Getting a private pilot’s license involves signing up for flight school, getting medically certified and taking both a written and in-flight test. There is no age limit to fly as long as you are medically qualified.
- Sign up to flight school
Find a flight school by visiting local general aviation airports. These airports have schools of their own or are able to recommend one. Also check online for licensed flight instructors. Enroll at a school when ready.
- Obtain medical certification
Visit a Federal Administration Aviation-designated Airman Medical Examiner for evaluation and to receive a third-class airman medical certificate. Some of the tests include those for vision, hearing, equilibrium, nose and throat health. Although a medical certificate is not mandatory for flight training, it is needed for solo-flight because it doubles as a student pilot license.
- Take a ground-school course
Ground training typically lasts three to five weeks. Topics studied include aerodynamics, flying regulations, weather reports, radio communications and weather theory, among other subjects. These make up the core of flying instruction and are tested by a written exam.
- Train in the air
Train in the air with an instructor. Flight students complete up to 70 hours of in-flight training with the instructor before completing the program. It typically takes five months to complete the training, although there are intensive training courses that last for less than a month.
- Fly alone
This stage of training consists of flying alone without the help of an instructor. Once successfully completed, try out for a license.
- Take the written test
The FAA lets you know when and where to take the written test, usually administered on computers. The test assesses your knowledge of ground training. Get 70 percent of the questions right to constitute a passing grade. You have two years to take the flight test.
- Take the flight test
Provide a written recommendation from your flight instructor to an FAA examiner. Answer the oral questions, and take the flight test with the examiner on-board. Pass this test to receive a temporary pilot certificate, which is followed by a permanent pilot’s license within a couple of months. The pilot’s license is typically sent through the mail.