Learn to Fly
About 1 in 500 of all people in the U.S have achieved a pilot license. This goal is readily obtainable by anybody. It's a very rewarding accomplishment which can be used to further your business interests, to become a path to a professional aviation career, or to enjoy for personal pleasure and recreation. The FAA provides a comprehensive student pilot guide. The most efficient way to proceed is to make sure you have the time and money available to remain committed in reaching your goal at a reasonable pace over 3-4 months. Plan to fly 2-3 times per week, This assures maximum retention of instruction and skills proficiency. Average aircraft rental time is 50-70 hours which includes training and solo flights. Pilots with a strong aptitude may finish in less total time. Time spent on ground school study is extra. If you proceed to get an instrument rating after your private pilot certificate, expect time and money to increase by 50%.
How much will it cost
Considerable savings are available by joining a non-profit flying club
which has minimal overhead, you can expect total expenses to be about $9000.
Members of a flying club are fully covered under their insurance policy.
Flight schools have a profit motive with considerable cost overhead,
and you will have to look into getting your own renters insurance,
so compare options carefully.
- $5400, 60 hours rental @$90/hr (average c152 rate)
- $1800, 30-40 hours of instruction @$40-$50/hr
- $300, club initiation fee and dues for six months
- $500, books, headsets, flight bag, etc
- $1000, medical, ground school, examination fees
Where can I get training
- Various colleges and universities offer flight training as part of a degree program
- Several academies offer intense training programs geared to becoming a pilot for the airlines
- Officers in the military are eligible to qualify for flight school and pilot training
- At most airports, there are local flight schools that offer student training opportunities
- If you have access to a plane, friends or family who are certified instructors can provide lessons - You can join a flight club who own their aircraft and may have access to experienced instructors
Flying Magazine has a good article on the many benefits of joining a flying club. We would be happy to meet/talk with you, answer any questions, give you a tour of the planes, maybe take a discovery flight. You are welcome to join us at club meetings to meet the members. Many of our club pilots completed their training while being members. Interaction with other club members is a great way to learn more about flying.
How old do I have to be
You can take lessons at any age, but you must be 16 years old to solo an aircraft, and 17 years old to be issued a private pilot certificate. There is no upper age limit, some pilots learn to fly after they have retired. It will take a few months to meet all the training requirement if you stick with the lessons. The skills are not difficult to learn and the training flights are enjoyable.
When can I start my lessons
An instructor can provide you with introductory flight lessons right away, no special preparation is necessary. And you get to do most of the actual flying yourself with the guidance of your experienced instructor. A typical first lesson will include takeoff, controlling the plane, and landing. You'll be at the controls right from the beginning.
Is flying safe
Yes, aircraft are well-built and well-maintained according to strict regulations and periodic inspections. Aircraft engines are very reliable and failures are rare. Your flight lessons will cover any emergency procedures, including selecting a good landing area and safely landing.
What are the TSA rules
Your flight instructor needs to verify your citizenship. If you are a foreign student pilot, your instructor will be aware of additional security steps that need to be taken to satisfy the TSA flight training requirements.
How do I get a student license
Your flight instructor will complete an application through the IACRA web site. Student certificates issued after 4/1/16 will not expire, but medical exams and instructor endorsements are only valid for a specific period of time. Medical exams are only needed prior to when you solo the aircraft.
Where to take ground school
Ground school is sometimes taken before flight training, or else concurrently. A written computerized test will be required. You can also do self study along with some coaching from your instructor, using books or video tapes. Classes are offered at various times at flight schools and community colleges. There are also a few on-line courses available.
What are the private pilot requirements
A minimum of 20 hours of instruction and 40 hours of flight time are needed prior to the oral exam and flight exam. The ground school exam can be taken up to 24 months time prior to the practical exams. 10 hours of solo flying is required along with some cross-country flight time. 3 hours of night flying training and 3 hours of instrument flight training are also needed. Most students exceed these minimums, more practice and more training leads to safer pilots.