Have you ever wondered what it’s like to fly an airplane? Have you ever longed to feel the freedom of a bird? Then you should consider learning how to fly. At Tulip City Air Service you can learn how to fly safely and have fun doing it. Your flight instructor will teach you all the basics about aerodynamics, flight rules, navigation, talking on the radio, and many other things. If this seems overwhelming, it really isn’t because your professional instructor will take you through the whole process step by step.

Minimum flight training requirements

(Private Pilot Certificate):

Dual training (at least) 20 hours
Solo training (at least) 10 hours
Total Training 40 hours

Aircraft rental rates:

C152 $89.00
C172 $145.00

Instructor rates:

Primary $40.00/hour
Advanced $45.00/hour


Flight training – $5,500-$6,500 for the Private Pilot Rating, depending on actual flight time and aircraft type.
Private Pilot knowledge test materials – varies depending on publisher.

* Costs are approximate depending on the type of aircraft used and actual flight times.

How to get started:

Discovery flights $85.00
One way to get started is to go on a discovery flight where you can explore the field of aviation and get your hands on the controls.


Payment is due at the completion of each lesson, unless you put money on account or secure your account with a credit card.

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.

Ground School Information

Check back or stop in for dates of upcoming Private Pilot Ground School classes. Below is info on the next class that will be offered:

The next Tulip City Air Service Ground School is scheduled to begin September 4, 2018. The class will meet every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the classroom at Tulip City Air Service at West Michigan Regional Airport (formerly Tulip City Airport). Each class session is approximately 2 1/2 hours long and will last for 11 weeks.

If you are interested in a classroom style ground school, please contact Jerry Heyerman at 616-283-8432, or you may call our receptionist at 616-392-7831 and leave your name and telephone number so you can be contacted by the instructor with more details.

Upon completion of the class, you will be prepared to take the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam.

Required Text Book: Gleim Private Pilot FAA Knowledge Test Guide $19.95 + tax

Requires Navigation Tools: E6B Flight Computer $12.95 + tax and a Plotter $8.95 + tax

The instructor fee for the class is $240. Text book and navigation tools purchased through Tulip City Air Service as a package are available at a discount for $39.92 (including tax) and may be purchased at Tulip City Air Service before the class begins.