Step 1: The Private Pilot License
In the Private Pilot License course, students gain the aeronautical knowledge, skill and experience necessary to safely operate an airplane as a Private Pilot with a Single-Engine Land class rating. It is the first step in your Pilot Pathway journey, and some would argue, the most important. Not only is this your first certification and rating, but this sets the groundwork for the rest of your training.
At AeroGuard, we use this stage to build a solid foundation of knowledge that will serve students for the entirety of their training, through to their Commercial and Instructor licenses.
Private Pilot License Structure
In the Private Pilot License course, our students are assigned to a highly trained and standardized flight instructor who will be with them every step of the way for their PPL training. While students will fly with multiple instructors later in the Program, helping them to gain training speed and learn different perspectives, in the PPL stage, we aim to keep a single flight instructor with each student to best understand their training progress and knowledge.
Beyond this, the AeroGuard PPL course is separated out into 3 main Flight Blocks, each with its own objective and completion standard. While we complete our Pilot Pathway training using Part 61 for speed and training flexibility, we utilize components of our Part 141 programs, such as stage checks, to ensure high quality of training for our students. Internal stage checks are placed at the end of each Flight Block for a total of 3 PPL stage checks, where students are placed with a specially trained Check Airman to validate their progress through the course with their primary flight instructor, and act as preparation for the all–important checkride at the end.
Throughout the Course, students will log approximately 75 total flight hours prior to their Private Pilot License checkride, broken out into 54 instructor given dual flight hours, 11 simulator hours and 10 solo hours – the minimum amount of solo time required by FAA regulations prior to the PPL checkride. While we recognize the importance of solo flight time, the AeroGuard PPL curriculum is built using only the minimum amount of solo time ensuring higher safety and quality of training for our students since most of their flight time will be with their instructor.
The PPL Course prepares you for the rest of your training and is crucial to your overall success as a pilot. Our goal isn’t just to set you up for a successful checkride, but for a successful career. For that reason, AeroGuard adds an additional 35.5 hours of flight time in this part of the course beyond FAA Part 61 minimums to ensure greater safety and landing skill from our student pilots. While this may extend the timeline to get your Private Pilot License, these hours are put toward your commercial pilot requirements, and therefore, it does not extend your overall training timeline and, with AeroGuard’s all-inclusive tuition model, doesn’t increase your cost. Rather, the curriculum structure makes you a better pilot and sets you up for better success to earn your future certifications and ratings.
The AeroGuard Private Pilot License curriculum is designed to be completed in approximately 97 days, with 45 days in Flight Block 1, 25 days in Flight Block 2 and 27 days before the FAA Checkride.
When students first join AeroGuard, regardless of any prior training elsewhere, their first week is dedicated to an introduction to ground school where students will learn about weather, aircraft performance, pre-flighting, risk assessment, decision making and more. As students move through the Private Pilot License curriculum, they will complete an average of 5 lessons, or ‘missions‘ a week. These missions may be a flight, training in the flight simulator or a brief with an instructor, but each mission will have a focus and a goal that must be completed before moving on to the next mission.
In parallel to these missions, students will gain access to their online training materials and syllabus to independently study to complete the required FAA Knowledge tests. This syllabus provides extended descriptions of each mission, the completion standards as well as assignments required to be completed prior to the next mission. AeroGuard students also have access to tools and online applications for self-paced learning, on-campus Part 141 ground school opportunities and focused workshops with our academic advisors. The knowledge provided throughout the Course is critical to success, so we recommend that students aim to attend ground school when they aren’t flying or briefing with their instructor.
While AeroGuard strives to keep every student on this 97-day timeline, students will move through the program as their skills progress, or depending on other variables such as weather or aircraft maintenance, but on average their experience will be as follows.