Student Pilot Certificate (Solo Privileges)

Solo flight experience is required by 14 CFR 61 for a person to earn a Sport, Recreational, or Private Pilot Certificate. A Student Pilot Certificate authorizes its holder to fly as the sole occupant of an aircraft provided the instructor endorses the student for the flight. Solo endorsements must be updated every 90 days for local operations and on a flight-by-flight basis for cross-country flights. A Student Pilot Certificate expires five years after it was issued for pilots younger than 40 years of age. Student pilots 40 years of age and older have two years before expiration of their certificate. If the certificate expires, a new one may be obtained from your local AME, FSDO, or DPE.

There is no minimum time requirement to earn a student pilot certificate; however, people wanting to fly as the sole occupant of an aircraft will need to demonstrate proficiency with many flight maneuvers, utilize knowledge about many topics, and pass a medical examination from an AME. In preparation to act as a PIC, a trainee may expect the following lessons prior to their first solo flight:


  1. Read, speak, write, and understand English
  2. US citizen or TSA approved foreign national
  3. "FAA Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate, Third Class" or acceptable equivalent (prior to course completion)
  4. 16 years of age (prior to course completion)

Ground Lessons

  1. Introduction to Airplane Systems, Power Plant(s), Cockpit Instruments, Flight Controls, and Checklists
  2. Airport Surface Markings and Ground Operations
  3. Aerodynamics: Airfoils, Stability, Stalls, Spins, Turning Tendencies, Performance, and Maneuverability
  4. Ground Reference Navigation, Aeronautical Charts, and FAA Publications
  5. Entering, Flying, and Departing the Airport Traffic Pattern
  6. Crew and Cockpit Resource Management
  7. Airport Communications, Operations, and Airspace (Civil and Special Use)
  8. Aeronautical Decision Making and the Responsibilities of Command
  9. Weather and Hazard Avoidance
  10. Equipment Malfunctions and Emergency Procedures


Flight Lessons

  1. Preflight Airworthiness Inspection and Basic Airplane Maneuverability/Control
  2. Normal/Crosswind Taxi, Take-Off, Climb, Cruise, Maneuvering, and Descent Operations
  3. Performance and Maneuvers: Steep Turns, Fast/Slow Flight, and Power On/Off Stalls
  4. Ground Reference Maneuvers: Turns-Around-A-Point, S-Turns, and Rectangular Patterns
  5. Aircraft Stability, Especially During Take-Offs, Climbs, Cruise, Descents, Approaches, and Landings
  6. Normal/Crosswind Take-Offs and Landings: Airport Traffic Patterns
  7. Normal/Crosswind Take-Offs and Landings: Airport Communications and Rights-Of-Way
  8. Normal/Crosswind Take-Offs and Landings: Slips (Single Engine ratings only) and Go-Arounds
  9. Normal/Crosswind Take-Offs and Landings: Perfecting Flares, Round-Outs, and Touchdowns in Different Landing Configurations
  10. Emergency Operations including Simulated Engine-Out Landings


FIRST SOLO FLIGHT (supervised)

14 CFR 61 Subpart C compliance 61.81 applicability statements only; no compliance requirement 61.83 required by course prerequisites 61.85 (a) is the preferred method of compliance; however, (b) or (c) is used when a student has a valid FAA Airman Medical Certificate but no (including expired) Student Pilot Certificate. Compliance is assured by CFI prior to the first solo flight 61.87 covered, in whole, upon successful completion of this course 61.89 CFI and student are jointly responsible for compliance upon course completion 61.93 required endorsement earned upon the successful completion of the Sport, Recreational, and Private Pilot courses; please refer to those training curricula for compliance with this section 61.94 endorsed by training CFI upon course completion, but only when our client's aircraft is based at a Class B, C, or D airport (or other airport with an operating control tower); otherwise, flight into Class B, C, or D airspace (or near an airport with an operating control tower) is prohibited by flight school policy prior to earning a Sport or Recreational Pilot Certificate, in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section and sections 315(c)(7) and 101(e)(7) of this part 61.95 endorsed by training CFI upon course completion, but only when our client's aircraft is based at a Class B airport; otherwise, flight into Class B airspace is prohibited by flight school policy prior to earning a Private Pilot Certificate, in accordance with 14 CFR 91.131(b)(i)