top of page


Your Future Starts Now

FAQ about Private Pilot Training: Welcome


Common Inquiries


No. People of all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities have learned to fly. It's fun, and from the beginning of your training, you get to do most of the actual flying! On the practical side — while flying isn't a difficult skill to learn, you'll have to be willing to stick with it until you meet all the requirements. Also, you should consider the cost of becoming a pilot — you'll have to pay for your physical exam and your lessons. (per the FAA)


Right away. All you have to do is find a flight instructor and sign up for an introductory lesson. You don't have to have a student pilot's certificate or a medical certificate to take flying lessons. Of course, you won't be able to fly solo right away. That takes time and the paperwork described in this guide. (per the FAA)


It depends on you. There is no set number of lessons or hours of flight training. Your instructor must make sure you have learned to perform certain maneuvers before allowing you to solo. These maneuvers include safe takeoffs and landings. You must use good judgment when flying and be able to keep control of the aircraft.

Also, you'll have to get a medical certificate and a student pilot's certificate to fly solo. (per the FAA)


Yes. A well-built and well-maintained aircraft flown by a competent and prudent pilot is as safe or safer than many other forms of transportation. (per the FAA)


There are two flight training approaches approved by the FAA. The first falls into a category known as Part 61.  Part 61 training programs can be school programs or they can be managed by a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI).  Part 141 programs are training programs with more rigid procedures and structure.  If one thinks of a situation where classes of pilot students progress through a training program in a defined way...that is Part 141 training.

2-Fly1 is a "Part 61" flight training program.  In Part 61 programs, there are no certification procedures for each phase of the training.   Instead, the training can be completed in a sequence designated by your flight instructor.  In each part of the program, you have to meet the objective and subjective training standards of the instructor who serves and the quality control assessor in the process.  The instructor is basing his/her decisions on the FAA Airman Certification Standards for a private pilot license.  Obviously many decisions are necessary about safety and proficiency.  The cost of your training is a function of how long it takes to be competent in the various tasks.  

To earn a Private Pilot License single-engine rating, the student:

  • must log at least 40 hours of flight time, including at least 20 hours of flight training from a flight instructor and 10 hours of solo time, 5 of which need to be cross-country to include one solo cross-country of at least 150 nautical miles.

  • is required to complete 3 hours of cross-country flying as well as 3 hours of night flying, with 1 cross-country flight of over 100 nautical miles (NM) and 10 takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop at an airport.

  • must complete 3 hours of flight utilizing their instruments, completing straight and level flight, airspeed climbs and descents, heading turns, attitude recovery, radio contact and the use of navigation and radar services as necessary.

  • must perform 3 hours of flight training with their instructor to ready themselves for their practical exam test within 60 days of the exam’s date.

  • is required to complete 10 hours of solo flight time, including 5 hours of solo cross-country time, one cross-country flight of 150 NM with a full stop landing at three different points. The flight must involve a straight-line distance of more than 50 NM between the takeoff and landing locations and three takeoffs and landings to a full stop at a tower-controlled airport.

It’s important to understand that the above Private Pilot License requirements for Part 61 are the training minimums. Upon completion of these minimum requirements, the pilot may need to complete additional training in order to become proficient. According to the FAA, the national average shows that most pilots need 60 to 75 hours of flight training, exceeding the minimum requirements for Part 61. 


Yes and no, depending on your perspective.  In this program, you are flying one airplane with the same instructor throughout the training.  Both pieces of this puzzle have strengths and weaknesses.  

N2331P is a Piper Tomahawk with updated instrumentation.  It is easy to fly and economical, but it is not a modern high-performance design and has very limited performance when one considers speed and passenger/load capability.  It was built for training and serves that purpose well.  The airplane gets great maintenance care by Saluda Sky Aviation, based at 6J4.

Jay Seward is your instructor.  He has his own strengths and weaknesses. For strengths, he is patient and professional.  He will always be ready to teach you.  He has teaching experience in formal classrooms and in the air.   However, you may or may not mesh well with him.  To be successful at learning, this is a critical relationship. The disadvantage at 2-Fly1 is that he is your only option.  


This is a difficult question to answer with any degree of certainty because of the uncertainties noted above.  However, I'll calculate a range from best to worst case.

For this exercise, I will use the prices I use at 2-Fly1.  These costs are less than other instructional options.

Specifically, N2331P is $100/hour (dry)  to rent either solo or "dual."  In aviation vocabulary, dual is flying with an instructor.  "Dry" means you'll pay for the fuel you use.  In the first lesson you'll learn how to use the fuel pump. Fuel at Saluda County is calculated at $4/gal and the burn rate is 7 gal/hour for this exercise.

In addition to paying for the airplane, you also pay the instructor.  This instructional cost is $50 per hour in the airplane or as ground instruction. 

Best-case Example.  Here is the best-case scenario using the minimum hours noted above in the discussion of Part 61 training.   

Medical exam:  $100

Training materials:  $150

Presolo airplane (14hrs): $1400

   Fuel for 14 hrs: $392

   Instructor (14 hrs):  $700

Presolo Instruction (14 hrs): $700

Solo hours (10 hrs):  $1000

Fuel for solos:  $280

Sup solo instructor: $150

Post solo dual (6 hrs): $600

Fuel for 6 hours:   $168

Instructor (6 hours): $300

Gnd Instruction (20 hrs): $1000

Knowledge Exam (Test): $150

Practical Exam:  $500

TOTAL @ min hours:  $7590

This can be a realistic estimate.  One recent student took his check ride with about 42 hours of total time. However, this needs to be understood in context. He was a excellent stick who soloed at eight hours and I would have sent him for his Practical exam at 27 hours.  His last 13 hours were just "building time" to get to 40 hours.  He is the exception to the rule.

