A: You must meet a series of requirements mandated by the FAA to earn your Private Pilot Certificate, including:
- Basic Qualifications – You must be at least 17 years of age, meet certain medical standards, and be able to fluently speak, read, and write in English. Note: Although a student pilot must be 16 before flying solo, it is not uncommon for students to begin their flight training as early as 14 years of age.
- Knowledge Requirements – You must pass a knowledge examination that demonstrates your fundamental understanding of aviation-related topics such as meteorology, airspace, navigation, and aircraft systems.
- “In-Air” Training Requirements – You must complete a minimum of 40 hours combined of dual (flights with an instructor) and solo flying time. These sessions must encompass a variety of flying skills and conditions such as night, navigation, and instrument training.
- Proficiency Requirements – You must demonstrate safe and proficient skill in performing a number of basic flying maneuvers (everything from takeoff and landings to extended trips). The FAA requires you to pass a comprehensive practical test before awarding you a private pilot certificate.
Q: Am I too old to be certified?
A: No! There is nothing in FAA regulations concerning maximum allowable age to be a private pilot. In fact, as long as you are in good general health, advancing years have little to do with a person’s ability to fly safely. Also, a pilot’s license does not expire (not even based on age). While commercial airline operations do require pilots to retire at a certain point, even those pilots can continue flying in other private or business operations long past their airline retirement age.
Q: Will I need a medical examination?
A: Yes. Although you don’t need one to start lessons, you will need a basic medical examination before you can solo. The exam must be performed by an FAA designated physician and you will be required to renew your medical at certain intervals based on your age and medical condition, typically every two or three years. It’s a routine exam and is designed to ensure that you have no physical or medical problems that would interfere with your ability to safely fly. Also, please don’t assume that an existing medical condition will be an issue – there are many common pre-existing conditions which do not necessarily prevent your certification. You can find your nearest aviation medical examiner at FAA Medical Examiners.
Q: How long will it take to earn my private pilot certificate?
A: The average student in the United States logs 60-80 flight hours before taking their flight test with an FAA designated examiner. They train once or twice per week for about 2 hours per lesson, and so it usually takes about 6-12 months to fully complete the training. While the student’s aptitude and weather can certainly impact the training timetable, the greatest factor is the frequency of the lessons. For example, if you take 2-3 lessons per week, you will typically require fewer total flight hours than a student who only flies once per month. We have had students successfully complete their training in less than 90 days and just over 40 hours, while others required much more flight time since their training was spread over 12-18 months. It’s all up to you – and your schedule.
Q: When can I fly solo?
A: Your certified flight instructor (CFI) will carefully monitor your progress and, once you are both comfortable with your performance, the CFI will clear you to begin solo flights under his/her supervision. During solo flights you fly the aircraft without anyone else on board – not even the instructor! Your first solo typically includes three take-offs and landings, and generally occurs within the first 25 hours of training.
Q: What is involved in training for the private pilot certificate?
A: FlightGest will assign one of our FAA-certified instructors to assist you in completing the various requirements necessary to earn your Private Pilot certificate. Our staff uses convenient online video-based training that helps you complete the necessary ground training towards your certificate. This blend of video-based training plus individualized flight instructor training provides an organized and efficient way for you to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to be a safe and proficient pilot.
Q: What type of training aircraft?
A: Our training fleet includes state-of-the-art Cessna 172 and Piper aircraft. Features include the latest technological advances in avionics and equipment, including GPS with moving map, autopilot and Garmin G1000 and 796 systems which rival, and even exceed, features found in many commercial aircraft. In addition, we have an FAA-approved single and multi-engine simulator which can significantly reduce the cost of initial and recurrent training. So at FlightGest, you will learn how to fly technically advanced aircraft from day one.
Q: Why FlightGest?
A: There are a number of reasons to select FlightGest for your flight training:
- Highly professional, enthusiastic, (and downright friendly) FAA-certified flight instructors. Our flexible training staff allows us to handle your unique work and family schedule, including weekdays, nights, and weekends.
- FlightGest continues to be selected by the FAA, TSA and even NASA to conduct specialized research and training for various initiatives. We’re proud of this unique feather in our cap … it’s a testament to our leading edge operation.
- A fully automated online system for scheduling your flight training. Students can access the website 24 hours a day to schedule their instructors and aircraft. The system also provides useful online tools for planning flights.
- FlightGest is the region’s only Noverant-Certified flight school, ensuring world-class training and record-keeping in a TSA-approved secure environment. In addition, it provides an expanding library of unique online training modules, including some used in FAA approved safety seminars.
- No hidden agenda. We’re not locked in to any manufacturer. We’re not trying to sell you an aircraft. We train in our training aircraft or yours, with hands-on experience in Cessna, Piper, Beechcraft, Cirrus, Mooney, Diamond and others.
- Diverse, modern fleet for training and rental as well as FAA-approved flight simulators (single and multi-engine).
- FlightGest is located at Raleigh-Durham (RDU) airport, a quick drive from anywhere in the Research Triangle Park area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill). In addition, our particular location at the airport uniquely gives students the combined benefits of a small airport plus the vital experience of working with air traffic control (ATC). Our students have the unique skills of operating at any airport, large or small.
- A full-service pilot shop, carrying all of your flying needs, located onsite as well as FAA-authorized testing centers (CATS).
Q: What can I do after I earn my private pilot’s certificate? Can I rent an aircraft for personal or business trips?
A: Once you pass the practical exam and obtain your private pilot certificate, you’re an official pilot for life! You may now carry passengers (and share plane rental expenses with them) and fly anywhere, as long as the weather is good enough for visual flight conditions. You can also continue on withFlightGest to obtain your instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, instructor certificate or airline transport pilot rating. Also, note that pilots often rent our well-equipped aircraft for personal or business trips.
Q: Do I need renter’s insurance?
A: While FlightGest does not require its clients to obtain renter’s insurance, it is highly recommended and becoming an industry norm. Avemco® has coverages designed especially for student pilots and renters. For more information, click Avemco to visit their website and learn more or buy online today.
Q: I own an aircraft … can I still use FlightGest instructors for my training or recurrency?
A: Yes! We provide pilot services in virtually any aircraft and can also augment that training with our simulator (e.g., emergency operations, instrument proficiency, etc.). Call us anytime!
Q: HOW DO I GET STARTED?