"Recently, after a co-worker working on his Instrument flight rating invited me to join him on his flights, I decided to pursue my license. Getting one is more achievable than I’d imagined, and I’m having such a great time that many of my co-workers are considering flight training. I’d recommend Mark: he gives lots of positive feedback on what I’m doing well and is patient about areas I need to improve and thorough in double checking to make sure I’ve resolved those issues.”

—Curtis Light, Software Engineer

QuestionHow long does it take to earn a pilot’s license?      

Answer:  The amount of time it takes you to earn the license depends on how frequently you’re able to take flying lessons.  Experience shows that the ideal training schedule consists of 2 lessons per week.  At that frequency, you can expect to complete your training in approximately 6-7 months, on average.  3 times per week would speed completion time to 4-5 months, on average, while 1 lesson per week would likely extend completion time beyond 12 months. 

I strongly recommend against training more than 3 times per week, simply because body and mind need time to recover.  On the other hand, if it would be difficult for you to manage at least one lesson per week at this time, you might consider delaying flight training until your schedule can accommodate a more favorable pace.

QuestionHow much does it cost to get a pilot’s license?

Answer:   Think of getting your pilot’s license as costing about as much as a nice used car.  Assume that you are able to maintain a training schedule of at least 2 times per week, that you are able to train in a new Cessna 172SP (2005-2007) equipped with the state-of-the-art Garmin G1000 glass cockpit, and that you complete the training within 65-75 hrs, the average amount of flight time required to develop the proficiency and experience necessary to pass the FAA flight test (actual training time will vary by individual).  Based on these assumptions, your training cost should be somewhere in the range of $16,000 to $18,000, depending on your individual learning pace and the amount of time you can study at home.  If this cost is higher than what is quoted elsewhere, the probable explanation includes these reasons: other flight schools train in much older aircraft with obsolete avionics 2) significantly understate the number of airplane hours or instructor hours necessary to get the license, and/or  3) underestimate the peripheral costs associated with flight training, which include a medical exam, ground school (classroom or self-study programs), books, pilot equipment, club membership, renter’s insurance, written test fee, and FAA examiner’s fee. 

Some flight instructors and flight schools wish to avoid the matter of cost question entirely for fear of scaring away business.   I welcome all your questions and always answer them as honestly and completely as I can. You deserve to know up front whether learning to fly will fit within your budget.  For the same reason you wouldn't shop for the cheapest brain surgeon or financial advisor, you shouldn't be looking to cut corners with your flight training.  Yes, there are cheaper ways to get a pilot license but, in the end, you get what you pay for.  Earning a pilot’s license is a worthwhile investment, offering the freedom, exhileration, and perspectives that only flying can give you. Quality flight instruction yields the greatest return on that investment long after you’ve earned your license. 

Feel free to call or email me, and I’ll be happy to send you the Excel spreadsheet I've developed that itemizes every conceivable cost associated with obtaining a private pilot license. Having all of the information up front will help you ask the right questions when interviewing potential flight instructors.

QuestionHow do I get started?                      

Answer:   Taking a Discovery Flight is the ideal first step. For an all-inclusive price and no obligation, you will have one hour in the air with me as your instructor when you will discover first-hand what it's like to fly an airplane.  Both before and after our flight, I spend up to 2 hours on the ground with you when I provide an orientation about the airplane and basic flight concepts and discuss flight training in greater detail. There’s plenty of time for Q&A and discussing next steps if you want to proceed with flight training.

To schedule your Discovery Flight, just give me a call and we’ll get it onto the calendar. It's an unforgettable experience and you'll have it all captured on DVD to later share with friends, family, and co-workers.

QuestionWhen can I take lessons?     

Answer:   You can schedule plane and instructor time from the comfort of your own home by using my web-based scheduling system.  Once you know what your schedule is likely to be, you can reserve airplane time several weeks in advance, enabling you to develop a good rhythm to your training.




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