What is a private pilot's license, and what are its privileges?

A private pilot license is the initial license the FAA gives to people who have satisfactorily completed the requirements of training and performed competently and safely on a flight test. It can be upgraded to allow you to fly more advanced aircraft in the future, as well as to fly in more challenging conditions such as bad weather or aircraft with more than one engine. The license has few limitations, allowing you to carry family and friends across the country in a fraction of the time it takes to drive a car. You can fly to the Gulf coast in just over 2 hours. You will also have the privilege of flying at night.

Who can be a private pilot?

There is no minimum or maximum age for flight training. However, you must be 16 years old to solo and 17 years old to get your license. In addition, you must be able to pass a general physical exam from an approved FAA medical examiner.

Do I have what it takes to be a pilot?

Flying isn't rocket science, but there is a lot of hard work and dedication that go into it. Most people can learn how to fly an airplane if they study the materials and take the training seriously. We combine personal, one-on-one ground school sessions with our flight lessons to ensure that our students are able to grasp the different concepts and skills involved. 

What are the requirements to get my license?

To earn your private pilot's license, you must log at least 40 hours flight time in an airplane, which include 20 hours with an instructor, 10 hours solo, 3 hours at night and 3 hours solely by reference to instruments. Part of this flight time will include cross-country flights to other airports in the southeast, as well as to airports with control towers. You must also pass a 60-question knowledge exam, receive an endorsement from your instructor and pass a practical test consisting of oral quizzing and a flight test with an examiner designated by the FAA. This is referred to as the checkride. 

How long does it take to get my license?

Completion time varies by student and depends on weather, how often you fly and how hard you study. We understand that each student may have unique time and financial constraints, so we can work around your schedule. If a student flies 2 to 3 times a week, they could easily finish in less than 6 months.

How much does it cost?

Since not everyone finishes in the same amount of time, the cost can vary. One of the good things about flight training is that you just pay by the lesson instead of paying everything up front. The Cessna 172 rents for $130 an hour, which includes fuel. Instruction is $40 an hour. We tell students to budget $8,000 - $9,000 to cover all expenses, including airplane rental, instruction, books, supplies, flight physical and test fees. Financing is available through different local banks and credit unions.


Learn to Fly

There is a wealth of information online about how to become a pilot, and we understand it can seem confusing and overwhelming. Our goal here is to explain the process as simply as possible and answer some frequently asked questions.