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Private Pilot Certification

As a Private Pilot, you can fly most single engine airplanes, day or night. You will be eligible to fly retractable gear and/or high performance airplanes with additional flight training. You will be able to have as many passengers as the plane will carry. You will also be able to add an instrument rating to your license. Check out our airplanes. We mostly use the Citabria 7ECA airplanes for Private Pilot flight training, but we can also use the Cessna 172, Evektor SportStar, or others:

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Prerequisite: Student Pilot License, FAA written test, Medical: Class I, II, or III

Cost: Approximately $9500-$12000

Check out our Ground School which is strongly recommended to help you pass the FAA Knowledge Test.

Private Pilot License Course Outline

FAA minimum is 40 hours, more likely is 70-80 hours. Actual flight hours will vary with each student. We take pride in the quality of our instruction and that we have been in business of flight training for nearly 50 years. We do not train just to pass the test, we will train you to be a proficient, skilled and safe pilot.

Stage A - Pre Solo

Time : Approximately 15-25 hrs flight instruction, 5 hrs ground instruction

Basic Maneuvers : Take-offs, climbs, straight and level flight, airspeed changes, turns, descents, landings, Air Traffic Control procedures, etc.

Certificates : none required for training with instructor

Exams : None required for training with instructor, there will be stage checks with the Chief Pilot

Stage B - Solo and Post Solo

You need to be at least 16 years of age to fly an airplane solo.

Certificates : Medical and Student Pilot Certificate

Exams : Open book exam administered by instructor, 2nd Stage check with Chief Pilot

Time : 10 hrs solo minimum (including 3 supervised solo flights)

Maneuvers : Practice basic fundamentals, flight test maneuvers, airport pattern entry, exit procedures, advanced take-offs and landing techniques, performance maneuvers

Stage C - Cross Country Preparation and Cross Country Flight

Time : Around 5 hrs cross country flight instruction; at least 3 hours instrument flight instruction and at least 3 hours night flying instruction; at least 5 hours solo cross country flight

Maneuvers : navigation using pilotage, dead reckoning and radio navigation; night flight; flight by reference to instruments (without seeing outside)

Stage D - Flight Test Preparation 

Time : As required to exceed the required standards

Maneuvers : Flight test maneuvers as required by the FAA Practical Test Standards

Exam : Stage check with Chief Pilot must be completed, FAA private pilot knowledge exam multi-choice test, 3 hrs. Preparation for FAA knowledge exam should be started as soon as possible. Ground School is recommended.

Note : Preparation for the FAA flight test will normally be done at the same time as the cross country and other training. However, recommendation ride for flight test is not given until student has passed FAA written exam.

Flight Test : Approximately 1 ½ hrs ground time, 1 ½ hrs air time with FAA examiner.

Summary Requirements for Private Pilot License

At least 17 years of age

Third class medical certificate

Complete stages A, B, C and D

FAA written private test (passing grade is 70)

FAA flight test

Flight training as listed below:


Flight Hour Requirements for Private Pilot License:

(All times are the bare minimums, expect more like 70-80 hours)

Total flight time minimum 40 hrs to include:

Flight training (dual) minimum 20 hrs including:

1/ Dual cross country in a single engine airplane at least 3hrs

2/ Dual night time in a single engine airplane at least 3 hrs, including

one night dual cross country night flight over 100nm

10 takeoffs and landings night dual to full stop

3/ Dual instrument time (hood or actual) in single engine airplane at least 3 hrs

4/ Dual in a single engine airplane in past 60 days at least 3 hrs

Solo flight minimum in single engine airplane 10 hrs including:

1/ Solo cross country time in single engine airplane 5 hrs, including one flight over 150nm total, 3 landing points, and at least one leg over 50nm

2/ Three Solo takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport with a control tower

Estimated hours and costs:

•  Total hrs on private pilot curriculum: approximately 70-80 hrs including about 30-35 hrs dual and 25 to 30 hrs solo.

•  Total cost on private pilot curriculum (includes airplane rental and dual instruction) - approximately $9000 -$12000.

•  Present rates: Airplane Hourly Costs and Instructor Costs.

•  Cost of ground school - $300 tuition for the complete course or $20 per session for sixteen sessions. Tuition does not include cost of books and materials.

•  Books and materials - a supply of recommended study materials, references, study kits, plotters, computers, maps, log books, etc. is available at Amelia Reid Aviation.

Prices and rates are subject to change without notice. All training and rentals are subject to the terms and conditions in the Renters' Agreement.

Minimum 24 hrs cancellation notice required or you may be charged for the missed rental and instructor time.

Come and fly with us in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area of California. Our flight school facilities are located at Reid Hillview airport in San Jose (KRHV), at the south end of San Francisco Bay, and Salinas Municipal Airport in Salinas, a few miles east of Monterey. We offer ground and flight training for sport pilot, private pilot, commercial pilot, instrument rating, CFI (certified flight instructor), tailwheel, acrobatics, and multi engine certificates and ratings.

Appointments and reservations may be made at (408) 320-9614, or by email to