Flight training is a course of study used when learning to pilot an aircraft. The overall purpose of primary and intermediate flight training is the acquisition and honing of basic airmanship skills.
Although there are various types of aircraft, many of the principles of piloting them have common techniques, especially those aircraft which are heavier than air types.
All training courses consist of some combination of theoretical learning conducted on the ground, and practical exercises conducted in the air. Initial training is often conducted in specialised training aircraft, which are designed for benign handling characteristics and lower costs compared to the aircraft which the pilot concerned is ultimately aiming to fly. Flight simulators are also used to train pilots in some circumstances, at much lower cost and risk than actual flying. The minimum amount of flight training required for private pilots is generally set at 40 hours, however most students require 50-80 hours of training.
In basic training, the following fundamentals of safe flying are covered for almost all aircraft (with a few exceptions for the smallest ultralights missing some features):
- Principles of Flight
- Flight Regulations
- Radio Communications
- Flight Instruments
- Human Factors
- Medical Certification
For powered aircraft:
- Airframes, Engines and Systems
The FAA Knowledge Test is administered at designated testing centers and consists of a computer-generated 60 question multiple choice exam. Practical Tests are conducted by an FAA or FAA-designated examiner. Upon satisfactory completion of the practical test, a private pilot certificate is immediately issued.