Learning To Fly - What
do I need to know to learn to fly airplanes?
Your Decision on
Learning To Fly - Why do you want to learn to fly?
Learning to fly is a major decision which should be entered into
advisedly. Let's face it: Learning to fly is not cheap
and you want to be assured that you will be getting maximum VALUE
and QUALITY for your money. And since we are talking about money,
the first thing you should be settled on is that there are some
things in life that you SHOULD NOT be looking for the cheapest deal!
This is especially true when you are choosing the right flight
instructor or flight school. Again, you want MAXIMUM VALUE and
MAXIMUM QUALITY to ensure that you complete your training in the
most cost and time efficient way possible and complete your training
knowing that you have been trained to be a safe and proficient
pilot. This page is designed to help you arrive at an
informed choice and to also let you know exactly what you should expect when
it comes to your pilot training.
The first step in this process is
for you to ask yourself: "Why do I want to learn to fly?" The
answer to this question will help you and your flight school of
choice to guide you in the right direction and make some basic
decisions to help you arrive at your ultimate goal in the most
efficient way possible. Some people want to learn to fly
airplanes professionally as an airline pilot or a charter
aircraft pilot, etc. Others want to learn to fly airplanes
for business purposes, such as sales people with large territories,
business owners with multiple locations, people who want to fly for
personal transportation and folks who just want to fly locally for
the fun of it. What ever YOUR reason for wanting to learn to fly
airplanes, you should let your flight school and/or flight
instructor know exactly what your goals are, as this can and will
affect how your training is conducted. A good example of this would
be the person who just wants to fly locally for the fun of it verses
the business owner with multiple locations throughout the US. The
business person will want and need to fly long distances in higher
performance aircraft and sometimes fly in less-than-perfect weather.
This calls for an emphasis on advanced avionics, an instrument
rating, a high performance endorsement and quite possibly some
additional flight time with a qualified instructor pilot to satisfy
some insurance requirements. The guy who is happy to just "fly
around the patch" on the weekends would simply need a Sport Pilot,
Recreational Pilot or a Private Pilot License.
Learning To Fly - Where
do I start?
you've settled in your mind exactly what your goals are for
learning to fly, the next step in this process would be to
decide when and where you should train. If your schedule and
finances will allow, we recommend attending one of our accelerated
flight training courses. Why accelerated training? Remember, we
talked about MAXIMUM VALUE and MAXIMUM QUALITY. In an accelerated
course the student is removed from his/her normal day to day
environment and completely immersed in the subject matter of
learning to fly an airplane for the duration of the training
course. The goal here is not so much drinking from the proverbial
fire hose, as much as it is maximizing your learning curve.
Concentrating your efforts over a short period of time maximizes the
retention of information as well as quickly reinforcing the required
motor skills. Quite simply, it is the difference between earning
your pilot license in 45 to 50 hours instead of 75 to 80 hours.
We strongly recommend shopping
around and checking out all of your options. Right now you are
visiting SunState Aviation's web site, but we would encourage you to
shop, call, email, browse, take notes and then make an informed
choice. To be totally honest; we may not be the flight school that
is best suited to your own personal needs and goals, but the only
way you would know that for sure is if you have done your homework!
Here are some things you should
look for as you are shopping for that perfect place to learn to
New and late model aircraft
that are meticulously maintained to meet or exceed FAA
A structured training syllabus
(ground and flight) that is FAA approved
instructors who are closely supervised by an experienced Chief
All flight instructors
consistently follow the training syllabus (no lone rangers doing
their own thing. Lone rangers are only out to milk you and build
hours. If they are not all following the syllabus, they are not
doing you any favors)
Flight instructors who are
completely knowledgeable about the avionics in the training aircraft
Itemized cost estimates for
absolutely everything involved with reaching your goals
Does this flight school require
full payment in advance? (If they do, run, don't walk in the other
Does the flight school have an FAA
approved level III or better flight simulator?
Does the flight school return your phone
calls and/or emails? Is the support staff courteous and helpful?
Where will you take your FAA Knowledge Exam
(written test)? Where will you take your Practical Test? Does the school have
their own examiners that are on the school's payroll (if they do, that is a
definite red flag as the examiner may be watching out for the school's best
interest more than your best interest)?
