Private Pilot Flight Test Requirements Explained

It is time to tie all of the General, Student Pilot /Pre-Solo and Post Solo Requirements together. In order to be eligible for the Private Pilot License Practical test, you have to have everything that I have listed so far DOCUMENTED in your logbook so I will get you up to speed on this.


Now I will explain the requirements for you to be eligible for your Private Pilot Practical Test. All of the Previous requirements have to be completed for the student solo and the student solo cross countries. If you haven't looked at them yet, the links are at the bottom of the page.


Now this is where the requirements that usually show up on the internet come from. This is only the aeronautical experience regulation. This is the regulation that most flight schools make their cost estimates from and where most people who have nothing to do with aviation write their articles from.


(a) For an airplane single-engine rating. Except as provided in paragraph (k) of this section, a person who applies for a private pilot certificate with an airplane category and single-engine class rating must log at least 40 hours of flight time that includes at least 20 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor and 10 hours of solo flight training in the areas of operation listed in 61.107(b)(1) of this part, and the training must include at least,


(1) 3 hours of cross-country flight training in a single-engine airplane;


(2) Except as provided in 61.110 of this part, 3 hours of night flight training in a single-engine airplane that includes,

(i) One cross-country flight of over 100 nautical miles total distance; and
(ii) 10 takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport.


(3) 3 hours of flight training in a single-engine airplane on the control and maneuvering of an airplane solely by reference to instruments, including straight and level flight, constant airspeed climbs and descents, turns to a heading, recovery from unusual flight attitudes, radio communications, and the use of navigation systems/facilities and radar services appropriate to instrument flight;


(4) 3 hours of flight training in preparation for the practical test in a single-engine airplane, which must have been performed within 60 days preceding the date of the test; and


(5) 10 hours of solo flight time in a single-engine airplane, consisting of at least,

(i) 5 hours of solo cross-country time;
(ii) One solo cross-country flight of at least 150 nautical miles total distance, with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points, and one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations; and
(iii) Three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower.


Then there is the other eligibility regulation for the Private Pilot License Flight Test


(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, to be eligible for a practical test for a certificate or rating issued under this part, an applicant must:


(1) Pass the required knowledge test within the 24-calendar-month period preceding the month the applicant completes the practical test, if a knowledge test is required;
(2) Present the knowledge test report at the time of application for the practical test, if a knowledge test is required;
(3) Have satisfactorily accomplished the required training and obtained the aeronautical experience prescribed by this part for the certificate or rating sought;
(4) Hold at least a current third-class medical certificate, if a medical certificate is required;
(5) Meet the prescribed age requirement of this part for the issuance of the certificate or rating sought;
(6) Have an endorsement, if required by this part, in the applicant's logbook or training record that has been signed by an authorized instructor who certifies that the applicant:
(i) Has received and logged training time within 60 days preceding the date of application in preparation for the practical test;
(ii) Is prepared for the required practical test; and
(iii) Has demonstrated satisfactory knowledge of the subject areas in which the applicant was deficient on the airman knowledge test; and
(7) Have a completed and signed application form.


There is also the ground instruction requirements. Lately the FAA has been getting very tough on this. There have been many cases where students have been signed off for flight tests and the instructor never did any ground instruction with them.. You want to remember that your instructor needs to have this documented for you to be eligible for the flight test.


Personally I make up one sheet with all the flight training and all the ground training and sign it at the bottom. This way I have a complete record and the examiner can plainly see every subject area.


Within these three regulations are all of the others listed in the student pilot requirements and the student pilot pre solo cross country requirements. Most people don't have a clue about all of this. And once you have started on the wrong track on your Pilot Training, it can become a very expensive venture.


This was the main reason that I ended up Writing "Airfreddy's Guide on Learning To Fly". This happens all of the time all over the country. I can't tell you how many emails I get from people who are frustrated at the entire process. If they had planned and researched ahead of time, they would have gotten done in a realistic budget and on a realistic schedule.


Getting your Private Pilot License and Learning to Fly can be a great experience, but if you don't understand that every time to delay, switch instructors, schools or wait to get your written test done. You will get more and more frustrated and I see it ALL THE TIME.


Your goal is to become a safe and proficient pilot on a realistic budget. Planning this process out is the most important thing you can do. You don't want to jump and and then find you are on the wrong track.


1: Private Pilot - General Requirements

2: Private Pilot -  Pre-Solo Training Requirements

3: Private Pilot - Post-Solo Training Requirements


Hope To See You In The Sky




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