Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs For:

Getting Start on Flying FAQs

Where should I begin?

We recommend taking our Discovery Flights. This gives you the opportunity to take the flight controls for the very first time with one of our instructors. The flight instructor will give you a brief ground instruction on basic aerodynamics, aircraft systems and operation, and aircraft controls. The discovery flight gives you a taste of what it’s like to feel the freedom of flying with all the fun and excitement that getting a pilot’s license provides. If you decide to take lessons, your instructor will monitor your progress to make your training efficient, thorough, and fun.

How long does it take to earn the private license?

The minimum requirement for becoming a pilot is 40 hours of flight time.

Let’s be real: Can I really get my pilot’s license in 40 hours?

The average student takes around 60-70 hours to master the skills necessary to be a safe pilot. With a reasonable effort and due diligence, it is certainly possible to receive the license after 45-55 hours of instruction.

What is “Ground School”?

In Ground School, you learn about the topics like aerodynamics, weather, navigation, aircraft systems, regulations, procedures, and other topics better dealt with in a classroom setting. Ground school basically prepares you for the FAA Knowledge Test (written test). Aero Maintenance ground school is an eight week course that includes 40 hours of classroom instruction. It’s beneficial to have a few hours of flight lessons before starting ground school.

How often should I fly?

The more often you fly, the quicker you’ll earn your license. Also, flying more often helps avoid having to review skills that have become “rusty”. A good guideline is no less than 2-3 lessons per week until you solo or more often if your schedule permits. After solo, we recommend at least one lesson per week. There is no good or bad time of the year to fly. In the spring and summer, the weather does become more favorable, but that should not deter you from starting in the fall and winter. In the fall and winter months, the weather is very diverse; you will be come comfortable with all types of weather

What special skills are needed to become a pilot?

Learning to fly, while challenging, does not require any special skills or ability. Probably the most important skill in learning to fly is the desire to. If you have the motivation to learn, then you are ready to begin flying. Flying does not involve math skills beyond a basic high school curriculum.

You also need to pass a medical exam in order to become a student pilot.

How does weather effect flight training?

In the Pacific Northwest we compete with weather year round, which contributes to developing well-rounded pilot skills. Do not let the winter wet weather prevent you from beginning your training in our rainy season.  We do offer flight training in a brand new CRX MAX flight simulator to ensure that you can stick to a regular schedule regardless of the weather.

What is the average cost for obtaining a pilot’s license?

The average cost is between $8,000 – $11,000, depending on how frequently you fly. Here is an overview of the cost of getting your Private Pilot’s License.

Is flying safe?

As Captain A. G. Lamplugh once said “Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.” All of life’s activities involve some level of risk, and flying is no exception. When flown by well trained and competent pilots, light aircraft are safe and efficient.

What does my private pilot’s license allow me to do?

Whether you want to be a weekend flyer or an airline pilot, getting your private pilot license is the first step. At Aero Maintenance we can help you in this journey. We have capable, experienced instructors to help guide you along the way and teach you the skills needed to become a safe and confident pilot.

What other licenses and ratings can be earned?

After the private license, many continue pilot training to earn an Instrument Rating. An instrument rating allows you to fly in low visibility weather (through clouds). This increases the utility of your license, allowing you to fly in a greater variety of weather conditions.

Some will go on to earn a Multi-Engine rating, allowing you to fly aircraft with more than one engine.

Those who want to fly for hire or as a career will go on to earn Commercial Pilot Certificate followed by their Certified Flight Instructor rating, allowing them to teach others how to fly.  The final certificate to earn the the Airline Transport Pilot certificate (ATP).

How do I start?

Give Aero Maintenance a call to schedule a Discovery Flight (also known as an “intro flight” to some), learning to fly will be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of your life. While getting your license is a challenge, it is a realistic goal. People of all walks of life have decided to become pilots. It is a distinguished accomplishment, and a rare achievement.


Private Pilot FAQs

When can I solo?

This is a question that everyone wants to know. This really depends on your learning style and pace. Everyone solos at a different time for many, many reasons and there are many variables involved. We want to make sure that you’re safe before you solo; please see below for a few example items that you need before you solo. Most of all, try not to worry about the numbers too much, and enjoy the process of getting there. All your efforts will be worth it!

What things will I be working on before I solo?

Your first solo flight is a very exciting experience that you will never forget, however, there are some basic skills that need to be complete before your first solo. A few examples includes:

  • Taxiing
  • Straight and Level Flight
  • Climbs and Descents
  • Flying at various airspeeds
  • Emergency operations
  • Takeoffs and Landings

Your flight instructor will help you along every step of the way. Before you solo, you will also need to complete a quiz, pass a medical exam, and complete a stage check.

Once I solo, can I fly whenever I like without worrying about a flight instructor’s schedule?

Not exactly. You will fly supervised solo flights with a list of maneuvers to practice. You will communicate with your instructor before and after a solo flight.

What if I want to change flight instructors?

Usually, you will have a primary flight instructor throughout your training.  You will also have the chance to fly with other flight instructors during stage checks. It is important you enjoy your flight training and if for any reason you feel your training may benefit by changing instructors, you may do so. Contact the flight school manager.

Can I take friends or family along with me during a flight lesson?

Yes, but only on certain flights. Having people in your life that understand the goals you have set can be huge supporters and will contribute to your success. But having friends or family in the back seat can be distracting to the learning process, so please let your flight instructor know before hand. You may not carry any passengers on solo flights.


Instrument Rating FAQs

Do I need to get an instrument rating?

That depends on a few factors. If you are planning to become a professional pilot, then it is required. If you are flying for personal reasons and want to become a better pilot, then the Instrument Rating will increase your confidence and skill making flying safer and more enjoyable. Not only will you benefit from flying on days less than VFR but also take advantage of enhanced ATC services. It may also lower your insurance rate if you own an airplane.

What are the requirements to earn an instrument rating?

You must have a current Private Pilot Certificate and:

50 hours PIC cross-country time

20 hours of actual or simulated time in aircraft

20 hours dual instruction in a simulator

What is the cost to add an instrument rating to my Private Pilot Certificate?

Here is an overview of the cost of getting your instrument rating.

Commercial Certificate FAQs

How much does it cost to get your Commercial Certififate?

You will need to log 250 hours of time in you logbook of which:

  • 10 hours must be in a complex airplane such as the Piper Arrow
  • 50 total hours can be flown in the simulator.

If you just completed you Instrument Rating you will have as a minimum 125 hours:

  • 40 hours from PPL
  • 45 hours cross-country
  • 25 hours on instrument airplane
  • 20 hours of simulator

Here is an overview of the cost of getting your commercial certificate.



Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) FAQs

How much does it cost to become a flight instructor?

Once you have obtained a Commercial certificate becoming a flight instructor is relatively inexpensive.  All the aviation knowledge needs to be reviewed and lessons plans made.  This can be a lot of self-study or working with a mentor or flight instructor.  Most CFI candidates need about 10-15 hours flying the airplane from the right seat. For more information, here is an overview of the cost of getting your CFI rating.

If I was an instructor in the military, can I get a FAA certificate?

Yes, but you need to complete a written test.  We are an authorized test facility, so please feel free to schedule that test with us.

If I have let the CFI expire, how can I re-instate it?

You must take a re-instatment check ride with an examiner.  We would love to prepare you for this flight exam.  No other written tests are required.