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How do I get started?

Getting started is easy! There are a number of prerequisites to becoming a certified pilot. It may seem overwhelming at first, but I am here to help you and guide you through the process. Remember that this is an accomplishment that takes even the best and brightest several months of time. Don't be discouraged if you have concerns about these requirements - feel free to contact me and we can talk about your specific situation.

Here is what is required by the FAA to earn a pilot certificate:

Once the checkride is passed, you are a licensed pilot!

How does a typical lesson work?

Usually a lesson will involve about an hour of discussion on the ground about the subject material for the day, then we'll go flying for about an hour, then discuss the flight on the ground for 15 or 20 minutes. A typical lesson runs a little over three hours start to finish. External factors like weather or illness may occasionally keep lessons on the ground.

How long does it usually take?

A new student can complete their license requirements as quickly as they wish to proceed. A typical student takes between 6 and 12 months to complete, although it may take longer. As with any endeavor, it requires time and energy.

What is a "demo flight"?

A demo flight is typically the way most people get introduced to flying. It is a "no strings attached" introductory lesson in which you get to meet the instructor, ask any questions you may have, learn a little bit of information about flying, and then go for an actual flight! During the flight you will have the opportunity to actually fly the aircraft and get a feel for being in the sky.

Isn't it really expensive to fly?

Well, yes and no. While the hourly aircraft rental rates may seem expensive, remember that typically the certificate is earned over a period of many months, and you can proceed at a rate that your budget allows. It is pay-as-you-go. That said, to go from zero time to private pilot, expect to spend between 8 and 12 thousand dollars. If this is spread out over the course of a year, this is only about $700-$1000/month. Choice of training aircraft and speed of study can help to keep costs down. I would be happy to talk to you about this if you have any questions or concerns. For those wanting more information, here is a breakdown of where your aircraft rental dollars go.

What kinds of aircraft will I learn in?

Students can learn in a variety of aircraft. Through my partnership with Sundance Flying Club, a number of single engine Piper and Cessna aircraft are available, all suitable for initial training. A Cessna 152 makes a great trainer, as does a Cessna 172 or Piper Warrior, all of which are available at Sundance. For more advanced students, retractable gear and high performance aircraft are also available. Check out the Sundance website for the latest fleet information.

What makes someone a qualified flight instructor?

The road to being a CFI, or Certificated Flight Instructor, is a multi-step and lengthy process. Every CFI starts out as a student and learns to fly, just like you would. Afterwards, they continue flying and taking tests that require increased knowledge and skill. The final test is whether you are able to effectively teach. The formal process is outlined here if you are curious. All that said, instructors come in varying quality and you need to find one that is current with the regulations, flies often, understands the airplanes they fly in and makes an effort to understand you and your aviation desires.

I'm just here for a few days but want to fly. Can you help?

Absolutely! Sundance Flying Club is setup very well to accomodate this very situation. A quick call to them and you'll be all set. Please tell them that Rich (myself) sent you and that you'd like to perform the required aircraft checkout with me. No other clubs make this as easy or inexpensive as Sundance does, so look no further!

If I wanted to start learning now, what should I read?

The "Airplane Flying Handbook" (AFH) is a government publication that you can buy in most airport bookstores or read/download online. In this book, all of chapter 1 (Intro to flight training) and pages 1-13 in chapter 3 (Basic flight maneuvers) are a great place to start. Another government publication is the " Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge" (PHAK), available in the same places. Chapters 2 (Aircraft structure) and 5 (flight controls) are good things to read in this book. This reading in total is about 32 pages.

In general, the AFH relates to physically flying the airplane, and the PHAK provides technical background information. Reading the above selections would be a great way to prepare for a first lesson.

I have some other questions! Can you help?

Of course! Just contact me and I will call or write back as soon as possible.