Skip to page content

Deaf Pilot Frequently Asked Questions


How do I choose a flight school and flight instructor?
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has a book available on choosing your flight instructor and flight school. The International Deaf Pilots Association (IDPA) has information regarding flight instructors who know how to sign. Generally speaking, you should visit the location to observe the professionalism of the school. You will need to discuss your particular degree of hearing impairment with the flight instructor and establish how to communicate best with each other. Have the flight instructor you select contact the IDPA for additional advice and assistance.

How does a deaf pilot complete this requirement for a private pilot certificate?
The student and instructor need to work with the local airport personnel. Light gun signals are available for aircraft that do not have radios or in case of a radio failure. With prior permission, a deaf pilot can communicate with the tower by the use of the light gun signals.

To obtain a private pilot certificate, is there a requirement for operations at a controlled airport?
Yes, a requirement of the private pilot certificate is to perform three takeoff and landings at a controlled airport to demonstrate your ability to communicate with the tower.

What are the hourly requirements in becoming a pilot?
14 CFR part 61 (Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors) prescribes the hourly requirements for the issuance of pilot certificates and ratings. A person applying for a private pilot certificate in airplanes, helicopters, and gyro-planes must log at least 40 hours of flight time, of which at least 20 hours are flight training from an authorized instructor and 10 hours of solo flight training in the appropriate areas of operation; three hours of cross country; three hours at night, three hours of instrument time; and other requirements specific to the category and class rating sought.

Private pilots in gliders and lighter-than-air aircraft must have logged from an authorized instructor a similar number of hours and/ or training flights, which include both cross country and solo according to category and class rating sought. Though the regulations require a minimum of 40 hours flight time, in the U. S. the average number of hours for persons without a hearing impairment completing the private pilot certification requirements is approximately 75 hours.

Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: