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How Many Hours Do I Need To Fly For A Twin Cities Pilot License?

When it comes to obtaining a Twin Cities pilot license, you may be wondering how many hours you need until you’re officially certified and can set out on your own. Well, good news – within just a few weeks, you can be certified as a private pilot and fly yourself to prime destinations throughout the country. If you’re interested in signing up for flight school in Minneapolis/St. Paul, here are the number of hours you’ll need to put in before you’re an official pilot – let’s take a look.

How Many Hours to Become a Private Pilot

Like other states throughout the U.S., flight hours for official certification are determined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). For those just starting down the exciting path of becoming a pilot, you’ll first need to obtain a private pilot license. 

A private pilot license allows you to operate small aircraft, outside of Class A airspace. Through a mix of ground school and flight training under the guidance of a certified flight instructor (CFI), you’ll be trained on basic maneuvers, flight controls, navigational planning, and much more. With a private pilot license in the Twin Cities, you’re allowed to bring along passengers but cannot work as a pilot for hire.

Under a Part 61 flight school, you’ll need to complete the FAA minimum of 40 hours of flight time. This includes at least 20 hours of dual flight training with a CFI and 10 hours of solo flying. Find a further breakdown of FAA-required training hours below:


  1. 3 hours of cross-country flight training.
  2. 3 hours of flight training at night including:
    1. One cross-country flight of over 100 nautical miles.
    2. 10 takeoffs and 10 landings at an airport.
  3. 3 hours of instrument training.
  4. 3 hours of flight training in preparation for the practical test.
  5. 10 hours of solo flight time in a single-engine airplane:
    1. 5 hours of solo cross-country flying.
    2. One solo cross-country flight of 150 nautical miles, with three landing points and one straight-line path of more than 50 nautical miles.
    3. Three takeoffs and three landings at an airport with an operating control tower.


There’s also the option of completing your flying hours at a Part 141 flight school. While the educational approach is a little different compared to Part 61, the hours are fairly similar. Overall, at a Part 141 flight school, the biggest differences are that you need lower minimum hours. For example, the minimum total requirement is only 35 hours, versus 40 hours under Part 61. This is because the FAA requires a more intense curriculum, requirements, and paperwork from a Part 141 school, so they have lower minimums, but also at a higher cost to the student.

Average Hours For A Private Pilot License

From zero hours to private pilot certification, the national average for students is between 60 and 70 hours. While the FAA minimum is 40, which is certainly doable for students who excel in their coursework and flight training, it’s normal if the number of hours extends beyond that minimum threshold. Some pilots may even take a year or longer to become licensed – this is perfectly fine as most Part 61 schools allow you to fly and learn at your convenience. There’s no shame in taking your time to become the best pilot you absolutely can!

Other Private Pilot License Requirements

Of course, there are other requirements you’ll need to meet to be eligible for a private pilot license. Beyond just the training hours, you’ll need to fulfill the following:


  1. Be at least 17 years old.
  2. Be able to read, write, and converse fluently in English.
  3. Obtain a third-class FAA medical certificate.
  4. Undergo ground training from an authorized instructor.
  5. Pass a knowledge test with a score of 70 percent or better.
  6. Pass a practical test given as a final exam by an FAA inspector or designated pilot examiner.
  7. Take and pass a private pilot checkride under a designated pilot examiner (DPE).

Are you interested in getting your pilot license in the Twin Cities?

If you’re searching for a reliable flight school to help you become a private pilot, turn to the professionals at Inflight Pilot Training. We’ve helped countless people take the control wheel and soar the skies, whether through accelerated pilot programs, instrument ratings, commercial certification, or anything else. Our team can develop a personalized plan to ensure your success as an aspiring pilot.

Let our diverse team of CFIs elevate your learning experience as you take to the skies. If you’re interested in learning more about Inflight programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.