The Private Pilot Certificate – or Airplane Single Engine Land (ASEL) – is a lifetime accomplishment which qualifies you to fly an airplane with or without passengers, day or night, in good weather. This certificate never expires, providing you complete a flight review every 24 months — a two hour review of your knowledge and skills with the flight instructor of your choice. You must be at least 17 years old and possess a current FAA medical certificate.

The course, based on two or three sessions per week, takes about six months.

FAA Requirements

  • * Minimum 40 hours (hrs.) total flight time
  • The national average is 65 to 75 hrs
  • 20 hrs. of dual flight time (with an instructor)
    • 3 hrs. of cross-country flight training
    • 3 hrs. at night with 10 takeoffs and landings
    • 100 nautical mile (nm.) night cross-country flight
    • 3 hrs. of instrument training
    • 3 hrs. preparing for the FAA checkride
  • 10 hrs. of solo flight time (without an instructor)
  • 5 hrs. of cross-country flying
  • 150 nm. cross-country flight

Flight Training Sequence:

  • Pre-solo
  • Solo (an experience you’ll never forget!)
  • Advanced maneuvers and cross-country flying
  • Solo cross-country flight
  • Instrument and night flying
  • 150 nm. cross-country flight
  • Review for the FAA written test
  • Review for the FAA checkride

* Note: FAA time requirements are considerably less than the national average. As a member of the United Nations, the United States must publish those times — grossly inadequate for learning to fly in today’s U.S. airspace — as prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). To solve that dilemma, the FAA publishes a practical test standard (PTS) for each certificate and rating, which mandates training to proficiency, not flight time. The national average reflects that requirement.