Eagles' Wings Flight Training

Serving the Beautiful Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia since 1984

David Hersman, CFI, with his lovely granddaughter, Autumn Rose, Dec 28, 2016

Requirements for a Private Pilot's License

Updated March 26, 2020

Eagles' Wings Flight Training

The applicant for a private pilot's license (in powered aircraft) must:

1. Be at least 17 years of age
2. Be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language.
3. Hold at least a third class medical certificate, or BasicMed certification in some cases.
4. Pass a computerized knowledge test
5. Pass a practical test, of oral quizzing, and actual flying.

The computerized Knowledge Test (number 4 above) includes:

1. Aircraft systems and operation
2. Basic Aerodynamics
3. Stall and spin awareness
4. Weather
5. Flight Planning and Navigation
6. Federal Aviation Regulations
7. Accident reporting requirements and procedures

He must have experience and training:

1. At least 20 hours of instruction from an authorized instructor, and
2. At least 10 hours of solo flight time.
3. At least 40 hours total flight time. *
4. The instructional time, as well as the solo time, must include specified elements of training and experience.

For more details see FAR 61.102 through 117

* This 40-hour minimum was established many decades ago. Although the minimum number of flight hours required for a Private Pilot certificate has not changed, the addition of other requirements has pushed the average up to 60 to 70 hours, depending on where you get your statistics.

When the forty-hour minimum was established, there was no requirement to learn radio navigation, or even radio communications, night flying, instrument flight, or flying in a radar environment. Here at Eagles' Wings, most students average about 60 hours. One thing is for sure: you will have 50% more useful learning experiences in 60 hours than in 40.

Flying is partly knowledge, partly skill, and partly judgment, plus a good measure of self discipline!

"Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14: 34

Pictured at left, is our granddaughter, Autumn Rose Hersman, I wish we lived close enough to fly with her more. I taught her Dad to fly in the same Cessna 150 we still have. He went on to become an Army pilot, flying both helicopters and fixed wing, and retired after 20 years of military service. They now live on a horse farm in Kentucky. Autumn was home schooled, and has become a very dedicated follower of the Lord, always a blessing and inspiration to those around her.

Contact Us

David H. Hersman, CFI
Eagles' Wings Flight Training
1458 Henson Road
Clintonville, West Virginia 24931-7158
Phone: 304-392-2035
Cell phone/ text: 304-661-2534
Email: David@EaglesWings.net
New Pilot Joel Thomas, in the cockpit. November 8, 2014

New Private Pilot

Joel Thomas, of Eagle Rock, Virginia, earned his Private Pilot's License while in his teens. Here he is pictured on his way home from passing his "flight test" in November 2014. Old timers used to talk about people being "industrious" which means working to achieve your goals. Joel is from a large family, home schooled, has a strong work ethic, and paid for his own flying lessons, recevied his license at age 17.

Thanks, Joel, for the diligent application to your goals, and the inspiration you are to others!

David Hersman, Hinton-Alderson Airport, April 10, 2008

My Grass Roots

Here I am at Hinton-Alderson Airport, Pence Springs, West Virginia, one of my favorite places in the whole world. Ruth Tolley Gwinn, my primary flight instructor, soloed here in 1935 when she was 16. She, and other pilots of her age group, were the link between the very first aviators, and my generation. The picture was taken April 10, 2008, the day the airplane turned 40 years old. Click here for more History of Eagles' Wings.

Adam Haymond With Don Judy, July 31, 2017

Passed his test!

Pictured here are Adam Haymond and flight examiner, Don Judy, at Elkins, West Virginia, July 31, 2017. Adam became a very close friend, a maintenance helper, and flight partner. When his work in West Virginia was finished, he moved back to Kentucky, and got married. We attened his wedding in August 2018, and he and his wife, Alison, came to our 50th Anniversary a year later. A true friend.

Damani Mitchell in the cockpit First solo, 9/30/17


Damani Mitchell is from Jamaica, and worked at United Technologies, at Union, West Virginia. He is all smiles after his first solo flights at Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB), September 30, 2017. He too, was an all-around good guy. He is now employed in North Carolina. You make a lot of genuine friends in the aviation community.