How long does it take to get a private pilot license?

how long does ppl ground school take

I guess you want to get your PPL as quickly as you can.

It is possible to get a PPl within three months to 6 months, yet many student pilots need 12 months to a year to get a private pilot license.

I explained in this post the things one must do to get their PPL in the shortest possible time.

I divided the time required for acquiring a private pilot license into two sections:

  • The duration for PPL ground school course;
  • The time needed for PPL flight training.

What is PPL ground school?

Private pilot ground school, aka PPL ground school, is a training phase where student pilots get theory lessons on aeronautical knowledge.

During the PPL ground school course, student pilots learn various aeronautical subjects and aircraft operations.

Every student pilot must take a PPL ground school before flight training or flight training.

A student pilot has two options to pick for the PPL ground school course:

  1. Ground schooling in a flight school with a ground Instructor;
  2. Online pilot courses.

Student pilots that train through Part 141 flight schools get their ground training included in their package.

On the contrary, student pilots that train in Part 61 schools prefer to take online pilot ground school courses.

RELATED: Online ground school VS. Classroom.

How long does PPL ground school take?

Student pilots who train in a PART 141 flight school learn through a structured course.

In PART 141 flight school, if you follow a structured syllabus, the ground school will not take more than a month.

If you are in a PART 61 flight school and self-study using an online private pilot course, you can study at your own pace.

If you self-study, it may take six months to finish your PPL ground school.

The structured ground training in a PART 141 flight school is accelerated. Students complete the ground lessons within a month, which becomes overwhelming for the student pilots.

If the knowledge becomes overwhelming for a student pilot, then he may purchase an online course to repeat her studies at her own pace to prepare for the FAA PPL knowledge test.

How long does it take for the actual flight training?

According to the FAA, one must fly at least 40 hours before applying for a private pilot license.

Having forty hours in an airplane is not always adequate for PPL applications.

A student pilot needs at least 5~10 hours of solo flight before a private pilot license application.

It is common for student pilots to fly 55 hours on average before they are ready for a private pilot license application.

Let’s do some math to figure out how long it takes to get a private pilot license.

Assuming you need to fly 55 hours for your private pilot license.

  • You may choose to fly three times a week, and each time you can fly for 2 hours.
  • Thus you can fly 3 Flight X 2 Hours = 6 Hours a week of flying time.
  • You can fly 6 Hours X 4 Weeks = 24 hours a month.

Thus it would take approximately two months to complete 55 hours of flying time.

How long would it take to get your private pilot license?

The span for acquiring a private pilot license depends on several factors.

The above math shows that it would take three months to get a private pilot license.

You can get your private pilot license in three months if you have complete dedication.

If you are training in a PART 141 flight school, you can expect to have your PPL in 3 months.

However, flight training, even in the best flight school, is delayed due to factors like:

  • Adverse weather conditions;
  • Money issues of student pilots;
  • Not having sufficient aircraft in the fleet to accommodate student pilots;
  • No available flight instructors;
  • Personal problems of student pilots, etc.

A common one is the personal reasons for student pilots. A student pilot may suddenly decide to take a break for personal reasons.

So the student pilot might quit flight training halfway.

At that point, the student pilot leaves the school after 30 hours of flying time and decides to get back in flying after one year.

This individual will need extra flying hours to get used to with control of the airplane once he gets back to flying after one year.

Therefore this individual student pilot would fly more hours and require more time to get a private pilot license.

What if someone decides to do flight training in a PART 61 flight school?

PART 61 flight school doesn’t always have structured ground training. In that case, it is best to use an online pilot course while taking flight training simultaneously.

But a common problem for student pilots in PART 61 flight school is many student pilots fly at their own pace.

In PART 61 flight school, there is no timeframe that one must acquire the required hours.

Student pilots in a PART 61 flight school may take three months to one year to get their Private pilot license.

Similarly, money plays a significant role for PART 61 student pilots.

Many pilots want a PPL to fly as a hobby. Thus student pilots sometimes fly at their own will and pay for the cost of the flight instructor and the airplane when they are able.

So it depends on the student pilots’ cash flow before they can acquire all the necessary flight hours and apply for a private pilot license.


For every student pilot, the time frame to get a private pilot license is different.

Numerous factors contribute to the varying duration of private pilot license 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 quickly as in 3 months. While three months is the minimum span for a full-time student pilot to get a private pilot license, it may take up to a year for many.

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