Learning to Fly








Training Costs

Finding a school


WEATHER / Flight Planning










Civilian or Military

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 route.

Recreational vs. Private Certificates

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 - NEXT >