Thinking about learning how to fly? We suggest you take a discovery flight with a Club instructor to see if flying is for you. If you decide it is, you can join the Club and immediately start working towards earning your pilot’s certificate.
Any person may begin taking flying lessons at any age. However, the Club recommends that aspiring pilots obtain a third class medical certificate sooner rather than later when starting flight training as to ensure that the student pilot has no disqualifying medical conditions. A third class medical can be obtained from any doctor who has been qualified as an Aviation Medical Examiner. The Club or your instructor can provide you with the names and contact information for local physicians who are also AMEs.
Once the student obtains his or her third class medical certificate, the student is automatically issued a student pilot certificate by the AME. When your instructor determines that you are ready to solo or to take your first cross-country flights, your instructor will endorse your student pilot certificate. The properly endorsed student pilot certificate serves as your first pilot’s license.
A person of any age can begin taking lessons and logging flight time toward their desired pilot’s certificate. However, in order to solo (i.e., fly without a flight instructor on board the aircraft) a student pilot must be at least 16 years of age, and most hold at least a third class medical certificate. Student pilots are not permitted to carry passengers with them, are restricted regarding when and where they may fly, and may not fly without the prior knowledge and permission of their flight instructor.
The FAA has three levels of the basic pilot’s certificate: the sport pilot certificate, the recreational pilot certificate, and the private pilot certificate. The sport pilot certificate and recreational pilot certificate require less training than the private pilot certificate, but are much more restrictive in terms of where and when the pilots may fly and what kinds of aircraft the pilot may fly. The Club recommends that any beginning pilot plan on working towards their private pilot’s certificate.
Once the private pilot’s certificate is earned, pilots may add ratings to their certificate, such as the instrument rating, multi-engine rating or complex aircraft rating, which permits them to fly faster and more complex aircraft. Private pilots may also go on to earn their commercial license.
To be eligible for a private pilot certificate, a person must:
Before taking the practical test, a student pilot must have logged a minimum of at least 40 hours of flight time, including at least 20 hours of dual instruction. However, most beginning pilots require slightly more than 40 hours of flight time to become proficient.
Visit http://www.aopa.org/letsgoflying/ and http://flighttraining.aopa.org/learntofly/ for more information about learning to fly. These websites are sponsored by the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association (AOPA), which offers many excellent resources for beginning pilots, including a free six month membership in AOPA and subscription to the Flight Training magazine.
Student pilot Club members may rent and use Club aircraft as part of their flight training so long as they are training with a Club-approved flight instructor. The student is responsible for making private arrangements with his or her flight instructor regarding the flight instructor’s compensation. Generally, Club-approved instructors charge students $40.00 to $50.00 per hour for instruction time. The Club can connect any new member with a Club-approved instructor.
On his first solo experience: "I would have to say that the experience was not as nerve-racking as I anticipated. As I have discovered in the past with flying you do not have time to be nervous or worried, in reality I found myself only focused on the aircraft and the way it was operating while pushing all fear and nervousness outside of my thoughts without even thinking about it. I have always heard that your instructor knows when you are ready for your solo, I believe this to be absolutely true and noticed that my reactions while flying are now second nature almost like riding a bike."
Dane Pruitt, Mgr. Saline County Airport
The affiliated instructors listed above are authorized to conduct flight instruction in Club aircraft but are not employed by or endorsed by the Club. Affiliated instructors generally charge $40.00 to $50.00 per hour for instruction. Students are responsible for making their own arrangements with their instructors with regard to instructor compensation. Flight instructors who are not affiliated with the Club are not allowed to instruct in Club aircraft.