Part 61

The main advantage to Part 61 training is the flexibility. While the FAA publishes a list of Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) that dictates the topics to be covered, and also regulates the minimum amount of flight hours required, Part 61 is structured to allow our flight instructors to adapt the sequence of lesson content, pace and learning style to meet individual student’s needs.

Section. 61.109

Airplane Rating: Aeronautical Experience

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

(a) Twenty hours of flight instruction from an authorized flight instructor, including at least:

  • Three hours of cross country;
  • Three hours of instrument flight training;
  • Three hours at night, including 10 takeoffs and landings for applicants seeking night flying privileges; and
  • Three hours in airplanes in preparation for the private pilot flight test within 60 days prior to that test.

An applicant who does not meet the night flying requirement in paragraph (a) of this section is issued a private pilot certificate bearing the limitation "Night flying prohibited." This limitation may be removed if the holder of the certificate shows that he has met the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section.
  • (b) Ten hours of solo flight time, including at least:
    Five hours of cross-country flights, each flight with a landing at a point more than 50 nautical miles from the original departure point. One flight must be of at least 150 nautical miles with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is at least 50 nautical miles from the original departure point.
  • Three solo takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.

Section 61.103

Eligibility Requirements: General

To be eligible for a private pilot certificate, a person must:

  • Be at least 17 years of age, except that a private pilot certificate with a free balloon or a glider rating only may be issued to a qualified applicant who is at least 16 years of age;
  • Be able to read, speak, and understand the English language, or have such operating limitations placed on his pilot certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of aircraft, to be removed when he shows that he can read, speak, and understand the English language;
  • Hold at least a current third-class medical certificate issued under Part 67 of this chapter, or, in the case of a glider or free balloon rating, certify that he has no known medical defect that makes him unable to pilot a glider or free balloon, as appropriate;
  • Pass a written test on the subject areas on which instruction or home study is required by Sec. 61.105;
  • Pass an oral and flight test on procedures and maneuvers selected by an FAA inspector or examiner to determine the applicant's competency in the flight operations on which instruction is required by the flight proficiency provisions of Sec. 61.107; and
  • Comply with the sections of this part that apply to the rating he seeks.

Sec 61.105

Aeronautical Knowledge (Airplanes and Rotorcraft)

An applicant for a private pilot certificate must have logged ground instruction from an authorized instructor, or must present evidence showing that he has satisfactorily completed a course of instruction or home study in at least the following areas of aeronautical knowledge appropriate to the category of aircraft for which a rating is sought.

Airplanes and rotorcraft:

  • The accident reporting requirements of the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Regulations applicable to private pilot privileges, limitations, and flight operations for airplanes or rotorcraft, as appropriate, the use of the "Airman's Information Manual," and FAA advisory circulars;
  • VFR navigation using pilotage, dead reckoning, and radio aids;
  • The recognition of critical weather situations from the ground and in flight, the procurement and use of aeronautical weather reports and forecasts;
  • The safe and efficient operation of airplanes or rotorcraft, as appropriate, including high-density airport operations, collision avoidance precautions, and radio communication procedures;
  • Basic aerodynamics and the principles of flight which apply to airplanes or rotorcraft, as appropriate; and
  • Stall awareness, spin entry, spins, and spin recovery techniques for airplanes.

Section 61.107

Flight Proficiency

The applicant for a private pilot certificate must have logged instruction from an authorized flight instructor in at least the following pilot operations. In addition, his logbook must contain an endorsement by an authorized flight instructor who has found him competent to perform each of those operations safely as a private pilot.

In Airplanes:

  • Preflight operations, including weight and balance determination, line inspection, and airplane servicing;
  • Airport and traffic pattern operations, including operations at controlled airports, radio communications, and collision avoidance precautions;
  • Flight maneuvering by reference to ground objects;
  • Flight at slow airspeeds with realistic distractions, and the recognition of and recovery from stalls entered from straight flight and from turns;
  • Normal and crosswind takeoffs and landings;
  • Control and maneuvering an airplane solely by reference to instruments, including descents and climbs using radio aids or radar directives;
  • Cross-country flying, using pilotage, dead reckoning, and radio aids;
  • Maximum performance takeoffs and landings;
  • Night flying, including takeoffs, landings, and VFR navigation; and
  • Emergency operations, including simulated aircraft and equipment malfunction.