How Do I Get My Private Pilot Certificate? (The Journey Begins)

Cessna Pilot Center Private Pilot kit with logbook
The Cessna Private Pilot Kit 1980s

Many people over the years have asked me, How Do I Get My Private Pilot Certificate?

Learning to fly is one of the most exhilarating experiences in life without question. Let’s examine just exactly what getting this privilege takes.

Let the Journey begin.

How Do I Get My Private Pilot Certificate?

It takes COMMITMENT.  You take your first lessons and get a 3rd class medical certificate and fly with an instructor who will guide you through the 40 hours of flying and instruction. Let’s review, I’ll tell you the how.

1. Let’s Clear The “AIR”

This is my view of what it takes to learn to fly and I will tell you exactly what you need to do and the best ways to accomplish the job.

I am not here to feed you any B.S. about what it takes. I did it my way and I never gave up on the goal. It took me a long time and a lot of work to get an ATP and a flight instructor certificate.

The truth is that it is the greatest confidence builder I ever experienced. It was a new challenge all the time.

I felt empowered to do anything I set my eye on.

For me, it was an amazing adventure every day.

I feel sorry for the people who do not know how to fly!

2. Should I Get My Private Pilot License?

There are many variables to this goal like money, time, and the real desire to go the course. If you want this freedom then the only choice is to get the license. So, yes you should get your private pilot certificate.

You must be 17 years old and read speak and understand the English language. It is the International language in Aviation. You can start lessons before the age of 17, but you must be 16 to solo.

I will give you my perspective and discuss the experience in-depth.

First, go to the nearest airport that has a flight instructor that offers primary student instruction and go for an introductory ride.

Find the best instructor you can and be sure you can work with that person. If not find another. I flew with many. The WWII pilots I flew with were fantastic so  I was lucky.

You will know if you really want to get your certificate after that flight, and if it is not for you then you know you checked it out. It will cost you about 200 bucks to find out.

If it is something you want then you can fly without your student pilot certificate/3rd class medical until it is time to solo. ( About 10 hours). To solo, you must have a certificate.

I don’t recommend waiting to get your medical because if you do not pass your flight physical you just blew a couple grand. So go get the physical done right after your first ride.

Have a physical done by your family “Doc” if you fear not passing the FAA physical. In the event something is wrong you might be way ahead of the game and when you do take the FAA physical you know you will pass.

3. Flying: Your Second Language.

YES, your second language because you have to communicate on the radio.

Plus you need to learn all the stuff about navigation and names of parts of the airplane and all things aviation.

Radio work is one of the most important things to learn because it is not cool to not know what to say and get it done quickly. That aggravates controllers and other pilots alike.

Go get a handheld transceiver and tune it to an aviation frequency and listen. You will want one anyway when you start flying in case the radios in the airplane quit working. Safety. 

You can buy one from Sporty’s Pilot Shop for less than $250.00 for example, and it might save your butt and you will learn the “radio lingo” as a bonus.

4. The Lessons

The flying part is easy and so is the understanding of the principles of flight. It is all easy to learn, but the key is a desire to learn.

There is a lot of studies to do and that takes time. But there are alternatives. You can attend a weekend ground school that guarantees that you will pass the written exam.

You spend one weekend doing the ground school in class and take the written test.

You can take a look for yourself here as an example of one company offering this. It is not a bad choice. Just choose your poison.

I did my study time every day between my flying lessons but I was highly motivated and finished my private in 4 weeks. Not everyone has the time or money for that but it worked for me.

I was done in 4 weeks and was off in my 172 to build hours for the commercial certificate (250 hours).

It will cost you about $10,000.00 to get it done. (Median price).

5. Should I Buy An Airplane?

There are a lot of advantages to buying an airplane and one advantage is using it to learn to fly. It just costs a lot less out of pocket for training. And you have an asset worth every penny you paid for it.

The cost of owning your own airplane is significant and must be considered.

You have hanger fees or tie-down fees at the airport plus insurance and maintenance expenses and the cost of an annual inspection done by a Certified Aircraft Mechanic.

6. Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAR/AIM (Federal Aviation Regulations/Airmans Information Manual) will rapidly become your Bible. It has all the rules and information you need all the time.

There were many times that the FAR/AIM was needed in my years of flying so I always had a copy in my flight bag.

Everyone has an Ipad or phone these days so I am sure you can buy a digital copy.

It is damn boring but it may well save your hide by knowing the rules so I spent a lot of time reading it. I recommend you become familiar with this book.


There is absolutely no reason not to get your private pilot certificate.

If money is an issue there are scholarships, grants, and loans available to help you achieve this goal.

Since there are so few women in the airline pilot world I think it is a no-brainer for women to get started flying.

Flying takes time and a lot of hard work and my opinion is that it is well worth the effort. You get back freedom, so I say let’s go flying. Get a pilot’s license.

I just finished reading about AIR, the creator of the personal eVTOL flying car that is planning on having them available by 2024 and they are accepting pre-orders. 155 mph with a range of 110 miles.

An Australian firm has committed to 25 of these magnificent machines. They look like one fun flying machine. Take a peek!

I am creating a way to have one of these.

Be a part of Aviation History.

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