I have been doing pilot license training for developing my operational skills described in my mandala chart. Specifically speaking, I focus on enhancing multi-tasking, emergency protocol, decision making, and situational awareness through the training.
So, have you wondered what the process is like for a Private Pilot License (PPL)?
By earning a private pilot license, you can legally fly an aircraft recreationally. So this is kind of like a driver’s license for a car.
Private pilots are trained to navigate small aircraft like Cessna 172. Flight training includes aircraft maneuvers, navigation, emergency procedures, and cross-country flight planning.
Depending on what kind of aircraft you would fly, you need to get multiple types of certificates and ratings such as: Private Pilot license, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot License, Airline Transport Pilot License, Multi-Engine Land Rating, etc.
For example, suppose that you want to fly a common commercial airliner for an airline, such as a Boeing 737.
The Boeing 737 is a multi-engine land aircraft that is over 12,500 lbs and utilizes turbofan engines, so you would need to get an Airline Transport Pilot with an airplane multiengine land B-737 Rating.
That being said, a Private Pilot License is a very first step for becoming an airline pilot.
Private Pilot License allows you to fly VFR (visual flight rule) with friends and family. If you want to fly even under bad visibility, you need to get instrument rating that allows you to fly even in clouds.
How To Get Certified For Private Pilot License? How Long Does It Take?
In order to get certified for your Private Pilot License, you need to:
- pass a written knowledge test
- pass oral test before a practical flight test
- pass a practical flight test (= “checkride”)
- complete at least 35-40 hours of actual flight time minimum before taking a flight test. On the other hand, people need to do 70-75 hours of flight training on average before they get certified. That being said, 40 hours are really just a minimum number. (I spent over 80 hours for flilght training before taking a final flight test)
- In addition to actual flight training, we attend ground school in which we learn aeronautical knowledge, regulations, etc. This portion is essential for both weitten knowledge test and actual flight test.
- In that sense, at least several months are necessary to get certified even if you are willing to do flight training many times per week, since you sometimes have to cancel a lesson due to the weather condition or wind, which actually happened to me many times.
Things You Will Be Learning For Your Private Pilot License
- Basic maneuvering skills such as takeoff/landing, steep turn with 45-degree bank, emergency landing, cross-country flight, night flight, instrument flight, communication skills with tower control, regulations by Federal Aviation Administration, how to understand weather information, etc.
- Most importantly, you will learn decision-making. Something might happen during my flight. Disastrous engine failure may occur. Even in that situation, you need to deal with the issue without panicking, which requires a lot of practice and study. Being a great decision-maker under extreme situation would be really beneficial for astronaut jobs.
Where I Am Doing My Private Pilot License, and Where I Started
There are many locations that you can take lessons in the US. As I lived in Philadelphia, I took flight lessons on the North East side of Philadelphia.
I started pilot training at the end of April 2021 and did training three to four times a week except for the time when I did scuba or survival training. I took “checkride,” which is the final flight test, at the end of August. In that sense, it took 4 months for me to complete the pilot training.
Here is a bit more of the training I will be completing to best prepare for my journey to become an astronaut.