The entry-level pilot certificate for aviation careers requires a minimum of 40 hours
flying time, with a minimum of 20 of those hours dual and 10 hours solo (FAR Part
61). However, the national average is closer to 75 hours. We fly in an airspace region
that requires additional training and occasional air traffic control delays even
during initial training. An industrious Mt SAC student can expect to spend about
60 hours in attainment of the Private Pilot Certificate. Twenty hours of solo time
is somewhat realistic, but the dual flight hours normally far exceeds twenty hours,
Taking all costs into consideration, including those of medical certificates, flight
test examiner fees, and the expected cost of the additional dual flight instruction,
the minimum cost at which a private pilot certificate can be obtained is $9000. This
projected minimum cost is based upon 60 total flight hours at the Mt SAC rates. Our
current rates are:
- C150/152s $90 per hour
- C172s $115 per hour
- Arrow $130 per hour
- Citabria $85 per hour
- Instructors (flight and ground) $50 per hour
The typical time period required for the Private Pilot Certificate is usually about
10 months. Since there is no problem beginning your flight training commensurate with
your initial ground school course (AERO 100), this certificate can be obtained in
two semesters. However, cost considerations and student schedule considerations may
necessitate that the training be spread over three full semesters. Flying at a rate
of 2 or 3 hours per week would allow attainment of the private license in a 10 month
period. However, this is seldom realistic – personal schedules, weather cancellations,
and financial considerations usually become a factor. There is an advantage in taking
your flight lessons concurrently with AERO 100, since the ground school and flight
training tend to compliment each other and speed the student's progress.
Statistics show that the Private Pilot Certificate is obtained in the minimum number
of flight hours when individual lessons are sequenced with only a few days between
lessons. Probably an ideal situation would involve flying three times per week. Once
again, individual considerations often prohibit this, but it does seem to produce
the lowest total cost in the long run.
The Student Pilot Certificate (accompanied by a Class III medical certificate) is
not required prior to first solo, so it is not a prerequisite for your first lesson.
The first solo flight normally does not occur until ten to twenty hours of dual flight
instruction have been received. The FAA computerized knowledge exam (written exam)
need not be completed until you are approaching the date for your final flight test.
Thus, there is no fear of your flight training getting ahead of AERO 100. And, the
flight test cannot be scheduled until you have passed your FAA computerized knowledge
exam (minimum grade 70%).
The Private Pilot Certificate is the entry-level certificate for the building of flight
time towards higher certificates and ratings. The good news is that a private pilot
can share the operating expenses of an aircraft with passengers, so Mt SAC students
routinely utilize this as a tool for advancing towards higher flight credentials.
Usually there are lots of other Mt SAC students who are quick to share flight expenses
with new private pilots in mutual advancement towards flying careers.
Military aviation does not have an entry-level flight requirement, since the military
services train their pilots from the beginning. However, a private pilot certificate
(especially with an instrument rating) is a great credential for entry into the very
competitive military environment.