This document provides the outline for my personal syllabus for the training required to obtain a Private Pilot's license. There are many paths to the same goal, so check with your instructor to determine their particular approach. The regulation governing this training is 14 CFR Part 61 Subpart E. There are 3 basic sections to this regulation:
- Must be 17 years of age and read, speak and write the English language.
- This is the information you must know to pass the knowledge test (written test).
- That's the focus in this document, the flying part of Private Pilot training.
The required experience is all laid out in the regulation, but this checklist condenses the requirements into an easily understood format and is good for review as you approach your check ride to make sure you meet all the requirements.
Along with your flight training you'll need to do some reading so that you're better prepared for each lesson and you can make effective use of your time in flight. Contained within the syllabus are reading assignments. These reading assignments come from the following books:
Airplane Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-3
Aviation Weather - AC 00-6
Aviation Weather Services - AC 00-45D
Private Pilot Practical Test Standards FAA-S-8081-14S
You don't need all these books to start, but you'll probably end up owing a copy before you finish. There is more information on student pilot reading.
You may find in the early stages of your flight training you feel a lot of pressure to solo and other people will want to know how many hours you have and when you're going to solo. Solo flight is just a necessary milestone to completing your training, it's not a useful goal in and of itself. The FAA has laid out a long list of maneuvers and procedures for student pilots prior to solo. So my advice is not to be too eager to solo that you stop learning and focus only on that goal. You'll get there, and when you do you'll be well prepared.
Like any learning experience you're going to have good days and bad days. Days where it all just clicks and you start to believe you might actually be able to get really good at flying and some days where you're not sure you can climb into the aircraft without causing excessive damage.
Remember that learning to fly is supposed to be a fun experience. If you feel like it's not a fun experience tell your instructor that today you just want to fly around and enjoy the feeling of flight. It is a truly unique perspective on the world, sometimes that's easy to miss as you're training. You're feel re-charged by the experience, you'll probably fly better then you ever have before because of the lack of pressure to perform and you'll be having fun, and ready to start learning again on your next lesson.
Finally, here is the flight training syllabus.