Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why learn to fly?
Flying is an exciting hobby, a valuable tool for personal or business travel, and for many, a great career. Like nothing else, the ability to fly allows you to maneuver an aircraft in 3-dimensional space and enjoy the world from above. If traveling for business or with friends and family, trips become quick and more enjoyable. As a career, flying gives you the opportunity to work with advanced technology and see the world.
2. What is a pilot's license and what can I do with it?
When someone says "pilot's license" they are usually referring to a private pilot certificate. Generally speaking, this certificate allows you to fly single-engine, propeller-driven aircraft during good weather (day or night). After earning your private pilot certificate, you can fly friends and family around just for fun; or, you can bypass busy airport security lines for a weekend getaway.
3. Can I fly or am I eligible to fly?
To be eligible for a private pilot certificate, a person must be at least 17 years of age and be able to read, write, and speak the English language. However, you may begin training at any age and solo as a student pilot at the age of 16. Additionally, you will be required to pass a physical exam with an FAA approved physician prior to your first solo flight.
4. What does a typical flight lesson consist of?
A typical flight lesson is one-on-one with your instructor and will consist of three things: a preflight briefing, the flight itself, and a post flight discussion. The preflight briefing is used to discuss items that will be covered during the flight and answer any questions you may have. During the flight portion, you will get to do what you have always dreamed of: take the controls of an airplane and see the world from above! Lastly, the post flight discussion allows you and your instructor to debrief the flight and talk about specific items in more detail. We recommend scheduling 2 hours of time for each lesson to ensure sufficient time for discussion before and after each flight.
5. How long will it take to get my pilot's license?
The FAA has established minimums for the amount of flight experience required to obtain a private pilot certificate. The basic requirement is 40 hours of total flight time. In our experience, the typical student requires approximately 45 to 50 hours to earn their certificate. A timeframe of 3 to 6 months is common, based on an average pace of 1 to 3 flight lessons per week. Our instructors will work with your schedule to develop a timeline that suits your needs.
6. How much will it cost to get my pilot's license?
The total cost to get your certificate will be approximately $5,000 to $7,000. This total includes everything you need: aircraft rental, instruction, testing fees, and all books and materials. The pace of training is very flexible and you pay as you go. A typical flight lesson costs between $110 and $170.
7. What other types of pilot's licenses are there and do I need them?
There are several additional types of certificates and ratings that may be pursued after you obtain a private pilot certificate. Whether or not you choose to pursue them depends on your goals as a pilot. For example, many private pilots add an instrument rating to their certificate to gain additional flight experience and increase their capabilities. With an instrument rating, pilots are allowed to fly in clouds and in areas of reduced visibility. After earning a private pilot certificate and instrument rating, an individual seeking to become a professional pilot would obtain a commercial pilot certificate, and later an airline transport pilot certificate. Additionally, for pilots who wish to instruct, a flight instructor certificate must be obtained.
8. Why Aviation NW?
After experiencing civilian flight training locally in the Pacific Northwest and in Australia, we learned the elements of a good flight training environment. Moreover, we share a strong passion for both aviation and teaching. At Aviation NW, our goal is to provide customers with an excellent flight training experience. We aim to improve flight training through the use of well maintained aircraft, professional and friendly instructors, and with an emphasis on safety and organization. We hope that you choose to fly with us and share in our passion.
9. How do I get started?
To get started, just give us a call, send us an email, or stop by our office. We would be happy to answer any of your questions. The next step is an introductory flight. You can take the controls of a modern airplane with a one hour introductory flight for only $110. This gives you the opportunity to meet with an instructor and experience flying from the pilot seat. If you enjoy your first flight and decide to continue right away, we will show you how to use our online scheduling system so you may schedule flight training at your convenience. We are very confident that you will enjoy flying with us at Aviation NW.
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