Become a Sport Pilot!

Why learn to fly?

Escape from the two dimensional world! Flying takes you to a different world with new perspectives. Suddenly, distances shrink and your perspectives change. You start thinking of your world from above. Your senses are in tune to the world of flight, no longer limited by your cares, concerns and duties on the ground. Become a pilot and escape to a different world.

Explore new places. Learning to fly frees you to explore the world - from 50 miles to 500 miles. The distance is your decision. Become a pilot and expand your horizons.

Experience a feeling of freedom, and accomplishment.

Learning to fly will transform your life. It immerses you in new sensations and allows you to conquer exciting challenges. It changes how you perceive yourself and what you know you can accomplish. Become a pilot and transform yourself.

How much will it cost to learn to fly?

Half the cost, all the fun!
The EAA-led sport pilot revolution in aviation has cut the cost of flight training to become a pilot - and of acquiring new, factory-built airplanes - in half! And the elimination of burdensome medical examinations and certifications will save pilots thousands of dollars over the course of their flying lives.

Step 1: Join EAA
Your first step is to join EAA. At a cost of $40 per year, it'll be the best investment in your new favorite pastime that you'll ever make. By exploring this website you'll see that the information, guidance, and money-saving benefits provided by EAA will more than pay for your membership again and again.

Step 2: Choose your aircraft and training
You can learn to fly either an airplane, powered parachute or weight shift control aircraft. The cost of flight training varies by which type of aircraft you want to learn to fly. The cost for airplane flight training is approximately $2,800 - $3,500. You can learn to fly a powered parachute for between $800 and $1,000

Step 3: Review cost overview
Join EAA: $40 (optional, but recommended)
Training: $2800-$3500
Total: $2840-$3500

Flying is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and explore new destinations from a whole new perspective. So give yourself the gift of flight today!

What do I need to start my flight training?

A desire to learn and a driver's license
For the most part, you can show up for your first flight lesson with nothing but a primed eagerness to enjoy an exhilarating experience! The airplane and fuel are included in your price of instruction, so all you need are yourself, your learning skills, and your desire for FUN! The bureaucratic requirements are also easier to fulfill. Just bring your valid state driver's license and get started!

Don't forget insurance
You should also discuss insurance coverage with your flight instructor. To protect yourself, any time you are flying an aircraft you do not own, rental or borrowed, including flight training, you should have non-owners (renters) aircraft insurance. To ensure your protection, as an EAA member you may enroll in the EAA Non-Owned Aircraft Liability Insurance Plan, a great way to cover your interests as an aircraft renter. For more information, go to

Official student pilot certificate
As your flight training progresses, you'll eventually need an official student pilot certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before you may fly solo. If you'd like, as an EAA member you can obtain that certificate in advance for free by attending an EAA event such as EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, or one of the several other air shows and fly-ins at which EAA exhibits. If you don't have an official student pilot certificate, most flight instructors or schools can direct you to a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) who can issue the student certificate at a cost of approximately $50. Or you can go to any FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and get the certificate there.

How long will it take to get my pilot certificate?

The minimum number of flight training hours for achieving a sport pilot certificate to fly an airplane is 20. Those training hours will include dual instruction (instructor and student), cross-country flying (departing one airport and landing at another), and solo flights. The number of days or weeks required to log those 20 or more hours of instruction is really up to you and your instructor. Will you set aside several days for immersive flight instruction or will you spread out the flight lessons over a period of weeks?

What training steps are involved in learning to fly?

The major elements of your flight training will include:
  • Preparation for the written test
    You'll have to pass a written test as part of achieving your sport pilot certificate. You may take the test at any time during your flight training, or up to two years in advance of completing your training. A multimedia ground school test-prep course such as King Schools' Computer-based Interactive Video™ Sport Pilot Knowledge Test can be a great help. EAA members get a big discount!
  • Dual instruction
    This is the phase of flight training that entails having your instructor with you in the flight training aircraft. The majority of hours flown before obtaining your license will be with an instructor.
  • Acquisition of a Student Sport Pilot Certificate
    Before you may engage in solo flight training, you will need a Student Sport Pilot Certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • Solo flight training
    One of the major milestones in learning to fly is your first solo flight. Ask any pilot, and they can vividly recall the details of the first time they flew solo. When your instructor believes you are ready, he or she will "set you free" to fly on your own as you work toward the completion of your flight training. You will need to complete at least five hours of supervised solo flight during your airplane flight training.
  • The cross-country flight.
    An important element of your flight training will entail your conducting a "trip" in the airplane. That is, you'll depart from one airport and land at one or more different airports before returning to your home field. This exercise will ensure your ability to fly and navigate. Your flight instructor will oversee each cross country flight.
  • The oral and practical test
    Once you have completed the different flight training requirements and your flight instructor is satisfied that your flight training is complete, you will need to pass a “checkride”. The check ride entails an oral exam followed by a hands-on flight test, both of which you must pass to obtain your sport pilot certificate. You must take your check ride with an FAA designated examiner. That way, an unbiased set of "fresh eyes" examines your knowledge, practices, and proficiencies at the controls.

Is flying safe?

Recreational flight is statistically among the safest outdoor motor sports. Although every activity - even walking outside to collect your morning newspaper - carries a degree of inherent risk, flying for fun falls well within the safety margins that most people expect for recreational activity.

And flying as a sport pilot eliminates several risk factors, making it potentially even safer than other general-aviation flying. Because the sport pilot's flight activities by definition entail daylight, favorable weather, good visibility, and light aircraft capable of low-speed flight, the sport pilot can focus on FUN instead of worry.

What are the basic "qualifications"?

The fundamental qualifications for becoming a sport pilot are quite simple. Remember, the main idea behind the sport pilot movement is to open up the exciting world of recreational aviation to many more enthusiasts. We love aviation and want to share that joy with you and many others!

Accordingly, the qualifications are modest:
  • At least 17 years of age
  • Valid state driver's license
  • Proficient in the English language
  • Be able to affirm general good health and not using substances or medications that impede judgment, cognition, or motor skills
  • That's it!

Once I've learned to fly, where can I fly?

Once you've achieved your sport pilot certificate, you'll likely find yourself exploiting every possible opportunity to get out and FLY!

You might plan an ambitious coast-to-coast trip, hopping your way across the country through clear-weather routes. Maybe you'll fly away with a friend for a weekend getaway or spend a few hours practicing at the local airport. Or maybe you'll take in scenic vistas from above. Whatever the plan -- however simple or grandiose -- it will center on enjoying the world from a different perspective, and feeling the exhilaration, freedom, and satisfaction of flying an aircraft yourself.