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The Real Cost of Becoming a Private Pilot

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

Photograph by Oli Tennent/

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You can take to the skies at jet or propeller speed. If you dabble in lessons, it could take four months, and since you'll spend more time reviewing, it may cost more. If you take an immersion course, you could do it in six weeks, says Ed Helmick, owner of Diamond Flight Center. While the FAA requires 40 hours of flying to earn a private pilot certificate (the most commonly issued certificate), most students take about 65 hours. "My advice is to take it slow and make sure the techniques are burned in your brain," says Presley.