Flight training is a course of study used when learning to pilot an aircraft. The overall purpose of primary and intermediate flight training is the acquisition and honing of basic airmanship skills.
Flight training can be conducted under a structured accredited syllabus with a flight instructor at a flight school or as private lessons with no syllabus with a flight instructor as long as all experience requirements for the desired pilot certificate/license are met.
Typically flight training consists of a combination of two parts:
Although there are various types of aircraft, many of the principles of piloting them have common techniques, especially those aircraft which are heavier-than-air types.
Flight schools commonly rent aircraft to students and licensed pilots at an hourly rate. Typically the hourly rate is determined by the aircraft's Hobbs meter or Tach timer therefore the customer is only charged while the aircraft engine is running. Flight instructors can also be scheduled with or without an aircraft for pilot proficiency and recurring training.
The oldest flight training school still in existence is the Royal Air Force's (RAF's) Central Flying School formed in May 1912 at Upavon, United Kingdom. The oldest civil flight school still active in the world is based in Germany at the Wasserkuppe. It was founded as "Mertens Fliegerschule", and is currently named "Fliegerschule Wasserkuppe".
Main article: Pilot licensing and certification
Pilots must first gain their Private Pilot Licence (PPL). They can then progress to a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), and finally an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL).
Some countries have a Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL), but this cannot be used internationally.
Separate licences are required for different aircraft categories, for example helicopters and aeroplanes.
A type rating, also known as an endorsement, is the process undertaken by a pilot to update their license to allow them to fly a different type of aircraft. A class rating covers multiple aircraft.
An instrument rating allows a pilot to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR).