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Private Pilot Program

The most common pilot certificate is the private pilot certificate. Because the training requirements are more intensive than those requierd for the recreational or sport pilot, private pilots are allowed to do much more, like fly at night and at controlled airports.


The private pilot license program at WIFA is separated into four stages:


  • The first stage includes the basic maneuvers of flight. During this section you will get comfortable with the airplane controlling it in different phases of flight (climbs, turns, slow flight, etc).


  • The second stage is the pattern work phase. Here you will learn to fly the airplane in the flight traffic pattern and learn to land the plane. This section culminates in your first solo flight. This is a once in a lifetime experience when you first find yourself alone in the sky. Most pilots can still tell you what their solo was like even 20 or 30 years removed from it.


  • From here you will move on to the cross-country stage. Here you will learn both autonomous and radio based navigation. All of our airplanes have Garmin GPS equipment, so you will be learning modern navigation techniques as well as traditional methods. You will go on flights throughout the Mid-Atlantic to experience mountain flying, navigating in congested areas, and flying along the coast of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.


  • The final stage is test preparation. We will help to prepare you for your FAA checkride. We have decades of experience sending students for their tests, with an excellent track record of success.


Throughout the course you will receive ground training in all the subjects required to make you a competent, well rounded pilot, such as weather patterns, aerodynamics, airplane systems, maps, and more.


The minimum number of hours required for the private pilot license is 40 flight hours.


All students are unique and have different skills and qualities, so it is impossible to set a specific number of hours each student will require, however, our average graduation is accomplished at 50-55 hours.


Additional information about the FAA's minimum aeronautical experience requirements for the Private Pilot certificate:


Log minimum of 40 hours of flight training total time that includes:

- At least 20 hours of flight training from an authorized instructor. And:

- At least 10 hours of solo flight training.


The training above must include at least:

  1. Three hours of cross-country flight training

  2. Three hours of night training that includes- (i) One cross-country flight of over 100 NM (nautical miles) total distances (ii) 10 takeoffs and landings to a full stop.

  3. Three hours of instruments flight training.

  4. Three hours of flight training in preparation for the practical test (must have been preformed within 60 days preceding the date of the test)

  5. 10 hours of solo flight time, consisting of at least:

  • Five hours of cross-country time

  • One solo cross-country flight of at least 150 NM total with full stop landings at minimum of three points and one segment of the flight consisting 50 NM between takeoff and landing locations.

  • Three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.


Private Pilot Cost

  • Of course this is only the minimum requirements and it usually takes more hours to complete your license.

  • Aircraft rental: $140/hr. (Cessna 172) Instruction: $60/hr.


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