Choose Your Preferred Private Pilot License


If you ever have flown in a private airplane and got the itch to get your own private pilot license, several options will put you behind the controls of a single-engine aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allows you to go straight to the top with a fully enabling license to pilot single-engine aircraft with any number of passengers, over any distance and in any kind of weather.

You also can choose a more limited but still loads of fun recreational license that puts you behind the controls but only for limited flights in good weather. A sport license is the most affordable and most restrictive but will let you fly alone in single-engine private aircraft. Here is a closer look at the three types of licenses for private pilots.

Sport License for Private Pilots

If want to you fly very light recreational aircraft during daylight hours and good weather, then a sport license will do. You need to fly at least 20 hours of supervised flight time to qualify for a sport license, which lets you fly Most pilots average more than 30 hours of supervised flight time to get the sport license, and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) says it costs an average of nearly $4,500 to earn one..

Recreational License for Private Pilots

With at least 30 hours of supervised flight time, you could qualify for a recreational license. That lets you pilot single-engine aircraft no more than 50 miles from a designated home airport and with no more than one passenger. It is a good way to get practical flight experience close to home. Most pilots average 44 hours of flight time and pay close to $8,000 to earn a recreational license, the AOPA says.

Unrestricted Private Pilot License

If you want to fly with no restrictions other than a single-engine rating, then an unrestricted license is your ticket to the good times. The FAA requires at least 40 hours of flight time to earn a private pilot license with no restrictions on passengers or distance. Most pilots average 70 hours of flight time prior to obtaining their license and spend nearly $10,000 to get it, the AOPA reports.

Incremental Advances Are Easy

While it takes some general intelligence, aptitude, and generally good physical health to pilot a private plane, it does not have to cost a lot. You can sign up for affordable licensing programs that progress incrementally through the licensing types and eventually enable you to earn an unrestricted license.