To Fly for Me: How to Become a Pilot

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By Sarah Jay

Are you aiming to take your passion for flying to the next level? Becoming a pilot is a lifetime pursuit that offers an immense sense of accomplishment and freedom. The following steps will outline how to make your dream of becoming a pilot a reality.

Find an aviation school

The first step in becoming a pilot is choosing the right aviation school. There are many types of licenses to pursue, so be sure to find a school with a solid reputation in your chosen field. Then, ask around about the school’s instructors to get an idea of what to expect.

Also, look into the nearby amenities. Some places offer local communities that cater to pilots, such as River Fly-In condominiums, which boasts its own airstrip. In addition, consider what format you want to learn in. If you thrive with online learning, look into online and hybrid options. Or, you can choose a strictly in-person school.

Explore available licenses

When researching the steps to become a pilot, take note of the many licenses available. Each license has its own set of requirements, some of which vary significantly from one another. A license for a small business, such as a charter business, will differ from a commercial license.

For example, if you want to become a commercial pilot, expect to put in at least 1,500 hours to get your license. On the other hand, a private license will only require a minimum of 40 hours. Explore the various options to be sure you’re meeting all the requirements.

Take a discovery flight

Before your schooling, you’ll need to take a discovery, or admissions, flight. Your discovery flight will give you a taste of how your chosen school will educate you. It’s a crucial step in determining where you want to learn to fly.

In addition, a discovery flight will help you get a better feel for what you’ll need to know in the sky. You’ll want to be sure a career as a pilot is the right choice for you, and a discovery flight will help you make that determination.

Get your medical certificate

As a pilot, getting a medical certificate is essential to stay compliant with government regulations. To be a commercial pilot, you’ll need a first-class medical certificate. A civilian pilot only requires a basic medical certificate.

Once you gain your certification, you’ll have to get recertified regularly. The process of recertification helps the aviation community to remain safe in the air.

Get your student pilot certificate

The next step to becoming a pilot is to apply for your student pilot certificate. As with a driver’s permit, you’ll need your student certificate to take solo flights during training. Fortunately, it’s simple to acquire.

Although you can fly without your student certificate, you’ll only be able to do so with an instructor. Even then, you won’t be able to get your pilot’s license until you’ve done the requisite number of solo flight hours.

Pass the private pilot knowledge test

The private pilot knowledge test tests your knowledge of everything you’ll need to know to fly a plane. This test is required before you can get your pilot’s license. It will also give you a clear idea of problem areas you might need to focus on in your studies. 

Talk with your instructor to find the best study materials for your exam. They might notice areas in which you’re struggling, so focusing on those areas while studying could increase your chance of success.

Pass the private pilot practical exam

The last step in becoming a pilot is passing the private pilot practical exam. There’s only so much you can learn or demonstrate with a paper exam or test flight. The practical exam tests knowledge orally and in real-life settings in the cockpit.

A dedicated pilot examiner (DPE) will administer your exam. Your examiner will evaluate your actions and decisions at each step of the flight process. Then, they’ll determine whether you’re ready for your license or if you need to practice more and retest.

Wrapping up

From training in aviation academies and getting the proper licenses to working with employers in multiple sectors, there’s no doubt becoming a pilot takes time and dedication. Follow the steps listed here, and you’ll be on your way to a pilot’s license in no time.

About Sarah Jay

Sarah is a professional blogger and content writer. She loves to share her different ideas and thoughts by blogging. She is very enthusiastic about traveling and fashion.

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