FAA requirements to be a Student Pilot:
For Private Pilot:
You must be at least 16 years old
Read, speak, and understand English
Hold at least current third-class FAA medical certificate
How do I get a FAA Medical Certificate?
go to FAA site https://medxpress.faa.gov/medxpress/
Create an account and file an application
Make an appointment at an FAA medical examiner (AME)
You can find all AME's at the FAA web site:
Below are the two AME's in Las Cruces
How much does it cost to get a license?
The most common question prospective students ask is “How much does it cost?”. The answer cannot be answered with a simple number. The best answer is to outline the FAA minimum requirements.
Total Time: 40 hours minimum which consists of at least:
Dual: 20 hours minimum of flight training with an instructor on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:
1. 3 hours of cross country flight training in a single engine airplane;
2. 3 hours of night flight training in a single engine airplane, that includes at least:
a) 1 cross country flight of over 100 nm total distance; and
b) 10 T/O’s and 10 landings to a full stop with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport.
3. 3 hours of flight training by reference to instruments in a single engine airplane; and
4. 3 hours of flight training in a single engine airplane within the 60 days prior to the practical test.
Solo: 10 hours minimum of solo flying in a single engine airplane on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:
1. 5 hours of solo cross country flying;
2. 1 solo cross country flight of at least 150nm total distance with full stop landings at 3 points and one segment of at least 50nm between T/O and landings; and
3. 3 T/O’s and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.
Very very few students manage to get this all done in 40 hours. Most commonly, it takes about 55 hours. If you use N6527J this would cost about $5000 in flight time. Additionally you need to pay a CFI for at least 20 hours. You will probably want to pay him/her for a few more hours while you practice some of the maneuvers. So, lets say about 25 hours of Instructor time. That is about an additional $1200. You also have to either attend a ground school, or use one of the many self study ground school courses available. There are also a few supplies you will need, e.g. a headset, books. These extras and a self study course will cost you at least another $600. So a rough estimate is about $7000. Using a classroom style ground school will cost considerably more.
How long does it take?
The next question is almost always “how long does it take?”. Again, this varies from student to student. 4 months is a very aggressive goal. It is really up to you, the student. If you can dedicate several hours a week to flying AND at least twice that a week studying you can get it done in 4 months. A more realistic aggressive timeline would be 6 months. If you want to take it slow, you can spend a year.
Sometime during your training you need to take and pass a written “Knowledge Test”. My personal recommendation would be to do this near the end of your flight training because at the end you have to take an oral “Practical Test” with an FAA flight examiner. You will be asked some questions and then you will have to fly the airplane and show the examiner that you are a competent pilot. The later you take the written test the less refreshing you will want to do before the practical test.