Worst-case Example. Contrast this to another example.  Another recent student is the other extreme.  He soloed at 25 hours, and requires significantly more dual instruction to stay proficient given how often he flies.  I anticipate he'll get his licence at 75-90 hours.  Most of these additional hours will be dual costing about $200 per hour.  Doing this calculation and adding 40 hours dual adds another $8000 to the cost!  


  1. Plan to fly a lot.  If you plan of flying times a week, you'll net three and keep your proficiency.  If you plan on 3 sorties, you'll average 2 or less and that will risk some regression in your skill level.  You have to learn skills, hone them, and keep them and that requires repetition.  If you think of this as more of an athletic challenge than a classroom event, you will have the right perspective.  Flying is the development of your total person.

  2. Use cheap study materials.  All the expected information is published by the FAA.  My first student never read anything but the FAA texts and did perfectly well on his exam and flight checkride.  Online, it can be obtained for FREE!  Commerical publishers sell cheap paperback copies of this FAA information.  I prefer this to online study, so it has a small cost to have a book  I can highlight.  If you can get "hand me down" study materials they are perfectly acceptable as long as the source material is relatively recent.  Older information will have outdated explanations of weather products and lack information on electronically advanced instrumentation, for example.  Of course, there are a variety of price points for non-FAA written materials.  All information leads to the same outcome so you can get everything from boilerplate to glossy.

  3. Come prepared for every lesson. The more self-study you do, the less dual instruction you'll need. At 2-Fly1 you'll get a written quiz quite often to see if you are in the books.

  4. Chair fly!  This is the time-honored tradition of visualization of the inflight lessons.  Sit back in a comfortable chair and imagine "there I am" and fly the maneuvers. In my undergraduate pilot training days, the preferred chair was in the throne room with a toilet plunger as the stick stuck to the porcelain floor tiles.  You are reinforcing knowledge and building muscle memory. So chair fly maneuvers and events at first and then grow into an entire sortie. (Note, this does not mean fly an online "simulator."  I have found that to build some poor habits in students that must then be broken.)

  5.  Follow a syllabus.  You want to be combining activities to avoid unnecessary flying.  For example, your instructor should have you getting instrument time while doing non-instrument maneuvers so that you don't have to do two separate 1.5-hour sorties to get the required 3 hours of flight on instruments.

  6. Limit ground taxi time.  At Saluda County (6J4), you could easily launch less than 8 minutes after engine start while still safely performing your checklists.  Remember, the airplane clock for billing (the Hobbs) starts at engine start and ends upon final shutdown.   

  7. Fly in efficient airspace.  Again, you are optimizing training.  Again using the 6J4 example, the training area is  easily reached 5 minutes after takeoff.  Other fields are less than 20 miles away.  For most training, you are not dealing with Air Traffic Control vectors to keep you away from airplanes on instrument approaches.

  8. Burn the cheapest 100 LL fuel you can find.  Saluda County has among the lowest prices for gasoline in the state of SC...saving you money.  If you don't believe me, go to an online aviation site (Skyvector or AirNav) and toggle up a map with fuel prices displayed.  You'll see the difference this can make over time. 


Most of the time I use Gleim Private Pilot Syllabus.  It can be viewed by following this link and it can be downloaded for free.  Flight and ground activities are recorded in the Gleim Private Pilot Training Record.  Pages 11 and 12 in the Syllabus show the flow to meet the minimum hours however every course of study has some variation.  A common change might be doing the night flying when there is a full moon before the end of the cross-country time. The syllabus is a guide, not a Bible. 

The other syllabus I like is the one written by Rod Machado.  Here is that document.  His syllabus is based on his instructional materials, which are for sale on his web site. Rod is one of American's most prominent flight instructors. I have taken several of his online courses and have his textbooks. He has great knowledge and wit.  He burns the bad joke flame brightly when he writes and talks.  I am an affiliate on his web site which means that if you buy any of his training materials using this link,, I make a little bit of the money you pay.  



Here is a copy of the rental agreement.


Student pilots undergoing training with 2-Fly1 will be approved for solo per the syllabus and requirements of the FARs.  

Pilots will required a minimum of 5 hours of PA-38 specific flying within the last 5 years to fly N2331P solo.  Pilots with less than 500 hours of PIC time will require a 10 hour checkout or need to demonstrate 10 hours of PA-38 logged PA-38 time.  At a very minimum, all pilots will have a orientation flight achieving standards of the Private Pilot ACS before solo. 


I have written a couple of brief papers on ways to complete ground school for the private pilot license.  Before you can take the inflight Practical Exam (check ride) you have to pass the Knowledge Test (private pilot written test).  

This first link takes you to a paper that takes a big picture view of the things you should consider for ground school.  The first document I titled, You want to Pass the Private Pilot Written Test?

This second link are my recommendations about ways to study for and pass the written test.  These options recommend online or paper based course options.  I titled this paper Ground School Options.

FAQ about Private Pilot Training: FAQ
bottom of page