Ready for Takeoff: What You Need to Know About the Private Pilot License (PPL)

What is a PPL License?

girl pilot flying solo

A Private Pilot License (PPL) is a type of pilot license that allows individuals to fly aircraft for personal use. It is the most common type of pilot license and requires a minimum of 40 hours of flight time, which includes at least 20 hours of solo flight time. 

How Much Does it Cost to Get a PPL in the US?

Diamond DA4 and Twinstar on ramp

The cost of obtaining a PPL license can vary depending on the flight school and location. On average, the cost of flight training for a PPL license can range from $8,000 to $15,000 in the United States. This cost includes flight training, ground school, exams, and other associated expenses.

What Does a PPL Allow You to Fly?

Cirrus Jet in cruise

Technically you can fly any aircraft with a PPL, but most people who fly sophisticated aircraft like high speed turboprops and jets don't.  The training required to fly jets and turboprops is the same level of training one needs to obtain a Commercial Pilots License (CPL). The vast majority of pilots upgrade to a Commercial Pilots License when upgrading the aircraft they are going to fly.  

Is it Worth it to Get a PPL License?

The answer to this question depends on your personal and professional goals. For those who want to fly aircraft for personal use, a PPL license can be a great investment. However, if you plan to pursue a career in aviation, you will need to obtain additional licenses and certifications beyond a PPL license.

Can You Fly Without a PPL?

It is illegal to fly an aircraft without a valid pilot license. If caught, you may face fines, penalties, and legal action. Additionally, flying without a PPL license can be dangerous and poses a risk to yourself and others.

Can You Make Money with a PPL?

Girl flying Cessna 172 solo

While PPL license holders are not permitted to fly commercially, there are opportunities to earn money in the aviation industry. PPL license holders can offer flight instruction, aerial photography, and other aerial services. However, to fly commercially, you must obtain additional licenses and certifications.

How Far Can You Fly with a PPL?

There are no limits on how far you can travel with a PPL. The only limitation is the range of the aircraft you are flying!

What is the Largest Plane You Can Fly with a PPL?

747 and cessna 172

Technically you could fly a Boeing 747  or Airbus A380 with a PPL.  In reality, nobody is going to fly large transport category sized aircraft with a PPL.  Large aircraft require a 'Type Rating' and type rating training is difficult and rigorous.  The requirements to obtain a type rating exceed the requirements for a commercial pilots license so in effect if you train for the type rating you are already training for your commercial pilots license.

Which is Better, CPL or PPL?

A Commercial Pilot License (CPL) allows you to fly commercially, whereas a PPL license is limited to personal use.  PPL license holders are restricted from carrying passengers or goods for hire or reward. If you plan to pursue a career in aviation, a CPL will be required,  However, if you only plan to fly for personal use, a PPL license will be sufficient.


Obtaining a PPL license is a great investment for those who want to fly aircraft for personal use. The freedom of being able to travel around the country at will is awesome.  If you can afford it, obtaining a PPL is a great investment and an great addition to your personal achievements in life.


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