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The Real Cost of Becoming a Private Pilot

By Bloomberg Rankings - 2012-03-08T22:04:05Z

Photograph by Julia Fullerton-Batten/Getty Images

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Taking the Test

You'll take your written private pilot test either at your school or at a testing center run by Computer Assisted Testing Service (CATS) or LaserGrade. Expect to answer 60 questions in 2.5 hours. You'll need a passing score of 70. According to the FAA, 92 percent of test takers passed in 2010. The test costs $150. You must also take the FAA Check Ride, known as the "practical test." It involves a two hour oral test and about two hours of flying. It's free if done with an FAA employee, but costs $431 with a designated examiner at Sporty's.