Learn to Fly a Personal Plane

Private Pilot

Experience the Joy of Flight

A private pilot certificate allows you to fly friends and family across the United States. This level of certification is your first step toward launching your career.

What does it take to become a private pilot?

The FAA requires the following for an airplane Private Pilot certificate. New pilots must:

  1. Be at least 17 years of age 
  2. Read, speak, write, and understand the English language.

The Private Pilot Certification Test

What You Need for Your FAR Part 61
To earn your Private pilot rating, you must complete 40 hours of flight time at a minimum. Those hours must consist of at least:

Dual: 20 hours minimum of flight training with an instructor on the Private Pilot areas of operation, including:
  • 3 hours of cross-country flight training in a single-engine airplane;
  • 3 hours of night flight training in a single-engine airplane that includes at least:
  • 1 cross country flight of over 100 nm total distance
  • 10 T/O's and 10 landings to a full stop, with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport.
  • 3 hours of flight training by reference to instruments in a single-engine airplane; and
  • 3 hours of flight training in a single-engine airplane within the 60 days prior to the practical test.


Solo: 10 hours minimum of solo flying in a single engine airplane on the Private Pilot areas of operation, including:
  • 5 hours of solo cross-country flying;
  • 1 solo cross-country flight of at least 150nm total distance with full stop landings at 3 points and one segment of at least 50nm between T/O and landings; and
  • 3 T/O's and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.

What You Need for Your FAR Part 141
To earn your Private pilot rating, you must complete 35 hours total time ground training at a minimum. Those hours must consist of at least:

Dual: 20 hours minimum of flight training with an instructor on the Private Pilot areas of operation, including:
  • 3 hours of cross-country flight training in a single-engine airplane
  • 3 hours of night flight training in a single-engine airplane, that includes at least:
  • 1 cross country flight of over 100 nm total distance; and
  • 10 T/O's and 10 landings to a full stop, with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport
  • 3 hours of flight training by reference to instruments in a single-engine airplane
  • 3 hours of flight training in a single-engine airplane within the 60 days prior to the practical test

Solo: 5 hours minimum of solo flying in a single engine airplane on the Private Pilot areas of operation, including:
  • 5 hours of solo cross-country flying;
  • 1 solo cross-country flight of at least 100nm total distance with full stop landings at 3 points and one segment of at least 50nm between T/O and landings; and
  • 3 T/O's and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.