Requirements for Getting an FAA Pilot's License

Here are the steps to getting your FAA privage pilots license.

The first step in getting a pilot’s license is deciding what you want to fly, you can choose among airplanes, gliders, helicopters etc. If you’re only interested in flying an ultralight, you don’t need a pilot’s license for that. All of the requirements for getting a private pilots license are governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

For a private pilot’s license you need the following:

  • Be at least 16 years of age for a student pilot license and 17 for a full pilot’s license.
  • Have a current FAA third-class medical certificate.
  • Log at least 40 hours of flight.
  • Have at least 20 hours of flight with an instructor.
  • Have at least 10 hours of solo flight.
  • Pass the FAA Private Pilot Airmen Knowledge written test.
  • Pass the FAA Private Pilot flight exam.

You can read these requirements in the Federal Aviation regulation, part 61.

An applicant for a private pilot certificate must include with an airplane rating must have at least 40 hours of flight instruction and solo time which must include the following.

  • 20 hours of flight instruction with an authorized flight instructor including at least:
  • Three hours of cross country.
  • Three hours of instrument flight training.
  • Three hours flying at night, including 10 takeoffs and landings for the applicant to receive night flying privileges.

An applicant who doesn’t receive the night flying privileges will have a restriction which can later be removed upon passing the night flying course and passing.

  • 10 hours of solo flight time.
  • Five hours of solo flight, with each flight with a landing more than 50 miles from the original take off point. And one flight must be 150 miles with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is 50 miles from the original departure point.
  • Three solo takeoffs and landings at an airport with an operating control tower.

To be eligible for a private pilot’s license:

  • Be at least 16 years of age for a student pilot license and 17 for a full pilot’s license.
  • Be able to speak and read English.
  • Have at least a current third class medical certificate.
  • Pass a written test.
  • Pass the oral and flight tests.

Medical requirements for a pilot's license:

This is a full physical that can last an hour or so. This include a history of your medical records, basically this is to see if there could be any problems that could cause you to lose control of an aircraft.

Some problem areas that might cause you to fail this physical could be, very high blood pressure, history of stroke, passing out, mental illness, suicide attempts, insulin dependent diabetes, kidney problems requiring dialysis, kidney stones that are visible on an x-ray.

Don’t get discouraged though since there are many pilots with vision in one eye, amputees, and former heart attack victims.

95% of all applicants pass the medical exam, at worst there may be restrictions about night flying or carrying passengers.

Helpful web pages

To find a good flight school, you might try calling your area’s airports and asking them if they have a flight school there at the airport or if they can recommend one.

Sam Montana © 24 November 2008

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