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Private Pilot License Course Requirements

To be eligible to pursue your Private Pilot License, you must meet certain requirements, such as:


  • Be at least 16 years old to fly solo.

  • Be at least 17 years old to receive your private pilot certificate.

  • Read, speak, write, and understand English.

  • Obtain at least a third-class medical certificate.

  • Perform basic math: adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

  • Successfully complete the flight training requirements and the knowledge exam.

  • In the end, a private pilot applicant will need to pass a practical exam that consists of a verbal exam and a flight test.

To obtain a Private Pilot’s License with an Airplane Single Engine Land Rating, the FAA Requirements are:


Total Time: 40 hours flying minimum which consists of at least:

Dual: 20 hours minimum of flight training with an instructor on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:

  1. 3 hours of cross country flight training in a single engine airplane;

  2. 3 hours of night flight training in a single engine airplane, that includes at least:
    a) 1 cross country flight of over 100 nm total distance; and
    b) 10 Takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport.

  3. 3 hours of flight training by reference to instruments in a single engine airplane; and

  4. 3 hours of flight training in a single engine airplane within the 60 days prior to the practical test.

Solo: 10 hours minimum of solo flying in a single engine airplane on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:

  1. 5 hours of solo cross country flying;

  2. 1 solo cross country flight of at least 150nm total distance with full stop landings at 3 points and one segment of at least 50nm between takeoffs and landings; and

  3. 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.

Forty hours is the very minimum required, and while some students complete their certificate in 40 or slightly more than 40 hours, the average time to complete a private pilot certificate is closer to 60 hours of flight time.


How Long Does It Take to Earn a Private Pilot License?

The amount of time required to earn a private pilot certificate varies and largely depends on weather, availability, finances, and how often a student is available to fly. In a fast-paced program, a pilot certificate can be earned in approximately three months. We recommend that a student plan on flying three times a week, but we can tailor individual plans to meet your needs.


How to Keep Costs to a Minimum

We strive to keep our costs competitive while maintaining our aircraft at a high level and attracting the best flight instructors. While you can’t control aircraft rental rates, you can do some things to keep flight training costs to a minimum. First, our Black Hound Aviation CFIs will follow a syllabus and training plan that make sense for your personal goals and time frame. A training plan uses time efficiently by helping you and your CFI know what to expect and where you are in the process.


Spending time studying on your own will help you to progress faster, meaning less time and money will need to be spent on ground instruction. Our flight instructors will make sure students are prepared with the knowledge required to pass the FAA practical exam or check ride, and the more time you spend learning on the flight instructor’s clock, the more you'll pay. There’s no need to have an instructor walk you through a written exam test prep to go over every small detail in the private pilot manual if you can learn it on your own.  We offer an excellent, discounted online ground school through Sporty's. Sporty's program features videos, regulatory information and practice quizzes and has the added benefit of allowing your flight instructor to monitor your progress.  Be sure to talk to your instructor about how to purchase the Sporty's course at our discounted price.


Take the written exam before you begin flying. Learning everything you need to know on the ground will ensure you are making the best use of your time in the air. Students with limited book knowledge will spend more time and money on the airplane with an instructor explaining every small detail. If you’re already aware of these small, often procedural details, you and your instructor can quickly move on to practicing other things.


Don’t take too many breaks in your training. Long pauses in training will lead to more time relearning things you once knew.

Still have questions?

Call us and let us review your goals and develop a plan to help you achieve them!

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