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Private Pilot Certification

Gary L. Baker, Esq. Patent Attorney

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I have studied and practiced with the goal to become a private pilot.  To receive a private pilot license, one must:

Cost of a Private Pilot License: The cost to acquire a private pilot license can be at least about $10,000:

              Total =       $10,750               

These costs can be much more.  For example, it you take the average flight time of about 60 hours to become proficient enough to pass the practical test, the cost can easily increase to beyond $12,000.

The Knowledge Test. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tests pilots in knowledge required by Title 14 Chapter 1, Parts 1 to 91; in particular, at Part 61.  The private pilot test for fixed wing aircraft can be taken at 15 years of age and includes 60 questions taken in 150 minutes.  A passing score is 70% or better.  The Knowledge test covers topics such as: Flight Instruments, Navigation Enroute, Aircraft Performance, Weather Service, Weather Procedures,  Communication Procedures, Airport Operations, Aircraft Systems, Basic Aerodynamics and Federal Regulations.  A list of exemplary test questions can be viewed at the FAA Airmen's test page.  You can learn the answers to the questions using text books and/or from your instructor.

The Flight Test. After at least 40 hours of flight time, receiving a medical certification and passing the knowledge test, a candidate can take a flight test for certification by an FAA Inspector.  The Inspector will review the results of your knowledge test for your weak points and give you an oral examination.  If the Inspector thinks you are ready for practical flight testing, you will go out to your aircraft for a flight to see if your skills and procedures meet the Practical Test Standards.  The whole while, the Inspector will evaluate your Preflight Preparation, Preflight Procedures, Airport Base Operations, Takeoffs, Landings, Performance Maneuvers, Navigation, Slow Flight and Stalls, Basic Instrument Maneuvers, Emergency Operations, Night Operations and Postflight Procedures. 

To see the features of a typical Cessna instrument panel, go to the instrument panel page.


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