How Many Years Does It Take To Become A Pilot


In 18 to 30 months, you could go from off the street to making money as a pilot. If you want to be working at an airline, realistically that’s between 3 to 4 years based on the current movement of the job market.

The Private Pilot License (PPL)

If all you are after is a license to be able to fly around with your family on a rental airplane or a single engine C172, that time is reduced dramatically. In my earlier years in aviation, I taught a bunch of students and helped many achieve their dreams of becoming a pilot. In that time I have seen a whiz kid rip through the course and go from handshake to PPL in 3 weeks’ time.

PPL Landing At Flight School CKK7

The average time for this license is probably closer to 3 months. Where this student excelled was not in his natural gifted ability. Contrary to what you may think, he was not gifted. What he did was simple, eat, sleep, breathe aviation. He recorded every training flight on a GoPro so he could go back and reflect on the good and bad. He finished every single assignment and task he was assigned. He was as perfect as you could ask for in a student. Prepared for every single lesson, no time wasted.

About The PPL License

A PPL will let you fly around with passengers in a light single-engine airplane. There are other licenses or permits that are easier to get, but for the cost difference, in my mind, I would just get the PPL and skip the recreational or sport permit.

Back From A Cross Country Just Before The Big Storm

In the USA you will have a night rating built into the PPL which means you can fly at night without class of airspace restrictions. In Canada, the night rating is an addon that can acquire as soon as you’ve completed your PPL. I highly recommend it even if you have no intention of going further. It gives you options and a little more training that will help you in any scenario.

Average Time To Complete A Private Pilot License (PPL)

The average is about 65 hours, 55 being dual flight hours, 10 being solo hours, typically 3 to 4 months. To calculate the costs, find a local flight school, or flight school you’re interested in, and multiply the above hours to get a rough idea of the cost of the license. There are probably about $1000 of costs for processing, medicals, and fees associated with the license as well to think about.

As mentioned earlier, it’s very easy to dramatically reduce costs and keep them low by being very well prepared for flight lessons. Taking training in a chunk will save you money as well. The longer you go between lessons, the more you will forget. This needs to be taught again until the knowledge sticks before proceeding further on in lesson plans.

The Commercial Pilot’s License (CPL)

The CPL license will let you fly for pay. It is an extension or improvement on the PPL, you already know how to fly, but now it’s time to refine the skills you already have. Flight test requirements are more strict and limits are tighter. Everything you have learned in your PPL license needs to be done, but better. More focus is placed on instrument flying. You will need to have a night rating completed in Canada to finish this license.

IFR Flight Into The Winnipeg International Airport

Because of the total time needed to finish this license, 200 hours in Canada, 250 in the USA, you may want to get all the skills and requirements to finish the CPL, and group it with a multi-engine rating, fly airplanes with more than 1 engine, and an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) rating, let you fly with reference only to instruments.

All time flown for Multi or IFR ratings counts toward the CPL requirements.

keep costs down by doing these together with your commercial pilot license

Average Time To Complete The Commercial Pilot License (CPL)

Another 35 to 45 hours of dual instruction and about 6 to 9 months of time will get your CPL. Focus and study hard, be efficient with your lessons. The harder you work the more fun you get to have when your licenses are completed.

About 1 to 2 months of this will be getting your multi and IFR ratings. This counts to the total time that you need to get your license signed off, and it will be required somewhere in your aviation future, get it in this time-building phase to keep costs down. As soon as your CPL flight test is passed, you need to move immediately to your multi and IFR portion. These are typically taught together.

This is where you will start to feel like an aviation professional. You are now beginning to operate and hear the “big boys” on the radio. Getting these licenses done will get you into the best phase of your aviation career. You’ll want to look up the required hours or night flying for the Airline Transport Pilots License (ATPL) at this point as well, note that number.

Commercial License With Multi IFR

If you’ve got this far, a big congratulations is in order. Job well done! It may not have been all roses, but you have achieved a ton, nice work.

As promised, the sweet part of it all. Hopefully, you have studied hard and made the most out of every lesson. If you have, you will have to build time. Fly around, where you want, when you want until you meet the time requirements of the Commercial Pilots License (CPL).

You do have 1 priority left, whatever night times you need for the Airline Transport Pilots License (ATPL), get them now. I’ve watched a TON of pilots miss this step and have to come back years after flight school, while flying at a regional airline, and have to log the missing time to finish their ATPL.

Time Building From CKK7 To KSWW

Be creative here, please don’t fly around the patch, a few miles from home. Plan as big of cross-country trips as you can stomach. If you live in Canada, go to the USA and see what that process is like. If you live in the USA go up to Canada. In the early stages, this separates you from other candidates, and these experiences make you marketable.

Become A Flight Instructor

Airtime and experience will help you land the first job. That one can be the toughest. If you’ve been a good student, you can often get a job at the flight school where you got your instruction. This will likely take you another 3 months of work to complete, but you’ll get to build more experience and time in the airplane as a pilot in command.

Flight School Where I Learned To Fly

In the early stages of your hours, the more Pilot In Command (PIC) time you have in your logbook the better. Plus, once you’re this far, you are finally at the point where you are no longer dishing out money to get hours logged in your book, you’re getting paid to fly!

Airline Transport Pilots License (ATPL)

The final license for a pilot, somewhere in the 3 to 4 year area of your pilot career, you should have completed this milestone. It’s the last required written tests you’ll have to complete. From this point on, you’ll build time and with experience continue to move to different types of planes. Make sure you get the academic part of this license done as soon as you can. This can be a limiting factor in you getting that next job.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Captain

6 months to a year in the current industry. This does of course depend on you being proficient in the airplane and having the skillset the company you are working for is after. Flexibility to work with your company is a great way to decrease this. Working overtime will help you build time and pass others that got a license the same time you did. If you’re offered a new time, consider it, every new type will teach you new skills.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Pilot For A Major Airline

5 years from never having flown an airplane should put you in the seat at a major airline with the industry the way it is now. Keep in mind, aviation has a history of highs and lows. Many people start to fly because they have the dream of flying at a major airline, but many find other career paths in aviation they find more fulfilling.

Chase the lifestyle not the metal or the paycheck.

the money will come and so will the plane you want to fly

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