How long does it take to become a pilot?

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The short answer is: It takes about 3 months to become a private pilot and about 13 months to become a commercial pilot. Keep reading to learn more!

This is one of our most frequently asked questions: How long does it take to become a pilot? The short answer? From zero to fully trained commercial pilot with ratings such as instructor, multi-engine, etc. takes just over 13 months. Some pilots do it faster, some pilots take longer to complete their training.

Earning a pilot's license

Regardless of how long it takes to learn to fly and earn your Private Pilot License (PPL), we work hard to make sure your training is safe, efficient, and cost effective. When you pass your check-ride, you’ll be ringing the bell here at Epic!


The same variables that affect the cost of learning to fly will affect the time it takes to earn your certificate. For example, the FAA has established the minimum number of flight hours needed to obtain a certificate.

Part 61 and Part 141

Under Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, you need a minimum of 40 hours for a private pilot certificate. Some schools, like Epic, operate under an alternate regulation, Part 141, which provides more FAA oversight, more rigid schedules, and more paperwork. The added requirements allow them to reduce the minimum hours of private pilot training to 35 hours. However, many schools believe that a true average flight training time for a private pilot is between 50 hours and 60 hours, whether the school operates under Part 61 or Part 141 schools. Others believe that 68 to 70 hours is the more likely average. Cessna published the national average as 75 flight hours. These flight hours can be spread over a time span of several months to a year or more. At Epic, we estimate 3 months of training to earn a Private Pilot License.

To complete the full flight training program, we estimate 13.5 months, although many of our students have completed in as few as 7 monhts:

  • PPL – 3 months
  • IR – 2 months
  • CMEL – 2 months
  • CSEL – 2 months
  • CFI – 2 months
  • CFII – 3 weeks
  • CMEL Add On – 2 weeks
  • CSEL Add On – 2 weeks
  • MEI Add on – 3 weeks


Watch This Video: From Student Pilot to CFI

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