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Below are the basic steps for becoming a pilot and earning a private pilot certificate.
Step 1: Research Pilot Schools
The first step in becoming a pilot is to research your flight training options. Learn and compare available programs offered by flight schools, and pick the best match for your aviation goals. Request Program Information »
Step 2: Visit the Flight School
When you will visit the school you will meet and talk with pilot instructors, tour the facilities and see the fleet. It will help you see first-hand the training, aircraft, and quality of instruction a flight school will offer you. Get Started by Scheduling Your Visit Online.
Step 3: Apply for FAA Medical Certificate
Pilots must meet basic medical requirements to fly. If you want to fly professionally, you must meet higher medical standards than recreational pilots and should apply for a first class medical certificate through an Aeromedical Examiner (AME).
Step 4: Apply for FAA Student Pilot Certificate
Apply for a student pilot certificate through the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website (your flight instructor can help with this). While you don’t need a student pilot certificate to start flying lessons, you will need it to fly solo during your training.
Step 5: Start Flight Training Lessons
Start taking flight training lessons and begin working towards obtaining the aeronautical knowledge and pilot training experience requirements needed to become a private pilot.
Step 6: Pass Private Pilot Knowledge Test
During your private pilot flight training, you will need to take and pass the computer-based FAA private pilot knowledge test. To be eligible for the test, you must receive an endorsement from your flight instructor.
Step 7: Pass Private Pilot Practical Exam
The final step in earning your FAA private pilot certificate is to take a practical exam with a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE). This exam consists of both an oral and a flight portion, and once completed you will be a private pilot.