READY TO FLY?
What does it take to become a pilot?
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BECOME A PILOT?
So, you want to learn to fly — fantastic! It is a very rewarding experience, which for most is the opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream. It also teaches skills that are transferable to all aspect of life and is a great talking point for your next interview (whether in aviation or not).
But what does it take to become a qualified Private Pilot? How long, how much and what are the steps?
The minimum required hours of flight time to gain a Private Pilot’s License (or PPL) is 40 hours, however most people take 50 to 60+ hours. This time is split between Dual flights with an instructor onboard, and Solo where the student is flying on their own.
In addition, you will have to pass a written multiple-choice, closed-book exam.
Your first Solo flight is hugely exhilarating, and self-affirming. You will remember it for the rest of your life. It can take as few as 10 hours of training to achieve, but usually takes 15 to 20 hours, with an instructor sign off required. Once you are qualified “Solo” you can then book the aircraft to fly on your own any time provided your instructor has signed off your planned activity and the weather is suitable.
Basic training on critical skills to control the aircraft
Foundational aeronautical knowledge
Culminates in ability to fly "solo"--recognized as licensed "student" pilot
Further training in advanced maneuvers
Some training flights conducted solo to hone skills
Development of skills to competency required to pass check ride
Training on navigation planning, operations en-route and night qualification
Training includes dual and solo navigation flights beyond 50 nm and preparation for check ride (practical examination)
Culminates in check ride from FAA Examiner--qualification as Private Pilot.
FAVORITE FLIGHTS FOR NEW PILOTS
Cross Country flights are some of the most enjoyable experiences a student pilot and is one of the best reasons to get a PPL - to go places! General Aviation offers a unique opportunity to travel to thousands of airports in locations that are hard or impossible to get to via car or public transport.
A flight to Martha's Vineyard is less than 2 hours vs driving for 6 hours.
Hudson River Skyline flights are thrilling. Fly along the Hudson River next to Manhattan & around the Statue of Liberty. Experienced only through general aviation!
Costs Associated With Becoming and Maintaining Your Pilot License
What about once you have your PPL? Well, you can rent the Somerset Flight School aircraft on an hourly basis to fly your friends and family wherever you want to go that is safe and within your capabilities, and those of the aircraft.
The table below gives you a rough idea of what costs are involved in learning to fly, and can be used as a guide for your total budget:
Required or Optional
Aircraft rental & instruction
Minimum 40 hours
$130 Aircraft +$50 Instructor per hour ($180 total)
Recommended at least 20-25 hours
$75 per hour
Online Training Tool (e.g. King Schools)
$125 to $279 +
As needed depending on age
$75 to $150
Aircraft renters’ insurance (Rent Solo)
$400 to $500
FAA Written Test
Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) check ride fee
$400 to $600
Starting at $300
Textbooks, E6B flight computer, plotter, charts/publications
1 with some publications requiring renewal