What are the requirements to become a pilot?


It's hard to get started on a journey if you don't even know how to take the first steps.  The process of becoming a pilot can be a little like that, but don't worry, we're here to help!

Here are a few things you can do TODAY to start towards your goals of starting flight training:

1. Schedule a Discovery Flight

Basically, a discovery flight is a quick 30-45 minute flight where a flight instructor takes you up in one of their planes to give you a feeling for what it's like to fly with them.

Typically the instructor will have you do some of the flying (with them monitoring everything, of course :), and you get to see what it feels like to control the airplane.

A discovery flight is your opportunity to interview different flight schools.  You get a chance to fly in one of their planes, you can talk to their instructors, and then you can ask them questions about their program, schedule availability, billing, and any other concerns you might have.  This is a great time to see if you mesh well with their culture and style.

To learn more about discovery flights, you can read our article What is a discovery flight?

2. Get an FAA Medical Certificate

The FAA requires pilots to have a medical certificate, and they come in different "flavors," so it's important to know which one you need.

If you're just wanting to become a private pilot for your own hobby and pleasure, then you will need to obtain a Class 3 Medical.

If you're wanting to go into a career in aviation, then you should try to obtain a Class 1 Medical.

  • You will first need to create an account on the MedXpress website https://medxpress.faa.gov
  • Next, on your MedXpress account, fill out and submit an application for the medical certificate you're seeking (1st class or 3rd class)
  • Then you will need to find an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) near you to get a physical.  You can find a list of AME's at https://designee.faa.gov/#/designeeLocator
Although it's not required to have a medical certificate in order to begin flight training, we strongly encourage it.  It would be discouraging to spend time and money on training just to find out that you can't get a medical and you are ineligible to receive the pilot certificate you've been working towards.

3. Figure Out Your Finances

How will you be paying for your pilot training?  Do you have money saved up, or are you going to pay as you go, or do you need to apply for financing?  We have worked with students in each of these situations.

Even if you don't have the money for training, we have partnerships with financing companies that specialize in flight school financing, and we can help you secure the funding you need to move on in your training.

If you have questions about the cost of flight training, or what the total investment might be to become a pilot, you can always check out our flight training pricing page, or contact us and we'll answer all of your questions.

4. Schedule Your Training

Now that you have everything in place, we can start your training!  Now the sky is the limit... and there's nothing holding you back to achieving your dream of becoming a pilot!

Happy flying!