Even if becoming a pilot has been your lifelong dream, the decision to attend an aviation school shouldn't be made lightly. It's a significant investment of both time and money, and performing careful research about what is required of an aviation student is well worth it. There's an extraordinary amount of information to consider in the process of preparing for aviation school, so check out the following to get you started.
Meeting The Minimum Requirements
Before you can earn your pilot's license, you need to meet or exceed certain requirements set out by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For example, individuals must be at least 16 years old to pilot a single-engine airplane, and 17 to earn a pilot's license. If your vision isn't the best, make sure that it can be corrected to 20/20 by contacts or prescription glasses. Additional health concerns should be addressed during an FAA medical certification process; the FAA issues three kinds of medical certificates, and those looking to pilot planes for recreational purposes need only obtain a third class certificate, which is renewed at intervals dependent on the pilot's age.
Taking The Aeronautical Knowledge Test
The FAA also requires that pilots be well versed in a variety of subject matter relating to aeronautics, and prospective pilots must pass a test to prove their competency in these areas. Though some aviation schools offer intensive ground-school training, it's best to brush up on your knowledge before attending. There are a variety of resources in a range of mediums available to would-be pilots who want to prepare for the knowledge test, from books to videos to computer simulations.
Considering Different Types Of Certificates
Perhaps the most important consideration when comparing different flight schools is the kind of pilot's certificate, or license, that you want to earn. There are two types: the recreational certificate and the private pilot certificate. The former requires less training but only allows you to fly during certain times, weather conditions and in a restricted area, as per FAA guidelines. The latter requires more intensive training but also far fewer restrictions. With a private pilot's license, you can fly across the country by yourself, and even internationally should you so choose. For these reasons, those seeking to eventually become commercial pilots should seek out aviation schools that offer private pilot licenses, while those who view flying simply as an enjoyable hobby are probably best suited for recreational classes.
Talk to a flight school like Parkland College to learn more about what will be expected of you as an aviation student.