How to become a private pilot

How to become a private pilot

Do you want to take to the air and leave the earth behind? A private pilot’s license gives you the freedom to fly almost anywhere in the United States and in some countries abroad. Becoming a private pilot is your first step to earning a commercial flying license.

How to fulfill your dreams of becoming a private pilot:

Step 1: Take an introductory flight

If you have never flown in a small aircraft, then find a local flight school and arrange for a flight with an instructor. Although the instructor will have to fly you, this experience will help you decide whether you will enjoy flying small planes before you make a large investment. It will also show you the basics for what you will learn.

Step 2: Meet the required medical and age standards

To become a private pilot, you must be healthy and at least 17 years old. To prove your physical and mental health, you must obtain a third-class FAA-issued medical certificate. The doctor will check your blood pressure, hearing and vision and give you a general physical exam. You will also discuss medications, previous surgeries and other health issues, including your mental health.

Step 3: Find an instructor

Find a certified instructor or flight school to train you as a private pilot. Instructors guide you through the licensing process and give you theoretical and practical training, including climbs, descents, emergency procedures landings, takeoffs and turns.

Step 4: Take the FAA written exam

Some flying schools will not let you fly until you pass this test. Others will let you fly with an instructor while you study. To pass this written exam, you must receive at least 70-75 percent depending on your flight school. 

Step 5: Completion of flight training

You will start your flight training by flying with your instructor and learn basic maneuvers, everything from takeoff to decent. Once you complete at least 20 hours flying with your instructor, you can start practicing alone. You will need to complete at least 10 hours of solo flight before you can take the FAA practical exam. But the more time you spend flying solo, the more prepared you will be for the test. 

Step 6: FAA practical exam

Once you complete 40 combined hours solo and with an instructor, you are eligible to take the FAA practical exam. The exam takes 2-6 hours and includes both verbal and flight sections.

Step 7: Get your license

Once you successfully complete your training, you can fill out your FAA paperwork online. A temporary private pilot certificate will be issued while you wait for your official private pilot license to arrive in the mail.


Get started with Lynn

Want to fly for profit? Take off with an associate's or bachelor’s degree in aviation from Lynn University. Our degree program gives you the resources and practical training you need to succeed in your career. Learn about aviation regulation, business structure of the industry and ground personnel management. Best of all, you’ll learn how to fly airplanes at the nearby Boca Raton Airport.

Learn more about aviation degrees and becoming a commercial pilot.