How long did it take you to get your private pilot certificate?

AOPA's flight training poll results

AOPA’s eBrief newsletter ran this poll recently to see how long it took their readers to complete their Private Pilot training.

I’m well outside the bell curve cause it took me more like 18 months, but almost half of the respondents said they did it in 6.

And we all know pilots never exaggerate.


  1. Jack Hodgson says:

    This is just Jack posting a test comment to see what happens when you’re not logged in.

  2. Took me over a year. Was just about to finish my solo cross country requirement and book my flight test, and my first daughter arrived a month early. That happened in December, and when I got back to flying in late January, I had to suffer through Ottawa winter flying, which meant about 2/3 of my bookings got scrubbed for one reason or another.

    I languished in the rusty doldrums throughout February, and March, not flying often enough to really get ahead of the curve. I really got back into things in April/May, doing my flight test shortly thereafter. That’s 5 years ago in a couple months.

    Finished my CPL last April. No unexpected births to delay that one.

    Next up, instructor rating? Maybe this summer….

    All this started when my wife and I were seriously thinking of having our first child the previous year. She turned to me one day and said something like: “You’ve been talking about getting your license as long as I’ve known you, and there’s always been one reason or another to wait another year. Once we have kids there will be only more distractions and things to spend our money on. You should do it now, or you will regret it later.”

    It was one of those moments that I knew I was with the right woman.

  3. Brad Koehn says:

    Three months, 40.0 hours. In Minnesota in the winter/spring (I took my checkride on 4/30). With a wife and kids back at home. It can be done, but you need to make training a priority for a while. Study hard, ask questions, analyze your performance, and learn as much as you can.

    You can do it!

  4. Ian says:

    Oh wow, that chart makes me feel so much better. I started this track summer of 2009. Now I find myself a job change, a full pregnancy, and one baby girl later just waiting for a good enough stretch of weather to practice up and take my checkride.

  5. John Koch says:

    Being a pilot is a difficult profession. It really needs a good training in a good training center to avoid some errors especially in landing. Landing is the most dangerous moment for any pilot.