Accomplishing your dream of becoming a pilot is a long and difficult process. The first step on your journey is to decide what type of certification to aim for. These are sport pilot certificates, which will allow you to fly Light Sport Aircraft, and private pilot certificates, which allow you to fly small single-engine airplanes. Once you have decided which certificate to aim for, you will have to find a way to finance your dreams of flight. The average private pilot certificate takes around $10,000 to acquire. Needless to say, this is a hefty sum. Options include flight loans, which are usually offered through flight schools, personal loans, and flight scholarships. Next, you will have to find a Certified Flight Instructor, aviation academy, or university with a flight program, such as the University of North Dakota or Embry-Riddle.
You will need several things in order to successfully fly. The first is a medical certificate and student pilot certificate, which are issued together by an FAA-certified medical examiner. There are three classes of medical. A third-class is required to fly as a private pilot, but if you have dreams of flying for an airline, it’s best to get a first-class, just to make sure you can pass the exam. You will also need a headset, logbook, lap desk, sectional chart for your area, Airport and Facilities Directory for your area, notebook to take notes on your CFI’s lessons, and scratch paper for noting weather.
Once you have found a CFI and gathered your flight materials, you’ll begin flying and working on ground school. A common ground school method is an online course, broken into ten segments. Each segment has lessons within, which teach you basic aerodynamics, flight theory, rules of the air, FAA regulations, and other important information. The hardest part of pre-solo flight training is learning to land, which is part art and part science. Once you can successfully take off, maneuver, use the radios, and land, you will solo, and proceed to night flying and cross-country flights. After your CFI determines you have the skills necessary, you will take the FAA written and practical tests, which will determine if you become a certified pilot.
It is very easy to get discouraged while training. In order to ensure success, make sure you line out your finances before you ever set foot in a flight school. If you have the money before you begin, you’ll never have to cancel a flight because of your bank account. Pilot training requires a huge time investment, but if you really love being in the air, it’ll be more than worth it.