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Guest BrianC

How much work to get a pilot's license?

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I was wondering how much classroom work and in-flight time is required to get a basic, VFR pilot's license. And about how much would it cost.

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About 30 hours classroom work.Between 40 & 60 in-flight time.Several hard examinations.Cost - anything between $3,000 to $5,000.

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Well, it takes on average, according to the FAA, about 70 hours of flight time to get a PPL. It can be less if you go to a Part 141 school, which has a more structured syllabus than the flight school at your local airport. At the end, you will have to prove to a Designated Examiner that you are worthy of his issuing you a certificate. You don't need to take any classroom work per se since almost all of the book learning can be done at home with any number of computer programs. Before you can take your check ride, you will have to pass a "written" exam, which is taken on a computer these days. The exam is multiple choice and there are numerous prep programs that can get you through it by rote learning. This works, but since about half of the book learning has real safety import, it might be better to try to absorb it. Depending on where you live, earning you PPL can cost anywhere from $3,000 (quite conservative) to as much as $7,000 in places like the Northeast and California. Good luck. Bob

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One big factor affecting the time is how often you fly. If you're not flying twice a week (which usually means signing up for 3 or more slots) you're going to spend more time reviewing than learning new things, and those hours are going to stretch. Fly often and you'll maintain proficiency, which will keep the number down. I had two long breaks in my training (one because of work, another because of idiots crashing planes into buildings) which are going to be the difference between getting a license in 60 hours and getting it in 100.That $7000 figure might be conservative. Some quick math... assume the 70 hours breaks down into 40 with an instructor and 30 solo. Each hour of flight time usually takes up a 1.5 hour block with the instructor, for 60 hours of instructor time.At my airport:[pre style=font-size:10pt]60 hrs of instructor @ $40 = $240070 hrs of C-152 @ $69 = $4830 ----- $7230[/pre]Tack on the student kit with the CD-ROM ground school ($300), the cost of the exam, the cost of the checkride, etc. and you're closer to $8000. If you don't fit in a 152 with an instructor, add $700 or more to upgrade to a 172.My airport might be a bit on the high side, but you can do the same calculations with the numbers from your own airport.What you do depends on your goals. If your goal is to get a license (certificate for the pedantic) in the least amount of time, don't start until you know you'll have enough time and money to finish. If you'd like to fly every week or two and eventually get a license out of the deal, go for it! It's going to take you longer (think 100+ hours) and cost more, but along the way you'll get in a lot of flying.As for the test, it's 60 questions, chosen from the test bank athttp://av-info.faa.gov/data/airmanknowledge/par.txtYou can find some test prep web sites which also have the answers.I recommend using the test prep software, since a lot of the test is just memorization of the regulations, and the test prep software works as well as any other method for that type of thing. There are also "problem solving" questions like navigation, weight&balance, or reading METAR/TAF which you'll need to use in real life, and understand beyond just memorizing an answer. The test prep won't help you for these.-Frank

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Did some research on pricing in the Netherlands earlier this year.PPL starts at about

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My suggestion is to budget for the high end, and expect it to take that long. You'll be highly disappointed when that $3500 comes and goes halfway through your efforts.Remember that getting your license isn't a race. The more training you get the better. I failed my first checkride at 65 hours after acing everything but the high performance landings (which I bombed). By the time I passed my second private checkride at 82 hours I got high praises from the DPE ("It is very clear that you have mastered this airplane") and the flight school got equal praises for doing such a good job with me. He said my short, soft field crosswind landing was the best of any applicant he's ever checked, including commercial and ATP. That 82 hours is sure not embarrasing, and the money was clearly well spent in becoming a better, safer pilot.BTW, that's all testimony to advantages of longer training time, not to my ability as a pilot. I'm still inexperienced and forever learning, and like any pilot I certainly can't perform a perfect landing like that one every time. ;)Also keep in mind that if it takes more hours, who cares? You're still flying and that's the whole point.Brian

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Sporty's has a wonderful new online practice exam and study (instant answer) mode, complete with all graphics. Private, Recreational, and Instrument exams are covered. http://www.sportys.com/faatest/Now if they'd only combine this with an ASA or Gleim style study guide it would be perfect!

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