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There are three basic pathways to becoming a pilot here in the U.S.: You can become a full-blown Private Pilot, you can get there a bit faster and cheaper by becoming a Sport Pilot, or you can fly on your own as an Ultralight Pilot.
Here’s a quick comparison of the restrictions and privileges in each category
Minimum Training Time
No legal minimum
Max. Aircraft Speed
138 mph (120 kts.)
63 mph (55 kts.)
Max. Aircraft Weight (Land)
Max. Aircraft Weight (Sea)
Fly at Night
Pilot Certificate Required
Medical Certificate Required
a - Minimum times vary by aircraft type.
b- Larger, higher-powered aircraft may require an additional certification known as an individual type rating.
c - Additional rating required.
d- Excluding floats and safety equipment.