What type of pilot license should I get?

In case you have always wanted to fly but you aren’t sure what type of license you should get, a recent post by Arty Trost on the Let’s Go Flying blog is a must read. Arty begins by relating a conversation she recently overheard at the Arlington, WA fly-in involving someone who wanted to fly but obviously hadn’t carefully thought about what license to get and she then commented that it doesn’t make sense to “decide what type of certificate you’re going to get until you decide on the type of flying you want to do.” She then proceeds to describe in detail some of the options out there and these options included:

  • The Ultralight Experience: No Certificate Needed
  • Flying Light Sport: With a Light Sport Pilot Certificate
    • The “Low ‘n Slow” End: E-LSA
    • The “High End” of Light Sport
  • Flying with a Private Pilot Certificate

However, Arty also noted that you should only consider a Private Pilot Certificate if you:

– Want to go faster than the ultralight or Light Sport regs allow.
– Want to take more than the one passenger allowed by Light Sport.
– Want a larger, heavier plane to fly in rougher weather.
– Intend to fly higher than the 10,000’ MSL allowed in Light Sport.
– Eventually want to fly IFR.
– Feel safer and more comfortable in a certificated aircraft.
– Have fallen in love with an aircraft that doesn’t meet the Light Sport regs.

At the end of her post, she emphasized the need to take demo flights before making a choice as “you never know what you’ll fall in love with!” Definitely good advice worth heeding!

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