Real Answers from Real Pilots

Getting my PPL


Once again thanks for always being here to answer our questions quickly. It is greatly appreciated!

So I’m still a sophomore in school studying Finance, and I’m still planning on enrolling at ATP after I graduate. I can’t wait to start flying, and I think I’m going to get my private pilots license this coming May. How long do you think it would take? I know most people say around a month is a good timetable, but if i devote all of my time to getting the license, how fast do you think I could do it? I have also read that only 40 hours are required, but most people end up doing around 60. Why is this, and what would I need to do to get this license around the 40 hour range? I’m on a timetable, because I have a summer internship that starts at the beginning of June. I plan on getting my PPL in Houston, and the internship is in Omaha so I need to make sure I complete it before I leave. Any recommendations would be very beneficial!

Thanks to everyone!!!

Hello Cameron and Welcome!

A month is a fair timetable provided that’s pretty much all you’re doing for that month. As you pointed out the LEGAL minimum is 40 hrs. If you fly 2 hrs a day (which is a lot) that right there is 20 days and that’s not taking into account ground school, bad weather and life. Usually when I say 2hrs a day people will ask well what if I fly more? The answer is 2 hrs of training is really all the average human mean can do and effectively absorb and progress. After that we become saturated and will often regress. As for the why does it take the average person 60 hrs, well Cameron, flying is hard. It’s alot of knowledge and skills that must be learned and these are not innate skills that every person possesses. When the FAA says the legal minimum is 40 hrs they’re not saying you should be able to earn your PPL in 40 hrs, they’re saying that’s the absolute minimum they’ll even allow you to take your checkride because they don’t believe it’s possible to do it in less.

That all said there’s nothing wrong with having that as a goal. Keep in mind judgment is a critical pilot skill and you should take your checkride when you’re confident in your abilities, not because you’ve reached a magic number. My best advice for your success is you must find the right school that will have an instructor and aircraft available for you to train EVERY day (you need to talk to them prior and work out the details) and basically remove all distractions from your life. For that month you’re in training. There’s no hanging with friends, significant others etc. If you’re not flying you’re studying or chair-flying. This will be good prep for ATP and eventually the airlines.



Adam answered all of your questions very thoroughly, but I would like to add just a bit.

To put it bluntly, I would not recommend trying to obtain a Private pilot license in one month. There is just too much information to learn, process, and then apply to real life. Even if you could do it that quickly I would be concerned about your retention. At ATP it takes two months to get a private and they specialize in fast track training.

What I see happening is you starting this program and not being able to finish it in the time allotted. You would then have to return at a later time and relearn much of what you previously knew, thus costing you time and money. I recommend that you wait until you have a few months to dedicate to your flight training before you begin. Your odds of success will be much higher this way and you will learn more from the experience.


Ok thanks for those insights!