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How many years do you have to study to become a pilot?

Hopefully I can get it done in 4 years or so pilot airplane flying

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Andrew’s Answer

You most definitely can do it in 4 years! There are Universities with bachelor programs that give you the ability to fly while you study. If you already have a college degree you can go to one of the fast paced programs designed for people who purely want to get their pilot certificates and ratings.

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Joseph’s Answer

Minimum flight training to get your private pilots license is 40 hours. The average is around 70-80 hours. That's just the flight time. There will also be ground instruction that can take as much, if not significantly more time. A typical flight will be around 1.5 to 2 hours. If you're able to flying about 3 days a week seems to provide optimal learning. Flying less will take longer to build muscle memory and retain skills. Flying more results in mental exhaustion so you retain less of what you're learning. You can easily complete in under a year if you have the funds and time to commit to it. With a private pilots license you cannot be paid to fly, nor can you have someone cover the costs of the flight, only their fair share of it. A commercial license requires 250 hours and an Airline Transport Rating (ATP) requires 1,500 (some exceptions). Along the way you'll also need a multi-engine rating and an instrument rating at a minimum. Typically you'll also pick up your flight instructor and instrument flight instructor ratings. Depending on the aircraft you may also need a type rating specific to that aircraft.

The two typical paths are either flight instructor (work up to it as fast as you can and then get paid to fly while teaching others to continue building hours) or military (get your ratings while getting paid but you're at the mercy of Uncle Same for then next decade). Both have pro's and con's.

Good answer. John Kriegel

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John’s Answer

It should take less than a year (in the US). Basic steps:
(1) ground school
(2) training with instructor - you are mostly a passenger learning what to do, but from time to time you take the controls.
(3) training for "solo" - you practice takeoffs and landings but with instructor closely supervising.
(4) solo flight - no set amount of instruction time has to be logged (every bit of time where you hold the controls is logged in your logbook), but depending on your skills this should be at about 30-50 hours.
(5) more instruction, but also practice as a solo learner. Usually 1 hour of instruction followed by 1-3 hours of solo work.
(6) solo cross country flight. Three of these are required, two short ones and the "long cross country" (oh so special). When you do the long cross country, it generally means that your CFI (instructor) thinks that you are ready for the final step.
(7) The "check ride" - you take a test - on the ground and in the air. You do not have to be perfect, but you must demonstrate that you have really learned.
If you pass the checkride you get the "private pilots license". There are many other levels, especially if you want to be a professional pilot.