A Canadian aeroplane flight instructor (left) and her student, next to a Cessna 172 with which they have just completed a lesson.

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.[1]

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.[citation needed]

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 student 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.[4]

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.[5] 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".[6]


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.


Level D simulator used for Type Conversions

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.[7] A class rating covers multiple aircraft.

An instrument rating allows a pilot to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR). A night rating allows a pilot to fly at night (that is, outside of Civil twilight).[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Handbooks & Manuals". faa.gov. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  2. ^ Culnane, Michael J., Instructor Rating Ground School Course, Accelerated Aviation Training, December 2001, page iii.
  3. ^ "How it all Works: Learning to Fly". www.aopa.org. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Here's What to Know About Aircraft Rentals and Wet vs. Dry Rates". The Balance Careers. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Royal flying corps: Central Flying school". Flight Archive. Flight global. 20 April 1912. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  6. ^ Jenrich, Joachim (2007). Die Wasserkuppe – Ein Berg mit Geschichte [The water dome – A mountain with history] (in German). Fulda, DE: Parzeller. ISBN 978-3-7900-0389-5.
  7. ^ Federal Air Regulation, vol. 61, US: GPO
  8. ^ Canada, Transport (20 May 2010). "1.0 Air Law". Transport Canada. Retrieved 26 November 2022.