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! Give me a call and set up a time to meet with me! The first time we convene, it will be for about an hour in which we will get to know each other and talk about what is involved in the training process. During this time, we will cover topics such as estimated costs to complete flight training, the expected timeline per certificate, training schedules, effective study habits, and end goals that you, the student, might have. This is also a great time to answer any other questions you may have before beginning. And the best part is, I do this first session entirely free!
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 iPad (not needed but comes in very handy)
- Study materials (i.e. textbooks)
- 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 $20,000-$25,000 each for the private/instrument/commercial.
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)
- Airline Transport Pilot License
Can anyone learn to fly?
The truthful answer is, unfortunately, no. Most people who hop in the cockpit fall into one of two categories; either flying almost comes naturally to them and they pick it up with ease, or they find that they need to work a bit harder than most to achieve their dream. There is a small percentage of students however who fall into a third category where after many hours of instruction, they still find it very difficult to perform the tasks assigned to them and consistently are unable to meet required flying criteria. There is no way to know how adept a person will be though until they put themselves in the flight chair!
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 have made the switch and not regretted it one bit; they just wish they had done it sooner!