If you’ve ever flown in a small aircraft, you’ve probably experienced that rush of excitement that comes from being one with nature with just a slim piece of metal to separate you from the sky. The feeling that goes along with flying is one that many people insist just can’t be duplicated through any other hobby. If you share that enthusiasm, then it’s probably worth all of the time commitment, effort and expense to earn your own private pilot’s license.
The Freedom Of A Private Pilot’s License
If you have your own private pilot’s license and access to a plane (either one you own, borrow or rent), one of the benefits is of course that you can save time traveling from place to place. A distance that would be about a five hour drive can be spanned in about an hour or two in flight time. (Just keep in mind that you will also need to allow extra time to prep your plane for takeoff and also tie down.) But many people who earn their private pilot’s license don’t do it because they want to take off on the weekends to explore nearby destinations without having to spend as much time in the car. They do it because they love the bird’s eye view you get from a few thousand feet above the ground. You can avoid highway traffic jams (although if you fly at a busy time, you may have to circle a few times before being cleared to land) and can go have lunch a hundred or two miles away and still be home in plenty of time for diner. It’s the freedom of being able to pick up and go, and temporarily leave behind the stress and noise of your life, that appeals to so many who fly.
Who Can Take Lessons
To take private flying lessons, there are some basic requirements you must meet. These include:
- You must be at least 16 years old to fly solo (which is a requirement of the licensing process), and 17 years old to receive a private pilot’s license/certificate.
- You must be able to read, understand, and speak English.
- You must pass a physical examination called a Third Class Aviation Medical Exam. This checkup is given by an FAA-authorized Airman Medical Examiner (AME) to determine primarily if you have any mental or neurological problems or a serious medical condition like chronic heart disease. The cost for this exam is around $90 and is good for 3 years for those under 40 years of age, 2 years if older or a student. You can find the one closest to you by going to www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator.