To receive a private pilot license, the FAA has the requirement that student pilots have a minimum of 40 hours of flight time, of which 20 must be flying with an instructor. To operate an aircraft in the United States, you need to be licensed by the FAA, which since 9/11 is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). There are a few levels of pilot’s license; the most basic is the private pilot license. This is the license that allows the person to pilot aplane anywhere in the US as well as to carry passengers. A private pilot might not be salaried to fly a plane (ferry an aircraft from one location to another), nor carry cargo or passengers for hire or compensation. But you might share certain expenses with your passengers with some restrictions.
Steps to earn license
The needed steps to earn this pilot license are:
- Be at least 16 years of age.
- Pass a basic medical exam.
- Read, speak, and understand English sufficiently to be able to understand the aviation rules and be able to communicate with Air Traffic Control.
- Receive the amount of coaching from a Flight Instructor (CFI).
- Pass a “check ride” – aircraft comparableto a car driving test that is given by an examiner who is FAA-approved.
How much does this cost?
Many factors will affect the cost, including location of training (urban vs. rural), the type of training aircraft, the learning pace and style, even things like the weather. If you need to be prepared, it is best to budget $10,000 to $20,000 if you plan to train or fly in an urban area like the San Francisco Bay Area. This cost includes rental of aircraft, flight instruction, charts, books, examiner fees and often others.