Every year thousands of people around the world take the first step into aviation’s finest arena; becoming private pilots.
The private pilot license (PPL) can be compared to your drivers license and is a must for anyone who pursues a career as an aviator. Like your drivers license it gives you certain privileges and limitations. You can act as pilot in command on the airplanes you are rated for and can bring along passengers.
Before getting the PPL you need a certain amount of training. You need a minimum of 40 hours flight time and you have to pass a written exam. This is a computer based multiple-choice test of 60 questions.
While studying for the written you start flying with an instructor. He/She will teach you the basics needed to safely maneuver an aircraft. After 10-15 hours of flight time usually you make your first solo flight.
The next 20-30 hours you will do cross country flights to learn how to properly navigate, solo training flights and solo cross country flights. When your instructor feels the necessary skill level is reached he/she signs you up for a “check ride”.
A “check ride” is conducted by a certified examiner and is usually done in the airplane you learned how to fly. You start with an oral exam of about an hour where you are asked questions to test the knowledge level and you discuss a pre-planned cross country flight. After passing the oral part of the “check ride” you fly.
The flying part of the PPL check ride takes from an hour to an hour and a half, where you cover the basic maneuvers, navigation skills and take offs and landings. Often the ride is started of as a cross country flight where you fly the first check points on the cross country route before doing maneuvers and finish of with landing rounds at the airport.
After passing the check ride the examiner issue you a PPL and you are now an FAA pilot.