Overview of Pilot's Licenses

Sport Pilot, Private Pilot, Instrument Training, what's all that mean?

You may or may not be surprised, but there's several licenses for pilots. In a similar way, it's like driver's licenses, which also have different versions! So how do you know where to start?

The simplest way is to figure out if you just want to learn to fly, or if you want to get serious about it. In the former case, a sport pilot is enough, but for the latter, you definitely need to go for your private (or step up to it at a later date) to start adding on your instrument rating and time building for the all important commercial license.

As for getting started: the best way is to jump right in with an intro flight, because then you'll be one-on-one with an instructor who can answer your questions! Or, if you are a person who prefers to look before you leap, have a look around our website to get a grasp of what to expect!

We offer various flight training and certificate levels!

Pilot's licenses (they are actually called certificates by the FAA) are tiered. This means that experienced gained from training and using a lower level license may also be applied to higher tiers!

Sport Pilot

Straight and simple: you just want to fly.

A sport pilot is as the name suggests: you are flying for fun, and just that. With this certificate, you can fly light-sport certified aircraft, and just you and a friend kick back and enjoy the sky!

A sport pilot license allows you to learn the basic ways of the sky, and just go enjoy yourself! It focuses on daytime and good weather flying using simple aircraft. As such, the requirements are significantly reduced: the FAA's set minimum time requirement is only 20 hours!

Additionally, the time you log as a sport pilot can also be applied towards a private pilot license if you want to upgrade later!

Private Pilot

For serious recreational flying

Private pilot licenses (PPLs) are the launching point for getting serious about flying. Nearly every advanced rating requires, at minimum, a private pilot license. Also, you must have a PPL in order to fly outside of the USA, so if you are planning a flight to Canada or elsewhere, you must start here!

PPL is a very broad stroke training program. Starting here, you get to learn the basics of more advanced ratings, and are trained to a higher degree than sport pilots. A private pilot can use larger, heavier, and faster aircraft, and a private pilot can also begin adding additional ratings, expanding their piloting skills, and preparing themselves for advanced certificates! As such, the FAA has set the minimum flight time requirement at 40 hours. Have your thinking cap on, it's time to get serious!

Sport pilots are able to upgrade to private pilots later and use their existing training as credit. In addition, it does not matter if you use a light sport aircraft or a regular one, they are all considered airplanes by the FAA, and that's what matters.

Instrument Pilot

No longer at the mercy of the weather

Ever wondered how airplanes fly when the weather is bad? By reference to flight instruments of course!

Instrument training is tricky. An instrument rating teaches you how to fly without being able to see outside. You have to learn to trust your airplane's instruments, instead of your inner ear. We show you how to handle flying without being able to see out of the windows. It is not an easy task, but with determination, you will no longer be grounded by inclement weather!

The Instrument rating is an advanced rating, and requires at least a private pilot license. The FAA has set the minimum requirement for the instrument rating to 40 hours of simulated and actual instrument flying conditions. This is one of the hardest ratings to get, but with determination, it can and will be done!

Additional Training

On the road to a professional aviation career!

There are a lot of pilot certificates and ratings, many of which are actually very obscure and not well known, except to the elite few that have them. There are even some which are now unobtainable!

Advanced Certificates and Ratings are those which apply to career pilots: Commercial Pilot Certificates, Certificated Flight Instructors, and Airline Transport Pilot Certificates. These are long term goals of members, so we just give a basic overview.