Welcome to the first step of learning to fly, information gathering. No doubt you have many questions about the process and we will do our best to help answer them.
What can I do as a pilot?
Some people learn to fly for the simple fun of it, and each type of plane and rating offers its own challenges and new experiences. Some learn out of practical necessity, whether it’s for business, to visit relatives, to avoid long drives, or to avoid major airports. Traveling by plane can be as simple as traveling by car – but when you fly, you’ll arrive at your destination faster and have more fun along the way! Some aspire to a career in aviation, doing anything from crop dusting to flying for an airline.
What are the minimum requirements for becoming a pilot?
You must be 17 years of age and be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. At a Part 61 flight school like Classic Wings, you will obtain one-on-one instruction in all areas of aviation, including ground and flight training. You will be required to take three FAA exams to obtain your license, which include a written knowledge exam, an oral exam with an FAA examiner, and an in-flight exam with an FAA examiner.
Are there any physical fitness requirements?
You are not required to meet any fitness requirements to start flight training; however, in order to fly solo as a student pilot and to maintain a private pilot’s license, you are required to have a third class FAA medical certificate administered by an aviation medical examiner (AME). For further details on the medical requirements, we can put you in contact with one of our local AMEs.
What are the vision requirements for a pilot?
Your vision must be at least 20/40 with or without corrective lenses, and you must be able to differentiate various colors in order to understand and operate the airplane safely.
How much does it cost to learn to fly?
This is the most common question for people who are thinking about becoming pilots. The Airplane Owners and Pilots Association states that obtaining a pilot’s license can cost anywhere from $5000 or $9000. There are a lot of factors to take into account when determining this figure, including the mandatory minimum of 40 hours of flight time required by the FAA for a private pilot’s license. These 40 hours are only a minimum, however, and the actual amount of time it takes depends on the student’s abilities. The national average to obtain a pilot’s license is 71 hours. At Classic Wings, our students fly an average of 45 hours in preparation for their license. We are well below the national average because of our relaxed environment, knowledgeable instructors, reasonable rates, and uncongested airport and surrounding airspace.
Other costs include ground training, textbooks, charts, flight gear such as a headset, a medical exam fee, and flight exam fees. Due to the wide range of variables, it is difficult to determine a fixed cost. Taking lessons at least once or twice a week, combined with good study habits and a willingness to learn, will help a student learn faster and save a good deal of money. A student who has financial difficulties, trouble finding time for lessons, or an inability to study on his/her own will likely progress at a much slower rate, requiring more refresher lessons and therefore more time and money. We highly recommend that you treat training costs as a weekly or monthly expense. Once your pilot’s license is obtained, you can then apply that weekly or monthly expense to future flying.
How long does it take to learn to fly?
If you take flight and ground lessons regularly (at least once a week) and study on your own, the average training time is about six months. Weather, finances, study habits, and aircraft and instructor availability all factor into the amount of time it will take. Generally, the more effort you put in to learning to fly, the faster it goes.
Are airplanes safe?
All FAA certified aircraft must be inspected annually. In addition, for-hire operations such as Classic Wings have a mandated inspection every 100th hour of use. We make sure all of our aircraft are as safe as possible. Statistically, most accidents, engine failures, and injuries are caused by pilot error. Early in your flight training, you will learn how to properly operate the plane and deal with most emergency situations, including engine failure and emergency landings.
What is the flight training process?
Our instructors follow a syllabus that incorporates both ground and flight training. Ground lessons are offered in a private, quiet space and last about two hours. The instructor reviews past lessons, introduces new information, and reviews test questions that may be asked on your written exam. The ground lesson’s primary focus is to know and understand aircraft systems, weather, aerodynamics, etc. Flight lessons normally last one-to-two hours and follow a similar format of reviewing past flights and introducing new maneuvers and procedures. The flight lesson’s primary focus is to apply the knowledge learned, create procedural habits, and develop muscle memory.
Where do I begin?
Classic Wings offers a 30-minute introductory flight for $75. The instructor will perform the takeoff and landing, but he will hand you the controls during level flight so you can feel what it’s like to be in control of the plane. After the flight, you can talk to the instructor for more information about the licensing process, scheduling, and needed supplies. Call to get started! 541-386-1133.
For further details on the licensing process, visit our Private Pilot Licensing Course page.