Transitioning into the field of aviation and beginning flight training for the first time can be scary and difficult. That’s why below, I have prepared some answers to common questions that you probably have or will have when you are first getting started! I hope they help!
How can I get started flying?
You’ve gotten this far, let me do the rest! Check out the list below of things to buy and give me a call to set up a time to meet!
What things should I buy in advance to come prepared for flight training?
- A pencil and eraser
- A pen
- A pilot’s kneeboard of some kind to take notes on in the cockpit (Example)
- A smallish notepad that fits on the kneeboard
- A pilot headset
- A checklist for the type of aircraft that you will be training in (This website is a popular source)
- A box of disposable gloves that will shield your skin from contact with oil and gasoline
- An electronic tablet with an aviation application installed (not needed but comes in very handy)
- Study materials (Check out my resources page!)
- And a bag to carry all of the items mentioned above.
How much does it cost to become a pilot?
This is a hard question to answer since it really depends on the person training. People who spend 3-4 days per week flight training, study when they get home and on their time off, and get involved in extracurricular activities related to flying are much more likely to succeed far quicker and spend far less money doing so. That being said I’ll give some ballpark numbers. It’s wise to plan on spending about $15,000 each for the private/instrument/commercial.
How long will it take to get my pilot certificates?
Much like the previous question, the answer varies a lot. If you train constantly and study hard, you can achieve it somewhere within 5-7 months. However students who delay training or don’t dedicate the required time can take much longer to finish.
How often should I be scheduling flight lessons and studying at home?
I highly recommend flight training 2-3 times per week as you can or even 4 times per week if you have no other outside commitments. Flying is largely dependent on muscle memory and the longer you go between flights, the more time you will have to spend reviewing previous material. With regards to ground/self-study, dedicate as much time to it as you can without burning yourself out.
I want to become an airline pilot! What certificates do I need to get there?
The most common path towards becoming an airline pilot involves getting these certificates and ratings in this order:
- Private Pilot Certificate
- Instrument Rating
- Commercial Pilot Certificate
- Certified Flight Instructor (optional, but recommended to build hours)
- Multi-Engine Rating (only required if you did your commercial pilot training in a single engine airplane)
- Airline Transport Pilot Certificate
I get scared or motion sick when I fly sometimes. Can I still be a pilot?
Absolutely! The best way to get comfortable in the plane is to dive right in. Many students get motion sick or scared when first starting to learn steep turns, point rolls, or stalls in the aircraft but after several flights, their bodies start to acclimate and they get very comfortable in the cockpit!
Am I too old to become a pilot?
Most likely no, however this depends on what your goal is and what you plan on doing with your pilot’s certificate. If you are considering switching careers and have a desire to become an airline pilot, just know that the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots is 65 which means that you may not have as many years working as a pilot as you would like. There are, however, plenty of people 40+ years of age who have made the switch and not regretted it one bit; they just wish they had done it sooner!