I am 16 and am very interested in becoming a private pilot, and fly flight simulators. I do not have enough money for the entire training. I can only afford 5 flying lessons.

Is it possible to learn majority of flight maneuvers using a flight simulator and just take a few lessons to get used to the feel of a real aircraft?

What are the list of topics that you need to learn when gaining your private pilot license?

  • $\begingroup$ Which country? UK? Anyway, the answer will be: no $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 11:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Related question: Can Microsoft Flight Simulator help me learn to fly (or make me a better pilot)? $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 11:48
  • $\begingroup$ I would say if you are good at what are you doing you can pass any test first time. So,answer is yes. $\endgroup$
    – vasin1987
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ Since you need a minimum of 45 hours (in the UK at least), then no, it is not possible. $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 12:56
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @vasin1987 - but a student won't even be allowed to attempt the checkride without the prerequisite amount of flight time. Please post your comment as an answer so i can downvote it :) $\endgroup$
    – Steve V.
    Commented Jan 2, 2015 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, no.

If you learn and practice and master the flying skills in a flight simulator, you will become a certified pilot only for that simulator, not for real life.

You didn't mention the country, but you can look at this answer to find all the requirements to become a private pilot in USA.

Using a flight simulator, you can learn many very valuable skills which will be very useful in your actual flying (and many many pilots do a lot of practice in a simulator), but in no way it can completely replace actual flying. There are many things you can only feel in actual flying experience. You can make any mistake in a simulator and no harm is done, but not in actual flying.

Everything in flying is expensive. Even after you get your PPL, you still have to pay for flying afterwards. Since you are young enough not to have chosen a career path yet (probably), why don't you try to become an airline pilot?

For the answer to your second question, a few topics are:

  • the airplane and its physics
  • its engine
  • weather
  • effects of weather and altitude on pilots
  • navigation
  • planning
  • ... and many other topics

There are tons of material available covering these topics. FAA has a wide array of reading material which you can download for free.

  • $\begingroup$ You forgot the largest topic of them all; rules and regulations. :p $\endgroup$
    – falstro
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 0:58
  • $\begingroup$ @falstro Oh yeah, that's true. But I thought OP was seriously looking to learn flying. ;) $\endgroup$
    – Farhan
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 18:02

There are usually a minimum required hours of flying you need to do, so the answer is no. Simon mentions in the comments that in the UK the minimum hours is 45.

If money is of issue, you should also consider other options such as gliding which is considerably cheaper. At least in Finland if you gather enough hours in a glider, you can then get other licenses with less hours required. Besides after getting enough hours you would be older and perhaps have a job that can pay for our hobby.


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