Can the school accommodate your scheduling
needs, whether an accelerated program or a self-paced program around a busy and
demanding work schedule?
Learning To Fly - What
do I need to do to prepare?
you have settled on a flight school or flight training center for
your Learning to Fly experience, there are some basic
security measures you need to know about. Since 9/11 there are some
new regulations in effect to help ensure the safety and security of
airport environments as well as helping to support national
security. These new regulations will affect both US citizens and
non-citizens however there are some differences between citizens
verses non-citizens requirements.
US Citizens: All US
citizens who desire to train to learn to fly airplanes must
now provide proof of US citizenship. There are two forms of
acceptable documentation which will serve this purpose (1) an
original birth certificate with a raised seal and a government
issued picture ID (2) an unexpired passport issued by the United
States government (3) original US Naturalization Certificate with a
raised seal and a government issued picture ID (more
Non US Citizens: All Non-US
Citizens are required by law to register with the United States
Transportation Security Administration prior to commencing flight
training in the U.S. This is an online process and the
Transportation Security Administration's Alien Flight School
Provider (AFSP) division has set up a
site to help facilitate the registration process.
Can anyone learn to fly?
to fly is an experience that can be enjoyed by a very wide range
of people. In fact, about the only limitation to start the training
to learn to fly would be the student's ability to pass a
medical exam. Even children as young as 11 or 12 years of age
can begin to take flying lessons as long as they are tall
enough to be able to reach all of the controls of the aircraft.
Now, there are some minimum age
limitations for various aspects of learning to fly airplanes.
For example; the minimum age to take the Private Pilot Knowledge
Exam is age 15, the minimum age to solo an airplane is age 16 and
the minimum age to qualify for a Private Pilot License is age 17.
The challenge for young people is to be able to achieve all of these
milestones on their birthday!
What will it cost to
learn to fly?
cost of learning to fly will vary from person to person
depending on a number of factors. Again, the thing we want to
emphasize here is that when it comes to learning to fly, you
should never let cost be the only determining factor of where you
choose to learn to fly. What you want to look for is MAXIMUM
VALUE and the QUALITY of the training you will be receiving. When it
comes to learning to fly, CHEAP is rarely a good thing.
Three factors to consider when
budgeting for your flying lessons are as follows:
What are your ultimate goals?
With your goals in mind; what type of
aircraft, simulator, etc. will best help you to reach those goals?
Can you take the time to take and
or will you need to take a
self-paced course that fits around your work/school schedule?
As discussed previously; your goals for
learning to fly will have a significant impact on how your overall flight
training will be conducted (at least it should). If you are interested in
learning to fly for recreational purposes, then a Sport Pilot License and
training in a Light Sport Airplane can be significantly less expensive than
compared to the business person who will ultimate want to fly in high
performance aircraft on
instrument flight plans. Your flight school representative should be able to
help you come up with a budget that is goal focused and personalized to your
Once I learn to fly
airplanes, what's next?
you complete your learning to fly adventure and have earned
your pilot certificate, you will then have been granted a privilege
that fewer than 2% of the population now enjoys. That feeling of
freedom and adventure you get the first time you take to the skies
as a certificated pilot is something that has to be experienced
first-hand to be fully appreciated...and the adventure is only
There is also a great sense of
accomplishment having passed your Practical Test which can be an
on-going experience because, there are always new challenges and
adventures to be had as a pilot. You can upgrade your license with
instrument rating for example. This rating will give you the
knowledge and skills you will need to navigate an airplane safely
through less than visual weather conditions. This will give your
license a greater level of utility as well, especially if you intend
to fly some longer cross-country flights. You can also take a
training course to learn to fly
airplanes, high performance airplanes or get your sea plane rating.
Once bitten by the aviation bug,
you will likely never recover. And that's a good thing!
SunState Aviation Flight School is an FAA
part 141 approved flight school which specializes in
providing high-quality Accelerated Flight Training courses.
We currently have three locations in central Florida; our
Kissimmee location at Kissimmee Municipal Airport (KISM),
our Lakeland location on the Sun N Fun campus at Lakeland
Linder Regional Airport (KLAL) and
our Winter Haven location at Winter Haven's Gilbert Field