As a kid, did you view pilots as superhero figures? It makes sense. Flying an airplane provides a sense of freedom and power hard to reproduce on the ground.
The truth of the matter is, becoming a pilot isn’t as difficult as it seems. Yes, it takes work. However, if you devote yourself, you can obtain a pilot’s license in under a year.
Whether you want to begin a career as a pilot or fly as a hobby, you’ll need to take the appropriate steps. There are many regulations in place, so educating yourself is crucial.
To help you out, we’ve outlined the process in this step-by-step guide.
Take a Trial Flight
Before you get started on your journey, you need to confirm if flying is right for you. There’s a huge difference between riding in a commercial plane and sitting in the cockpit of a small private aircraft.
Call a local fight school and arrange a trial flight. This involves an instructor taking you up and letting you experience the act of piloting a plane.
This is your chance to find out if becoming a pilot is right for you. During the flight, it helps to ask the instructor as many questions as possible.
Pay attention to how your body and mind respond to flying. Keep in mind it’s natural to feel a slight fear or even sickness. These problems will disappear once you’ve taken several flights.
Ensure You’re Eligible
Once you’ve taken your trial flight and decided to move forward, you’ll need to make sure you’re eligible. There are some medical requirements associated with becoming a pilot.
You must be over the age of 17. Then, you’ll need to obtain an FAA medical certificate. You must get examined by an Aviation Medical Examiner.
Most of the medical requirements involve vision and hearing. It’s important you have 20/20 vision and aren’t color blind. Your examination will require you to perform several tests.
There are other FAA regulations regarding eligibility. Make sure you familiarize yourself with these right away.
Get Your Student License
After you’ve passed your medical exam, it’s time to get your student license. You can’t attend flight school or receive private instructions without it.
There are several ways to obtain a student license. The easiest way is at your medical examination. The examiner can provide it after you’ve passed the tests.
You can also submit an application with the FAA Flight Standards District Office. Search online for offices in your state.
The third method is to submit an application to an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner. They’ll need to perform the necessary examination before issuing a student license to you.
Create a Learning Plan
You’ve received your medical certificate and student license. Now it’s time to develop a learning plan. There are a few ways to go about this.
Enrolling in a flight school is a great approach. They’ll be able to guide you through the learning process and provide qualified instructors.
You could also obtain your own private instructor. If you know someone with a pilot’s license, ask them who they used.
If you use a private flight instructor, you’ll also need a personal aircraft to use during the course of your learning. Some private instructors provide an airplane.
Many municipal airports offer pilot training. This is a good option is there aren’t any dedicated flight schools in your area.
Once you start your training, you’ll have to pass several fight tests. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of schooling and in-air experience before this happens.
During pre-solo training, you’ll learn general aeronautical information. Your instructor will go over things like weather conditions, the physics of flying, landing, and other key topics.
You’ll then have hands-on training with your instructor in the plane with you. This involves performing certain maneuvers and flight procedures under their supervision.
Once you’re ready, you’ll start logging solo flight hours. To get a pilot’s license, you need a minimum of 10 hours. However, most pilots log many more than this.
Take Your Written Exam
Part of your flight training includes a written exam. You’ll have to pass this to move forward to your in-flight testing.
To take the written exam, you must show a graduation certificate from your flight school or private training. You’ll also need to show you’ve completed the necessary ground instruction.
Your instructor will provide you with study materials for your written test. It’s important you put in the time to study hard so you don’t have to retake it.
If you happen to fail the written test, you’ll receive feedback regarding the areas you need to improve on. You’ll then need to schedule a retest.
The Check Ride
The final stage of your training involves your check ride. This is the final exam you have to pass to receive your pilot’s license.
A check ride involves an oral exam and a flight test. Your instructor must sign off before you’re eligible to move forward with the testing.
During the oral test, an examiner will ask you questions pertaining to airplane systems, maintenance, weather, and your decision-making process. This test will last a few hours.
You’ll then have to take a flight test with the examiner. They’ll ask you to perform maneuvers and complete in-flight procedures.
This may sound nerve-wracking. However, these are the same maneuvers you practiced with your instructor during training.
Once you pass the flight exam, you’ll receive your private pilot’s license. This allows you to operate a single-engine plane on your own.
Start Working Toward Your Pilot’s License Now
Becoming a pilot isn’t as hard as it seems. All it takes is a passion for flying and the motivation to learn everything you can from your instructor. In a matter of months, you can have a private pilot’s license and enjoy flying anytime you want.
Let the steps discussed above act as a guide on your journey to becoming a pilot.
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