You’ve wanted to learn how to fly, and now is the time to make that dream a reality. But there are steps you need to take before you can get your private pilot’s license and soar into the wild blue yonder. Here are the basics you need to accomplish in order to become a private pilot.
Take a Discovery Ride
Even before you look for an instructor for flight training North Carolina, it’s important to know if this is something you really want to do. Rod Machado highly recommends taking a demo flight to determine if you really want to fly a small aircraft. Flying a small aircraft is a different experience than riding in an airliner, so it’s important to see if you’re still enthusiatic about it. Contact the AOPA or local general aviation airport and find instructors willing to take you on that exploratory flight.
Are You Eligible for a License?
There are some basic rules you need to meet in order to obtain a private pilot’s license. You must be older than 17 years old. You must be able to speak and read English. You also must be able to obtain the necessary flight hours and pass the exams, which includes an oral exam.
Can You Obtain a Third Class Medical?
In order to become a private pilot, you must pass the Third Class Aviation Medical Certificate. This is required for your first solo flight, so you have a little time, but don’t delay and get one before you get started. You must be examined by an aviation medical examiner or AME and determined healthy enough to fly.
Get Your Student Pilot Certificate
If you get your Third Class Aviation Medical Certificate, chances are the aviation medical examiner will give you your Student Pilot Certificate with it. If you wait on your medical, you can just get the Student Pilot Certificate at the FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or from an FAA examiner.
Find an Instructor
If you’ve taken a discovery ride, chances are you have an instructor in mind, but it’s always a good idea to look around. Finding an instructor is as easy as checking out the local flight clubs and flight training schools. Talk with any pilots and see what they think of certain instructors. A good reputation is a must because a good flight instructor is safe and will help you become a good pilot. Like anything, there are good instructors and bad instructors, so if you can, check out a few before you settle on one. Make your lessons conditional (no more than three) to ensure you can learn from the instructor and it’s a good match.
Take the FAA Written Exam
Some schools and instructors require you to pass the written exam before you even sit in an airplane. Some require it before your solo. Start studying and learn everything you can. Take and pass the test. It will make the rest of the lessons go smoother if you know what you need to know.
Fly Until You’re Ready to Solo
You only need 10 hours of flight time before you solo, but don’t be surprised if your instructor doesn’t think you’re ready at only 10 hours. He or she wants to be sure you are safe flying.
Fly Until You’re Ready for Your Checkride
You need 10 solo hours, 20 hours flying with an instructor, 10 takeoffs and landings by yourself, three hours cross county, three hours night flying, one flight that is cross country of more than 100 nautical miles, 3 hours of basic instrument training, a solo cross country flight that lasts more than 5 hours, and a cross-country that is more than 150 nautical miles that has three different airport landings.
Pass the Checkride
When you’re ready, you’ll take a checkride and oral exam with the FAA examiner. These last two to six hours for the oral exam and about two hours for the checkride. If you pass the checkride, the examiner will hand you a temporary private pilot certificate. You’ll receive your private pilot’s license in the mail.