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The Length of Flight Training

Questions regarding the length of flight training are some of the most commonly asked by those interested in becoming pilots. New student pilots will quickly learn once they begin flight school that the correct answer to nearly all aviation questions is "It depends." This question is no different.

For aviators, flight training never truly ends. One of the most common phrases shared among pilots is, "A good pilot is always learning." However, most reading this article already understand this and want to know how long flight school is from day one to graduation. The answer to this is it depends.

In aviation, there are no semesters, spring breaks, report cards, or parent-teacher conferences. A student either knows the information or they don't. A pilot completes a course when they receive the desired rating or certificate. For example, this may be a Private Pilot License or an Airline Transport Pilot License. Pilots train to meet requirements and may receive the desired rating once completed. These requirements are set by the Federal Aviation Administration and are the same for all pilots in the US.

Every flight school's programs differ; some allow pilots to take as much time as they would like, whereas others encourage pilots to move quickly through training. Some are done in association with a university and may be linked to a degree; in these cases, grades do exist, although they do not affect a pilot's ability to meet licensing requirements.

Daily Time Commitment

At Axiom Aviation, several courses are offered covering fixed-wing (airplane) flight instruction. Before covering how long a course takes, we must first go over the daily time commitment.

While attending flight school, students are encouraged to attend full-time, although part-time options are available. Students looking to study full-time can expect to spend 1-3 hours per day flying, 1-2 hours doing ground training, and 2-3 hours studying. Full-time students are expected to attend school five days per week, generally Monday through Friday. However, other schedules may be arranged under various circumstances.

A common question prospective students ask is whether they can work while in flight school. The answer is YES. Most students work part-time while attending flight training at Axiom. Select flight schools do not permit students to work as they require them to remain flexible to meet the school's needs. Here at Axiom, the school is required to be flexible to meet the student's needs.

Many schools also require students to travel to complete their flight training. At Axiom, all training is done in one location, meaning that there is no reason for students to travel to complete their training.

Axiom Aviation Program Length

For this explanation, we will use a student looking to go through the Zero to Hero Program who aspires to become an airline pilot. The first stage is the Private Pilot License (PPL).

Private Pilot License- The PPL course takes an average of three months for a student to complete. Students who study hard often receive this rating in only two months.

Instrument Rating- The instrument rating course also takes an average of three months. This period will include a lot of simulator time and cross-country flying.

Commercial Pilot License- The commercial license will also take an average of three months. Although this can vary depending on how many hours were acquired in the first two courses. When delays in scheduling flight exams occur during PPL and instrument training, the additional hours obtained while practicing go towards meeting the Commercial Pilot minimum hour requirement of 250 hours. In other words, delays during PPL and Instrument for scheduling reasons will not extend the total training time as the student will need to build fewer hours during Commercial.

Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)- The length of this course depends solely on the student. Students must prepare lesson plans for their CFI checkride beforehand. These lesson plans can take a long time to make, especially if the student is unmotivated. Students who begin working on these during the commercial portion of their training can expect to finish the course in roughly one month.

Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII)- This course is shorter than the CFI course and takes most students two weeks to one month.

Multi-Engine Rating Commercial Add-On- This rating is an add-on course to the Commercial Pilot License. This course teaches a pilot to fly an aircraft with more than one engine. It generally takes two weeks to one month.

Multi-Engine Certified Flight Instructor (MEI)- This rating allows a flight instructor to instruct in a multi-engine airplane. This course is relatively quick as the pilot is already licensed to instruct and fly a multi-engine airplane. Now they need to learn to teach the multi-engine course. This course takes approximately two weeks.

Final Thoughts

Flight training takes time and determination. A determined, hard-working student can expect to complete flight school in under a year. Students who attend part-time due to other commitments should expect flight training to take over a year if they are doing the whole program. The exact time required will depend on how determined the student is and their schedule availability.

New student pilots should also set realistic expectations for their flight training. The aviation industry is filled with delays. Whether they be related to required maintenance inspections or unfavorable weather, pilots must accept that they do exist. The timeline listed above was made considering the average number of flight delays during one year of flight training.

If you have any questions regarding the length of flight training, email us at, or give us a call at (262) AX-PILOT.

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