You’ve probably come across a few flight schools that promise you can become a fully fledged private pilot in a fraction of the time it normally takes.
It’s definitely an exciting proposition. But is it really possible to get a private pilot license in 2 weeks?
In short, yes it is.
But there are a few things you should consider before taking an accelerated private pilot program.
Accelerated Private Pilot Course Prerequisites
You’ll notice that almost all schools that offer the opportunity to get your PPL in as little as 2 weeks require you to have several things already in hand before beginning training.
To earn a private pilot license, you must pass both a written knowledge and practical test.
This is for good reason, as it can take 40 hours of ground school to acquire the necessary knowledge to pass the written test.
A minimum score of 70% is required to pass.
Student Pilot Certificate
To be eligible for a private pilot license, you must first hold a student pilot certificate.
It takes 1-3 weeks to receive your certificate after you have sent in the application.
A PPL falls under a third-class medical certificate. To be issued with this certificate, you must pass an FAA medical exam conducted by an aviation medical examiner.
The examiner will test things like your vision, hearing, balance, nose and throat, as well as check if you have any disqualifying mental or neurological problems, or a serious medical condition.
With a third-class medical and student pilot certificate in your possession, you are able to fly solo, which is one of the most important components of the practical portion of a PPL.
What to Expect During a 2 Week Accelerated PPL Program
A private pilot license requires a minimum of 40 flight hours.
This includes a minimum of 20 hours of flight training and 10 hours of solo flight. 5 hours of solo flight must cover cross-country, and a solo flight that covers 150 nautical miles is also required.
To reach the minimum 40 flight hours that a private pilot license requires, you can expect to fly 4 hours per day. This won’t all be in one go, but usually in 2-3 flights a day.
At around 40 hours, you will take the check ride with an FAA examiner
You’ll likely be flying a Cessna 152, Cessna 172, Piper Archer, or similar airplane.
It’s largely expected that you will have already passed the written test required for a PPL.
However, while rare, some flight schools also include ground instruction in the two weeks.
If you enroll in one of these schools, expect to study as you have never before.
As mentioned, it typically takes 40 hours of studying to be ready to take the written exam. Combine this with the minimum 40 hours of flight time that is required, and expect to experience two weeks as you have never experienced before.
Other flight schools don’t necessarily expect you to have passed the written test, but at the very least expect you to have spent some time studying before you enroll in the program.
They might offer a quick refresher, and take a few hours to properly prepare you before you take the test. This means that you will sit the exam during the two weeks that you are enrolled in the program.
Why it Can Take Longer Than 2 Weeks to Get Your PPL
With flight training, sometimes things don’t always go as planned. There could be issues with aircraft availability, instructor availability, unexpected maintenance of the aircraft, or the weather.
In regards to accelerated programs, the issue is usually one of the weather more than anything else. It’s expected that the flight school has worked out and fine-tuned the scheduling of aircraft and instructor availability.
Unless you take an accelerated program in California, Florida, or elsewhere where the climate is similar, there’s a very real possibility that the weather will delay your progress.
If you are unable to get your PPL in two weeks, any flight school that offers an accelerated program will ensure you will still get your license, regardless of how long it takes (within reason), and regardless if the fault is down to an unexpected, external factor or you are not yet ready to qualify for a PPL.
As long as you demonstrate you are motivated and dedicated, a flight school will continue to work with you until you become a private pilot, though may charge extra once the 2 weeks are up.
Cost of 2 Week PPL Courses vs Standard Courses
One of the reasons why people are tempted by an accelerated private pilot license program is that they think they can save money by condensing the required training into just a couple of weeks.
However, the cost of accelerated and non-accelerated programs will largely be the same, costing anywhere between $10,000-15,000 to get your license.
Why You Might Not Want to Take a 2 Week Accelerated Private Pilot Course
Seasons – Assuming that you enroll in summer, you will have received very little training in flying in different, less than ideal weather conditions
Knowledge – Condensing your training into two weeks runs the risk of there not being enough time to properly absorb and digest everything you have learned, even if on the surface you have enough knowledge to pass the written and practical tests
Your Passengers – Regardless if it takes you 2 weeks or 6 months to get your private pilot license, many passengers might feel a bit weary getting into a plane with someone who has been flying for such a short amount of time.
Even if every pilot is required to take and pass the same tests, this often doesn’t matter in the minds of your passengers.
Enjoyment – Learning to fly, and the journey to obtaining your private pilot license should be fun and rewarding. If you cram everything into 2 weeks, you can lose the magic and enjoyment of flight.
Average Time to Get a Private Pilot License
A private pilot license requires completing a minimum of 40 flight hours.
Assuming an average of 2-3 flights a week that last for 2-3 hours, as well as a few hours of study to be ready for the written knowledge test, it usually takes an average of 3-4 months to get a private pilot license.
Is It Hard to Get a PPL?
Getting a PPL isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, but it is attainable for practically anyone who is motivated, and willing to put the time in to improve their knowledge and motor skills.
Inevitably, enrolling in a 2 week accelerated program will be harder than going at a comfortable pace and taking your time
Remember that you must also be in good enough health to be issued a third-class medical certificate, which can be the hardest part of getting a PPL for some.