Private Pilot License (PPL)What is a Private Pilot License? — Privileges, Requirements and Eligibility
A Private Pilot License (PPL) is the most sought after type of pilot certification. In the United States, a Private Pilot License is actually called a Private Pilot Certificate and is similar to what a driver's license is for automobiles. By earning a private pilot license, you can legally fly an aircraft. Private pilots are trained to navigate small aircraft by themselves. Flight training includes aircraft maneuvers, navigation, emergency procedures and cross-country flight planning. While people may seek the license for hobby or sport reasons, a private pilot certification is the first major milestone on the road to becoming an airline pilot.
What Can I Do With a Private Pilot License?
Since the private pilot certificate allows you to fly in and out of all civil airports, a licensed pilot may partake in activities ranging from flying to a nearby airport for lunch, to traveling across the country or even around the world without ever stepping foot on an airliner. A private pilot can take friends and family for rides, practice maneuvers, or become involved in many of the wonderful programs that introduce people to flying.
What Kind of Aircraft Can I Fly With a Private Pilot License?
Private pilots are allowed to fly any aircraft for which they are appropriately rated. ”Appropriately rated“ refers to the successful training in a specific category and class rating of aircraft. An example of ”category“ would be ”airplane“ or ”helicopter“ while an example of ”class rating“ would be ”single-engine land“ meaning the aircraft has one engine and is limited to operations on land rather than on water. So, upon completion of your Private Pilot Certificate rated for ”airplane, single-engine land“ although you may have trained in a Cessna 172 you are allowed to act as pilot-in-command (PIC) in any aircraft that is a single-engine land airplane, a Piper Archer for example. Acting as pilot-in-command means you have the final authority and responsibility for the operation of the aircraft and the safety of the flight. Some aircraft may require additional authorization to act as PIC, known as receiving an endorsement, such as tailwheel or high-performance aircraft.
Can I Get Paid to Fly With a Private Pilot Certificate?
No, you may not act as pilot-in-command of an airplane for compensation or hire, nor an aircraft carrying passengers or property for compensation or hire. However, you may act as PIC of an aircraft and receive pro rata share, or an equal portion, of the operating expenses (fuel, oil, airport expenditures, and rental fees only) from others onboard the aircraft, as long as you do not pay less than the pro rata share.
What about charity events?
With a private pilot certificate, you can act as pilot-in-command of an aircraft towing a glider, fly for charity, non-profit, or community events, or assist in search and location operations and be reimbursed for fuel, oil, airport expenses, and rental fees.
Any other opportunities?
An aircraft salesman who also holds a private pilot certificate and has at least 200 hours may act as pilot-in-command while demonstrating an aircraft to a customer. Also, you may even act as a test pilot (with certain limitations).
How Long Does It Take to Earn a Private Pilot License?
The amount of time required to earn a private pilot certificate varies and largely depends on weather, availability, finances, and how often a student is available to fly. In a fast-paced program, a pilot certificate can be earned in approximately two months. For other students who are only able to fly once in a while a pilot certificate could take a couple years.