There are two ways to go
about becoming a pilot; the civilian route or the military route. If
you choose the civilian route you will have to pay for your training.
If you choose the military route you will be trained for free by Uncle Sam,
but you're also going have to work for him for a while too. We're
going to be talking about the civilian route since costs, flight schools,
training materials etc. will not really apply to those choosing the military
There are many licenses or certificates that
you can attain in your quest for flying. The first two that you can
earn are either the Private Pilot Certificate or the Recreational Pilot
Certificate. The main difference between the two
is that with a Recreational Pilot Certificate, there are many
limitations placed on you. You are not allowed to fly cross-country
without getting the approval of a flight instructor.
You also can't fly at night, or fly in airspace where you need to contact
Air Traffic Control, and you can only fly with one passenger with you.
There are many other limitations as well and the FAA's website is a good
place to check for more details (below).
It is nice if you just want to fly around your town
or will only be flying to airports that are very close to you, but if
you want to be allowed to actually go somewhere without having to discuss
things with a flight instructor, you'll need a Private Pilot
Certificate. Another way to look at the Recreational Certificate is as
a Private Pilot Lite.
Other advantages of the Recreational Pilot
Certificate are that it does not require as much flight time so it can be a
bit less expensive plus you can also apply all of the time towards your
Private Pilot Certificate. That being said, I don't actually know of
anybody who has gotten the Recreational Certificate, because there are so
many limitations, it's almost pointless. Most people get the Private
Certificate. So the big difference is going to boil down to cost,
which is what we're going to talk about next.
Check out the FAA
(Federal Aviation Administration) for more info
For info on costs -