I am going to be initiating my private pilot license shortly and wanted some feedback and comments with regards to utilizing single engine (minimum) and multi-engine to obtain my multi-engine rating quickest.

I know that most people start and stay with a small single engine to obtain their license. Then start putting some time in (later) to get their multi-engine.

However, I am thinking that after a little time in a single—doing most of time in a twin (even though the cost is significantly more) because my time in the twin will apply later on towards the multi-engine will be more efficient.

If it's been objectively compared before, I'd like to know the different paths taken, and which is better when?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What country are you wanting info for? $\endgroup$
    – slookabill
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ This question could be better answered if you clarified your career goals, and country, and whether time or money spent is more important to you. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Nov 13, 2016 at 15:05

2 Answers 2


At the end of the day the choice might be made for you, as many flight schools will not let you fly their multi-engine aircraft until you have a private licence.

People almost always begin on single-engine aircraft not just for cost, but also for efficient training. Multi-engine aircraft are complex beasts that require a lot of theoretical knowledge and practical skills to fly safely. If you're trying to get a grip on all that at the same time as just learning the basics of flying, you'll no doubt struggle and have to repeat lessons. Your first solo will definitely come considerably later, and many would agree that you learn the most about flying when you're up there by yourself.

Granted, the more multi-engine time you can get, the better your future job prospects (generally speaking). Just remember that doing your early training like that will increase the time it takes to get your ticket. For a qualified pilot, a multi-engine rating only takes 10-15 flight hours of training anyway, so to me there isn't a huge advantage in getting one before your private licence.


How do different training paths to multi-engine rating compare?

Your question is very broad and the answers will possibly be heavy on opinion, and this website much prefers objective answers. That said, there are objective items that can be considered.

For example, let's say you're away from the airport and your instructor simulates an engine failure. If you're in a single-engine plane, the proper response is totally different than if you are in a twin-engine aircraft.

Or, let's say your instructor feels you need to experience landing on a grass strip in the mountains with an uphill-downhill runway. When I was instructing, I always took my students into such a strip, McKenzie Bridge State Airport in Oregon. However, I never took a multi-engine student there as it's not a strip you would generally take a twin into.

My point is, if you abbreviate your single-engine experience, you may be foregoing useful training and education. Perhaps, then, your best course of action insofar as when to switch to a twin is to do so when you feel you have learned from your single-engine flying all that can be reasonably learned that is unique to single-engine flying as opposed to multi-engine flying.

You'll only know what that point is when you actually reach it, and to some degree what you are planning to do with your license affects that.


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