Obtaining a student pilot’s certificate is the first step on the pathway to becoming a hot air balloon pilot. 

The general requirements for Student Pilot are:

  • The individual must be at least 14 years of age.
  • Must be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language.

There is no cost to obtain a Student Pilot certificate.  You may start the process by completing an FAA form 8710-1 through IACRA https://iacra.faa.gov/IACRA/Default.aspx .  After you have completed the form we can help you obtain your student pilot certificate! Shoot us an email for help!

Student Pilots may solo after demonstration to their flight proficiency to their instructor and by passing a written quiz that they are familiar with 14 CFR Part 91 and Part 61 airspace where the solo will take place, the balloons flight characteristics and limitation and are proficient in balloon operation of pre-flight preparation, operation of controls, lift-off and climb, descent and landing and emergency situations.

A student pilot may not carry passengers or fly a balloon for hire.

Reference  FAA CFR Part 61 – Subpart C—Student Pilots

A Private Pilot Certificate allows you to conduct flight operations on your own without and instructor or supervision.  You can carry passengers and fly in any airspace where flight operations are allowed.  You must follow and conform with all FAA regulations that are or would be in effect for the area and place of the flight.  You may NOT receive compensation for any flight operation but you can share the operational costs on a pro-rata basis with your passengers.

General Requirements for a Private Pilot Certificate are:

  • Must be at least 16 years of age.
  • Must be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language.
  • At this time no medical certificate is required but that may be changing in the near future.
  • Must pass a written knowledge exam on items such as
    • Pilot privileges, limitation and flight procedures
    • Use of navigation charts
    • Recognition of weather conditions and use of weather reports
    • Operating procedures with hot air balloons

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  • Must have received instruction on the following pilot operations:
    • Ground handing and inflation
    • Navigation
    • Airport operations
    • Preflight checks
    • Takeoff and ascents
    • Descents and landings
    • Emergency conditions and procedures
    • Post flight procedures
  • Flight experience must include at minimum:
    • At least 10 hours in free balloons, which must include 6 flight under the supervision of an instructor  (most students take longer).
    • These flight must include two training flight of at least one hour within 60 days of the scheduled check ride.
    •  One ascent to 2,000 feet above take off point.
    • Successful completion of a pre solo quiz and at least one solo flight.

As an Federal Aviation Administration Designated Pilot Examiner, we are one of the few in the USA authorized to conduct the practical test required to earn your private certificate. Contact us to schedule an exam or help finding an examiner!

Reference  FAA CFR Part 61 – Subpart E—Private Pilots

General Requirements for a Commercial Pilot Certificate are:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Must be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language.
  • At this time no medical certificate is required but that may be changing in the near future.
  • The applicant must pass a more advanced written test on the subject matter listed in 14 CFR 61.125, understand additional operating procedures relating to commercial operations and those duties required of a flight instructor.
  • The applicant for a commercial certificate must have at least 35 of flight time as a pilot of which 20 hours must in balloons (remaining 15 hours maybe in other aircraft). Flight time must include 10 hours in free balloons. 10 hours under the supervision of an instructor , 2 solo flights, 2 training flights of at least one hour duration within 60 days of the scheduled check ride and one flight to 3,000 feet above the take off point.
  • Advanced training must be received from an authorized instructor covering those items listed in 14 CFR 61.127 (b)(8).

As an Federal Aviation Administration Designated Pilot Examiner, we are one of the few in the USA authorized to conduct the practical test required to earn your commercial certificate. Contact us to schedule an exam or help finding an examiner!

Reference  FAA CFR Part 61 – Subpart F—Commercial Pilots