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Becoming A Student Pilot

We recommend the first step to become a pilot is for you to get your FAA Medical Certificate prior to starting any flight training.  This way, you'll know for sure that your physical condition meets the FAA standards.  When you take the physical examination from a FAA Designated Medical Examiner in your area, we recommend that you apply for a Student Pilot / 3rd Class Medical Certificate, since this is the minimum required prior to soloing.

The FAA now requires the application for a medical certificate to be filled out online.   You can go to the FAA MedXpress site and complete the online application process.  Be sure to print out the confirmation page. It will contain a confirmation number that you must provie the medical examiner at your appointment.

In order to hold a Student Pilot Certificate, you must successfully complete the necessary ground and flight training covering the required aeronautical and piloting skills necessary for safe solo flight.  You must pass the Pre-Solo Written Test, given by your instructor, prior to your first solo flight.  To solo usually takes between 10-20 hours of flight instruction.  Once you and your instructor have determined that you're ready, you will be given the opportunity to take the aircraft for your first solo flight!  This will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable days you will ever experience!

After your first solo, you'll still continue your flight instruction with your instructor on a regular basis.  But now you will complement that instruction by practicing maneuvers on your own to reinforce what you have learned and to gain skills, judgement, and confidence to operate an airplane all by yourself.  This solo time is necessary towards the flight experience requirements for your Private Pilot Certificate.  As a Student Pilot you are restricted from carrying passengers, and can only fly in the area or to the airports that your instructor has authorized.

There is no flight test given by the FAA as is required for all other certificates.

FAA requirements for Student Pilot Certificate:

  • Must be at least 16 years of age
  • Hold at least a current 3rd Class Medical Certificate and a Student Pilot Certificate
  • No minimum number of flight training hours are required

Costs will vary since there is no minimum number of hours required, however most students will solo after 10-20 hours of instruction.

This cost, along with some pilot materials you will need, should be approximately $1470 - $1940 depending on the training aircraft.  As a student, you will automatically receive the discounted "block rate" rates.

To maximize your training and reduce costs, see our suggested training tips.