how to become a private pilot

How To Become A Private Pilot (fast)

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The dream of flying is as old as mankind itself. I fulfilled my dream of flying airplanes as a pilot and it seems that you have the same desire. In this blog post, I will tell you what it takes to obtain a private pilot license and share with you the steps necessary. How long does it take? How much does it cost and how to become a private pilot FAST? It definitely ain’t rocket science and if you have the same excitement for flying as me you will easily fulfil our dream. (All requirements and regulations are based on the European aviation authority)

how to become a private pilot

Flying The Small Birds

In my latest question and answer videos on my Instagram page, I noticed that so many of you had questions on how to become a private pilot to fly small planes just for fun. I am currently operating piston-engine aeroplanes regularly since I completed my flight training to become a flight instructor. My flight students train VFR flying to obtain the PPL (private pilot license), the LAPL (light airplane pilot license) and the ATPL (airline transport pilot license). You probably have heard of the PPL but the LAPL might sound new to you. It is a way to fly light airplanes faster. I will share more information about this license later in this article.

Check out this blog post in case you are interested in How To Become A Flight Instructor”.

how to become a private pilot
how to become a flight instructor

The Private Pilot License

The license of PPL(A) (EASA-FCL), which stands for Private Pilot’s License European Aviation Safety Agency Flight Crew Licensing. I am glad that we have so many abbreviations in the aviation language. This license allows you to fly two  and four-seater aircraft (such as our Cessnas C-172) in Germany as well as abroad, whereby it is valid only for one-engine aircraft which have a maximum permissible gross of two tons. The license can later be expanded by further licenses or class ratings. (like Instrument flying or multi-engine ratings.)

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

Requirements

  • Sec. 23 para. 2 Air Traffic Licensing Order (LuftVZO): minimum age to start training is 16 (license qualification with age of 17)
  • Aviation medical class 2
  • Declaration of pending criminal proceedings (Sec. 24 para. 3 no. 3 and 4 Air Traffic Licensing Order)
  • Extract of German Federal Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Drivers (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt) (Sec. 30 para. 8 of Road Traffic Act (StVG))

The following documents are needed in the course of the training:

  • Radio Telephony Certificate (BZF) – (is being acquired in parallel to the flight training)
  • Security background check

My insider tip: Before searching for a flight school in your preferred location, I would do the medical examination first so you know that you are fit to become a pilot.

how to become a private pilot

Find A Suitable Flight School

Finding the right flight school is probably the most difficult task on the way to becoming a pilot. The quality of your training highly depends on the flight school and their instructors. Let Google do the job for you to find flight schools at your preferred location.

My insider tips:  

  • Talk to former flight students and ask them for their opinion on the flight school
  • Visit them personally before signing a contract. Maybe they have an “open day”  to get to know the flight school.
  • Check the size and state of the fleet of aeroplanes. A small fleet could cause your flight missions to be cancelled more often because of technical issues.
  • Take your first flight lesson as a test to see if you like it and feel comfortable with the school.

Pricing for a private pilot license (flight school around Berlin):

how to become a private pilot
how to become a private pilot

Theoretical training

The theoretical part of the training contains 6 training subjects. In addition, there will be the theory for the Radio Telephony Certificate.

  • Technics (aerodynamics, aircraft knowledge)
  • Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • Air Law
  • Human Performance
  • behaviour in exceptional situations
  • Radio Telephony Certificate (BZF) theory

Practical training

The practical part of the training contains 45 flight lessons, 10 lesson hours of which have to be flown without a flight instructor (solo), whereby again at least 5 lesson hours of which need to be cross country flights. One of these cross country flights need to have a minimum flight route of 270 km containing two stops at foreign airports. Furthermore, controlled airports have to be approached as part of the training. On top of that, the training contains instructions in instrument rating and radio navigation. You also practice different airwork flight patterns to get to know the behaviour of the aeroplane in critical flight conditions.

Examinations

The training will be completed by a theoretical and a practical examination. For logical reasons, the theoretical examination will be taken after the student pilot’s first solo-flight, whereby all subjects of the theoretical training will be examined by means of multiple choice. The practical examination will be taken at the end of the training when you will fly together with an examiner for about 60 minutes.

how to become a flight instructor

How To Become A Private Pilot (fast)

There are a few ways to become a private pilot a little bit quicker. In general, it takes a minimum of two months for flight training. Once you have passed your examinations you have to apply for the license and your aviation authority in charge. This can take another few weeks. It took the German LBA over 6 months to issue my flight instructor license.  This is definitely not acceptable in our faced-paced aviation world.

  1. Easing of training restrictions

If you have a license for gliding, it is possible to reduce the flying time by 10 %, whereby a maximum of 10 flight hours can be accepted.

  1. Pick the right time of the year

Your VFR flight training highly depends on the weather. If the weather is below VFR minimums, you will not be able to fly so the flight mission needs to be cancelled. So pick a time of the year for your location in which you have the best flying weather. In case you are in doubt, ask the flight school for the best starting time.

