Getting Off the Ground: Becoming an Airplane Pilot

Getting Off the Ground: Becoming an Airplane Pilot

In This Chapter

V The costs of flying Pursuing your pilot certificate

>- What to look for in your instructors

V So what about the plane?

So you want to become a pilot. You feel like flying is in your blood, getting that pilot certificate is the goal you’ve set for yourself, and you won’t rest easy until you’ve done it. What do you need to do now?

What Does it Cost to Become a Sport Pilot?

Let’s get one thing cleared up right away. You thought golf was an expensive hobby? I’m giving you fair warning: Flying is an expensive passion to quench, and it takes dedication and professionalism to do it safely. Because it requires months or years of study and practice to become a proficient pilot, think twice about starting if you don’t think you’ll have the time and money to see it through.

Here’s a list of the things you’ll need or want on your way to becoming a pilot:

• A medical certificate

Flying tools, books, and equipment

• A program of instruction, including airplane rental, ground instruction, and flight instruction

• The accoutrements of flying, some necessary and some just to make you look good

• Study aids and video programs

• An FAA written test and an FAA flight test

As you can see, there’s quite a bit you’ll have to get on your way to earning your pilot certificate. (And that’s just getting the certificate. The cost of renting or purchasing an airplane is still a distant consideration.) Let’s take a look at each bulleted item in more detail.

Getting Off the Ground: Becoming an Airplane Pilot

By the Book

The first, and for most people, only, pi’lot certificate you’ll study for is a private pilot certificate. (Don’t call it a license; that marks you as an amateur. Only car drivers and poets possess a license. If you feel you really have to impress someone, you can call it your “private ticket") From there, you can get a com­mercial pilot certificate, which is the minimum you’ll need if you want to make some money in the flying game.

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