A Private Pilot License expensive, but to qualify, you must undergo a medical exam and learn how to fly at night and in other conditions that many pilots would never encounter, so why do it?
After recognizing that the private pilot’s license was overkill for the needs of many people, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), created a new category of pilot’s license called Sport Pilot. These pilots are able to earn their license in about half the time and at about half the costs as a Private Pilot, but they are restricted to flying a new category of two seat aircraft called Light Sport Aircraft.
How Much Does It Really Cost? While Sport Pilots are restricted to smaller two seat aircraft, this also makes it less expensive to rent a plane during your training than it can be for the larger, four-seat airplanes that have traditionally been used for training. Expect to spend about $120 an hour to rent the training airplane, including fuel. You will only being billed for the time that the engine is running. Your instructor will also charge about $55 to $65 an hour for his time.
Budget another $1,000 for training materials, exam fees, headsets, and other necessary supplies and equipment. Expect to spend around $4,000 to $5,000 for everything you will need for your flight training as a Sport Pilot.
What Are the Requirements?
A Sport Pilot License requires 20 hours of training, Of those 20 hours, only a minimum of 15 are with an instructor. The remaining 5 hours are flown solo. In fact, you can fly solo, as a student, within weeks of your first lesson, During your training, you be using a ground instructor to learn about the basics of flight and the regulations you will have to abide by as a pilot.
Once your are ready you will take a FAA written exam administered by computer. Next, you will schedule a practical exam called a checkride.
That exam has two parts and is administered by a senior pilot who the FAA has authorized (DPE) to grant you a license. He will first quiz you orally on your aviation knowledge on the ground for about 4 hours and then test your practical skills in aircraft with you for about an two hour. Should your performance meet or exceed the FAA standards, you will then be a certified Sport Pilot.
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