Is there anything more thrilling than learning to fly? Certainly there isn’t a thing more luxurious than private air travel. You could go the route of purchasing yourself a new Gulfstream G6 and you’d be the toast of the town. Of course, you’d have those same folks toasting you on your bravery when you take that a step further and learn to fly that sucker yourself!
Learning to fly is one of life’s greatest adventures. Unless you’re training to get your pilot’s license for a future job, it’s also one of life’s most luxurious pursuits. This is due to the high cost of flight lessons and the cost of a personal plane. If you can afford both of these things, you’re a prime candidate for flight lessons. So, how do you get started?
There are some initial considerations. You’ll want to factor in the amount of hours you can devote to training. Typically, flight training costs around $130 an hour and requires a set amount of hours before you can begin flying yourself. There will be on-the-ground classroom training, as well as a medical check. If you don’t pass the medical check, then you won’t be awarded the student pilot certificate needed to take to the air alone. If you do pass that medical examination, can handle your state’s hour’s requirements, and you’ve got the extra cash to pay the instructor’s per-hour fee, then you’re ready to take flight.
As a student pilot, you’re going to need some equipment. Pilot supplies come in handy both in the classroom and in the air. You’ll want an aviation headset and some rechargeable batteries to keep it operational throughout training. You’ll want a logbook, every pilot has one, including Captain Kirk. For training purposes, you’ll need a kneeboard, a fitting notepad, a pen, and instructional materials. Many of these things your instructor will recommend and he or she may even require additional items.
Eligibility is fairly standard for a pilot’s license. Much like a driver’s license, most states require that a potential pilot be at least 16 years of age. The applicant must also be able to fully understand the English language, including reading and writing it. This can make achieving a pilot’s license difficult for immigrants, but not entirely impossible. Finally, you must be in relatively good health and be able to pass any health exams required by law.
All health exams are performed by a FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). There is a written portion to the exam, wherein you’ll disclose any medical history and issues. Typically, if you’re in standard health, with no life threatening illnesses or heart issues, you’ll be able to pass this examination. Unfortunately, if you fail this examination, you will not receive a pilot’s license.
Different states have different hour’s requirements, before a student will finally be able to take to the sky. Make sure to visit the FAA’s website to locate information on your state, in order to determine exactly what’s expected of you. Once you’ve completed those hour’s requirements, you’ll need to maintain your license much as you would a standard driver’s license. Only instead of navigating the roads, you’ll be soaring through the sky at incredible speed.