Obtaining a pilot certificate allows you to fly an airplane and carry passengers and baggage. Although operating expenses may be equally shared with your passengers, you may not fly for compensation or hire as a private pilot. However, you can fly any airplane you are appropriately rated for to thousands of public airports, day or night.

 If you wish to fly for fun or are taking the first step toward a career as a pilot, there is much for you to learn both on the ground and in the air, but it is not too difficult! If you can ride a bicycle or drive a car, you can probably fly an airplane. 

Steps to Success

It’s fun to learn to fly and earn a pilot certificate. Many people might consider learning to fly beyond their capability or budget, but it is not as difficult, time consuming, or expensive as generally believed. Gleim Aviation goes beyond preparing you to pass the required tests. Coordinated training makes you a safer, more competent pilot, in less time while reducing frustration.

Step 1: Obtain a 3rd Class Medical Certificate

Individuals desiring a private pilot certificate must obtain at least a third-class medical certificate. The FAA medical examination is a routine exam administered by FAA designated doctors called aviation medical examiners (AMEs), who will issue your medical certificate after the exam.

Even if you have a physical handicap, medical certificates can be issued in many cases. Operating limitations may be imposed depending upon the nature of the disability.

Visit the FAA's find an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) for a listing of AMEs by state and city. Call (800) 874-5346 if you have questions.

Step 2: Obtain a Student Pilot Certificate

Getting a student pilot certificate is one of the first steps toward earning a sport pilot or private pilot certificate. This certificate must be obtained before you are allowed to fly solo.

You must be at least 16 years of age and be able to read, speak, and understand English to receive a student pilot certificate. To apply, you will meet in person with a Flight Instructor, FAA inspector at a local Flight Standards District Office, designated pilot examiner, or airman certificate representative from an approved Part 141 flight school. An application will be processed and sent to the FAA and TSA for review. Upon approval, your student pilot certificate will be mailed.

Step 3: Prepare for and pass the FAA Knowledge Test

The Gleim Online Ground School guarantees you will pass the written exam.

Purchase the Gleim Private Pilot Kit. This kit includes everything you need to study and reference in order to prepare for the FAA Knowledge Test, also known as the written exam. This computerized test has 60 multiple choice questions.

Online Ground School: Private Pilot

Learn the material quickly with the Gleim Online Ground School. This course guarantees you will pass the written exam. It is included with Our Deluxe Private Pilot Kit.

Deluxe Private Pilot Kit with Online Ground School

The Gleim Deluxe Private Pilot Kit is an all-in-one program designed to expedite training for the Private Pilot certificate. 

Step 4: Choose a Flight School

Visit several flight schools, if more than one is available, to talk to flight instructors about flight lessons. Visit our CFI Directory to locate a CFI near you. Alternatively, look for aircraft schools, airplane instruction, aircraft sales, airports, etc., online, or in the Yellow Pages. Indicate that you are interested in taking flight lessons to become a sport pilot.

It is important to choose a flight instructor with whom you will feel comfortable. This may be difficult to determine after only a short meeting or introductory flight; however, you will certainly learn more when you are ready to learn and comfortable with the learning environment. Speak with several instructors. While there are no perfect answers, the following questions should be asked. The objective of these questions is to gain insight into the flight instructor's personality.

Learn more about OGS 141 here. 

Questions to ask a flight school or flight instructor

question_mark_circleDo you instruct part time or full time?

This information concerns availability only. Part time does not imply less proficiency or less availability.

 

question_mark_circleAsk to see the instructor's syllabus.

Compare it to your Gleim Pilot Syllabus.

 

question_mark_circleHow long does your average student take to solo?

Note that the flight instructor who solos his/her students in the least or most amount of time may not necessarily be the best instructor.

 

question_mark_circle    How many total hours of solo and dual flight do your typical students require?
 
question_mark_circle     Ask about a typical lesson.

 

question_mark_circle     Ask about their time commitment.

 

question_mark_circle  Where do you recommend that I take my pilot knowledge and practical tests?

  Ask about the estimated costs as well.

 

question_mark_circle     What are the solo and dual rental costs for your training aircraft?

 

question_mark_circle     What are the flight instructors' schedules and the schedule of available aircraft?

 

question_mark_circle     What are your instruction costs?

 

question_mark_circle     Do you have an introductory flight for a nominal fee?  May I take it with no further obligation?

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Once you begin your pilot training, purchase a local sectional chart, a chart supplement, and a copy of your airplane's Pilot Operating Handbook (POH).

Make sure that the CFI is familiar with Gleim pilot training materials (the books with the red covers) and is enthusiastic about using them.

If you encounter hesitation, call (800) 874-5346.

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Step 5: Make a Plan

Now go fly!

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