Recreational vs. Private Pilot License
There is the continual debate about which is better, the recreational or private license? The answer is: it depends. There is a reason why the ranks of RA-Aus pilots is growing fast and many private, commercial, airline and military pilots are also members of RA-Aus and fly our aircraft: simply because it is fun and affordable.
Compared to recreational flying, a private license adds:
- Flying in controlled airspace
- Fly aircraft with more than two seats
- Fly at night (with extra training beyond the PPL)
- Fly on instruments / in cloud (with a lot of extra training)
- Fly aerobatics (extra training required)
That seems like a lot of extra capability, but it comes at a cost. The average pilot gaining their PPL spends around $15,000 on it. That’s twice as much as the average recreational pilot! You also need to get and maintain a class 2 medical, something possibly not feasible for some older pilots.
You also have to ask yourself if you need all these extras. Many people start off with great plans of taking many family and friends all over the country. The reality is that most 4 or more seat aircraft fly with less than 2 people most of the time. Just go stand at the local airport gate and see how many people get into these Cessna’s. Paying a lot more for the training and for the aircraft doesn’t make a lot of sense if most of the time you don’t use it.
But you don’t have to choose!
Start with recreational now and if after a couple of years of enjoying flying you find you do want to expand your horizons and go for your private license, all your experience counts. An experienced RA-Aus pilot may need only minimal hours to convert to a PPL and after that you can fly both aircraft, whichever is the more appropriate for the flight you are doing.
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If you have a question or would like more information, please contact us!