How to Get a Private Pilot License in New York
With a Private Pilot Certificate, you can fly an airplane as a hobby, only fly in good weather conditions, and split the cost of operating the airplane with your passengers.
Tips to earn your Private Pilot
• Fly 2-3 times
• Find an instructor you
enjoy working with
• Get the FAA written exam ASAP
First Step: Get Cleared by an FAA Medical Examiner
While you don't need to get an FAA Medical Exam before you start training, it's a good idea to get one since they will hold you over for a few years (depending on your age).
Seccond Test: Study for the Private Pilot Knowledge Test
What is the FAA Written Exam and how do I study for it?
Private Pilot Knowledge Tests is a 60-question test. It is only administered at certified locations. (Click Here to find a location near you.) Before you show up to take the written test, you need to make an appointment, by calling (844) 704-1487.
You can start studying for the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Tests before you take flying lessons. To prep, use the FAA handbooks and the Sporty's Learn To Fly Course (we carry their videos at our location if you want to by them after your simulator lesson).
When should I take the FAA Written Exam?
If you're taking a course, once you meet the course requirements, you can get an endorsement to take the test. Or a Certified Instructor can provide the endorsement, just make sure you ask what they require of you before they sign off. Most of the time instructors ask for students to take 3 or more consecutive practice tests of 85% or better.
What happens if I don't take the FAA Written Exam early in my flight training?
People who take the written early on their flight training are a minority, but they usually finish their training faster.
Pilots who leave the written test for the last minute (for example, they meet all requirements for the Practical Test/ Check Ride) usually have to cram, memorizing the answers just to pass the test. Because they neglect to really learn the material, they then have to spend a lot of time one-on-one with their instructor going over it. Ultimately, this also costs them more money, too, because the they're paying for the instructor's time.
Stage 1 in the Simulator: Pre-Solo
Phase 1: Learning Your Airplane (Simulator)- Learn to use an airplane checklist, perform airplane system tests, how the flight controls work, setting flight attitudes (Climb, Level, or Descent), how to use Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) AKA an iPad, and how to communicate with Air Traffic Control (ATC).
Phase 2: Improving Control- Improve your ATC communication, aircraft control, and handling challenging situations. This is a good time to develop safety habits that might not be as comfortable at this stage in the real airplane.
Phase 3/4: Takeoffs and Landings- Practice airport operations with or without ATC and abnormal/emergency procedures.
Stage 1 in the airplane: Pre-Solo- Expect to spend about 18 hours flight training and 13 hours ground time with an instructor.*
Phase 1: Learning Your Airplane- In this phase you learn what makes your airplane fly, how to control your airplane in flight, and how to know if your airplane is airworthy.
Phase 2: Improving Control- Here you add to your skill set the maneuvers that allow you to fly more precisely. You hone the basic skills you have already learned, and develop safety habits that will serve you well throughout your piloting career.
Phase 3: Takeoffs and Landings- This is where you put into practice all of your skills, so you can make satisfying takeoffs and landings on your own.
Phase 4: Preparing for Solo Flight- Here you rehearse airport operations, takeoffs and landings, emergency procedures, and ground reference maneuvers in order to ensure you are ready for solo flight. You will also receive a pre-solo briefing as well as take a pre-solo knowledge test.
Phase 5: Solo Flight- After your instructor and you have the skills to ensure you are safe and ready to fly on your own, you will take your exciting first solo flight that you will remember for a lifetime.
Stage 2 in the Simulator: Solo Flights and Cross-Country
Getting Ready for Cross-Country Flying- Introduction to navigation following landmarks and navigation aids, how to use sectional, incorporating how to use your EFB with your trips and control the airplane by reference to the flight display.
Stage 2 in the airplane: Solo Flights and Cross-Country - Expect to spend about 20 hours of flight training and 10 hours of ground time with the instructor.*
Phase 6: Getting Ready for Cross-Country Flying- In this phase, you learn short- and soft-field takeoff and landing techniques, navigation, and control of the airplane by reference to the flight display.
Phase 7: Flying Cross-Country- Here you learn the steps involved in planning and flying a safe and successful trip cross-country. You will receive a solo cross-country briefing. After building your skills and knowledge with your instructor, you will complete your first solo cross-country flight.
Phase 8: Flying at Night- In this phase you discover what night flying is all about by taking both a local and a cross-country flight at night.
Phase 9: Advancing Your Skills- Here you go on your longest solo cross-country flight and wrap up any loose ends with your training.
Stage 3 in the simulator: Preparing for your Practical Test
Final Preparation for Your Practical Piloting Test- While you will mainly be getting ready for your Practical Test in the airplane, you can practice in the simulator with or without an instructor the areas where you need improvement.
Stage 3 in the Airplane: Preparing for your Practical Test - Expect to spend about 3 hours of flight training and 26 hrs of ground time with the instructor.*
Phase 10: Final Preparation for Your Practical Test- In the final phase, you review everything you have learned. After passing the final progress check, you have completed the private piloting course and are ready for the FAA practical test.
Fourth Step: Celebrate earning your Private Pilot License. You deserve it!
* Does not include the time you have to spend studying and preparing for your lesson. On average plan to spend a minimum of 2 hours of study time at home.
Aeronautical Experience Required by the FAA
"The minimum flight time requirement to be eligible for a private pilot certificate is 40 flight hours. Most students fly 60-75 hours before testing."
Student pilots who can fly on average two to three times per week are the pilots who can finish close to minimum Aeronautical Experience set by the FAA.
If you cannot fly 2-3 times per week, incorporating the use of an ATD into your flight training will help a great deal in obtaining the experience needed for a Private Pilot License. Visit an ATD facility (like ours in midtown Manhattan) once a week and fly at a flight school of your choice the other 1-2 training days.