Private Pilot

A private pilot certificate opens the door to the world of general aviation and is the foundation for more advanced ratings and certificates.

Training Requirements

Training requirements for the Private Pilot certificate are documented in 14 CFR part 61 subpart E. The bulletted list below is a summary of those requirements.

  • Must be at least 17 years of age at the time of the exam. Training can begin prior to that with no age minimum (although you must be at least 16 years old to fly solo)
  • Must be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
  • 40 hours of flight time
    • Including a minimum of 20 hours of training with a flight instructor
    • Including a minimum of 10 hours of solo flight training
    • 5 hours of solo cross-country flight time
    • solo cross-country flight of 150 nautical miles total distance, with full-stop landings at three points, and one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distances of more than 50 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations
    • 3 landings and takeoffs to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower
  • Completion of a written aeronautical knowledge test. Columbus Flying Club can provide ground instruction for this test and an FAA test center is conveniently located at the airport.
  • Completion of an oral and practical exam with a designated pilot examiner


FAA Minimum Requirements National Averages
Item Rate Hours Total Hours Total
Aircraft Rental $134 40 $5,360 60 $8,040
Flight Instruction $50 20 $1,000 30 $1,500
Private Pilot Training Kit $159 $159 $159
Ground Instruction $40 3 $120 5 $200
Charts, Airport Facility Directory $40 $40 $40
FAA Written Exam $150 $150 $150
FAA Examiner’s Fee $400 $400 $400
Estimated Training Costs $7,229 $10,489

Rates subject to change.

Columbus Flying Club outlines the estimated cost of training, both based on the minimum number of hours required for training as well as the cost based on the national average of the hours taken to obtain the certification. While it is possible to obtain your license at the minimum 40 hours required, the national average to obtain a private pilot certificate is 60 hours.