Learn to Fly

Become a Private Pilot

The FAA Private Pilot Certificate is your first major milestone toward flying professionally. On its own, it also offers immense flying freedom. Private Pilots may flight day or night, carry passengers and go nearly anywhere they like. Though limitations exist (especially regarding flying for hire) a Private Pilot Certificate is a worthy goal for anyone, regardless of career aspiration.

Private Pilot Certificate Requirements

Minimum Total Time*
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Flight Training
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Solo Flight Time
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Full Stop, Towered Airport
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*National averages remain around 65 to 70 hours for most Private Pilot applicants. We recommend planning for at least 60 hours.

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Preflight Budgeting

Understanding Private Pilot Costs

The cost of obtaining any pilot certificate depends on how much time it takes you to prepare for and pass the FAA exams. The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight time and 20 hours of instruction to sit and fly for the Private Pilot checkride, but it will almost certainly require more time and training to be ready for the test. Nationally, the average time-to-checkride sits around 70 hours.

Savings with The Flight School

Our Private Pilot training course is designed to help you be checkride-ready with as little expense as possible. By requiring ground school be largely completed beforehand, we help you better prepare to learn efficiently in the cockpit. Likewise, by hosting many of our ground schools virtually, we save you on the cost of driving to and from the airport, as well as the overhead it takes to heat, cool and operate a classroom space.

Our 60/60 Private Pilot Pre-Pay Deal saves students 5% overall, as do many of our other pre-pay offers. For career-minded students, we also offer a unique, custom-tailored accelerated training program.

Training Costs

Hourly aircraft rental is often the largest training cost. The wet (fuel-inclusive) rental rate for our Cessna 172 is $165/h, but by pre-paying for training, you can receive deep discounts. Our 60/60 Private Pilot Pre-Pay Deal offers a 5% discount on both aircraft rental and flight/ground instruction.

The next-largest expenses for flight training is typically instructor cost. At $50/hour, our instructor rates are some of the most affordable on the Front Range.

Our 60/60 Private Pilot Pre-Pay Deal also offers a 5% discount on both aircraft rental and flight/ground instruction for student pilots.

The more time you spend studying on the ground and the better-prepared you are for each lesson, the less you’ll spend on flight training.

To this end, we offer an accelerated Private Pilot Virtual Ground School, recommend students also purchase an online ground school from Sporty’s and offer a Private Pilot Flight Bag with additional materials they’ll need for ground school. Most students eventually choose to purchase their own headsets, as well.

Though these costs add up, they’re minor compared to the additional cost of training for those who don’t adequately prepare on the ground.

Before you fly solo, you’ll need to obtain a Medical Certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). These examns vary in cost, but we recommend budgeting about $200 for the exam.

Don’t forget to budget for testing fees, as well:

A written test attempt costs $175. Designated Pilot Examiners’ rates vary based on the test, but for a Private Pilot checkride in Colorado Springs, you’ll typically pay about $900. Because an aircraft is required for the test, you’ll want to budget for the rental cost of the aircraft, as well.

As everyone learns at a different pace, no students’ overall training costs are exactly the same. Typically, we recommend budgeting at least $15,000. We do our best to help you accomplish your Private Pilot training for less with virtual accelerated training and pre-pay deals:

Remember to budget for the additional costs of training: driving to and from the airport can rack up fuel expenses, as can taking time off work!