Shannon School of Aeronautics

Private Pilot Training

SSA instructors are all qualified to instruct students toward a private pilot certificate. This short narrative will hopefully answer some basic questions.

Qualifications to earn a private pilot certificate require several prerequisites. First, you must be at least 17 years old to earn a airplane license, but students can conduct solo flight as early as 16. You will need to pass a medical examination by a authorized physician, take and pass a knowledge (written) test, and pass a practical (oral and flight) test administered by an FAA Designated Examiner.

The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight time, of which at least 20 must be with an authorized flight instructor. However, prospective students should be aware that these are only regulatory minimums, and that taking the practical test is based on demonstrating all the necessary skills. Each student learns differently, so completion times vary. The national average for students who complete the training is about 70 hours. The time to complete training can be compressed by good lesson preparation and by consistently flying at least twice a week, and more if possible. Flying less than twice a week extends considerably the time required to earn a license.


In recent years the FAA has recognized that not all pilots need to complete the full requirements of a Private Pilot License to be able to fly.

A Recreational Pilot License can be obtained with about 10 hour less instruction than that required for a Private Pilot and with only a few limitations. Similarly, a Sport Pilot is geared toward those pilots who own small aircraft and is offered to pilots without the need for medical certificate. Both paths offer cost savings. You should contact a flight instructor familiar with the requirements to determine which rating is best for you.


You may start instruction at any time. Flight times are based upon mutual availability of you and your primary instructor. You pay for flights as you go based on an hourly rate for both the instructor and the aircraft. To begin, contact the Chief Instructor at the Flight School. He will match your availability with an instructor and you may begin immediately.


Our training is based upon the Jeppesen Training Syllabus. You will have a personal training folder to track your progress. The Private Pilot Syllabus contains stage checks when your progress is reviewed by a check pilot.


Many students come to us having started training at another school and wanting to complete the training. Our instructors will review your flight time and design a syllabus of instruction that credits your previous time and minimizes your cost. This includes those who have previous military training, some of which will count toward a private pilot's license.


Some fortunate individuals find themselves in the position of having access to or owning an aircraft, but not having a license. At Shannon School of Aeronautics, using your aircraft for your instruction is possible. The airplane must meet airworthiness standards, be in a condition acceptable to the primary instructor and the Chief Instructors, and contain instrumentation and controls appropriate for the rating or license sought. Should maintenance items become an issue, Shannon School of Aeronautics has formed a working relationship with several Aircraft Maintenance Technicians and upon request can facilitate repairs.