To train the safest, most well-rounded and sought-after aviators, in a modern training environment, through efficient instruction and honest customer service.
So you want to be a pilot?
Congratulations on wanting to become a pilot. Only about 1% of the world population and only about 600,000 in the United States will ever get the chance to fly an airplane on their own… Welcome to an elite club. Earning your wings is likely going to be the highlight of your life and something you will want to brag about to everyone you know! You are about to commit a lot of time, energy, and money into your new hobby. Please take a moment to read the following paragraphs to make sure you understand what you are getting into and how you can make the best out of it.
Part 61 or Part 141
Many students asked the question: what is the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 flight training. “Part” refers to the Code of Federal Regulation which, for aviation, tells pilots what requirements they need to meet in order to receive a license. The basis for flight training is highlighted in Part 61. For example, Part 61.127 specifies that “a person who applies for a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane category and single-engine class rating must log at least 250 hours of flight time as a pilot”. Those hour must consist of a specific mix of time classified as cross-country, pilot-in-command, etc.
A certain number of flight schools in the United States are approved to teach under Part 141. These schools are required to submit a training program to the FAA for special approval. Due to the level of oversight, those schools are allowed to lower the minimum hour requirement from Part 61 and train pilots in less time. The quality of training is usually higher at Part 141 schools due to the constant scrutiny from the FAA. The advantages to you, the customer, is that flight training is more affordable and more structured.
Each school receives specific approval from the FAA so there are no established hours for each license. If you are comparing different flight schools, be sure to ask what you are getting for your money. A Private Pilot license at School A may have approval for a Private pilot license for 35 hours while another school has approval for 39 hours. Comparing only dollar amounts doesn’t tell the entire story…
Still confused about the two, contact us and we’ll be happy to help you determine what is more appropriate.
How to choose a flight school?
At North-Aire we pride ourselves in honest customer service. You don’t like fine prints, neither do we. Getting a pilot license is expensive and we want to make sure you get the most out of your investment. We also want to educate you and help you find the best fit for your flight training. Hopefully North-Aire can offer you what you need at the price you want. Maybe you will find a better deal somewhere else and we are ok with that. We want to make sure you understand what you are getting into, so here’s a list of questions to ask before you sign up for flight training.
- How much does the training cost and how many hours do I get for this amount?: Most flight schools advertise their services by quoting the minimum number of hours it takes to complete a license. BEWARE: only a few select students complete the course within minimums, you will likely have to pay extra to complete your training. Always compare how many hours of airplane and instructor time you will receive.
- If the price is quoted based on course minimums, what is the average completion time for this course? If the school is honest, they will give you a number that should help you come up with a better estimate. Don’t forget to ask how much it will cost for each extra hours. If the school tells you that all students finish within the course minimum times, run.
- How long will it take me to complete my license? Beware of the schools who promise you a license within a few weeks.
- How many times a week can I fly? The equation is simple. The more often you fly, the more you will retain, the faster your training will be, the less you will repeat lessons, the cheaper the training. We recommend flying at least 2 or 3 times per week to ensure continuity in training and to increase your chances of success. If the school tells you that you can only fly once a week, you might want to look elsewhere.
- How old are your airplanes and can I see them? An older fleet is not always a bad thing, as long as airplanes are well maintained. Most airplanes flying today were built in the 1970s so don’t be surprised to hear that the fleet is 30+ years old. Take a look at the airplanes, you don’t have to be a mechanic to know if you will want to fly the airplane.
- How experienced will my flight instructor be and how many students does he/she have? For obvious reasons, you will want an experienced instructor. However, many young instructors are eager to teach and are fresh on teaching techniques. Ask to talk to your future instructor if he/she is available. You will likely spend a few weeks with them so be sure you are comfortable. A flight instructor usually handles 6-8 students, 10 at max. Passed that, they will likely have little time for you, which means your training will be extended and will cost you more.
What license should I get?
The choice is rather simple at this stage. You will need a Private Pilot license to start. This allows you to basically fly anywhere you want with passengers. You then have several options but here’s what most pilots do:
- Instrument Rating: this additional training will be “added” to your pilot license. Once completed, you will be a Private Pilot with Instrument Rating. In short, you can now fly “in the clouds” without reference to the ground. This is a great step into your pilot career and will make you a safer and more well-rounded pilot
- Commercial Pilot license allows you to get paid to fly airplanes.
- Multiengine Additional Rating: One engine not enough for you? Looking to fly larger, more complex airplanes? The multiengine rating gives you access to even more freedom and the ability to fly higher and for longer distances.
- Flight Instructor certificate: do you want to teach people how to fly airplanes? This section of your training will take you one step closer to expert level!