What does a private pilot license allow you to do?

by | FAQs for Beginners

What does a Private Pilot License allow you to do? 

A private pilot license allows you to fly your own personal airplane (or seaplane, jet, helicopter, glider, or hot air balloon). Because you are sharing the same airspace as professional pilots, you are trained to a high standard that allows you to fly into any of the thousands of airports across the country. You can even fly at night, or if you add an instrument rating, fly in the clouds.


Private pilots can legally fly planes weighing up to 12,500 lbs by themselves. That’s about the size of a thirty passenger DC-3 airliner, and your insurance company might not agree to it without a lot more training and a second pilot. 

There are few legal limits for people holding a private pilot license. Unless you’re planning to pursue a career in aviation, there’s very little you can’t do with a private pilot license. However, insurance companies are more likely to insist on their own requirements before you get into your personal airliner and takeoff.  

Most insurance companies want to see either a minimum number of total hours of flight time, or they will insist you have a mentor pilot sit next to you during your first year or so while you transition into your new airplane. Depending on the aircraft’s capabilities, they will probably also want you to have an instrument rating, and regularly scheduled recurrent training.

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