Private Pilot FAQ

Frequently Asked Private Pilot Questions

How Long Will It Take?

Most people train 2 to 3 times a week.  Given this frequency you can expect to complete your private pilot certification in approximately 4 to 6 months.  However, you can complete it in an accelerated manner if you have the time to devote to it.


What Kinds of Tests Will I Have To Take?

  • You will be quizzed by your CFI every time you see him. But aside from that you’ll have to take a written in house test before solo flight.
  • Pass a written 60 question Test from the FAA. This is taken at many different testing facilities by 3rd party administrators.
  • Pass a FAA medical exam by an Aviation Medical Examiner. Most people that are in good general health can pass this.  If you have specific concerns it I recommended that you discuss it with your CFI prior to starting as it is a considerable investment.
  • Pass an oral and practical test with a FAA Designated Pilot Examiner.

What are the flight requirements?

Part 141 This is a highly structured course. Only flight schools that have met a rigorous FAA certification process can offer such. Cherokee Flight holds such a certification. The 141 training process has reduced minimums from that of Part 61. Those that seek to become a profession pilot should insist on only Part 141 training.

  • 35 Hours Flight Training
  • 5 Hours of Solo Flight
  • One solo cross country of at least 100 NM and 3 stops
  • 3 hours of night flight to include 10 takeoffs and landings and a cross country flight
  • 3 hours of instrument flight
  • 3 Solo Takeoffs and Landings at a towered airport

Part 61 Training under part 61 is much more flexible than part 141. As such the FAA requires more hours than that of part 141.

  • 40 Hours Flight Training
  • 10 Hours of Solo Flight
  • 5 Hours of Solo Cross Country
  • One solo cross country of at least 150 NM and 3 stops
  • 3 hours of night flight to include 10 takeoffs and landings and a cross country flight
  • 3 hours of instrument flight
  • 3 Solo Takeoffs and Landings at a towered airport

What is the minimum age?

You can begin your training at any age.  Many youth start logging time in their very early teens.  However, you cannot solo until you are 16 and must be 17 to take the practical test for the certification.


Can you train in your own aircraft?

Yes, but only under part 61.  Occasionally, a person chooses to purchase their own aircraft.  We recommend you consult with us first though as there are many aircraft that are considered to be “too much” for the new pilot.