Getting a pilot license is an alien topic for many, and barely anyone knows the duration of getting a private pilot license.
Hence, I described the effort and time involved in getting a private pilot license. I like to mention that lack of motivation can alter your time getting a private pilot license.
There are multiple phases that a student pilot must overcome before getting a private pilot license:
- Complete PPL ground school and get an endorsement for the FAA knowledge test;
- Pass the FAA private pilot knowledge test;
- Accumulate the required hours to apply for private pilot oral and checkride;
- Pass your checkride and get your private pilot license.
Each phase involves time, and without effort, you’ll delay progress. A student pilot can achieve all the steps above in a very short or some students can take years.
How long does it take to get a private pilot license?
It takes four months for an individual to obtain a private pilot license from scratch. However, a student is not obliged to complete a PPL course within a limited time. Some students need a year to get a private pilot license. Likewise, some pilots obtain PPL quickly without obstacles. There are both advantages and limitations to processing PPL slowly.
When I said four months to get a private pilot license from scratch, I meant to complete all the steps within the period.
I’ll break down all the steps, their duration to complete, and how you can excel at each stage to get your PPL.
Complete PPL ground school and get an endorsement for the FAA knowledge test.
Usually, completing private pilot ground school in a PART 141 training program takes about a month.
Assuming you are an independent individual who fancies flying on a PART 61 flight, you have the privilege of studying at your own pace. PART 61 students can purchase and enroll in an online private pilot ground school.
The online private pilot ground schools are recommended to PART 61 student pilots as it’s convenient for them to study.
At this stage, you may take six months to complete the online grounds school classes, or you can finish the entire lessons within a month. Overcoming this step depends on how quickly you can grasp and memorize aeronautical subjects.
Though I am not lazy, I prefer to take things slowly and sincerely. Yet, I won’t spend more than a month studying for a private pilot license. I still have to focus on getting PPL quickly.
Finish the ground school within a month and obtain an endorsement to take the FAA private pilot knowledge test.
Pass the FAA private pilot knowledge test as early as you can.
You spent a month studying aeronautical subjects using a private pilot online ground school and got your endorsement to take the FAA private pilot knowledge test.
So it’s time you register for your PPL knowledge test in FAA.
Suppose you can find a spot to take your PPL knowledge test and get it done. I always tell student pilots to finish PPL ground school and get the PPL knowledge test out of the way quickly.
Let’s give or take two weeks for you to take and pass your PPL knowledge test.
If you do so, there will be no hindrance during your actual flight training, and you will minimize course duration. You can quickly accumulate the hours required for a private pilot license application.
So far, a dedicated student like you took only six weeks to pass the knowledge test.
If you fail your knowledge test, your progress is compromised, and you must study again harder to get your private pilot license. But this is a whole new topic for another article.
How long to accumulate the required hours to apply for private pilot oral and checkride.
You spent roughly six weeks passing your private pilot knowledge test. Some student pilots take flying lessons simultaneously with their ground classes.
It’s a good choice for those who rush to get their private pilot license.
Typically PART 61 student pilots prefer to fly at their own pace and only on weekends. For the sake of explanation, let’s say you would only fly during the weekends and after you pass your FAA knowledge test.
A student pilot flies around 3 hours a day. Sometimes they fly longer. But flying three hours as a beginner is tiring.
So, if you fly for 3 hours each day of the weekend, you can accumulate 6 hours each week.
The FAA requirement for a private pilot license application is a minimum of 40 hours of flying time. So to accumulate 40 hours would require seven weeks for you.
However, the issue here is that a student pilot usually flies around 55 hours before they are eligible to apply for a private pilot license.
Student pilots fly more than forty hours to fulfill solo flying requirements. To become a private pilot, a pilot must experience a specific amount of hours as a solo pilot.
Generally, a PART 61 student pilot flies 55 hours roughly in 2 months.
The time I mentioned is the maximum a pilot needs to be ready for PPL application. Student pilots fly the 55 hours much quicker, depending on their availability for flying lessons.
Assuming you passed the private pilot knowledge test in 6 weeks and built up the necessary flying hours in 2 months, you are ready for the private pilot oral and checkride in roughly three months.
Duration to pass your checkride and get your private pilot license.
Finally, it’s time to schedule a date for your checkride.
Your checkride date depends on the Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) availability in your area. Often the DPE is available for the PPL oral exam and checkride the following weekend. In rare cases, the DPE is unavailable, and it might take a month to complete your checkride.
However, you can expect your Big day within a fortnight.
You can call yourself a private pilot once you pass the oral exam and checkride.
The entire process of getting a private pilot license from scratch takes not more than four months. I explained the duration in regards to a PART 61 student pilot.
PART 61 pilots have no obligation to get their license quickly, unlike PART 141 pilots who follow strict guidelines and structured training to get their PPL in the shortest time possible.
Multiple factors alter the duration of getting a private pilot license:
- Adverse weather conditions;
- Availability of money to fund flying lessons;
- Flight schools do not have sufficient aircraft in the fleet to accommodate student pilots;
- No available flight instructors;
- Failure to pass the knowledge test and chekride;
- Personal problems of student pilots, etc.
The time to get a private pilot is variable for each student pilot.
Some students get their pilot license quickly, and others delay intentionally.
It’s unusual for a student pilot to take more than four months to get a private pilot license. Considering multiple radical factors getting a private pilot license may take longer.
If we dive deeper, it all depends on the student’s progress, willpower to finish quickly, and a steady cash flow to fund the private pilot ground school and flight training.
If we think deep down, it all depends on the student’s progress, willpower to finish quickly, and a steady cash flow to fund the private pilot ground school and flight training.
If everything goes smoothly, a student pilot can be a private pilot as early as three months, which might also take up to a year for many.