  1. Have all your papers and documents ready

Before you start with your flight training, make sure that you have all the papers on board and requirements fulfilled.

  1. Light aeroplane pilot license

The LAPL allows you to become a pilot quicker. The downside is that you will not be able to add class ratings like IFR or multi-engine. Additionally, you are only allowed to fly within the European Union with a maximum of 3 passengers on board in aeroplanes that weigh below two tons. The advantage is that you only need 30 flight hours in total and the costs are reduced by about 25%, so a total of 8,000€ approximately.

My insider tip: GO for the full Private pilot license which allows you to fly globally.

how to become a private pilot

I hope you find my blog post on “How To Become A Private Pilot (fast)” helpful and could clarify some uncertainties. Make sure to like the post and share it with others who might be interested in this topic.

Drop me an e-mail to flightstudent@pilotpatrick.com, in case you are searching for a flight school in Berlin. I am happy to help you out and maybe I will even be your flight instructor.

Always happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick


how I became a pilot

How I became a pilot II

In my first part of the blogpost "How I became a pilot" I told you about my way to become a flight student at Intercockpit Pilot Training Network.

How I became a pilot

Another requirement to be accepted as flight student is the initial medical class one examination. This examination is standardized for all pilots and needs to be revalidated every year. For detailed requirements please have a look here) For this examination I went to a special Aviation Doctor at Stuttgart airport. Of course I was a little nervous at this stage, because the outcome will decide about my future career. Not only did I pass it very well, but I also met Fabian, who later became a friend and a fellow flight student.  

Training facility of Lufthansa Flight Training (LFT) in Frankfurt

First day of school

My first day of school at the facilities of Lufthansa flight training was in April 2008. I remember it was a really exciting day, because it meant a new stage of life. The Intercockpit course E308 consisted of 20 guys and one girl. After the introduction of the team we were handed out all the training material, that we would need for our studies. I think it were around ten big binders. At this stage quite intimidating. Additionally we received a black pilot bag. Back then, I was really proud to have it.

Intercockpit course E308 in 2008

Theory classes

For the next two months we attended several theory classes to reach the knowledge of a PPL Pilot (Private Pilot License) to be prepared for the first flight phase in Zadar, Croatia. Additionally we had to pass the AZF (flight radiotelephone operators certificate), which grants the permission to communicate with ATC (Air Traffic Control). Why did the flight training take place in a foreign country? Mainly, because of the weather and the lower operating costs. Especially for VFR (visual flight rules) flights, that require a certain cloud ceiling and visibility, the weather in Croatia was definitely better than in Germany over the year.

First theory part in Frankfurt (8 weeks)

The entire flight training was scheduled to last about 18 months, depending on one's personal performance. Since the planning was really tight there was only a couple of off days in between. As this was an integrated training you had to learn continuously to be ready for the exams. It sure was a tough time, but it was worth the effort in the end. Time management was super important. I found it helpful to set weekly goals concerning learning to have a good feeling and to monitor my progress.

First time in Zadar

In June it was time to head down to Zadar for the first practical flight phase. Accommodation and transport had to be organized by ourself. Most of the course stayed at the same location of a croatian women, who rented prevailing to flight students from Germany. I shared an apartment with my friend Fabian. The place was not special at all, but it was only a short walk away from the waterfront.

The historic old town of Zadar is really beautiful. It is located right at the Adria, where we enjoyed amazing sunsets. The landscape of Croatia is unique with many small islands (66 inhabited) stretching along the coastline of 1800 kilometer and the high Biokovo mountains in the back. It did not take long until we got to see the beautiful landscape from above. After a couple of days of introduction in a basic fixed simulator the first flight in a DA20 aircraft with a instructor was due.

PA44 flight school aircraft of Intercockpit in Zadar

I was super excited and also a little scared. Not of the flying itself, rather if I really like it and could imagine to do it for the rest of my life. All sorrows were gone, when I lifted off the ground for the first time by myself. I remember, that everything was going so fast. It felt like I was flying a fighter jet. Today I can grin about it, since I take off with the Citation XLS+ at a speed, which is 2,5 times faster.

Structure of the training:

  • 8 weeks of PPL theory classes in Frankfurt
  • 10 weeks of flight training in Zadar, Croatia
  • 30 weeks of ATPL theory classes in Frankfurt  (ATPL = Airline Transport Pilot License)
  • 8 weeks of IFR flight training in Vero Beach, Florida  (IFR = Instrument flight rules)
  • 4 weeks ME IFR flight training in Zadar, Croatia  (ME = Multi Engine)
  • 1 week MCC course in Frankfurt  (MCC = Multi Crew Coordination)

Read in my next part about the rest of the flight training in Zadar, a drink offer after landing in Slovakia and the ATPL theory part back in Germany. I am working on more photos of my flight training.

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