Private Pilot

Obtaining the Private Pilot License

The Private license offers holders incomparable freedom.  Private pilots experience the freedom and adventure of flight.  Private pilots can travel freely between any of the over 15,000 airports in the United States, taking half or often even as little as one-third the time that driving to the same location would require.  The Private license permits flying the vast majority of available General Aviation aircraft, in the day or night time, in acceptable weather conditions.

Obtaining a Private Pilot license is a challenging and rewarding endeavor.  At Flight Training Centers, we will teach you everything you need to know to be a safe, competent pilot.  In the aviation community, the Private license is called a “license to learn”.  Thus, we’ll not only teach you what you need to get your license, but we’ll also make sure you’re well equipped to keep learning once you have your license in hand.

Our Private Pilot training program is broken up in to three phases:

In the first phase, the Pre-Solo Phase, you will fly with an instructor at all times, learning the basics of being an aviator.  You’ll learn how to property inspect (pre-flight) your aircraft, to operate it, how to taxi, take off and land in various conditions and many more things.  Once your instructor is confident that you have consistently mastered the basics, have your FAA-required third-class medical and have passed a basic written knowledge test, your instructor will release you to fly solo.  You can’t take any passengers and have several other restrictions at this point, but this allows you to practice flying on your own, building your confidence, experience and skills.

Your second phase of training with us is called the Cross Country Phase.  In the Pre-Solo Phase, you learned the essentials you have to know at each end of a trip – taxi, takeoffs, landings and so forth.  In the Cross Country Phase, you’ll learn how to get the airplane from point “A” to point “B”.  You’ll learn how to navigate the aircraft using various methods and technologies, how to plan your flights, check and analyze the weather, communicate with the FAA when needed and much more.  You’ll start this phase off by taking some trips (around an hour long) with one of our Certified Flight Instructors.  Once you have learned the necessary skills, you will fly some trips on your own.  Your instructor will approve each trip, confirming your flight planning, the weather and other factors.

The final phase of training is Checkride Preparation.  By now, you will have passed an official FAA written test, been trained on everything the FAA expects you to know to be a Private Pilot, and obtained a third class medical.  You’ll work with your instructor, who will help you fine tune any weak areas that need work prior to your testing, confirm that you are ready to pass the oral knowledge and flight exams with the FAA’s Designated Examiner.  Once this phase is complete, you will test with the FAA and, upon passing, receive your Private Pilot license.

Below is some additional information about the legal requirements, details and costs of the training process.

FAA Minimum Requirements

  • You must be at least 17 years of age for your license, 16 years of age to solo.
  • You must be able to read, speak, write and understand English.
  • You must obtain a Third Class Medical Certificate.
  • You must receive Private ground instruction.
  • You must pass a written examination with a score of 70% or better.
  • You must have logged at least 40 hours of flight time, consisting of:
    • 20 hours of flight instruction of which
      • 3 hours is cross-country
      • 3 hours at night (10 takeoffs & landings to a full stop & one cross-country at least 100 NM)
      • 3 hours of instrument training
      • 3 hours in preparation for the flight test within the preceding 60 days
    • 10 hours of solo flight time
      • 5 hours of solo cross-country
        • One cross-country of 150 NM with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points, one leg of which is more than 50 NM between its take off and landing locations.
      • 3 solo takeoffs & landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.
    • 10 hours are optional for use as either solo or dual, whichever the instructor feels is needed to best prepare the student.
  • You must successfully complete a flight test given by an FAA Inspector or Designated Examiner.

Flight Instruction

You are required to log a minimum of 20 hours of flight instruction. However, most students require additional instruction in order to meet FAA proficiency standards. In addition to “logged” flight instruction, most students will require additional “ground instruction”. Ground instruction is the time spent on the ground before and/or after a lesson such as the preflight discussion of maneuvers to be performed during a lesson and the post flight review of those maneuvers. In order to facilitate your training we suggest that you schedule a minimum of one lesson each week. This will help you retain a high percentage of your previous lesson’s training thereby reducing the time spent reviewing maneuvers and concepts. Each lesson will last approximately two hours, which will consist of a half hour preflight, one hour flight, and a half hour post flight review.


If you do not have your own aircraft, we recommend joining the Indiana Pilots Club, which has a number of different aircraft available for use at all our Flight Training Centers locations.

Written Test

Prior to taking your flight test you will be required to pass a “written exam”. This is a computer based test and you must obtain a score of 70% or better. You are required to satisfactorily complete a ground instruction course (ground school) or home study course prior to taking this test. We offer you several ways of preparing for the test. We have a formal, comprehensive, video ground school which offers a professional, organized, and concentrated approach to instruction. We also offer a new, fully computerized, interactive ground school which utilizes state of the art technology creating the most modern and advanced learning system available.

Flight Test

Upon the successful completion of your written examination and flight training you will be required to take and pass a flight test (check ride) administered by a FAA Inspector or Designated Examiner. This flight test will be conducted as specified in the FAA’s Airman Certification Standards (ASC) book.


The cost of obtaining your license varies dramatically with each students ability, skill, and desire to learn. Some places advertise for as little as $6900.00. Usually these advertised prices only pay for the minimum time required by Federal Regulations. This seldom includes the cost of materials, equipment or ground school, not to mention additional instruction and airplane rental fees over the minimum Federal requirements. In reality very few people are able to earn their license by completing only the minimum Federal requirements. Our experience has shown the average total “real” cost ranges from $8000 to $10000.

Here is an estimate using our current prices for Regular Club Members:

FAA Minimum Requirements

Airplane Fees (40 hours) $5800
Instructor Fees (20 hours) $1000
Ground School $400
Checkride Test Prep $300
Pilot Supplies $150
Total $7650

Average Actual Costs

Airplane Fees (50 hours) $7250
Instructor Fees (30 hours) $1500
Ground School $400
Checkride Test Prep $300
Pilot Supplies $150
Total $9600

Costs do not include: Examiner Fees ($550), Medical Fees ($150), Knowledge Test Fees ($175), or Club Dues ($480/year). Costs shown here are approximate and are listed for demonstrative purposes.

Materials and Equipment

You will need the following items by the conclusion of your flight training: FAR/AIM, Sectional Map, Flight Computer, Plotter, Textbook, Pilot Logbook, Written Test Guide, PTS, Oral Prep Guide.

(Most of these items are included in our “Private Pilot Kit“.)

Payment Options

Option #1: Pay as you go by either deposting money on account before or after each flight.
Option #2: Pay an advance payment of any amount and receive an additional 10% credit on your account. For example if you deposit $7000 you will receive a $700 credit, $1000 will give you a credit of $100.  Ten percent additional credit is only available one time.

Instructor Rates

Club Member Rate $50/hour
Non-Member Rate $60/hour

For more information contact: