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MyAirForceLife <  Aero Clubs <  FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m Ready to Fly, But Still a Bit Intimidated.

We have all been there. It is hard to walk through the door, but once you do you will find a staff and other aero club members who want to see you take control of your dreams. There’s no secret handshake, but they might help you with the FAA decoder ring!

Do I Need Perfect Vision to Train as a Pilot?

No, 20/20 is great, but for a private pilot correctable to 20/40 vision is acceptable.

How Do I Get Started?

Your Aero Club is a membership activity, so you have to join the Aero Club. You will also need a FAA medical certificate in order to fly solo. Learning to fly is not difficult, but it does require study and practice. The study may entail classroom ‘ground school’ or you may accomplish your study online.

Each lesson will have specific knowledge and practice that will be assigned by your instructor and syllabus – you will be flying on the first lesson. You will take a FAA ‘written test’ and a practical test to demonstrate what you have learned to an FAA designated examiner. You will receive your pilot certificate upon successful demonstration.

What Kinds of Pilot Licenses Can I Earn?

You will earn a pilot certificate, not a license. Normally, you will begin with a Student Pilot Certificate. A Student Pilot Certificate allows solo flight prior to earning a Private Pilot Certificate (there are Recreational and Sport Pilot Certificates, too – find out more about these at your local Aero Club) (live link to Aero Clubs directory listing). After earning your Private Pilot Certificate you will probably want to earn an Instrument Rating. With your certificate and rating, you’ll be certified to literally fly around the world with family and friends. If you want to fly for a living you can earn your Commercial Pilot Certificate, Certified Flight Instructor, and Air Transport Pilot Certificate at the Aero Club, too!

How Much Will It Cost?

That depends on you. Most Air Force Aero Club members take approximately 55 hours. If you immerse yourself in training you can earn a private pilot certificate in as few as 35 hours (20 dual, 15 solo) but the national average is approximately 80 hours. Costs vary with the number of hours you require, the type of aircraft you train in, fuel costs, and local conditions all impacting the total. As a “ballpark” estimate, you can expect to invest between $5,000 and $12,000 in getting your pilot certificate.

How Long Will It Take?

That depends on you, too. If you are devoted full time to getting your certificate it can be done in approximately one month. A more realistic estimate, however, is six to seven months.

Am I Too Old to Fly?

Never! You must be at least 16 years old to get a student pilot certificate and 17 to get your Private Pilot Certificate, but there is no maximum age limit. (You can take lessons before 16, too – but can’t solo until you have a student pilot certificate.)

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