Should You Earn Your Pilot’s License?
Do you dream about flying? Why not make 2014 the year you turn that dream into a reality? Earning your private pilot’s license is an exciting and surprisingly attainable accomplishment. You can join the more than 600,000 other individuals who have earned their wings as private pilots, according to the FAA.[i] This article, presented by Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, lays out some of the points you should consider before signing up for flying lessons.
Your Physical Health
Pilots need to be in good shape. The responsibilities of a pilot require a sharp mind and a body capable of handling an emergency situation. While it’s not necessary to be an Olympic athlete, you should:
- Have near and distance eyesight correctible to 20/20 with lenses, along with color vision
- Be free of seizure disorders, such as epilepsy or narcolepsy
- Have good heart health and blood pressure under 155/95
- Be free of mental illness and substance dependencies
The easiest way to find out if you’re fit to fly is to see an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). AMEs are physicians who are qualified to examine pilots and certify them on behalf of the FAA. A visit to an AME is usually the first step on your journey to becoming a pilot.
Your Drive to Learn
Flying a plane is more complex than driving a car. You’ll need to learn a lot about aerodynamics, mechanics, the weather, and aviation regulations—and you’ll have to pass an examination and a check flight in order to earn your certificate.
Be prepared to study. If you’re learning to fly around your work responsibilities, you’ll probably wind up studying books and manuals on your own. Enrolling in a flight school offers you the opportunity to learn what you need to know in a traditional classroom, with constant feedback from an instructor and fellow classmates. Additionally, a flight school can also offer you simulator time, giving you some additional practice between your student flights.
Your Sense of Responsibility
Flying is an adventure, but it’s not one to be taken lightly. Careless pilots cost lives. You need to take your flying lessons seriously and always carry out your flight duties to the letter. If you already know you’re a methodical, careful person who follows through on commitments, the responsibility of flying is right for you.
Your End Goal
Make sure you take time to consider why you really want to fly. Is it a “bucket list” ambition, or is it a privilege you plan to exercise regularly? If you live in a wilder or more rural part of the country, flying can be a way to cross distances more quickly. Additionally, many small business owners enjoy being able to fly between business meetings on their own schedule—not an airline’s.
Another reason to earn your private pilot’s license is as the first step towards commercial certification. That will take many more flight hours plus additional skills development: you’ll need to earn your instrument and multi-engine ratings, for instance. But if you want to fly for a living, by all means, sign up for flight school today.