Many private pilots are interested in flying for fun and flying a variety of different aircraft. Others learn to fly so they are able to use an aircraft to support their business or professional interests, like flying themselves to meetings to cut down on travel time. Whatever the goal, private pilots have many options.
A private pilot certificate is the certificate held by the majority of active pilots in the USA. It allows command of any aircraft weighing less than 12,500 lbs, (subject to appropriate ratings) for any non-commercial purpose and gives almost unlimited authority to fly under visual flight rules (VFR). A private pilot may carry passengers and flight in furtherance of a business. However, a private pilot may not be compensated for services as a pilot. Passengers are only allowed to pay a pro-rata share of flight expenses, such as fuel or rental costs.
With a private pilot certificate, a pilot can rent aircraft from Western Air and fly anywhere in the US. Western’s diverse fleet enables renters to experience the wide variety of aircraft available in the US market. A private pilot certificate is the minimum requirement for adding other ratings and more advanced certificates. Western Air offers most of the advanced certificates and ratings. Popular advancements include: technically advanced avionics aircraft, high performance aircraft, tailwheel endorsement, mountain flying checkout, and Cirrus training.
Private pilot training involves two main components – ground school and flight training. Ground school is accomplished either in our classroom or through a home study course. It teaches you all the background information that all pilots need to know, but are not easily taught in the air. Topics covered during ground school include: regulations, airplane systems, navigation, aerodynamics, weather theory, and radio communications.
Typically 3-hour lessons are scheduled during which students will log 1-2 hours of flight time. Each lesson is structured to cover the specific maneuvers needed to master in order to earn a certificate. This training prepares the student to take both the written and practical tests. Certification is achieved upon successful completion of these two tests.
Aspen has a large diverse Fleet of aircraft in which students can learn to fly. The most common trainers are the Cessna 172, Diamond DA20, and Gobosh 700. Western Air has the right plane for every person, purpose, and budget.
That’s very much dependent on each student. Flying regularly and studying at home shortens the amount of time in the air and time with an instructor on the ground substantially. Flying a minimum of two, 3-hour lessons per week, a student can expect to have their certificate in approximately 6 months.
Cost is also very dependent on the student. If a student flies regularly, and is able to complete the syllabus in the minimum time specified by the FAA, the cost will be less. Here’s a breakdown based on the minimum requirements:
|Minimum Hours||Typical Hours|
|Aircraft Rental (avg. $125/hour)||40||$5,000||58||$7,250|
|Flight Instructor ($45/hour)||45||$2,025||60||$2,700|
|Ground School **||$300||$300|
|Pilot Supplies – Complete Essentials Bundle||$350||$350|
|FAA Knowledge Exam||$150||$150|
|FAA Class 3 Medical Exam||$120||$120|
|Airplane Rental for Check-ride||1.5||$188||1.5||$188|
|FAA Examiner Fee for Check-ride||1||$600||1||$600|
* These prices are just an estimate. Actual costs will vary on an individual basis depending on different learning styles and the proficiency and preparation of the pilot.
To begin you’ll need:
Prior to your first solo flight, you’ll need:
Before your final checkride, you will need to: