Spread your (fixed) wings and learn to fly.
Do you want to get flight training in Austin, Texas , but don’t know where to start? Let us fill you in.
Before learning to fly, there are certain conditions all pilots must satisfy. These are:
Must be at least 17 years old
Must be able to speak, read, and write English
Receive endorsement by their instructor for the FAA knowledge test
Pass the required FAA knowledge test
Undertake the necessary number of hours of flight training
Pass the practical test related to their desired license
All prospective pilots must first attain their student pilot certificate, or license to learn. This certificate allows you to train with a certified flight instructor and work toward one of the other licenses. Your instructor will first teach you the basics of flying and in-flight safety, before taking you out on a 'discovery flight' and letting you get your first taste. How long you need to spend in the air before qualifying depends on the type of license you're looking to get.
What are the differences between these types of licenses? Which one should you go for?
The recreational pilot certificate isn't very popular, mostly because it places more restrictions on pilots and is only mildly less time-consuming and costly to get. Pilots who have a recreational certificate must stay within 50 miles of their home airport and aren't allowed to fly in controlled airspace. Most people who would have historically chosen the recreational license now choose the sport pilot license instead.
The sport pilot license has fewer restrictions than the recreational option, and flight training can begin at 16 (though pilots can't take the practical test until they are 17 years old). Pilots must have a valid driver's license. The main restriction for this license type is the size and weight of the aircraft. Sport pilots can only fly planes with low take-off weight and no more than two seats.
The private pilot certificate, or PPL, is the most popular pilot certificate, most likely because it's the least restrictive. Also, pilots who take PPL certification can go on to become commercial pilots or flight instructors and earn money.
Choosing a private pilot's license is significantly more expensive. It costs about twice as much as a recreational license, but has several added benefits if you're willing to fork over the cash. You can fly aircraft with more than two seats, which makes it essential for anyone flying with passengers, and you can fly in controlled airspace. You can also, with a bit of extra training, fly aerobatics, fly in the cloud, and fly at night.
That's a lot of extras but think of if you really need them. If not, a recreational license might be a better fit. You can always upgrade your license later if you want to expand your flying horizons. Experienced recreational pilots will need less training for the PPL than someone completely new to flying. To get your PPL, you'll also need to pass a class 2 medical test.