How Often Should I Fly After the Check Ride?

A CFI explains the importance of trying to set aside time to fly.

How often you should be flying to maintain proficiency is a very individualized metric. [Credit: Meg Godlewski]

Question: I just completed my private pilot check ride. Now that I have the certificate, it feels weird not to be flying several times a week, although truthfully, I cannot afford to keep doing that. How often should I be flying to maintain proficiency?


Congratulations on earning your private pilot certificate! That is a big accomplishment. In regards to how often you should be flying to maintain proficiency, that is a very individualized metric, and something you need to determine on your own.

You may find it easier and more productive to focus on flying at least once a week and/or aim for a particular type of experience—for example, plan and fly two cross-country missions each month.

You may want to aim for an hourly requirement every month, say 10 hours. To get the most of your time, approach it with a plan, such as takeoffs and landings, basic maneuvers, or a flight to that towered/non-towered airport with the really great restaurant that is 56 nm away, etc.

There may come a day when flying seems a bit like a chore (perish the thought). When this happens you may find yourself making excuses not to go fly. Try to keep it fun and interesting to avoid this type of burnout.

Other times life can get in the way—work, school, kids—and before you know it, it has been six months since you touched an airplane. Now you have to regain currency in addition to proficiency.

The takeaway here is that you should try to set aside the time to fly—the more you do it, the more likely proficiency will be maintained, and you will never have to reset the "currency clock."

Do you have a question about aviation that’s been bugging you? Ask us anything you’ve ever wanted to know about aviation. Our experts in general aviation, flight training, aircraft, avionics, and more may attempt to answer your question in a future article.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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