There are many ways to become a pilot. However, lets should start with your goal. Do you want to just enjoy flying yourself and maybe a family member around once in a while? Do you want to become a flight instructor? Want to fly for a private company, a charter company or even the airlines? All of this defines you path to becoming a pilot.
Step 1: Am I eligible to become a student?
- To be eligible for a private pilot certificate, a person must:
- Be at least 17 years of age for a rating in other than a glider or balloon.
- Be at least 16 years of age for a rating in a glider or balloon.
- Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. If the applicant is unable to meet one of these requirements due to medical reasons, then the Administrator may place such operating limitations on that applicant’s pilot certificate as are necessary for the safe operation of the aircraft.
Step 2: Determine You Training Path
- Now that you know your goal the next step is to determine how your going to get your flight training. This can be a very confusing step as there are several options.
- Let us explore the options here to help you make decision that helps fit your needs, budget and schedule…
Step 3: Take An Intro Flight Lesson
- Part of deciding if you want to be a pilot is taking an introductory flight lesson. This will help you experience flying, the aircraft and the instructors you may later be training with. It is also a great way to see what it’s like to get behind the controls of an aircraft.
Step 4: Get your FAA Medical Certificate
- So you love the flight! Now it’s time to close out a core requirement in your journey to becoming a pilot. The FAA requires you to get an FAA Medical. This is a way to meet the basic medical requirements established for pilots by the FAA. Later, if you want to fly for a living you will have to meet more strict requirements on the medical, but for now a basic 3rd class medical will do just fine.
- So where the heck do you get an FAA Medical? Search google for your area and an AME (Aeromedical Examiner). Make the appointment and pay the fee and you will be on your way in no time.
Step 5: Apply for an FAA Student Pilot Certificate
- Work with your flight school or an instructor at this point so they can help you sign up and apply at (IACRA) Airman Certification and Rating Application website for your certificate.
- You do NOT need a student pilot certificate to take flying lessons, but you cannot solo without it. Best to just get it done
Step 6: Start Your Flight Training
- Ok, your now ready.. You have meet your basic qualifications, you have a medical, you have selected a school and an instructor, you have your student certificate…Finally, you can start your training. Your flight training will now lead you toward taking your Knowledge test (written) and your Practical test (flying).
- You can do self study courses or work with your flight school to complete your ground school and preparation for your required knowledge test. This test is performed at a designated FAA exam center which you can find with a simple google search. Remember you must be endorsed either by your instructor or the self study company in order to take the test.
- Be sure you have proof of your identification and your endorsement when you go to take the test.
Step 8: Pass the (rating x) Practical Exam
- Now that you have the written (Knowdldge) test out of the way, you next and final phase is to pass a practical test.. This test is two parts (1) Oral and (2) flying demonstration.
- You will take this test with what is known as a (DPE) or Designated Pilot Examiner. Your instructor or flight school will set this up for you when you are ready. You have to be endorsed by your instructor
- Once you have completed this portion of the testing you will be given a temporary pilot certificate for the rating you are seeking (i.e. Sport, Private).