How much of my pilot training can I do on my own?


It's completely normal and acceptable to do some of your pilot training at your own pace, and in your own home... but most things need to be done with a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI).  Let's break it down:

Ground School Requirements

The FAA does not place a specific time requirement / minimum hour requirement on the ground school portion of your training.  They also specifically state that you can satisfy the ground training with a home-study course (14 CFR 61.105).  So the knowledge portion of your ground school, leading up to taking the FAA written exam, can be accomplished with a course you can complete on your own.

This is great news for people wanting to save some money, and can also help speed the process along once you start the flight portion of your training.

But there are a couple things to keep in mind: This will not eliminate completely your need for spending some ground hours with your flight instructor.  Your CFI is still responsible to endorse your log book, stating that you are proficient in all of the required knowledge areas, so they will want to spend some time with you going over those things and ensuring you meet the criteria for the certificate you're pursuing.

Flight Training Requirements

For your flight training towards your private pilot certificate, the FAA does have some minimum hour requirements - you must have at least 40 hours of total flight time which include at least 20 hours of instruction and 10 hours of solo flight time.  The way this regulation is written, you might think that you could fly as a student pilot with your friend who is a private pilot and log those hours towards your 40 hour minimum, but that's not correct -- a student pilot can only log instruction time (from a CFI), or solo time... so the option to log time with another pilot isn't a reality.

This means that while you are a student pilot, your logbook will only have hours recorded from flights with your CFI, and solo flights (which your CFI will endorse you for), so there's no way for you to do any of this training by yourself.


Because flight training and working towards your pilot certificate is such a hands-on experience, there will be quite a bit of it that you will be required to do with your CFI.  It doesn't matter if it's at a larger school, or at a smaller independent school, most of your training will be with a certified instructor.  The only place where you can utilize a home-study course is for a portion of your ground school.  Look at companies like Sporty's, or King Schools for online courses that you can do at your own pace.  BUT, other than that area, you'll need to work with your CFI to get the rest of your training completed.

Contact us today to get all of your questions answered... we'd love to help you put together a road map for your training and your goals.

Happy flying!