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Pilot Runway

These are the main steps that you go through as part of becoming a pilot:

  1. Find an airport and flight school near you. You can locate a school and instructor by going to the website Make sure that the school and instructor are qualified to instruct you in the type of flying you are interested in learning.
  2. Set an appointment to go up for a Discovery flight if you have not already done so. The best way to learn about flying is by experiencing flight and actually go up for half an hour with an instructor who lets you control the aircraft!
  3. Discuss your goals and objectives in regards to your flight training with your flight instructor so that you are both on the same page. How much of a commitment are you willing to make and how much time will you be able to set aside?
  4. Make sure you ask your instructor any questions you may have and go over a plan of action to get you up to a point of becoming fully licensed as a pilot. This should include going over:
    1. The training you would need to go through in order to fly solo.
    2. What books and material you are required to study to pass your written exam for your license.
    3. The requirements of what it will take to get fully licensed.
    4. Setting up a schedule that will work for both you and your instructor.
    5. Setting a goal and target date for your first solo flight and also for when you want to become fully licensed by.
  5. Get enrolled in an approved school for your theory study. This can be done in a class room setting at your flight school, in a community college or you can also do it online or through an approved video course. Discuss your best option with your instructor.
  6. With your instructor or flight school, get a list of required books and study material that you will need and purchase those. This should also include a flight log, which will be used by you and your instructor to track your progress towards becoming fully licensed,
  7. Get yourself a flight bag and make sure that you are set with the basics you need as a pilot. This would include the following items:
    1. A pair of Pilot Headsets
    2. Up to date maps of your area
    3. A “fuel strainer” to check your fuel
    4. A “knee board”.
    Go over this with your instructor and make sure that you are not missing anything.
  8. If required for your type of license, get a physical checkout for your medical certificate. This is done by an FAA approved medical examiner and usually takes about 15 minutes to get done. Most people who are fit to drive a car, will easily pass the requirements for a Private Pilot license.
  9. Set aside time daily and weekly to work towards achieving your training goals.
  10. Once your instructor determines you are ready to fly solo, get signed off for your first solo flight. This is a major mile stone for any pilot and a very memorable occasion.
  11. To speed up your progress towards becoming licensed, also get a personal mentor, which is in addition to having an instructor. A mentor is an already licensed pilot who can help with guiding you through the process and encourage you to keep going. You can get in contact with a personal mentor through Friends of Aviation or AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) who both have ongoing mentorship programs.
  12. Once you have gotten through the required theory study get your written exam done in an FAA approved testing center. The test consists of multiple answer questions and you are required a pass rate of minimally 70 %. In order to take your exam, you will need a sign off from an instructor or from your flight school that you have gone through the required curriculum and are ready to take the test.
  13. Once you have gone through your flight training requirements for your type of license, work with your instructor to get fully prepared for your check ride. This will be done by a Designated Pilot Examiner or an FAA inspector who will verify that you have achieved the competence required for your type of license.
If you run into any difficulties or problems along the way and you don’t seem to be able to resolve them with your instructor or mentor, you can use the message boards on the Friends of Aviation website or email us directly at [email protected].

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