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Frequently Asked Flight Academy Questions

Is there a way to “try out” a lesson to see what flying is like?

Yes. We offer an $100 introductory flight in a 4-seat Cessna 172 that allows you to experience a sample flight lesson with a certified instructor. You’ll actually get to fly the airplane! The introductory flight includes a short ground instruction and 20 minutes of aircraft time.

How much does it cost to learn to fly and get a pilot certificate?

There are a lot of variables that affect the cost of learning to fly, including the frequency of flight lessons, weather conditions, the kind of aircraft in which you are training and its availability for scheduling, and individual aptitude. A rough estimate would range between $6,000 and $10,000 for a Private Pilot License.

How long does it take to learn to fly and get a pilot certificate?

The same variables that affect the cost of learning to fly will affect the time it takes to earn your certificate. The FAA has established the minimum number of flight hours needed to obtain a certificate. Under Part 61 of the federal aviation regulations the minimum flight time requirement is 40 hours for a private pilot certificate. However, true average flight training time for a private pilot is between 60 hours and 70 hours. These flight hours can be spread over a time span of several months to a year or more

As a student pilot, what is the best aircraft to rent?

We use the Cessna 172, a high wing, four place, single engine 160 H.P. & 180 H.P. aircraft, which is the world’s most popular training aircraft.

What about ground school?

We use the widely acclaimed Cessna Pilot Center on-line ground school curriculum which can be done at home or at any computer with internet location. This instructor will monitor your ground training progress during the training to prepare for the final written exam. There is about a 1:1 ration of studying to flying throughout the course.

How old do I have to be before I can start taking flying lessons?

You don't have to be a particular age before you can begin to take flying lessons. That said, however, you do have to be at least 16 years old before you can solo an airplane (14 years old for operation of a balloon or glider), and 17 before you can be issued a pilot certificate. Therefore, it may not be particularly efficient from the standpoint of cost and flight hours to begin lessons too early.

How old is too old to begin flying lessons?

Say "student pilot," and most people think of a youngster chasing a dream. In reality, today's fledgling is likely a middle-aged adult who's not only chasing, but actually fulfilling a lifelong ambition to be a pilot. The average student pilot today is in his 30s, and the typical average active pilot is a decade older. In addition, more than 25 percent of all U.S. pilots with current medical certificates are in their 50s. And some pilots learn to fly after they retire. If you have the desire, aptitude and can pass the FAA Flight Physical, you are not too old.

Are there any health/medical requirements?

Yes. A student pilot, to be eligible to solo, must obtain a medical certificate by undergoing a physical from an FAA-designated physician who is certified to issue them. These physicians are called Aviation Medical Examiners (AMEs), and they are typically family or occupational health doctors. If you are in good health, obtaining a medical is not difficult, and it’s fine if you wear glasses or contacts.

After I get my Private Pilot certificate, can I rent an airplane on my own?

Yes. After earning your private pilot certificate, you can rent the same airplane model without any additional instruction. You can also receive additional instruction to rent other aircraft. The time required for these aircraft “checkouts” will vary by pilot and type of aircraft. Aircraft ownership allows you the flexibility to purchase an aircraft which meets your specific travel requirements.

U.S. Citizens Seeking Flight Training

AOPA has compiled easy to understand information concerning TSA’s Alien Flight Student Program. Below you will find information pertaining to U.S. citizens who wish to begin training for a pilot certificate and answers to frequently asked questions. Information on this page applies to U.S. citizens who wish to conduct flight training.

Applicability and Proof of citizenship/citizenship verification

Before a U.S. citizen can begin flight training toward an initial FAA pilot certificate: private pilot certificate; instrument rating; or multiengine rating, a CFI must verify citizenship.

1. Determine applicability. The requirements for determining citizenship status for any student, whether U.S. or alien, applies only to flight training towards an initial FAA pilot certificate, including a private pilot certificate; instrument rating; or multiengine rating.

2. Proof of citizenship. Student must show evidence of U.S. citizenship to instructor with one of the following:

  1. Valid, unexpired U.S. passport
  2. Original or government-issued birth certificate of the U.S., American Samoa, or Swains Island AND a government-issued picture ID
  3. Original certificate of birth abroad with raised seal (Form FS-545 or DS-1350) AND a government-issued picture ID
  4. Original certificate of U.S. citizenship with raised seal (Form N-560 or N-561) or a Certificate of Repatriation (Form N-581) AND government-issued pictured ID
  5. Original U.S. Naturalization Certificate with raised seal (Form N-550 or N-570) AND a government-issued picture ID

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