Learning to fly

Flight Training unfolds in three parts.  The first is learning to make the airplane do what you want it to do.  You'll start out with elementary elements like climbs, descents, straight-and-level flight and turns, and progress toward more complicated things like landings.  When your instructor feels you can do these things consistently well he or she will turn you loose to fly the airplane by yourself.  You'll practice solo flight with your instructor's oversight.  The next phase of training will involve learning navigation to other airports, flying at night, and flying the airplane only by reference to the instruments.  When you've met the FAA's requirements and your instructor feels you have the proficiency in the necessary flying skills you'll move to the final training phase which is honing your skills to the standards the FAA expects you to demonstrate in the practical test.  Once you pass the practical test you're a licensed pilot!


According to the FAA you must complete at least 40 hours of flight training (plus the ground training) to prepare for the practical test.  Most students take quite a bit longer; the national average is 60 to 80 hours of flight training.  You can help shorten the training time by flying as regularly and frequently as possible and by being well prepared for each lesson.  In addition, a student must be able to read, write, speak and understand English, and present proof of US citizenship or undergo a background check before beginning flight training.  There is a basic medical exam required for private pilots; if you wish to pursue a sport pilot license there is no medical exam. And, no, you don't need perfect vision for either license.

You must also take a computer-based knowledge test before earning your license.  Most of our students do their ground training through a home study program, either on-line or DVD-based.  The ground training does not have to be completed before starting flying.  The elements of training can be taken in any order, although we suggest if budget and schedule allow that students start them about the same time.  The two training programs tend to reinforce each other.  The only requirement is that a student must pass the Knowledge Test before taking the Practical (Flight) Test.

Getting Started

To schedule your first flight just email us or give us a call at 505 474 0774.  Weather and other appointments permitting, we can make an appointment for most any time.  The best flying (and training) conditions are usually in the morning before 11 a.m. or the last few hours before sunset.