How to Become a Pilot

Whew! Catch all that? Don’t worry, if you’ve got more than 60 seconds to spare, we’ve got you covered.

Becoming a pilot can be intimidating, but the hardest part is getting started. That’s why US Sport Flight Academy is here to help you through the process. Whether you’re interested in flight training with us or any other flight school, we’re happy to help!

Just follow our simple guide and you’ll know exactly how to become a pilot!

The first thing we recommend to aspiring aviators is to check out our video series Getting Started in Aviation, which was designed specifically to answer all your questions about getting started!

How to Become a Pilot SportCruiser LSA Sport Private Instrument Flight Academy School Training Classes

How to Become a Pilot

Here’s everything Nathan said, in case you missed something. Everything is explained in much more detail on the next page, Getting Started in Aviation:

  • The first thing to do is locate a flight school or instructor that you want to train with.


  • You can start your flight training at any time, but you must be 16 years old to solo and 17 years old to earn your license.


  • The standard “pilot license” is called a Private Pilot Certificate.
    • To get this you’ll need to pass an FAA medical exam.
    • Alternately, you use your driver’s license instead of getting a medical to pursue a Sport Pilot License and fly Light Sport Aircraft under a few restrictions.


  • For your Private Pilot License, the government requires 40 hours of flight time, although the national average is about 65 hours for most people to become proficient enough to become pilots.
    • Of these 40 hours, at least 20 hours must be with an instructor, and at least 10 hours must be solo.
    • If you choose to get your Sport Pilot License, the government minimum is only 20 total hours of flight time, but the national average is still around 55-65 hours.


  • Next, you’ll need to pass the FAA written test.
    • You can study for this test on your own, get ground instruction at a flight school, or pay for an online ground school. It’s up to you and your budget!


  • After you pass your written you’ll need to pass your checkride.
    • You’ll need to schedule a checkride with a DPE, or Designated Pilot Examiner.
    • Once you pass your checkride, you’re a pilot!


That’s the “nitty-gritty” of it but there’s so much more to learn about becoming a pilot – next I recommend you check out our series Getting Started in Aviation. Thanks for watching and happy flying!