Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the world of flying! We at Tulip City Air Service, Inc. want to answer your questions about learning to fly. Below are questions frequently asked by people considering flight training. We hope you will decide to share in the excitement and challenge of flying!
How long will it take me to learn to fly?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires at least 40 hours of training time (at least 20 with your instructor and at least 10 by yourself) but the national average is more like 50 hours. Your instructor will probably recommend two or three times a week, an hour at a time. Based on this schedule, it is possible to get your license in three to four months.
How much will it cost me?
The cost of learning to fly varies according to your location, but generally runs from $4,500-$5,500.
What are the steps in learning to fly?
Once you begin flying lessons, you work toward your first solo, solo to the practice area, cross country solo, and finally, your flight exam.
What does a first solo consist of?
When your instructor decides you are ready, he/she will ask for your medical/student license, sign the back, and get out of the airplane. Then you're off. On your first solo, you are usually instructed to make three takeoffs and (obviously) three landings.
When can I solo?
You will probably get to make your first solo flight after 10-15 hours of training. Your instructor will decide when you're ready.
What is the flight test?
The flight test takes place during an actual flight and involves an oral question and answer session, flight planning and demonstration of flying skills. You are tested by an FAA (or designated) examiner.
When can I take my friends along?
Some instructors may allow you to bring a friend along for a supervised training, but don't count on it - the instructor is responsible for the safety of everyone on the plane, and generally will avoid having passengers on board. Until you get your license, your friends will probably have to stay on the ground and wave!
What is the best time of the year to learn to fly?
Each season has its advantages - summer provides long days; fall and winter allow improved flight performance due to cool air; spring combines a little of both advantages. So, whenever you get the urge to take flight, it is probably the right time.
When can I fly at night?
Your training will include some night flight, and after you get your license, there will be no night restrictions.
How do I learn to fly in the clouds?
Once you've earned your private license, you can begin working on your instrument rating. To be an instrument rated pilot, you must have at least 50 hours of "cross country pilot in command" time. In order to get your instrument rating, you have to pass another written test and another flight test.
What kind of airplane will I learn on?
This will vary among flight schools, but special training aircraft are made by Beechcraft, Cessna, and Piper. Tulip City Air Service uses the Cessna aircraft.
What are the physical/medical requirements for flying?
Before your first solo, you have to pass a medical exam given by an FAA-approved physician. There are certain conditions that might prevent you from passing the exam, such as high blood pressure or severe vision problems. If you're in doubt about your physical eligibility, it would be wise to check it out before investing in flight lessons.