Recreational and Private Pilot Licenses

For general aviation there are two major licenses that can be obtained, they are the recreational and the private pilot license.

The Recreational License

The recreational license was added by the FAA to service pilots that wanted to fly locally and for fun.

The training does not include areas such as night flying, controlled airspace flight, the carrying of more than 1 passenger and you are limited to flights no more than 50NM from your home airport.

The recreational pilot license is much easier, cheaper and faster to complete but as you can see you have some restrictions on what you are allowed to accomplish.

The recreational final exam is extremely similar to the private pilot exam. There are only a few areas that are not included for the recreational exam, such as night topics, ATC signals and lighting. Everything else is the same and is essential knowledge.

One major advantage of the recreational pilot license is that if you change your mind and want to have more flexibility and greater freedom to fly in more areas or complete trips. The recreational license can be upgraded with additional training to a private pilot license.

The Private Pilot License

The private pilot license will allow you fly a plane with passengers, baggage and allow you to travel further into controlled environments. You may add additional ratings to this license so you can fly in differing environments or in more advanced aircraft.

The private pilot license training is similar to the commercial but there is more training involved and you may offer your services for hire when you complete the commercial pilot license training.

What is required to obtain your private pilot certificate?

There are many requirements in order to become a private licensed pilot and below is a break-down of these:

  • Must be at least 17 years of age
  • Be able to read, write and communicate in English
  • Obtain at minimum of a Class 3 medical
  • Obtain a student pilot certificate (training for this can start at 16 years of age but the license can not be signed off until the student is 17 years of age)
  • Receive approved training from an FAA authorized instructor
  • Complete a home-study course such as our practice exams. We can provide proof of completion to your authorizing instructor in order to obtain a recommendation that you have reached the required knowledge level in order to write the final exam.
  • Pass the recreational or private pilot knowledge test with a score of 70% or above.

You must complete the training requirements as stated in 14 CFR 61.109 for flight instruction and solo flight time which would include the following:

  • Minimum of 20 hours of flight instruction from an authorized FAA instructor which must include a minimum of:
  • 3 hours cross country
  • 3 hours of night flight training that include:
  • 1 cross country flight of over 100NM total distance and 10 take-offs and landing to a full stop at an airport
  • 3 hours of instrument training
  • 3 hours of pre flight test preparation no more than 2 months before you r flight test

Solo requirements

  • 10 hours of solo training which must include the following:
  • 5 hours of cross country
  • 1 solo cross country flight of at least 150NM total distance with 3 stops along the route and at least one part of the route must be 50NM between airports you are landings at.
  • 3 solo take-offs and landings at a controlled airport

Once these are completed you must demonstrate your skills with a recommending flight instructor in order to receive a sign off from your CFI. This will enable you to apply for a flight test and receive a date.

You will complete a practical flight test and this will include a ground portion where the designated pilot examiner from the FAA will test your knowledge regarding all aspects of your training and proficiency in the required testing syllabus.

After all this is complete and you have passed with flying colors, you will receive a temporary license until the FAA sends your actual license.

You are now a licensed recreational or private licensed pilot and can enjoy the fruits of your labour.

There is no other feeling than taking a plane and flying to another destination. We are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to achieve something many people cannot.

FAA Examinations is here to help you achieve your dreams. We have a no BS approach to training and passing your exams.  All the questions on the exams are there and just work your way through them at your own pace and anywhere you have internet connection.

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