For students looking to become a professional pilot, the private pilot certificate can be viewed as more of a steppingstone to their career than a valuable addition to their pilot toolbox. However, being a private pilot can lead to wonderful experiences and provide travel conveniences the rest of the public doesn’t have.
Yes, there are limitations to a private pilot certificate, with the biggest being that you can’t get paid to fly, but there are also many things you CAN do. And, for those students who want to learn to fly but don’t have an interest in becoming a professional pilot, the experiences you gain are well worth the investment.
Here are five ways you can use your private pilot certificate.
- Fly for Business
Do you travel a lot for work? Your private pilot certificate allows you to fly for business purposes so you could rent or buy a plane to meet your travel needs. Flying saves you time compared to driving, can be less expensive than commercial airline travel, allows for more destinations, and you can get reimbursed for expenses just like any other form of operating expenses.
- Fly Family and Friends
Despite what you might think, private pilots are allowed to carry passengers. They just can’t be paid to do so. The number of passengers you can carry with you is limited to the type of plane you can fly, but there are aircraft private pilots qualify to fly that seat 4-6 people. Some of these might require additional checkout flights or complex training, which can be achieved quickly with proper planning. While you can’t be paid, you are allowed to share the cost of the trip with your passengers. So, gather up your closest family or friends and plan a weekend getaway where you can showcase your skills and love of flying!
Road tripping across America by car is fun but seeing the same cities and landmarks from 10,000 feet in the air is an experience you won’t forget. As a private pilot you can fly almost anywhere. Just be sure to keep with your VFR or IFR ratings and if you are flying around unfamiliar terrain (i.e. mountains when you’re from Florida), consider getting a checkout flight from an experienced CFI in the area.
- Join the Aviation Community
People who learn to fly share a unique passion and being around others who share this love for aviation is like getting a second instant family. Every year Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and Sun N’ Funin Lakeland, Florida brings together hundreds of airplanes and thousands of attendees. You’ll meet pilots from around the world, see the latest developments in aviation and even hear from great guest speakers. If you can’t make it to these two big events, there are fly-ins and aviation festivals in many communities around the country.
- Charity Flights
As we mentioned earlier in this post, you can’t be paid for your time as a private pilot. However, you can donate your time to charity. This is a great way to give back to your community and inspire others with a passion for flying to help others. We’ve compiled a list of six organizations that need volunteer pilots to achieve their missions. From rescuing animals to medical transports to impacting youth, you can find your passion and pair it with your love of flying to make a difference.
If you are ready to start pursing your dream of becoming a pilot, we can help you. Contact us today to get on the right path.