Private Pilot Course

What is a Private Pilot Certificate?

The Private Pilot Certificate is the basic unrestricted license that allows you to fly most single-engine aircraft wherever planes can typically fly. If you want to fly for business, transportation, or a career, this is the place to start. If you know you want to fly only two person airplanes for recreation, the Sport Pilot Certificate would be another option.

Why Become a Private Pilot?

The Private Pilot Certificate is the starting point for many aviation dreams. With your certificate, you can:

  • Have Fun!
  • Save travel time
  • Avoid crowded roads
  • Avoid airport security hassles
  • Earn a sense of accomplishment

What is Involved?

The details of what is required to earn your Private Pilot Certificate are in the sidebar at right. Essentially you have to receive the appropriate training on how to operate an aircraft and take two tests, a computerized knowledge test, and a flight with an examiner.

Why Learn at HOVA?

We make learning fun. Your learning is individualized according to how you want to learn. How? With us you can choose:

A Part 61 or Part 141 Curriculum.

Start with Tecnam Light Sport aircraft or Cessna 172’s.

Use Analog or Digital (Glass screen) instrumentation.

Take your ground school in a classroom, from a book, or online.

Don’t know which choices to make? Keep reading to find the answers to these and other questions.

How Can I Pay for My Certificate?

HOVA offers two options for payment.

  1. Pay by the hour
  2. Buy blocks of time

To pay by the hour, you will simply pay the hourly rate for the aircraft and instructor as you train. Blocks of time are offered in $1000 increments for a 5% discount when paying by check or cash.

FAA Requirements for Private Pilot

  • Be at least 17 years old (May start training at any age)
  • Be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language
  • Obtain at least a third class medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner
  • Pass a computerized aeronautical knowledge test
  • Accumulate and log a specified amount of training and experience, including the following:
    • If training under Part 61, Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) section 61.109, requires at least 40 hours of flight time, including 20 hours of flight with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight (i.e., by yourself), and other requirements including cross-country flight, which include
      • Solo requirements:
        1. 5 hours of solo cross-country time
        2. One solo cross-country flight of at least 150 nmi (280 km) total distance, with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points and with one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50 nmi (93 km) between the takeoff and landing locations
        3. Three solo takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.
      • Night requirements:
        1. 3 hours of night flight training
        2. 10 takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport
      • 3 hours of flight training on the control and maneuvering solely by reference to instruments
      • 3 hours of flight training for cross country flights
      • 3 hours of flight training with an authorized instructor in preparation for the practical test, which must have been performed within the preceding 2 calendar months from the month of the test
    • If training under Part 141, at least 35 hours of piloting time including 20 hours with an instructor and 5 hours of solo flight, and other requirements including cross-country and night flights
  • Pass an oral test and flight test administered by an FAA inspector, FAA-designated examiner, or authorized check instructor

Frequently Asked Questions

The Private Pilot Certificate is the traditional  starting place for pilot training. In 2004, in an effort to make flying more accessible and less expensive, the FAA created the Sport Pilot Certificate. A sport certificate is a great way to start your flying, but comes with certain limitations such as daytime, good weather flying only in sport category aircraft, which are limited by weight and can carry only two people. If these restrictions are within the type of flying you plan on, or you are unsure if flying is for you, then the sport certificate would be a good choice. If you know already that you want to fly larger aircraft, carry more people, or use an airplane for transportation, you should start with the Private Pilot Certificate. If you should go the sport route and later change your mind, all of the flying that you receive at HOVA is with fully qualfied instructors and your training time can be applied to the Private Pilot Certificate.

The time and therefore the cost to learn to fly is based on things such as the individual amount of effort put forth, how often you schedule lessons, and individual aptitude. An average investment is around $12,500-$14,500. Ask us, and we’ll be happy to share cost cutting strategies.

At HOVA, we have plenty of aircraft and instructors to ensure that you can move through the course as rapidly as you like. The FAA requires a minimum of 40 flight training hours, although most students require more. It’s possible to finish the training in 14 days, providing you come to us with your knowledge test completed. A more typical part time schedule flying only 2-3 times per week is 4-6 months.

Yes! We use respected Gleim training materials and curriculum, tailored to your individual needs.

At HOVA, you can use either a Part 61 or 141 curriculum. A Part 141 program is one that is government approved. Such approval comes with many restrictions that may not be appropriate for all students. Unless you are a veteran using VA benefits or a foreign student, we recommend the more flexible Part 61 program.

Yes, we believe that having a single flight instructor shepherding you through your learning make smoother learning, though we do periodically schedule you with other instructors to confirm your progress and give you a different perspective.

As much as possible! Taking your lessons as often as possible with result in you learning better, in fewer flight hours, spending less money.

Pricing estimates last updated: 3/29/23