How You Can Start Flying

The greatest barrier to learning how to fly is not knowing how to get started.

The Private Pilot License (PPL) is the foundation of your life in the sky. It is the license most people refer to when they say they have a “pilot’s license.” With it, you can explore the country from the air, fly with your family and friends, and pursue advanced training. With a Private Pilot License, you are a pilot.

Step 1

Take an Introductory Flight

You test drive a car before buying it, don’t you? If the school you are looking at offers an introductory flight lesson, take it. This is the best way to see the school in operation, and to see if they teach the way you like to learn. 

The Horizon Aviation Airman's Flight

You will fly the airplane with one of our Certificated Flight Instructors and experience flight training first hand during this one-hour introductor flight lesson.

Stage 1: Learning the basics

During the first stage of your training , you are going to learn the very basics of how to fly an airplane. This a building-block process; learn the basic elements of flying and then apply those skills to more complex maneuvers. You will learn how to turn, climb, and descend an airplane before tackling takeoffs and landings.

At the end of Stage 1, you will make your first solo flight. You will fly an airplane from takeoff to touchdown completely by yourself as the sole occupant of the airplane. 

Stage 2: Learning how to navigate

Now that you’ve flown the airplane by yourself, it is time to learn how to navigate. You’ll start with the basics by flying from our home airport to nearby airports and landmarks. We’ll challenge you to start flying longer distances of 50 or 100 miles away using a variety of navigation techniques and skills. 

At the end of Stage 2 you will fly a flight of 50 miles away from our home base by yourself.

Stage 3: Refine and finish

Stage 3 is all about polishing the skills you have learned and expanding on your abilities as a pilot. You will learn different types of landings and fly further away from home. You will practice performance maneuvers and be able to fly them to FAA standards. 

The end of Stage 3 is a final review with an instructor before you take your FAA checkride to receive your Private Pilot License.

Step 3

The Checkride

At the end of your flight training you will take three tests to get your license: a written test, verbal exam, and a practical exam. The verbal and practical are done on the same day with an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) during what is called a “checkride.” The DPE will ask you about a variety of topics that you have studied and explored with your instructor, making sure you know the material. During the practical portion they will ask you to perform some basic maneuvers including takeoffs, landings, stalls, ground reference maneuvers and emergency descents to see that you are able to control the airplane and meet standard guidelines. 

At the end of your checkride, the DPE will shake your hand and say the phrase you’ve been looking forward to hearing, “congratulations, you are a pilot.” 

Cost, Scheduling and Requirements

How much does it cost to complete the Private Pilot training course?

The cost to complete the private pilot training course varies from student to student and is based primarily on the amount of flight hours it takes each student to become proficient in the skills required to pass the FAA checkride. The average time it takes to complete the training, nationally, is over 70 flight hours. Horizon Aviation students average 57 hours. Download our latest cost estimate below.

How much is each flight lesson?

There are usually two items you pay for each time you fly: the airplane time and the instructor’s time. Each lesson will be different, but you only pay for what you use. You may fly for 1.5 hours, and you may spend a total of 2 hours with your instructor including your preflight briefing, the flight itself, and the post flight wrap up. Some lessons will be shorter and some may be longer. You should plan for each lesson to cost between $325 and $375.

How long will it take to complete my training?

If you fly once per week, it will most likely take you one year to complete your private pilot training. Flying more frequently will help you complete the training faster.

May I make my own schedule?

Yes. We will work with you to design a personalized flight schedule. Our offices are open 7 days per week beginning at 9am. We strongly recommend that you schedule at least one flight per week, or as many times as your schedule and budget will allow.

How old do I have to be to begin my flight training?

We have worked with students as young as 10 years old. At that age we can take a relaxed approach as we begin to build a strong foundation in their skills as a pilot. The FAA requires that any person be at least 16 years old to fly an airplane by themselves, which will happen at the end of the first stage of their training. The first solo is the first big milestone for any aspiring flight student. Many students have made their first solo flight on their 16th birthday.

To qualify for the private pilot license you must be 17 years of age.

Am I fit to fly?

Before you fly by yourself for the first time, you must have at least a third class FAA medical certificate. You may obtain one by visiting with an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) and undergoing a flight physical. The AME is typically a regular physician that has undergone training with the FAA and is able to grant FAA medical certificates. We have a list of AME’s in the area that may assist you with getting a medical certificate.

The physical exam will look at your medical history, visual acuity, and color vision acuity. It is important to note that there are a handful of conditions or prescribed medications that may prohibit a person from obtaining an FAA medical certificate. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association maintains a thorough online resource to help you address any concerns you may have about obtaining a medical certificate:

These people became pilots. So can you.

Ty Solos!

Tyrese walked into our office one day and asked what he needed to do to become a professional pilot. This is a common occurrence for us, but what is uncommon is how committed Ty became to his goal. He made aviation his life. He got a job working at the airport. He...

Ben Solos!

If you couldn't tell by the smile, Ben just flew an airplane BY HIMSELF for the first time. It really does feel that great. Welcome to flying, Ben. Congratulations.

Dan is a Pilot!

All check rides (pilot final exams) include performing maneuvers and answering questions from a Designated Pilot Examiner but most don't include real life weather decisions. Dan was forced to do just that when thunderstorms rolled across PVD as he was returning from...

Brandon Solos!

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the students are soloing! Brandon took to the air all on his own in one of our Cessna 172s at our Norwood, MA facility. He made an extra effort to fly at our RI location while we waited for MA to reopen and is now...

Adam Solos!

There is only one thing more inspiring than watching an airplane lift off the ground: watching our students progress from zero to solo! Adam flew his first solo flight EVER Saturday morning and we couldn't be happier. Thank you Adam for inspiring US! 

Trevor is a Commercial Pilot!

Trevor raced back into flying after our COVID-19 shutdown. In no time at all he was ready to go for his commercial pilot checkride and we are thrilled to announce that he flew to perfection and is now a commercial pilot! Congratulations, Trevor!

Marco is IFR Rated!

Our first post shutdown student achievement is here! Marco wasted no time at all getting back into the swing of things and is now an instrument rated pilot!!! Well done, Marco and thank you for continuing to pursue your dreams of flying with us!

Tori Solos!

Horizon's own Tori flew her first solo flight this week. With everything going on in the world, her first solo held special meaning. Being asked to practice self distancing and quarantines can feel isolating and even lonely. Despite the fact that the seat next to her...

Dong is a pilot!

We have a new pilot in the skies! Dong passed his private pilot checkride last week and is now ready to explore the air. Congratulations, Dong!

Jack Adds Fixed Wing IFR

Jack is a professional helicopter pilot and flew Blackhawks in the military. Despite this incredibly high level of experience, he had very little time in single engine fixed wing aircraft. We're helping Jack solve that problem and are thrilled to report he is now...

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Call us today to become a pilot

Warwick, RI:  401-736-5115

Norwood, MA: 781-762-7600

You can fly. We can teach you.