YOU CAN LEARN TO FLY
On any given day, there are between 50,000 and 100,000 active student pilots
in the United States. You can become one of them and it may be easier than you think.
All it takes is the desire and commitment to go for it and see it through.
Learning to fly is not reserved for military personnel,
engineers, and thrill seekers. In fact, the average student pilot is probably just
like the average American. No special education is required to get started, and
you certainly don't have to be a genius. There is nothing involved in flight training
that an eighth grade science student cannot grasp. Sound easy? It really is. But
don't be mistaken - the material you have to learn isn't overly difficult, but there
is a lot of it. There is a lot more to flying an airplane than simply steering it
around and landing.
There are two types of skills you have to master to become
a pilot: the physical skills involved in actually flying the airplane, and the knowledge
mastery of topics that cover everything from navigation, to aerodynamics, to weather
theory. Your flight instructor will help you with the first, and Gold Seal will
help you with the second.
Depending on how often you fly, and how much you study on
your own, it will probably take you between three and nine months to complete your
training. The more that you study, the more quickly (and cheaply) you will complete
the program and attain your goal of becoming a licensed pilot. Want to get started
now? You've come to the right place.
There is no minimum age for beginning flight training, although
a student pilot must be at least 16 years of age to solo. A student pilot must be
at least 17 years of age to take the Practical Test. This is the final exam (usually
called the "checkride") conducted with an FAA or FAA-designated examiner.
Upon successful conclusion of the Practical Test, the candidate is immediately issued
a pilot's license.
So, to take the Private Pilot Practical Test, a student
- Be at least 17 years of age
- Be able to read, speak, write, and converse fluently
- Obtain a 3rd-Class Medical Certificate (which doubles
as the student pilot license) - this is not required for Sport Pilots
- Pass the FAA Knowledge Test (usually called the "written
test") with a score of at least 70%
- Complete a curriculum of
flight training (which generally entails between 50 and 80 hours of in-flight
training plus some unspecified amount of ground training) - less training is required
for Sport Pilots, but they also have fewer privileges