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Aviation School: How To Get Your Private Pilot's License

So you think you can fly, huh?

Flying a plane is a rush for anyone. Very rarely do most people get to navigate a machine along a Jetstream, thousands of feet high. If you're interested in flying recreationally, it just takes some money, time, and the right aviation school to get you off the ground.

Picking the Right License

There are a few different roads you can take when getting licensed to fly. It depends on what you want to be able to do in the air. A Private Pilot's license is a more-than-basic license that certifies you to carry passengers, fly for recreation or business travel, and operate an aircraft during the day or night. This is like a driver's license - once you get it, you're free to go anywhere in the country, and even across borders if you comply with other countries' flight rules.

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The more basic flying certificate is called a Recreational Pilot's license. It allows you to carry a maximum of one passenger and restricts you from flying more than 50 nautical miles from your origin. It does not certify you to fly at night and restricts you from using aircraft over a certain horsepower. This is the joyriding license. It's helpful if you want to impress someone on a first date, but that's pretty much it.
Choosing an Aviation School
Once you decide on a license, start looking into programs at a nearby aviation school that will get you certified. 
Look for institutions that are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and that employ Cessna-certified instructors. These are basic credentials every school should have.

 Beyond that, do your research to find an aviation school that uses state-of-the-art equipment. Inquire after the state of the training planes and flight simulators. Make sure they're using equipment that will prepare you for the air.

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Getting Your Wings
A good aviation school will help your certification process go smoothly and efficiently. The amount of time you'll need to put in will depend on the license you're seeking. For example, a Recreational license takes fewer training hours than a Private one. Your school will guide you through the process of studying for and passing a written test, practical flying lessons, and, finally, the certification test. You'll have to do 30 to 40 hours of flying with an instructor and then fly solo with the instructor on the ground. This will show you're ready to be tested. Students usually take about 5 months to complete the required in-air training. It's also common for students to take more hours of instruction than is required.

Once you're ready for the test, you'll need to get a written recommendation from your teacher. On the big day, you'll give this to an FAA instructor. This person will grill you for an hour or two on rules and regulations and then take you up to see how you handle things in the air. If the examiner approves, you'll get a temporary certificate and the FAA will send your permanent license by mail. After that, it's just you and the clouds.

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