Q: Do I need a car to take flying lessons?
A: No. I’ve had several students who’ve taken the bus, biked, carpooled, taken cabs or Uber, or borrowed cars (including ZipCar) to get to/from the airport for lessons. I’ve had students who didn’t even know how to drive (there’s some pluses and minuses to that).
Q: Do I need to have 20/20 eyesight?
A: No. If you have vision that is corrected to 20/40, you should meet the requirements (this is the typical requirement for a drivers license)
Q: Do I have to take a ground school/class before I start flight lessons?
A: No. Most students I’ve worked with haven’t taken a ground school. Most study on their own by picking up one of the recommended books and reading a chapter a week. If you prefer the structure of ground school, I do teach a private pilot ground school once or twice a year.
Q: How old do I need to be?
A: There’s no minimum age to take flying lessons. You do have to be 16 before you can solo and 17 before you can get your private pilots’ license.
Q: How long will it take?
A: For an average student, If you can fly twice a week, expect it to take about 6 months. If you fly once a week, plan on a year. This does vary considerably by person.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Costs vary greatly, according to individuals and where you train, but an average student should budget for something in the range of $10,000 (2015 estimate) if you learn to fly in a Cessna 172 in AACIT
Q: What influences these costs and times?
A: Age, aptitude, effort, and frequency all influence how long it will take you to learn to fly (and as a result the costs too). It’s easier to learn a new skill when you are younger. I started my training in my 30s and took longer than average. I see much longer times for students in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. Those with experience in activities requiring hand-eye coordination (sports or video games) and some mechanical aptitude tend to do better. The amount of effort and preparation between flight lessons has a big impact as well. I recommend that students aim to fly at least once a week on average. Flying less frequently than that can significantly increase the total time and expense.
Q: Do I understand that I get to fly by myself during training?
A: Yes! Flight training has the concept of solo flight as part of your training.
Q: If I learn to fly an airplane, can I fly a helicopter too?
A: No. Flying a helicopter requires a different license than flying an airplane. While some of what you learn in an airplane (many of the rules and concepts) still applies, there is much new to learn for flying helicopters.
You have other questions prior to starting your training? Put them in the comments and I’ll add them here.