Private Pilot

Private Pilot

The private pilot certificate is the certificate held by the majority of active pilots. It allows command of any aircraft (subject to appropriate ratings) for any non-commercial purpose, and gives almost unlimited authority to fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). Passengers may be carried and flight in furtherance of a business is permitted. However, a private pilot may not be compensated in any way for services as a pilot, although passengers can pay a pro rata share of flight expenses, such as fuel or rental costs. Private pilots may also operate charity flights, subject to certain restrictions, and may participate in similar activities, such as Angel Flight, Civil Air Patrol and many others.

Flight training is divided into two parts, ground school and flight training. During your initial flight training, you will learn the basics of flying and navigation, including cross country flights. Ground school teaches you the principles, procedures and regulations you will put into practice in an airplane. Before you can earn a pilot certificate, you must pass a computerized FAA knowledge test on this information.

Learning to fly is not difficult, but it does requires study and practice. Federal Aviation Regulation Part 61 itemizes the what you must learn and requires a minimum of 40 hours of training (20 with an instructor and 20 solo) to earn a private pilot certificate. Few people complete their training in the minimum time. Most people take 60 to 80 hours. Students at Infinity Flight, however, consistently have been achieving their certificates at around 65 hours. We attribute this record to our high quality aircraft, excellent instruction program, and our seasoned instructors.

The information below describes the eligibility, training, experience, and testing requirements for private pilots as outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

  • be at least 17 years old
  • 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 a FAA Private Pilot flight exam

Requirements regulating the licensing of private pilots are established by the FAA and set forth in Federal Aviation Regulation Part 61.