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Maintaining Proficiency

Source:, Featuring Bob Martens

Subscriber Question:

"In your opinion, what is the minimum number of hours a private pilot should fly each year to maintain flying skills? My guess would be 25 to 50." - Jim B.


"I can’t argue with your basic premise that there is a certain minimum number of hours we should all fly to stay current AND proficient. But given the diversity of pilot skill levels and even personalities, I would hesitate to put a number next to this question. We are all so very different!

And even more importantly, I think the quality of our flying rather than pure numbers is crucial. So many pilots get their flying chasing $200 hamburgers. How does that time compare with an hour in the pattern or practice area?

I feel strongly on the practice of personal minimums and that analysis asks YOU how many hours you need each month to stay current and proficient. Think about it. One hour a week would get us 52 hours per year. Will that get us all the review and training we really need? I doubt it.

I guess what I’m really saying is that it’s much more about quality flying than quantity flying and that’s tough to quantify. Look closely at yourself and develop a solid set of personal minimums."

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