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7 Answers

Private Pilot before college

Asked by: 4983 views Private Pilot, Student Pilot

I am in the process of earning my private pilot certificate and I am in high school.  From what I can find all colleges would require me to take the whole private pilot course all over again.  Are there any universities that would allow me to pick up where I left off and start on an instrument rating?

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7 Answers

  1. Jason on Sep 07, 2011

    Some aviation colleges allow students to complete their private pilot license at nearby partner schools – usually community colleges. When university flight training begins, a few familiarzation flights are required to acclimate the student to procedures and check their proficiency. The cost of these flights, however, usually negates any cost savings you may have received from doing your PPL elsewhere. I did this at WMU, and if you do some research you’ll likely find schools with similar agreements. 
    With that said, I think you should get your license and start building hours as soon as possible. You could even study something else that interests you in college and continue to work on your ratings on the side. If you’re dead set on flying, choose a school like ATP to get into the right seat at a regional quickly. From there, you’ll be in a much better position to make decisions about education and career. 

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  2. Jon on Sep 08, 2011

    You might want to call the flight departments at the schools you’re interested in and verify that.  I had my PP going into college and Embry-Riddle gave me credit for the license.  I think it only counted as credit for one class, but that’s a whole bunch of money not spent on flying the same hours over again.  As Jason said, do whatever you can as soon as you can – it won’t be time wasted.  Even if you have to repeat some of the academics, you’ve still got a license.

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  3. pilotsteve on Sep 08, 2011

    After working for both part 141 and 61 flight schools, I can honestly say you will spend far more money and be much more frustrated if you join a flight program if you’ve already started somewhere else.  An an un-named school I worked for would tell students that had already started their private license that they could just enter the program and “finish up” the private license.  These students would then unwittingly be placed in ground school day 1 program, and before they realized what was going on they had spent thousands of dollars on hours they already had.
    I strongly recommend you start college, finish your private with a local airport at a part 61 flight school.  After you finish your private, then you can evaluate whether it would be advantageous to enter the college program or continue locally.

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  4. Gary Moore on Sep 08, 2011

    For what it’s worth – I went to FIT (albiet MANY years ago) and arrived there with my PPL in hand.  They simply placed me out of the first two units of flight which was their PP training.  No hassle – no test…..

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  5. Micah on Sep 08, 2011

    It’s best to call and ask, but it’s also worth briefly discussing the difference between the several types of schools you’re looking at. There is only one private pilot certificate, and you can’t get two. That doesn’t mean a school won’t make you do some work (groundschool) twice.
    The first difference is the part 61 or part 141 training program. Part 61 generally governs pilots and therefore includes the requirements for you to earn the different certificates/ratings available. Part 141 governs training programs that have different but very specific requirements in order for you get your certificates/ratings; your application (form 8710) indicates that you are applying because you are graduate of an approved course. If you train at a 141 school, you must meet certain requirements to graduate from those courses, and these requirements may sometimes seem silly; I can see where a 141 school may require you to take groundschool again even if you already have the certificate.
    A 141 flight academy is different from a college that has a flight training program. While the college may offer training by part 61 or 141, it also offers a degree. A college that offers an aviation degree is then trying to satisfy the requirements of the FAA and the requirements of the degree. They may ask you to take the private groundschool course because it is a degree requirement. Or they may give you credit instead. Colleges are very familiar with transfer students or students who bring hours with them (are those tests still called CLEP tests?) and your situation won’t be too different, but each college may interpret it differently. A college’s desire for you to take classes is largely dependent on what they require for you to get a degree. That will also be determined somewhat by their syllabus, if a 141 school, but the degree program/accreditation requirements are most important to them.
    It’s a different story, however, if you have some training but have not finished your certificate. They may credit your experience some or all or not at all. But they can’t make you retest for a pilot’s certificate that you already possess, even if they make you take the ground school again. If any school tells you that you need to retrain and retest for a certificate you already possess, walk away and find a competent training center.

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  6. Brian on Sep 08, 2011

    “But they can’t make you retest for a pilot’s certificate that you already possess,”
    I can think of two schools, one was highly aclaimed and the other is still highly aclaimed, that do exactly this. I attended one of them. They cannot make you take the FAA ride again, but they sure can, and do, issue their own stage checks. They call these ‘transition’ courses, but in reality they amount to 20+ (if you’re trained well enough to remain in the 20s) hours redoing your private rating.
    The most common reason I’m aware of is “to make sure they are up to ‘our’ standards of performance before moving on within our curriculum.” After seeing their standards and the typical FBO standards, I completely understand their reasoning. 

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  7. Christopher Ryan on Sep 08, 2011

    Embry Riddle Will only take and give credit for any license(s) you have when you come. if its not done you would have to take the PPL Ground course but most likely finish the flying credit very fast.
    Embry Riddle will also let you do all license outside of the school also if you just ask and get permission from the school and as far as i know they would credit you once the license was rewarded by the faa.

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