If you’re a frequent traveler, then you’ve probably spent a decent amount of time on a plane. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly the plane yourself? Maybe you have a desire to work as a pilot or you just want the ability to take your family on their next vacation, rather than flying commercial. Whatever the reason, if you want to be a pilot, then you need to learn to fly. Learning to fly isn’t necessarily an easy process, but if you research it well beforehand, you can better prepare for it. Below are 6 things you should know if you want to learn to fly.
The Eligibility Requirements
First, you need to meet certain eligibility requirements before you can start taking flying lessons. For one, you need to be at least 17 years old. In addition, you also need to be able to read, speak, and understand English fluently. This is because flight classes are primarily taught in English and all flight communications take place in English.
To operate a plane, you also need to pass a medical examination. A doctor will assess your physical status, including things like your distant vision, near vision, color vision, hearing, and mental state. The doctor will also assess your medical history and look for conditions such as angina pectoris, coronary heart disease, or diabetes mellitus which requires hypoglycemic medication. Essentially, doctors assess whether you are able to safely fly a plane for an extended period. The doctor will then assign you a medical certificate, which determines what types of limitations you have, if any, on flying planes.
Where You Can Learn to Fly
To learn to fly, you need to attend a flight school. There are flight schools all over the country so you should have no trouble finding one in your area. Commonly, flight lessons take place at fixed-base operators or FBOs. According to Sunair Jets, a Camarillo Airport FBO, “FBOs are private companies that receive permission from an airport to operate on its premises. They provide various aeronautical services, such as flight lessons, aerial photography, or private jet charters.”
Take the time to explore flight schools in your area. When considering your options, look at the requirements of each flight school for obtaining your license along with the costs for lessons. You should also explore if the flight school specializes in a certain type of aircraft and if that’s the type of aircraft you want to learn. Finally, be sure to check out reviews from previous students to ensure this is a reputable flight school.
The Training Requirements
It’s important to know all of the training requirements needed for becoming a pilot before you enroll in lessons. While requirements can vary from location to location, there are a few common requirements that you’ll likely see. First, you’ll need to complete a certain number of hours in the air. Some of these hours are spent as a passenger where you learn how a pilot operates, some are spent flying the plane alongside an experienced pilot and some are spent on solo flights. Completing all the necessary hours to become a pilot takes a big time commitment, so don’t expect to complete this in a weekend.
In addition to physically being in the plane, you’ll also likely need to pass an exam. Exams cover topics like flight safety, regulations, and the different parts of the aircraft. As a flight school student, you’ll need to study the provided materials and pass the exam before you can obtain your pilot’s license.
The Costs of Learning to Fly
In addition to time requirements, flight school also costs money. Again, the costs for learning to fly will vary from location to location, but you shouldn’t expect this to be a cheap hobby. On average, you should expect to spend around $155 to $170 per hour. This includes the cost of renting a plane and the instructor’s time. When you multiply this average hourly rate by the number of hours you need to complete, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 to obtain your certification by the time you’re done.
After you obtain your pilot’s license, there may be some additional ongoing requirements. For example, if you decide to work as a commercial pilot, you may need to complete a certain number of hours each year to maintain your license. Another ongoing requirement may be attending courses or completing a certain number of takeoffs and landings. You should research the ongoing requirements related to what you want to use your pilot’s license for and think about whether these requirements are something you can complete going forward.
How To Rent a Plane for a Trip
Finally, if you want to use your pilot’s license for travel, then you’ll need to know how to rent a plane. To do this, you’ll need to find an FBO that rents airplanes. This FBO can tell you about the types of planes available and the hourly engine rate. They can also help you schedule your flight and discuss with you any other requirements they may have, such as renter’s insurance and refueling the plane. If you’re planning on going away for several days, you should also learn about any overnight fees that are included in the cost.
Open Up New Opportunities by Learning to Fly
Learning to fly is not only an exciting hobby, it can open up many new opportunities for you. You could start a new career as a commercial pilot, begin an aerial photography business, or simply use your pilot’s license to make your next travel adventure a little more exciting. Earning your pilot’s license takes time and money, so if this is something you want to do, it’s best to start planning it out as soon as you can. That way, you can ensure that you’ve set aside enough time, saved up any money you need, and can plan out any future trips based on when you expect to get your license.
That’s A Wrap!
So there you have it! If you want to take your love of travel to another level, like above the clouds kind of level, then you may want to learn to fly. With these steps you are on your way for an exciting chapter in your travel life. Take to the skies and bon voyage!
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