Your license to learn.
So you want to learn how to fly?
Has becoming a pilot been a life long dream of yours? Maybe your interest in aviation is brand new. Whatever your reason for wanting to become a pilot, your journey starts now.
The best way to start is with a little bit of background research and some answers to some frequently asked questions that you are going to have.
What is a Private Pilot License?
The Private Pilot License is the first step into the world of aviation that you will take. It is the license to pilot a single engine airplane for both business and pleasure travel as long as you do not receive compensation.
Once you become a licensed pilot, the sky is literally the limit, you can pilot any airplane you are rated for to anywhere on the planet. It is truly a license for adventure!
Where can you fly?
Anywhere on Earth! The Wild-Blue-Yonder is at your disposal, you can fly anywhere that your airplane can take you!
What can you fly?
You will be able to fly any single engine airplane that can operate on land, meaning it has wheels or ski's.
How long will it take to earn your license?
The honest truth to this question is that it is never the same for any two people. The FAA dictates rules on a minimum amount of flight time and subject areas that must be taught to a minimum proficiency level in order for a student pilot to be able to apply to take the practical test to become licensed. However it is important to remember that these are minimum requirements that were written 50+ years ago and have only been slightly tweaked since a J3 Cub was a "sophisticated" airplane.
The average person gains the basic skill set required to pass the FAA Practical test with between 60-80 hours of flight time.
How much does it cost to get your license?
The cost for your private pilot license will vary depending on the airplane you use to train and the cost of your instructor. The estimated cost is in the ballpark of $10,000.00.
Once you get your license, how long is it valid for?
This is an easy question, the answer is; Life. Your pilots license will never expire, however your aviation medical is another story.
What is an Aviation Medical, and how do I get one?
Because of the inherent risks associated with flying, in order to pilot an airplane you must be medically fit. This is not some super physical that you have to start training for, it is just a basic medical exam that makes sure you don't have certain medical problems that would cause something to happen to you in flight.
Because flying anything is contingent on you obtaining at least a 3rd class aviation medical, it is advised that you obtain this prior to starting any training, you do not want to spend thousands of dollars on training only to find out that you can't solo.
The typical cost of an aviation medical examination is about $110.00 and it is good between 3 - 5 years depending on your age.
A pilots license is a big investment in knowledge, time, and money that will last you a lifetime. Now that you have had the basic information you need to start the process, I have some recommendations for you that can make the process as stress free as possible and even help reduce the cost.
The keys to success:
Make sure that you are at a point in your life where you can spend at least 2-3 hours per week studying your books and can fly a minimum of one time per week and a minimum of 3 times a month. As long as you can maintain the constant rate of study and practice you will earn your license in about 1 year. The more you fly the faster you will get your license, for example if you fly 2 times per week then you can earn your certificate in roughy 6 months.
Have the all money you need to finish, the last thing you want to to is run out of money half way through, or to only fly every once in a great while, when you have to pause your training you will regress through disuse of the skills you have been practicing and this will increase the amount of time and money your training takes.
Like we touched on above, you want to make sure that you have your medical in hand prior to starting your training this will serve a few purposes. First, it will allow you to constantly progress through your training not having to stop when you are ready to solo and go get your medical. Second, If you have any sort of problem to work out with your medical you will know before hand and not have to waste days, weeks, or even months negotiating the process.
The most important part of any pilot training that you receive will be your flight instructor. Many flight schools use a shotgun approach to matching student with instructor and it can be real "luck of the draw". Here are some tips that will let you most effectively choose an instructor who is right for you.
- Before you take your first lesson, make sure you have a meet & greet with your potential instructor in order to get to know each other and see how your personalities match up. You wouldn't wear a pair of shoes that were 2 sizes to small, so why would you use an instructor that has a clashing personality.
- Find out how long they have been involved in aviation and more importantly how long they have been instructing and what their experience level is. Flight Instruction is a bit different from other academic pursuits, where just because someone is older doesn't mean that they are more experienced. It is good to find out how long they have been flying, how much flight time the instructor has, and how much flight time as an instructor they have. The most important amount of time an instructor will have is CFI time, the more time they have as an instructor the larger pool of knowledge that you will have at your disposal while flying with them.
An in life communication is key to any successful relationship, both you and your instructor should keep a very open line of communication with each other at all times. Let them know your thoughts and feelings on things throughout your training process, this will help your instructor train you more effectively.
I am going on my 8th year in aviation and 5th year as a full time instructor, throughout my years as a CFI I have accrued over 4,000 hours of flight time nearly which all are dual flight time given.
My philosophy on learning how to fly is simple. I stress solid fundamental flying skills and a good core of base knowledge to go off of and build upon every flight. I do this through repetition of skills and a clear definition of the objective of each flight.
Along with clearly defined goals of each lesson, I always try to tie in new skills and experiences to keep lessons fresh, this keeps lessons interesting and will broaden your skill set in the process.
Please contact me by phone or email and I will gladly arrange a meeting to discuss your pilot training with you!