While the FAA requires a minimum of 40 flight hours to become a Private Pilot, the national average is between 60-70 hours.  Our students average well below this national average, around 55 hours from start to finish.

If you are just getting started in your flight training, you will most likely want to start with an introductory flight with one of our instructors.  This will give you a chance to figure out if you are indeed interested in pursuing flight training, as well as to make sure our instructors are a good fit for you.

Following your introductory flight, your flight training for a Private Pilot License can be split into three distinct phases: 0 hours to your first solo flight, cross country flights/solo cross country, and practical test prep.  There are also ground school and written test requirements, which are covered under the Ground School tab on our website.

Phase 1: 0 Hours to Solo

The initial part of your flight training will focus on basic piloting skills.  You will learn trim control, basic turns and maneuvers, safety and emergency procedures, communications, and of course takeoffs and landings.  Once your instructor is comfortable with your basic skills, you will have your first solo flight, where you will complete three takeoffs and landings, each to a full stop.  After this exciting milestone, you will have completed the first phase of your training!

Phase 2:  Cross Country

Following your solo flight, you and your instructor will begin to work on the fundamentals of cross country flight.   You will learn to plan out your flight, using weather information, charts, and flight instruments, and you will also do some night flying.   You will begin to fly to Santa Maria, Paso Robles, and possibly Oceano, to become comfortable with flying into different sized airports with different surrounding terrain, weather, and communication processes.  For flights to count as “cross country” time in your logbook, they must be of 50+ nautical miles, so some of the standard cross country flights in the area include King City, Salinas, and Santa Barbara (which also includes flying into Class C Airspace).  When you are proficient in your planning and navigating skills, you will do your first solo cross country – a flight that you will have done previously with your instructor, such as to King City and back – followed by a longer solo cross country flight with stops at two airports before returning to San Luis Obispo.

Phase 3: Practical Test Preparation

In the final phase of flight training, you will work with your instructor on preparing for your practical test – the final step to getting your Private Pilot License.  This will include preparation for the oral exam, where the examiner will test your knowledge of FAA Regulations, understanding of airspace and operations, familiarity with the aircraft, and ability to plan out a flight.  You and your instructor will also review and practice the maneuvers and exercises that the examiner will put you through during the test, including different types of takeoffs and landings (ex: crosswind, short field, soft field, etc.), maneuvers, emergency procedures, and using navigational aids.  Once your instructor is comfortable with your preparedness level, you will make an appointment with the examiner, and following your completion and passing of the checkride, you will be a private pilot!!!

**Although this is an outline of the standard way we structure our flight instruction program, there may be changes made according to your abilities and progression.  Your flight instructor will work with you to tailor your program to your individual needs, to ensure the best use of your time and resources.