The Private Pilot Certificate: 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has minimum requirements to become a private pilot:


The training sessions are scheduled in two-hour blocks at your convenience seven days a week starting at 7:00 a.m. to 9: 00 p.m.

During this time, you and your flight instructor will complete ground and flight instruction.

Salem Air Center Flight Training uses the Gleim training package that includes training C/D’s, multi-color text books, and workbooks. This program has been used internationally and has proven to be an excellent tool to complete your flight training. We also offer week-end ground schools.

The training is broken up into three stages:

The first stage is preparing you to solo (which means flying without your flight instructor in the aircraft). In this phase of your training you learn about slow flight, stalls, ground reference maneuvers, climbs, descents, straight and level, radio procedures, aerodynamics, take offs and landings. Mastery of these maneuvers allows you to solo under the FAA minimum requirements.

The second stage is geared toward navigation and cross country work. In this stage you focus on cross country planning, maximum performance takeoffs and landings, understanding weather, lost and diversion procedures, night flying and navigation, weight and balance, and advanced chart reading. Once you have completed these tasks you are able to fly solo cross countries to airports within the Northwest.  

The third and final stage is the preparation for your check ride. In this stage you review all of the above procedures to the standards outlined in the FAA Practical Test Standards. The PTS is the outline of the flight and knowledge requirements in order to pass your private pilot check ride. The check ride is taken with an FAA approved examiner. It is typically 4-6 hours long and consists of oral testing and a check flight. Once you have passed this check ride, you are a certified private pilot. This means you can fly anywhere in the United Stated under Visual Flight Rules (VFR conditions).

Instrument Rating

The FAA has minimum requirements to receive an instrument rating:

1. Hold a current Private Pilot Certificate.

2. Read, write, speak English.

3. 3rd. Class medical.

4. Have completed 50hrs of cross-country flight as pilot in command.
(However, an instrument student does not need 50hrs cross-country time to begin his/her training. Many cross-country hours may be accumulated in the course of IFR training).

5. Have completed 40hrs of dual instruction in either simulated or ‘actual’     conditions. That is, ‘under the hood’ utilizing a view limiting device or in actual ‘in the clouds’ conditions.

 Instrument Training is broken up into 3 stages:

First Stage: The student learns to control his aircraft without outside visual reference; that is in reference solely to the instruments. This will include climbs, descents and turns based upon a ‘Control and Performance’ model that will get the student acclimatized to flying by the ‘six pack’. (artificial horizon, altimeter, vertical speed indicator, turn coordinator, directional gyro, and tachometer). We will utilize our PA28-180 Piper Archer with dual VOR’s, glide slope and DME. The Archer is stable, fast and reliable and makes an excellent IFR ‘platform’ meeting all the requirements for instrument training.

Second Stage: We will take stage 1 skills and incorporate them into the larger picture of VOR, DME, localizer, and ILS navigation. We will utilize IFR approach and enroute maps to see Oregon and Washington’s airspace in a whole new way. With a little work, you will home to stations, intercept radials, hold at intersections and shoot approaches.

Third Stage: This takes your skills and puts them in the real world of weather, air traffic control, cross-country planning and emergency preparedness. The goal is single pilot confidence and proficiency in the IFR world. After this stage, you will be ready to pass the Instrument Rating check ride with an FAA approved examiner, and just as importantly, fly safely to new destinations in the clouds.