Pilots License FAQ’s for the United States

We have collected up a series of frequently asked questions specifically for USA Pilot Licensing to help guide you – if you have a question that isn’t covered here feel free to contact us.

** Be sure to check out ‘How to get a US Private Pilots licence‘ **

How long will it take to get a U.S. pilot’s license?

USA FlagOnce completing ground training (this can be obtained from your flight instructor, online program, even home study program or at a ground school). You will then need to take a theory test of approx 60 multiple choice questions (this can be taken at FAA testing centers or any licensed test providers). YOU MUST get minimum of 70% to pass the theory test.

Following the theory you can crack on with the actual flying. A minimum of forty hours of total flight time (at least 20 hours of instructed flight time). As a guide the average person takes approx 55-65 hours.

Then it is required that you take 10 hours of “solo” flight time, i.e. flight time without an instructor on board. Usually people are ready after approx 20 to 25 hours of instructed flight time (your instructor will advise you on this).

The “cross country”. This is flight that totals a length of 100 nautical miles and has at a minimum of 1 point of landing 50 nautical miles straight line distance form the airport of origin. After that it is required that you complete 3 more solo cross country flights.

The “midnight run” you must complete minimum of 5 hours of night instruction flight time.

Once your instructor feels you are ready, they will organize for you to complete a final exam or “check ride” accompanied by an FAA-certified examiner. The FAA-certified examiner will ask you questions whilst assessing your abilities.

If you pass, you are done, happy flying!

At what age can I get a pilot’s license?

All depends on what license you are going for but this is a good guide:

  • Airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate: 23 years
  • Commercial pilot certificate: 18 years
  • Private pilot certificate: powered aircraft – 17 years;
  • Private pilot certificate: gliders and balloons – 16 years;
  • Student pilot certificate: powered aircraft – 16 years;
  • Student pilot certificate: gliders and balloons – 14 years

Will I have to pass a medical examination?

It is compulsory to get a Class 3 FAA physical from a certified FAA medical examiner. To find a local Doctors that provides this service go to the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

How much will a U.S. pilots license cost?

Fees vary depending on the flying club/school, some offer discount options so it pays to ask around to get the best price.

Image credit: szaszlajos

Are you from the U.K. ?
If so please go to: British Pilot License Frequently Asked Questions.

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