How to become a pilot – a learn to fly checklist


The process of learning to fly can seem overwhelming at first. But you can do it, and our team of flight instructors here at Sporty’s can help. That’s why we’ve developed this quick checklist of key steps to help you become a pilot:

  1. Locate flight schools in your area and take a tour
  2. Choose a school that best fits your needs (here’s how)
  3. Choose an instructor and get to know him or her
  4. Take a first flight lesson (watch a video preview)
  5. Purchase a home study course
  6. Decide whether you’ll pursue the Sport, Recreational or Private Certificate (compare them here)
  7. Schedule an FAA medical exam with a local AME (not required for Sport)
  8. Pass your FAA Knowledge Test
  9. Pass your FAA Flight Test and earn your license
  10. Have fun!

Read our entire Getting Started series for more answers.

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Coming from an aviation family, John grew up in the back of small airplanes and learned to fly as a teenager. Ever since, he has been hooked on anything with wings and regularly flies a Citabria, a Pilatus PC-12 and a Robinson R44 helicopter. He is an ATP and also holds ratings for multiengine, seaplanes, gliders, and helicopters. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of Air Facts, John is a Vice President at Sporty’s Pilot Shop, responsible for new product development and marketing.