Earning My Private Pilot's License

Flying on my birthday and preparing for the checkride


My journey began when I was 10 years old. As a birthday present back in 2012, my parents purchased me an introductory flying lesson. Since my parents had to travel for work, I would fly with them a lot, which helped to establish and develop my interest in different transportation vehicles, especially airplanes. I would sit in the window seat, fascinated with what the airplane’s wing was doing. This introductory flight was my first chance to actually be at the controls of an airplane, which helped solidify my strong interest in aviation.

I continued taking flying lessons as the years went by and finally got serious with flying in 2018. With my interest in aviation growing, I manifested the goal of earning my Private Pilot License with the ultimate goal of earning it before I graduated high school. In April 2019, I was able to complete my first solo flight. This was an extremely exciting experience for me, and after it was done, it took me a little while to fully process what just happened… a significant amount of hard work and practice had to be put forth to get to that moment, and once I completed that flight, I realized that my upcoming milestones and the dream of earning my license were not-so-distant realities.

Taxiing during my first solo flight


Following this accomplishment, my next step was to complete my first 50-mile solo cross country flight. This flight was scheduled to be completed in March but unfortunately, the airport FBO closed due to COVID-19 and I was unable to do the flight. I was a bit disappointed, mostly because I was on track to complete the rest of the requirements for my license in the spring, and then pass my written exam and checkride going into the summer. Thankfully, our governor granted the airport permission to open back up again in June, and then I was able to continue my flight training.

On the ground in Nashua, NH


With each flight, I got closer and closer to my goal, and at the end of July, I was able to complete my 150-mile solo flight to three different airports (7B2-KCON-KLEB-7B2). I was a bit nervous at first, with this being my longest solo flight yet, but I was able to just rely back on all the practice I had done, I got more comfortable, and enjoyed the flight.

On the ground in Lebanon, NH


Going into September, I was at the point where I was completing the tests necessary to earn my license. I passed the required written test, and even though I was a bit nervous and lost some sleep over it, the extra bit of studying was extremely worthwhile. With the written exam under my belt, my final steps were to complete my required 3 hours of test prep and then take the checkride. As I was before, I was quite nervous leading into the exam, mostly because I hadn’t had one before and didn’t know what to expect - but talking with my instructor, my examiner, and other newly-minted private pilots beforehand helped to calm those nerves and make me feel more comfortable.

The checkride itself went great - the oral portion was about an hour and 15 minutes, and then I ended up logging 1.7 hours for the flight portion. I thought I messed up severely on my soft field landing I was required to do, but I suppose that it was within the Practical Test Standards since I was able to progress past it. After completing all my maneuvers, landings, and then securing the aircraft, my examiner asked me a few more questions about the airplane, and then that was that. I went back into the FBO, got my Temporary Airman Certificate, and then I was on my way! I still had the aircraft booked for a few hours, so I took the opportunity to bring my grandmother and father up for a flight, and I plan on going with my mother this weekend.

Flying over the Quabbin Reservoir with my family


All in all, even though my journey to my PPL was extensive and required a lot of hard work, I found it to be very rewarding. I have learned so much about myself, improved myself as a person, and have set into motion possible career paths, being lucky enough to complete this training before my high school graduation. In terms of flight training, and many other things for that matter, the main thing that would hold back my progress was myself, whether I was doubting myself, not being confident, etc. Eight years ago after my first flight in the cockpit, getting my pilot’s license just seemed like a dream to me. That one flight, at 10 years old, set into motion my entire journey as a pilot, making me realize that earning my license was what I wanted to do, something that I could do, and now, something that I was able to do. My advice: keep chasing after your dreams, because with the right course of action, they are achievable.

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Aye Bobby! Congratulations! #GoTeamBobby!

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Congrats! This is a really big accomplishment.

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Great read, Bobby! Congratulations! 🥳

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Congrats Bobby :) Great feeling to get your PPL. I’m looking to get mine soon!

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Congratulations, Bobby! What an accomplishment!

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Well done, Bobby! Even just through periodic announcements in the IFATC slack, it’s been crazy to see you progress through this journey over time. Congratulations!

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Congratulations Bobby! 🥳🎉🍾

Enjoy flying!

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Massive congrats Bobby, let’s hope you’ll continue with this for your entire career!

Nice plane, always fun to fly a PA28 😂👀

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Congratulations! Your hard work really paid off, happy flying!

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You guys are lucky flying the PA28, I fly a 172b that leaks oil and is from the 60’s 😂😂

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Many, many congratulations friend. I know how stressful the process is and hope to get my license sometime in the near future. So… when you coming over to CO?! 😜

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Congratulations!

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Wow, huge congratulations to you! Getting a PPL must be amazing! Have fun flying around the world now!


I’m looking for advice, cause I can start my groundschool now. I want to be flying, but don’t know when to start or finding the motivation to start it. Do you have any advice or tips for that?

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Congrats Bobby, I know you’ve put a ton of time and effort into this and I know you’ll continue to be successful!

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Congratulations!!!
You’ll never forget that day. I had waited soo long and the best flight I ever had was the first start with my dad right after my license was authorized (I cried during that flight but just a little :DD).

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Yayyyy Bobby!!! #TeamBobby #SameBirthday

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Fantastic topic Bobby! Congrats with earning your Private Pilot’s License. I hope to earn this myself anytime in the future.

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Great job! Welcome to the world of aviation! Can’t wait to see you carry on with your journey!

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WOW great job! I also want to get my ppl (by 17), I am planning on starting training at 16 because there is no point in me spending the money now when I wont be able to get my ppl.

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