Private Pilot Requirements


private pilot

The private pilot license (PPL) is the first license most pilots earn when wanting to learn to fly. This certificate opens the door to a whole new world of experiences for the aspiring aviator. A PPL is the first license a pilot has to earn if he or she wants to become a commercial pilot. The PPL does not allow the holder to carry passengers for hire. However, the operating expenses of the flight can be shared with passengers. Furthermore, a private pilot can fly in day and night conditions using visual flight rules (VFR). 

This license can be earned rather quickly if the student is dedicated and has the available time. To earn a private pilot license, the student must fulfill certain requirements set in place by the Federal Air Regulations (FARs) Part 61. Here is a detailed list of the requirements a student pilot must meet to be eligible to become a private pilot.

Basic Requirements:

  1. Must be able to obtain at least a third class medical by visiting and passing a medical examination given by an FAA approved Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).
  2. Be at least 16 years old to solo.
  3. Be at least 17 years old to receive a private pilot license.
  4. Be able to read, write, speak and understand English.
  5. Receive ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study program and receive an endorsement.
  6. Pass a 60 question private pilot knowledge test with at least a 70% at an FAA designated computer testing center.
  7. Accumulate at least 40 hours of flight time consisting of a mix of solo flying and flight instruction in the appropriate areas.
  8. Pass an oral test and practical flight test (checkride) with an FAA examiner or Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) which will be administered following the private pilot Practical Test Standards (PTS).

Aeronautical Knowledge Requirements:

Ground training must be logged and received from an authorized instructor or home based study program in these areas:

  1. Knowledge of the appropriate Federal Aviation Regulations that relate to private pilot privileges, limitations, and flight operations.
  2. Accident reporting requirements of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
  3. The use of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and FAA issued Advisory Circulars (ACs).
  4. Thorough understanding of the use of aeronautical charts for navigation under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) using pilotage, dead reckoning, and on board navigation systems.
  5. Recognition of critical weather situations from the ground and in flight and the
    procurement and use of aeronautical weather reports and forecasts.
  6. Radio communication procedures.
  7. Safe and efficient operation of the aircraft
  8. Effects of density altitude and how to calculate its effect on aircraft takeoff and climb performance.
  9. Weight and balance computations.
  10. Principles of aerodynamics, aircraft engines, systems and flight instruments.
  11. Stall awareness and recovery techniques.
  12. Aeronautical decision making.
  13. Aeromedical factors.
  14. .Preflight actions that include:
      1. Obtaining information on runway lengths at airports of intended use, weather reports and forecasts, and fuel requirements.
      2. Planning for alternatives if the flight cannot be completed or delays are encountered.

Flying Proficiency Requirements

A logbook sign off must be received from a CFI in these areas:

  1. Preflight preparation
  2. Preflight procedures
  3. Airport operations
  4. Takeoffs, landings, and go-arounds
  5. Performance maneuvers
  6. Ground reference maneuvers
  7. Navigation
  8. Slow flight and aerodynamic stalls
  9. Basic instrument maneuvers
  10. Emergency operations
  11. Night operations
  12. Post-flight procedures

Aeronautical Experience Requirements

A minimum of 40 hours of flight instruction and solo flight time must be received that includes:

  1.  20 hours of flight instruction from an authorized flight instructor, including at least:
    1. 3 hours of cross-country flying to other airports.
    2. 3 hours of night flying, including:
      1. One cross-country flight over 100nm total distance 
      2. 10 takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop at an airport
    3. 3 hours of instrument flight training in an airplane.
    4. 3 hours in an airplane in preparation for the private pilot practical test within 60 days prior to that test.
  2. 10 hours of solo time in an airplane, including:
    1. 5 hours of cross-country flights.
    2. One solo cross-country flight of at least 150nm total distance, with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points and with one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50nm between takeoff and landing airports.
    3. Three solo takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.

These requirements are usually seen as a lot to the new aviator but with proper guidance from a quality flight school all requirements can be met in a timely manner. Wayman Aviation is able to help aspiring aviators earn their private pilot license with our many qualified and experienced instructors. We are also a FAA designated testing center and have helped hundreds of students from around the globe earn their private pilot license. We welcome you aboard to take a look at our private pilot course and become a pilot!