How to Become a Private Pilot

The starting point in all pilot journeys

What is a Private Pilot Certificate?

A private pilot certificate is a coveted achievement for those who dream of taking to the skies. This certification, issued by aviation authorities, opens up a world of possibilities, allowing holders to operate aircraft for personal or recreational purposes. Whether it's soaring above scenic landscapes, visiting distant destinations, or simply indulging in the thrill of flight, a private pilot certificate is the key that unlocks these adventures. At Summit Flight Academy, our experienced instructors are dedicated to helping aspiring pilots earn this essential certification, providing comprehensive training and support throughout the journey.

Becoming a Private Pilot

How to start training with Summit Flight Academy

01

Medical Exam

Before embarking on the journey to become a private pilot, aspiring aviators must undergo a comprehensive medical examination. At Summit Flight Academy, we understand the importance of this critical step and guide our students through the process, ensuring they possess the physical and mental aptitude required for safe flight operations. The medical exam assesses various aspects, including vision, hearing, cardiovascular health, and overall fitness. Our instructors provide valuable insights, helping students prepare for this essential examination and demonstrating their readiness to take on the responsibilities that come with piloting an aircraft.

02

Written Exam

Knowledge is the cornerstone of any successful pilot's training, and the written exam is a testament to this principle. At Summit Flight Academy, our experienced instructors offer comprehensive ground instruction, covering a wide range of topics from aviation regulations and aerodynamics to meteorology and navigation. We provide our students with the necessary resources and support to dedicate themselves to diligent study, mastering the intricacies of flight theory and regulations. With our guidance, aspiring pilots can confidently approach the written exam, prepared to demonstrate their theoretical proficiency and instill confidence in their ability to make informed decisions during flight operations.

03

Flight Exam (Practical Exam)

The culmination of a private pilot's training is the practical flight exam, also known as the "checkride." At Summit Flight Academy, our state-of-the-art fleet of well-maintained Piper aircraft provides the ideal platform for aspiring pilots to put their skills to the ultimate test. You'll demonstrate your proficiency in various maneuvers and procedures during actual flight. The flight exam is a true test of ability, and our commitment to personalized instruction ensures that each student is ready to integrate their theoretical knowledge with practical application. Successful completion of this exam at Summit Flight Academy is a testament to your mastery of the aircraft and their readiness to take to the skies as a certified private pilot.

Let's Get Started?

Submit your enrollment interest today

Pricing

Our Private Pilot Packages

We pride ourselves on transparency when it comes to flight training. While other flight schools may hide their pricing, we feel that our future students should have an idea of what they’re paying when engaging in flight training with us.

Expedited Package

$4,500 /1st month

Pay $4,500 in months 2-3 or Pay $13,000 once

Our three month* private pilot training package is perfect for those looking to earn their pilot certificate over the summer or anytime where full time effort can be applied. Students will take their ground school month one, then fly the next two months. Students must have the FAA medical certificate in hand prior to scheduling a start date. Your course schedule is planned in advance and you can expect to fly and study five days a week.

  • 48 hours of aircraft time.
  • Instructor services, including checkride prep.
  • Basic Pilot Supplies: passive headset, bag, kneeboard, etc.
  • Online Sporty's ground school course.
  • ForeFlight Electronic chart subscription.
  • ASA Oral Exam Prep Book.
  • FAA Private Pilot ACS Standards Book.
  • Non owned insurance.

*Three months is the expected program length. Extensions may be needed to due weather, learning speed, illness or mechanical issues and will be managed to ensure your completion as close as possible to the stated timeframe. No additional charges will apply unless the student exceeds the hours provided. Excess hours will be available at a program discounted rate, if needed.

Efficient Package

$3,500 /1st month

Pay $2,925 in months 2-5 or Pay $14,900 once

Our five month* private pilot training package is perfect for the majority of students. This program expects a student can commit to coming to the airport an average of 2-3 times a week to fly with various ground school assignments between lessons. Students will take their ground school and pass the FAA knowledge test prior to solo. Students will generally schedule out a month at a time to ensure their program progresses on schedule.

  • 58 hours of aircraft time.
  • Instructor services, including checkride prep.
  • Basic Pilot Supplies: passive headset, bag, kneeboard, etc.
  • Online Sporty's ground school course.
  • ForeFlight Electronic chart subscription.
  • ASA Oral Exam Prep Book.
  • FAA Private Pilot ACS Standards Book.
  • Non owned insurance.

*Five months is the expected program length. Extensions may be needed to due weather, learning speed, illness or mechanical issues and will be managed to ensure your completion as close as possible to the stated timeframe. No additional charges will apply unless the student exceeds the hours provided. Excess hours will be available at a program discounted rate, if needed.

Extended Package

$3,500 /1st month

Pay $1,738 in months 2-9 or Pay $16,900 once

Our nine month* private pilot training package is recommended only for those students with more limited availability to learn to fly. The monthly cost is less, but the overall cost is more due to more flight hours needed for this pace of learning. Students will take their ground school and pass the FAA knowledge test prior to solo. Students will generally schedule out a month at a time, 1-2 lessons per week, to ensure their program progresses on schedule.

  • 67 hours of aircraft time.
  • Instructor services, including checkride prep.
  • Basic Pilot Supplies: passive headset, bag, kneeboard, etc.
  • Online Sporty's ground school course.
  • ForeFlight Electronic chart subscription.
  • ASA Oral Exam Prep Book.
  • FAA Private Pilot ACS Standards Book.
  • Non owned insurance.

*Nine months is the expected program length. Extensions may be needed to due weather, learning speed, illness or mechanical issues and will be managed to ensure your completion as close as possible to the stated timeframe. No additional charges will apply unless the student exceeds the hours provided. Excess hours will be available at a program discounted rate, if needed.

Private Pilot

Frequently asked questions

1

What are the requirements to be a private pilot?

The FAA has the following requirements to become a private pilot:

  • Be at least 17 years old.
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.
  • Hold at least a third-class medical certificate.
  • Receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study course.
  • Pass a knowledge test.
  • Pass the practical test (aka checkride)
2

Is a private pilot certificate right for you?

A private pilot certificate is best for pilots that:

  • Want to fly a wide variety of general aviation aircraft, including those with more than one passenger seat.
  • Can meet the class three FAA medical certification standards.
  • Aspire to earn additional certificates or ratings.
  • Want or need to fly at night.
  • Want to fly outside US airspace.
3

What will I learn and do in training?

Some of what you'll learn and do:

  • Complete ground school (online + instructor): Upon completion, you will take an FAA knowledge exam on aviation topics such as aircraft systems, weather, flight planning, aviation regulations, private pilot privileges, and limitations.
  • Pre-solo flight training: You'll learn to prepare an aircraft for flight, control an aircraft in all phases of flight, perform essential maneuvers, and safely takeoff and land. Once complete, you will be ready to start making some flights solo, under the careful supervision of your instructor.
  • Cross country flight training: You'll leave the local airport area and start learning how to navigate and fly to new places!
  • Night flight training: Night flying is usually calm, fun, and offers fantastic views. It does change the game a bit and you'll learn how to safely fly at night
  • Basic instrument training: You'll learn how to avoid getting caught in the clouds and the best ways to get out and recover if you accidentally do.
  • Checkride preparation: Once all the FAA requirements are completed, you'll begin to focus on bringing it all together. You'll work with your instructor to prep for the oral portion of your checkride and fly together to ensure all your flight tasks meet the FAA airmen certification standards for private pilots.
4

Why Packages?

We offer our best pricing with these packages because it allows us to manage our aircraft and instructor workloads more predictably and efficiently. They also offer you the best structure for finishing what you started. Additionally, many financing options require packaging to structure a loan for students needing that option.

5

How often will I fly with these packages?

Our expedited program is a full-time effort for three months. Our efficient program is designed to be completed in five months, flying 2-3 times a week. Our extended program is designed for 1-2 lessons per week over nine months.

6

What happens if I don't use all my flight hours?

This generally does not occur as we have built our packages with the averages in mind. However, in the event it does we will gladly move those hours into another package or you may use them for rental purposes within 90 days of your checkride.

7

What happens if I exceed my allocated flight hours?

We strive for this not to happen by providing average flight hours that are needed for the program length you select. However, in the event this happens, we will provide you additional aircraft and/or instructor hours at an agreed-upon discounted rate.

8

What pilot supplies are included?

Your choice of two pilot bags, a Faro passive headset, logbook, basic kneeboard, ASA Oral Exam Guide, a hard copy of the FAA Private Pilot ACS, and ForeFlight Subscription. As a Lightspeed dealer, we do have an upgrade option available to a noise-cancelling headset. Some supplies like a flight computer and foggles can be borrowed from school inventory. Optional items will be discussed with your instructor to help you keep costs manageable.

9

What happens if I need to quit or defer my training?

Life happens, we get it. If you need to defer your training you may pause payments and elect a future restart date. If you have paid off your program, but have not completed it, your program remains valid for six months after the initial program end date. Upon restart, you may receive a new instructor and experience the need to fly additional hours to complete your certificate, but we will provide all hours originally paid for by your package. After six months, the cash value of your program remains for another six months. However, we may need to reprice your package if costs have increased. If you need to completely withdraw from your program, there is no obligation beyond a 10% administrative fee of the unearned remaining program value. This serves to reimburse Summit Flight for the package discounts afforded in your training package. For example, if you are one month into the expedited program and need to cancel, the fee to cancel is $900 on an outstanding $9000 balance. Insurance, ground school, pilot supplies, and Foreflight fees are, unfortunately, non-refundable. Any remaining money on the account will be refunded within 7 days of written notice of withdrawal. If your account is in deficit, we will need the balance paid off at the time of cancellation.