Flying Requirements

Flying Requirements

It's a fact: Learning how to fly has never been cheap. You have to hire an instructor and a training plane, take lessons, study for tests, pass those tests, buy or rent a plane, buy fuel and insurance, and find the time to get into the sky.

You'd be amazed at the number of requirements in flying. There are all sorts of rules and laws. The Federal Aviation Authority dictates quite a few, not to mention that you also have to adhere to the laws of physics. There is quite a lot to take on board when discussing flying requirements. But I'm here to help.

In these pages, you'll find lots of valuable information on flying requirements, from what you have to do to pass your check ride to the minimum hour's requirements to achieve your license. It's all here.

This website offers ideas on how to get the most from your aviation dollars and enjoy flying on a budget.

Aviation, A Brief History

It was just a century ago that brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright discovered powered flight. On the windy dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in December of 1903, the two bicycle repairmen were rewarded for hundreds of hours of planning, tinkering, and testing. The Wright Flyer flew for a distance shorter than the length of a modern airliner. But it flew!

Over a century later, aviation has dramatically changed how we work, play, and move about the country. Without airplanes, cross-country trips would be made in days rather than hours. Overnight packages would take a week to arrive. Frequent-flier miles would go unused.

Today, there are three types of flying: scheduled airlines, military, and everything else—called general aviation (GA).

What might be surprising is how big GA is!

In fact, 95 percent of the 220,000 civilian aircraft in the United States are general-aviation aircraft. And there are lots of airports: 13,000 at last count, with just 2 percent of them served by scheduled airlines.

That's a whole lot of airports to fly into and explore!

Flying Requirements. What We'll Cover

The above list isn't exhaustive, but it will cover just about every requirement needed to become a pilot. Let's look at each in a little more detail

The Rules

In this section, I'll discuss some of the rules and requirements of various types of aircraft.

Ah, rules. Aviation is full of them.

Want the good news?

The rules are there to keep you (and everybody else safe). Gone are the days of the Wright Brothers where aviation was truly the "Wild West". Instead, the aviation industry is heavily regulated.

The good news is that even when sticking to the rules, you can get airborne and fly all on your own safely. The introduction of new rules by the FAA means that you don’t need a full private pilots licence to enjoy flying. 

Instead you could opt for a Sport Pilot Licence and fly specific types of aircraft from smaller airports.

Pilot Training

In this section, I'll give you all the information you need on the licensing requirements according to the FAA, including how to gain your Sport Pilot License. I'll also cover the flying requirements regarding hours, solo time, instructional time, and even the theory you'll need to know.

As you'll see in my article on flight training, there are a lot of boxes that need to be checked to ensure that you are a safe and competent pilot.

There's only one way to achieve this, and it has nothing to do with supposed 'natural ability'.

The secret?

Good training.

It is an essential flying requirement. So much so that you will be required to log every single minute of your flight time alongside having it vetted by your instructor. Aside from making you into an amazing pilot, the regulations attached to flight training are there to ensure that you are as safe as possible.

And here's the thing.

When you get good training and follow the rules, flying is much safer than many recreational sports.

The Four Forces

In this section, we will go through how these flight forces interact with each other. I'll also offer a quick reference chart showing you how these forces affect the aircraft.

Remember how we were talking about flying requirements not only being dictated by regulatory bodies.

There are a few immutable laws regardless of where you fly.

I'm talking about the laws of physics.

Provided you are flying in the earth's atmosphere, you'll need to observe some constant requirements to keep the airplane shiny side up.

Luckily, understanding the forces involved in flying isn't too complex. In fact, there are only four of them.

Flight Controls

This page will give you a quick and easy rundown on what the flight controls are called, what function they perform, and some further detail on things to watch out for.

An airplane without controls wouldn't be much fun to fly… Nor would it get airborne.

Understanding how flight controls work is an essential flying requirement.

While aerodynamics and flight controls might seem like magic at an early stage, in reality, there are only 3 to remember. They all perform a single function combined to make the aircraft do exactly what you want.

Federal Aviation Regulations

This section will point you in the right direction and offer you some guidance on where to find various pieces of key information and what the rules and requirements are in general.

There is only one set of rules that are as immutable as the laws of physics. And that is those mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration. This is one organization that you almost certainly don't want to get on the wrong side of.

The FAA is the agency that will grant and oversee your license. They dictate the rules relating to everything flying-related. This includes laws about:-

  • Airspace
  • Licenses
  • How You Speak on the Radio
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Airworthiness
  • Medical Fitness
  • Training Requirements
  • Rules of the Air

And much more!

The good news is that almost every single rule and regulation is documented. But it can be hard going to know where to look if you are just starting out.

FAR Parts

This section will cover the various FAR parts you need to become accustomed to and offer a quick rundown on each chapter of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

If you want to know about regulations, then FAR's, sorry Federal Aviation Regulations, are the definitive documents.

What is the 'parts' thing all about?

Well, as I'm sure you can imagine, there is a lot to cover for a regulatory body as prestigious as the FAA. So they divide the rules up into chapters… Or, more accurately, parts.

Once you become accustomed to the flying regulations, you'll automatically start talking about FAR parts as second nature. However, you might need a helping hand until that time, or it is easy to feel lost in what feels like a foreign language.

Airspace Rules

Airspace rules can be a little complex to start with. My guide in this section will tell you everything you need to know.

Airspace busts are no laughing matter. While it might involve ticking off from the tower at best, at worst, you could be putting your and other people's life at risk.

Most airspace rules exist for a reason.

Want some examples of airspace that you might be keen to avoid?

Class A airspace is the sole preserve of the big jets. At the speeds, they travel at, and with restricted visibility, there's a good chance they won't see you at all, so it is best to keep out of their way.

There are also restricted areas where you could find yourself in really hot water if you were to enter. This could include things like military firing areas, nuclear power stations, or government buildings.

And it isn't just about what's on the ground. Knowing your airspace means you have to be aware of what's in the air too!

As a private or sport pilot, you'll be required to fly according to visual flight rules… Meaning the weather has to be good enough to 'see and avoid'.

Want to hear something funny?

Depending on the airspace you are flying in, the rules change about what weather is deemed 'suitable'! A mile back, you could have been flying 100% legally, only to be in breach of the flying regulations governing your license a little further down the track!

Airspace rules can be a little complex to start with. My guide in this section will tell you everything you need to know.

Flying Requirements. Final Thoughts

In these Flight Guides, you'll learn flying requirements, discover that planes fly according to irrevocable laws of physics, you'll learn what knowledge and equipment you need to fly, and you'll find out how to keep it fun. That sounds pretty great, right? Let's dive straight into our first section and look at some rules.

Flying Requirements

Real Fighter Pilot Walks You through the Requirements (Video)