Student Pilot Training and Limits

Where can I get flying lessons?

Contact any airport that handles private aircraft or the nearest FAA Flight Standards District Office.

Does my pilot training include a written test?

Yes. Before flying solo, you must be familiar with some of the FAA’s rules and with the flight characteristics and operational limitations of the make and model of the aircraft you will fly. Your flight instructor will give you some materials to study, and then test your knowledge. When you pass, your instructor will endorse your pilot’s logbook for solo flight. The endorsement means that your instructor thinks you are competent to make solo flights.

When do I have to get the endorsement?

Prior to your first solo flight and it is valid for 90 days. You must receive another endorsement each additional 90 days.

After I’ve soloed, can I fly cross-country alone?

Not right away. Your instructor must review your pre-flight planning and preparation for solo cross-country flight and determine that the flight can be made safely under known circumstances and conditions. The instructor must also endorse your logbook before cross- country flight stating you are considered competent to make the flight. Under certain conditions, an instructor may authorize repeated solo flights over a given route.

As a student pilot, can I carry passengers with me before getting my recreational or private pilot’s certificate?


Must I have an FCC radiotelephone operator’s permit to operate an aircraft radio transmitter?


What is the difference between a recreational pilot’s certificate and a private pilot’s certificate?

As a recreational pilot, you have to fly within 50 nautical miles of the airport where you learned to fly, you have to fly during the day, and you can’t fly in airspace where communications with air traffic control are required. A private pilot doesn’t have these limitations. It usually takes fewer lessons to get a recreational pilot’s certificate than a private pilot’s certificate.

Last updated: Friday, February 12, 2016