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How do I Start the Process of Becoming a Pilot?

Whether you have made up your mind to become a pilot, or if you are just starting your research, the summary below will give you a good idea of the general process.

Brief Summary...
After you have logged the required Aeronautical Experience, Aeronautical Knowledge (and have passed the computer based knowledge test), received both a Student Pilot Certificate and an FAA Medical Certificate, and you are safe and competent flying the airplane, you will be eligible to take the FAA Practical Exam for your Private Pilot Certificate (see more detail on each of these steps below).

You can then upgrade your certificate to a Commercial Pilot Certificate (this will allow you to work as a pilot). Also, you can add various ratings to your pilot certificate, such as an instrument rating (so you can fly in the clouds), or various type ratings to fly larger aircraft and jets.  

Where to start...
Take an introductory flying lesson! We offer a range of introductory options to help get you started (learn more), all of which will give you the opportunity to actually fly the plane. More importantly, you will get to see our operation first hand, and ask important questions about cost, scheduling flexibility, experience of our flight instructors, and our perfect safety record since we started more than ten years ago!

Before taking the Private Pilot Practical Exam,
you must satisfy ALL of the following criteria:


Aeronautical Experience - (Flight Training in the airplane)
The FAA requires at least 40 hours of logged flight time. This required flight time includes both time with an instructor (dual time), and time flying the plane by yourself (solo time). The total number of flight hours you will need varies from person to person - the national average is 60-70 hours. The number of actual flight hours is not the determining factor... you must be safe and proficient in the airplane.

  Aeronautical Knowledge - (often called Ground Training or Ground School)
Controlling the airplane is only a part of the process. You must also have a strong understanding of all of the topics listed below in order to be a safe pilot. All of our ground training is done on a one-on-one basis with your instructor. If you are motivated, you will be able to cover most of the following topics on your own. After, your ground school is complete, you will have to pass a Computer Based Knowledge Test at an FAA testing center. A passing grade of 70% or better is required, before you are eligible to schedule your practical exam with the FAA.

  - Aerodynamics
  - Airplane Systems
  - Airports and Airspace

  - Aviation Regulations
  - Airplane Performance
  - Aeromedical Factors

  - Weather
  - Navigation
  - Flight Planning

Student Pilot Certificate
You are not required to have a Student Pilot Certificate prior to starting your Flying Lessons, but you must have this step completed before you will be able to start the solo portion of your flight training. Aviation Medical Examiners no longer issue Student Pilot Certificates.

The application process in now completed online on the FAA's IACRA website. It is a multi-step process that is best completed while you and your instructor are together at a computer. Both of you will need to login and digitally sign the application. After you finish the online application, if takes about 2-3 weeks for you to receive your Certificate in the mail.


FAA Medical Certificate
You are not required to have an FAA Medical Exam prior to starting your Flying Lessons, but you must have this step completed before you will be able to start the solo portion of your flight training. If you have any "hiccups" in your medical history, it is a good idea to complete this process as soon as you have decided to commit yourself to becoming a pilot.

The first step is to fill out an online application on the FAA's website, where you will submit information on your medical history.
The site can be found here: FAA MEDXPRESS.

After you have completed the online process, you will receive an ID number. You can then call an Aviation Medical Examiner to schedule your medical exam.

Find an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) - on the FAA's website
Find an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) - www.flightphysical.com

All medical questions should be referred an Aviation Medical Examiner, but generally only more serious conditions, such as heart trouble, diabetes, epilepsy, or psychological problems would disqualify you. You can learn more at www.flightphysical.com

Learn more about how we can help you get your Private Pilot Certificate

Request more information / Submit a Question Online
  We will respond as soon as possible!

Or, feel free to call me, if you have any questions.

   Chief Pilot
   American Airman, Inc. - Long Island Flying
   Phone: 631-807-1373