Learn to FLY!
Learning to fly is not reserved for military personnel, engineers, and thrill seekers. In fact, the average student pilot is probably just like the average American. No special education is required to get started, and you certainly don’t have to be a genius. There is nothing involved in flight training that an eighth grade science student cannot grasp. Sound easy? It really is. But don’t be mistaken – the material you have to learn isn’t overly difficult, but there is a lot of it. There is a lot more to flying an airplane than simply steering it around and landing.
There are two types of skills you have to master to become a pilot: the physical skills involved in actually flying the airplane, and the knowledge mastery of topics that cover everything from navigation, to aerodynamics, to weather theory. Your flight instructor will help you with the first, and Gold Seal will help you with the second.
Depending on how often you fly, and how much you study on your own, it will probably take you between three and nine months to complete your training. The more that you study, the more quickly (and cheaply) you will complete the program and attain your goal of becoming a licensed pilot. Want to get started now? You’ve come to the right place.
There is no minimum age for beginning flight training, although a student pilot must be at least 16 years of age to solo. A student pilot must be at least 17 years of age to take the Practical Test. This is the final exam (usually called the “checkride”) conducted with an FAA or FAA-designated examiner. Upon successful conclusion of the Practical Test, the candidate is immediately issued a pilot’s license.
So, to take the Private Pilot Practical Test, a student pilot must:
• Be at least 17 years of age
• Be able to read, speak, write, and converse fluently in English
• Obtain a 3rd-Class Medical Certificate (which doubles as the student pilot license) – this is not required for Sport Pilots
• Pass the FAA Knowledge Test (usually called the “written test”) with a score of at least 70%
• Complete a curriculum of flight training (which generally entails between 50 and 80 hours of in-flight training plus some unspecified amount of ground training) – less training is required for Sport Pilots, but they also have fewer privileges