South Dakota School of
Mines & Technology
|Earning your wings:|
|Learning to fly is fun and
challenging. One must
master control of the aircraft, radio communication, and navigation among other things.
Thankfully there are instructors who are very good at teaching student pilots these
The first rating that you will start out training for is your private pilot certificate. This allows you to fly a single engine airplane that has a fixed landing gear (does not retract) and whose engine develops less than 200 horsepower. After receiving your license you are limited to flying in basically good weather conditions so many pilots move on and earn their instrument rating. This rating allows them to fly in poor weather conditions that would ground a non-instrument rated pilot. To your certificate you can also can add ratings such as a complex aircraft and high-performance rating allowing you to fly a retractable gear airplane or an airplane whose engine develops 200 horesepower or more.
How much time will it take you to earn your wings? Most people have accumulated around 60 or 70 hours of flight time before they take their check ride. However only 40 hours of time is needed to be eligible according to the FAA. Outlined below are the private pilot requirements as defined in the Federal Air Regulations (FAR) part 61.109. A person must satisfactorily complete all of the requirements before they can apply for a private pilot certificate. In addition to the items below you must be at least 17 years old and have received some form of ground training.
The FAA does not require any formal classes for ground school but you must possess the needed knowledge. How do you get that knowledge? Many people these days are using a home study course or a ground school through your flight instructor.
To apply for a private pilot certificate you must at a minimum accumulate the following flight experience: