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The PPL (Private Pilot License)

What’s it take to become a bush pilot? There are various answers, but there are some common ones, too.

“Bush pilot” is not an exact term, and it isn’t a commercial rating. There are lots of bush pilots throughout the world who don’t even fly commercially. If a guy can land on a dirt logging road, a meadow, or a gravel bar in order to go mountain biking, hunting or fishing, he’s probably a pretty good bush pilot, even if he’s not being paid. There are plenty of examples of those guys to be found on the ‘net.

That said, all pilots need to start at the beginning. In Canada that means a Private Pilot License, or PPL. You can get a Recreational Permit, but if you go that route you can’t add specialty ratings/endorsements that you’re going to want as a bush pilot. You also need the PPL if you’re going to get the Commercial Pilot License, which is what you need if you’re going to fly for money. Go with the PPL.

To get the PPL you’ll need to pass a Medical, pass a Radio Operators Certificate test (pretty easy), and pass the Pre-Solo Test of Aviation Regulations (the PSTAR), in order to get the Student Pilot Permit.

The PSTAR is a test made up of 50 questions taken from a 200 question list. You have to get 90% to pass. The online quizzes I offer here have all the questions, as well as explanations of the answers. If you’re going to learn to fly, don’t just memorize the answers. Do the quiz, read the explanations, and read the books all together. By the end you’ll not only know the answers, but they’ll make sense to you.

Until you get the Student Pilot Permit all your flying will be dual, with an instructor. Once you have the medical, the ROC and the PSTAR, your instructor will let you solo. After that you’ll still get dual instruction, but you’ll also practice and perform exercises on your own, without the instructor in the aircraft.

While you’re taking your flight training you’ll also take some sort of ground school. Traditionally ground school is conducted at an airport during the day, but there are also schools that offer night classes, and there are even online options. Every student is different, but a traditional classroom has a lot of benefits in my opinion.

The aim of ground school is to prepare you for the written test – the PPL written exam (Private Pilot License). The PPL is a 100 question test that you write over a 3 hour period. You have to get 60% to pass.

The last step in the PPL process is the flight exam. The flight exam is a practical test of flying skill and knowledge. They have the reputation of being tough, but a well prepared candidate can take the flight test with confidence. Remember, before the flight test you’ll have a minimum of 45 hours flying, and likely more than that.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around goof off based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.¬† My company is¬†Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me byemail if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.


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