L3Harris Flight Academy

How to Become a Private Pilot

Ever wanted to pursue a career in aviation? Or dreamed of being able to fly a plane, just for fun? Becoming a private pilot is one of the most sought-after aviation qualifications. For some, it acts as a route into an aviation career, and for others, a new hobby or new way to travel.

Request info    Private Pilot License Course

Course Overview

Our PPL course helps cadets obtain their Private Pilot License (PPL), qualifying them to fly an aircraft for private or personal purposes, day or night. Private pilots are trained to navigate small aircraft by themselves, and in essential emergency procedures, aircraft maneuvers, cross-country flying and navigation.

PPL cadets will be based at our Florida Flight School; equipped with one of the largest aircraft fleets in the state including over 100 single and multi-engine aircraft, 5 different advanced FTDs (Flight Training Devices), and state of the art facilities such as high-intensity runway lighting, AWOS weather reporting system, FAA control tower, pre and post-flight briefing areas, and a dispatch center.

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Stage 1: Take a Trial Flight

Undertaking any form of aviation training is a large personal and financial investment. If you have never had the chance to fly a plane before then booking a trial flight is a great way to see if pursuing a Private Pilot License is right for you.

During a trial flight a Certified Flight Instructor can explain what is involved in becoming a private pilot and give you a flavor of life in the air.

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Stage 2: Check Your Eligibility

To start your journey towards becoming a private pilot you will need to meet eligibility criteria.

Minimum admission requirements are as follows, for additional requirements please contact Admissions.

  • At least 17 years old in order to receive your Private Pilot Certificate
  • Proficient in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English
  • Able to obtain an FAA medical certificate

How to apply

Stage 3: Obtain Your Medical Certificate

Every cadet looking to become a private pilot will need to obtain a Third-Class FAA-Approved Medical Certificate in order to fly in an aircraft unaccompanied.

This medical certificate is a requirement to help ensure the safety of all pilots while up in the air during their PPL training.

Obtaining your medical certificate is similar to a routine physical check-up, with a greater focus on mental and neurological health as well as vision and hearing.

All third-class medical certificates are valid for 5 years for individuals under 40 years old, and 2 years for those over 40.

Qualifications to become a pilot

Stage 4: Research PPL Flight Schools

Finding the right school for you to complete your training is important.

At the L3Harris Flight School, cadets have the opportunity to train in our Flight Training Devices and have access to one of the largest aircraft fleets in the state. With over 300 days of excellent flying weather each year thanks to our location in sunny central Florida, our cadets have more time to fly than anywhere else.

We make every effort to ensure all our students receive the best quality training in state-of-the art facilities, no matter their path into aviation.

Our Flight School

Stage 5: Complete Ground School Training

Every student training to become a private pilot will need to attend ground school training.

Ground school takes place in a traditional classroom setting and is designed to introduce cadets to the theoretical concepts of flying and aviation. The key concepts of aviation covered by ground school include topics such as Federal Aviation Regulations, radio communication protocols, aerodynamics and other concepts.

When completing ground school, cadets will need to take the FAA Written Pilot Exam in order to progress with their studies. Once this exam has been completed, cadets will be ready for their FAA Practical Exam to gain their Private Pilot License.

Programs and Courses

Stage 6: Complete Flight School Training

The next step towards earning your Private Pilot License is to complete flight school training, and importantly, learn how to fly an aircraft.

Flight school training encompasses all of the procedures before, during and after a flight including flight preparations, navigation, emergency protocols, as well as take-off and landing procedures.

PPL students will be trained in one of our 5 FTDs and in our fleet of approx 100 single and multi-engine aircraft to prepare for life in the air.

Programs and Courses

Stage 7: Complete your FAA practical exam

Your practical exam, also often called a ‘Checkride’ is the final requirement for obtaining your PPL. In order to complete your ‘Checkride’, students will also need to have completed:

  • 20 hours of flight time with an Instructor
  • 10 hours of solo flight time
  • 5 hours of solo cross country flying and one cross-country flight of over 150 nautical miles with landings at 3 different airports
  • 3 hours of night flying
  • 10 take-offs
  • 3 hours of basic instrument training
  • Gain an Instructor endorsement

The practical exam is designed to test your theoretical and practical knowledge of aircraft and flying. The exam is made up of two 1.5 hour exams, one flight exam and one oral exam, each conducted by an FAA approved inspector.

Upon passing the FAA practical exam, you will be certified private pilot!

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What’s Next After Becoming a Private Pilot?

Once you have obtained your Private Pilot License you may find that you have discovered a love for flying and want to undertake further training. Private pilots can add ratings to their certification to build up their flying qualifications, such as an Instrument Rating for flying at night or in adverse weather.

Some private pilots also go on to a career in commercial aviation and undertake a commercial pilot training program to build up the qualifications and experience needed for a commercial career.

Whether you decide to build on your qualifications after obtaining your PPL or simply use your license for recreational flying, becoming a private pilot opens a whole host of opportunities and experiences.

Career prospects

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