Q. Is it difficult to fly an aircraft?
A. No. It is not particularly difficult. From the beginning you will do most of the actual flying (handling the controls of the aircraft).
Q. When may I begin to fly?
A. Immediately (based on schedule availability). However, you will need to apply for certain certificates, as described in this guide, in preparation for solo flight.
Q. Is there a set number of flight instructional hours I will receive before I solo?
A. No. The instructor will not allow you to solo until you have learned to perform certain maneuvers. These maneuvers include safe takeoffs and landings. You must be able to maintain positive control of the aircraft at all times and to use good judgment.
Q. Is flying safe?
A. Well-built and well-maintained aircraft flown by a competent and prudent pilot make flying as safe or safer than many other forms of transportation.
Q. If engine failure occurs, what will happen?
A. Modern aircraft engines are very reliable and complete engine failure is a rare occurrence. If the improbable does happen, however, you will not "fall out of the sky." Just do what the instructor had you practice during lessons; select a good landing area and land.
Q. When do I need a medical certificate?
A. You will need a medical certificate prior to solo flight if you are operating an airplane. If you are applying for your Sport Pilot Certificate, then a medical certificate is not required.
Q. If required, how do I get a medical certificate?
A. By passing a physical examination administered by a doctor who is an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner (AME). We have several AME’s in the area that are very reasonable in price.
Q. How do I obtain a Student Pilot Certificate?
A. Upon your request, a combination medical certificate and Student Pilot Certificate will be issued by an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner upon the satisfactory completion of your physical examination.
Q. When required, what class of medical certificate must a student pilot have?
A. Third-class, although any class will suffice. Medical certificates are designated as first-class, second-class, or third-class. Generally, the first-class is designed for the airline transport pilot; the second-class for the commercial pilot; and the third-class for the student, recreational, and private pilot.
Q. If I have a physical disability, is there any provision for obtaining a medical certificate?
A. Yes. Medical certificates can be issued in many cases where physical disabilities are involved. Depending upon the certificate held and the nature of the disability, operating limitations may be imposed. If you have any questions, contact an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner prior to beginning flight training.
Q. How long are my Student Pilot Certificate and my medical certificate valid?
A. The Student Pilot Certificate and Third-Class Medical Certificate will expire at the end of the 24th month after the month in which they were issued.
Q. What should a new pilot look for when choosing a flight school to start training with?
A. Look for a flight school and instructor that offers the service you deserve. Choose an airplane that you feel safe flying and would enjoy being in the air with. Rather than flying 30 to 40 year old airplanes, consider the benefits of a newer aircraft with the latest technology that Commercial airline pilots use. Most pilots rent airplanes after obtaining their license. Look for a school with rental airplanes that you would be proud to fly your friends and family in after you obtain your license with hard work.
Q. What should I be looking for when choosing an instructor?
A. Find an instructor and flight school that works to make you a good pilot and not just someone who can pass the checkride. In the same amount of time, the finer points of being a good pilot can be taught by instructors who communicate their abilities with passion and not just someone who is building time as an instructor to move on to another job. Working with the right instructor will help you build confidence and teach you safe habits that stay with you after you obtain your license. Safety is always the best policy. Ask an instructor how long it takes to get your pilot certificate. A good instructor will convey the fact that everyone is different. There are averages of course, but a good instructor is going to adapt his teaching to accommodate your learning style and availability to fly. The more frequent you fly/train, the less regression you have and in turn will require less hours to obtain your license.