How to Become a Pilot
McFaydenMany people have a hidden
desire to learn to fly airplanes. This may be to travel more conveniently, to
volunteer as a pilot, or maybe for career reasons. Here is some information to
get you started.
In the U.S., these are the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) requirements for obtaining a pilot's license:
(a) Minimum age: 17 years.
(b) Language: must be able to speak English.
(c) Must be able to pass a basic medical exam.
(d) Pass a written knowledge exam.
(e) Pass a flying exam.
There are similar but varying requirements for
each country: check with the governing aviation body for your specific
You may have heard stories that flying is much
safer than driving. General aviation (non-airliner and non-military) flying has
about ten percent the number of accidents as automobiles (per-vehicle-mile
basis). The accident rate has actually been decreasing for the last 25 years.
There are many reasons for this type of flying to be so safe. These include very
thorough required training (and re-training), demanding aircraft build specs,
and new technology for cockpit instruments.
Pilot training consists of both ground and
flight school. On the agenda are: rules and regulations, flight planning, how to
navigate, use the radio, and understanding weather. To earn your certificate,
you must pass the FAA written exam, as well as the flying exam, or check-ride.
A common question for would-be pilots is: How
much will it cost? Factors include: where you live, how often you fly, and the
type of license. Expect to spend around US $4,500 - $6,000 to obtain a private
pilot's certificate. This estimate is usually based on the 40 hrs minimum of
required flight time, however the U.S. national average is more like 65 hrs of
flight time. Renting the trainer airplane is the biggest chunk of the cost,
being somewhere in the range of $50 to $80 per hour.
If the costs seem high, remind yourself that
you're learning a life-altering skill. In the long run, many people find that
the rewards are huge.
Copyright'2005 RC Airplane Advisor. Visit the
site for more information on how to become a pilot. This article may be
reprinted if proper credit is given and all links left intact. Andre is a
regular contributor to the RC Airplane Advisor.