight


Short-Field and Soft-Field Takeoffs and Landings


Basic Instrument Maneuvers


Solo Maneuvers Review



Slow Flight and Stalls


Navigation Systems



Emergency Operations


Dual Cross-Country



Steep Turns and Ground Reference Maneuvers


Night Flight -- Local





Night Cross-Country



Go-Around and Forward Slip to a Landing


Solo Cross-Country



Presolo Review


Solo Cross-Country (Part 61)



Presolo Review


Solo Cross-Country (Part 61)



First Solo


Maneuvers Review



Stage One Check


Solo Practice





Maneuvers Review





Solo Practice





Stage Two Check


a.       Under Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), you must receive a total of 40 hours of flight time, including a minimum of

6.       20 hours of flight training from a certificated flight instructor, including at least

a.       3 hours of cross-country, i.e., to other airports

b.       3 hours at night, including

                                                                                                         i.            One night cross-country flight of over 100 nautical miles (NM) total distance

                                                                                                       ii.            10 night takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop at an airport

c.       3 hours of maneuvering an airplane solely by reference to instruments

d.       3 hours in airplanes in preparation for the private pilot practical test within 60 days prior to that test

7.       10 hours of solo (i.e., by yourself) flight time in an airplane, including at least

a.       5 hours of solo cross-country time

b.       One solo cross-country flight of at least 150 NM total distance, with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points and with one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50 NM between the takeoff and landing locations

c.       Three solo takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower

6.       As an alternative to Part 61 training, you may enroll in an FAA-certificated pilot school that has an approved private pilot certification course (airplane).

a.       These schools are known as Part 141 schools because they are authorized by Part 141 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

0.       All other regulations concerning certification of pilots are found in Part 61.

b.       The Part 141 course must consist of at least 35 hours of ground training and 35 hours of flight training.

0.       The syllabus used by a Part 141 school must be approved by the FAA.

c.       There is little difference between Part 61 training and Part 141 training, except that a Part 61 course has more flexibility to adjust to your individual needs.

7.       You must successfully complete a practical (flight) test, which will be given as a final exam by an FAA-designated pilot examiner. Each of the 50 required tasks/maneuvers is both explained and illustrated in various Private Pilot Flight Maneuvers and Practical Test Prep books.

a.       FAA-designated pilot examiners are proficient, experienced flight instructors/pilots who are authorized by the FAA to conduct practical tests. They typically charge a fee for their services. They will charge $250 - $350 for each practical test.  You may also schedule your practical test with the Columbus Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) at no charge.

b.       The FAA has issued private pilot practical test standards (PTS). Each of the 50 tasks/maneuvers is required to be covered/tested on each practical test.

c.       The Private pilot PTS are available from the FAA website and various commercial publishers.

Private Pilot Training Estimate





Medical Exam    


Headset     300
Charts     25
Flight Bag     60
Kneeboard     35
Ground Instruction 15 $36 / hr 540
Flight Instruction 30 $45 / hr 1350
Aircraft Rental 45 $110 / hr 4950
Knowledge Test Fee     100
Practical Test Fee     300
Aircraft Rental - Practical Test 2 $110 / hr 220
Total     $7,950




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