Private Pilot Certificate

Whether you want to become an Airline Pilot, fly for fun, or anything in between, it all starts with a Private Pilot Certificate.

Private Pilot Certificate Requirements

















Note: Checkride, Testing, and Pilot Equipment costs are not included in this estimate.

What Will I Learn?

Ground Knowledge:

Aircraft Aerodynamics

Principles of Flight

Federal Aviation Regulations

Aircraft Preflight

Risk Management

Aeronautical Decision Making

Aircraft Systems

Flight Experience:

Basic Aircraft Handling

Stall Prevention and Recovery

Aerial Navigation

Air Traffic Control Communication

Performance Maneuvers

Emergency Procedures

Basic Instrument Flying


Discovery Flight

Begin your adventure in aviation with a Discovery Flight, an introductory lesson where you will get your first hands on flight experience in an airplane.

Ground Training

Ground training covers the information required to safely act as the pilot in command of an aircraft. The training will be completed through a combination of one-on-one sessions with your instructor and through a home study course.

Pre-Solo Flight Training

Training begins with learning the fundamentals of flight through ground briefings and flight lessons. Your instructor will introduce the maneuvers and procedures required to safely operate an aircraft, while helping you build good aeronautical decision making skills. Before moving onto the next stage of training, your instructor will assist you in obtaining an FAA Medical Certificate and Student Pilot Certificate.

Solo Flight Training

With approval from your instructor, you’ll complete the required 10 hours of solo flight time. Solo training will include both local flights, and cross country flights to other airports.

Cross Country Training

The next phase of training involves cross country flight, or flying to another airport at least 50 nautical miles away from KBTV. Cross country training teaches the skills of detailed planning, and accurate navigation skills. After completing cross country training with an instructor, you will embark on a solo cross country flight. 

Instructor Endorsement

Your instructor will give you multiple endorsements throughout your training, allowing you to take your FAA Knowledge Exam, Solo Flights and Checkride with a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE).

FAA Knowledge Exam

The FAA Knowledge Exam is a multiple-choice test with 60 questions that covers the fundamental knowledge required to become a Private Pilot. Once you and your instructor have determined you’re ready for the test, it can be completed at VFA’s onsite FAA Certified Testing Center. Applicants must study for and pass the examination.

Oral & Practical Test

After meeting all of the FAA Private Pilot requirements and your instructor has determined you’re ready, you will take the Oral Exam and Practical Test with an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner. The Oral Exam focuses on aeronautical decision making, scenario based training, and general knowledge. The Practical Test will evaluate your ability to safely operate the aircraft and complete several maneuvers and simulated emergency procedures. Upon successful completion, you will be issued your Private Pilot Certificate. 



With the largest and most advanced rental fleet in the state, VFA has the right aircraft for you. All of our aircraft are maintained to the highest standards by our in-house maintenance department.


VFA has a diverse group of passionate and knowledgeable instructors here to help you achieve your goals. No matter your learning style, we have the right instructor for you.


When you join us at VFA, you join a passionate community dedicated to furthering aviation education in Vermont. Every lesson you take at VFA helps to contribute to providing flights to underprivileged children in Vermont.


Do I have to fly with the same instructor who did my Discovery Flight?

Not necessarily. We try to keep you with the same instructor throughout your training for your own benefit, since it allows the instructor to better gauge your progress, and it will prevent you from becoming confused by the slightly different techniques of different instructors. However, choosing the instructor that is right for you is a very important decision, and there is nothing wrong with trying a flight with each of our instructors in the beginning. This way you may choose the one you are most comfortable with.

How old do I have to be to get my Private Pilot Certificate?

You need to be at least 17 years old in order to take the Private Pilot practical exam. You must be at least 16 years old to solo in an airplane.

How long will it take to earn my Private Pilot Certificate?

It may take 6-8 months to earn a Private Pilot Certificate, however there are many variables that affect how quickly one earns their Private Pilot Certificate. For example, bad weather on a day you are scheduled to fly. Generally, if a student studies the material and flies frequently, he or she will complete training in the shortest amount of time. 

What will my Private Pilot training involve?

Your Private Pilot training will involve flight and ground instruction. You can lessen the hours spent doing ground training with your instructor by studying the material at home. Remember, ground training is not required, but you will need it to pass your written and oral exams.

What are the limitations of flying with a Private Pilot Certificate?

As a Private Pilot, you may not receive any form of compensation for flying. You can, however, fly with friends and share the expenses of the flight. You must fly within the legal weather limitations as prescribed by the FAA. You may require specific training and special endorsements to fly into Class B airports, which typically are high traffic volume international airports.

What can I do once I have my Private Pilot Certificate?

With a Private Pilot Certificate, you can fly alone or with friends and family and share in the aircraft rental expense. Certain weather minimums must be met if you do not have an instrument rating.

Once I get my Private Pilot Certificate, what do I have to do to keep it current?

You can keep your Private Pilot Certificate current in one of two ways. You can add another certificate or rating, or alternatively, you can complete a flight review (required every 24 calendar months) with an authorized flight instructor.

General Information


Monday - Friday | 8AM - 5PM

Saturday | 8AM - 4PM

Sunday | 8AM - 4PM

* Hours are subject change.


 Front Desk - 802.863.5988



355 Valley Road
South Burlington, VT 05403

Vermont Flight Academy