Where To Study And Duration Of Study For Pilot

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

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Where To Study And Duration Of Study For Pilot

How Long Does It Take To Become A Pilot?

Becoming a pilot can take some time to take off. But, if you are determined to learn to fly the runway is clear. There are very defined steps to getting your pilot’s license. So, how long does it take to become a pilot? 

How long it takes to learn to fly a plane depends on what kind of pilot’s license you want (there are several) and the quality of your flight school. Having access to flight hours and certified instruction is a crucial part of passing exams and requirements.


There are several types of pilots:

  • Student Pilot
  • Sport Pilot
  • Recreational Pilot
  • Private Pilot
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Airline Transport Pilot

Each takes a different amount of time and has various requirements to fill. So, we’ll break it down by type.


Starting off right is important for a pilot. Taking shortcuts or attending a subpar flight school can lead you to bad habits and put you and your passengers in danger. Even if you are presently only looking to become a private pilot, getting a complete education will prepare you best. Ideally, becoming a pilot should only take 3 to 4 years, the time it takes to get your Bachelor of Science in Professional Flight. Getting an education is also good for a consistency of training, so it’s preferred to wait to start your journey until you are in a certified school, like LETU.

During your pilot training, you will learn ground and flight knowledge. At LETU, you’ll also get a deeper understanding of the mechanics and business that you will rely on every time you take off.


To become a student pilot, you have to get instruction from a certified instructor and pass the FAA Student Pilot knowledge tests. How long it takes depends on the program, but you will have to meet these requirements: 

  • 16+ years old
  • Third-class FAA Medical Certificate
  • English fluency
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Passing the FAA knowledge tests for student pilots
  • Approval by an FAA-Designated Pilot Examiner or FAA Inspector
  • Acknowledgment that you cannot take passengers with a student certificate

How long it takes to get your student pilot certificate is not a set number of hours. Your instructor will give you an endorsement that allows you to fly solo when you have mastered these basic maneuvers:

  • Safe takeoffs
  • Safe landings
  • Maintaining positive control of the aircraft
  • Demonstrate consistently good judgment and safety

Once you have proven your adeptness to an authorized flight instructor, they will give you a logbook endorsement for solo flight. You have to make your first flight within 90 days of the endorsement. It will take about 3 weeks for the FAA to issue your certification once you’ve met all the requirements.

Your student pilot certificate will only be valid for 2 years.


You have to have a student pilot certificate and log 20 hours of flight time before you can be certified as a sport pilot. This certification allows you to fly an aircraft that is:

  • Light Sport Aircraft (LSA)
  • 51mph max landing configuration
  • 138mph max straight and level flying
  • No more than 2 seats
  • Fixed pitch or ground adjustable propeller
  • Fixed landing gear

In addition, sport pilots cannot fly:

  • After dark
  • In controlled airspace
  • Outside the US without specific permission from that country
  • Above 10,000 feet
  • With passengers
  • In visibility less than 3 miles
  • In an LSA that goes more than 100mph without training
  • Property for pay


A recreational pilot certificate has more restrictions than a private pilot certificate. You have to be at least 17 years old and have a sport or student certificate. In addition, you’ll need to log 30 hours of flight time. 15 of those hours must be training.

Unlike a private pilot certification, a recreational pilot cannot: 

  • Fly further than 50 nautical miles from the airport where their training occurred
  • Fly in any airspace where communication with air traffic control is required
  • Fly at night
  • Have no more than 4 seats in the plane
  • Earn money from flying
  • Fly more than 1 passenger

The tradeoff for the restrictions is that you can get in the air quicker than you can with a private pilot certificate. 


A private pilot certificate requires that you first complete your student pilot certificate. Once you have that, a private pilot license only requires:

  • Valid driver’ license
  • Minimum of 35 varied flight hours, including night training
  • Passing FAA knowledge and practical tests
  • Third class FAA Medical Certificate

A private pilot license allows you to fly passengers and most airplanes. However, you cannot be hired or paid for flights.


A commercial pilot, as you might guess, requires a much higher standard of knowledge and training. Commercial pilots are able to fly professionally. While pilot schools cost money, the benefits of a Bachelor’s in Professional Flight truly shows here. It may take longer to get your license if you have acquired bad habits or poor knowledge. 

The standards for a commercial pilot certificate are rigorous. You must:

  • Be 18+ years old
  • Have a second-class FAA Medical Certificate
  • Have a private pilot certificate
  • Be a fluent English speaker
  • Pass the training and log hours for single-/multi-engine land class rating requirements
  • 150 to 250 hours of piloting time
  • Pass an aeronautics written test of 100 questions
  • Pass FAA oral and flight tests by FAA Inspector, FAA-designated examiner, or authorized check instructor

While you can be paid for flying, this license does not let you fly passengers for hire. You can fly for crop dusting, cargo, aerial photography, or other vocations.


This is the certificate most people who imagine being a pilot aim for. Airline Transport Pilots (ATP’s) are allowed to fly people in commercial airlines and other aircraft professionally. It will take longer to become an ATP, but the process can be expedited through LETU’s training and Professional Flight B.S. program.

ATP Requirements in addition to the commercial pilot certificate:

  • 1500+ hours of flight time, including 100 night flight hours and 500 hours cross-country
  • 23+ years old
  • Instrument rating
  • Good moral character
  • Extensive written test

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