Flying Lessons FAQs

Q: How old do I have to be to take flying lessons?

A: There is no minimum age requirement for learning to fly. However, a person must be 16 years old before he/she can fly the airplane alone (solo).

Q: How long will it take me to get my Private Certificate?
A: The time it takes to get a Private Certificate is largely dependent on how often a student can take lessons. If a student can fly three (3) times a week or more, he/she is able to retain more of what is learned from lesson to lesson. Overall, it will have the effect of decreasing the time spent to get the Private. If a student can only fly once or twice a week, it could take considerably longer to achieve the Private. Keep in mind that weather is apt to cancel a few of the scheduled lessons, so if a person who flies once a week gets weathered out one week, it will be two weeks between his last flight and his next one. Generally, most students get through the Private anywhere from three (3) to six (6) months at a rate of flying two (2) to three (3) times a week..

Q: What determines when I can get my Private Certificate?
A: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates that students must have at least 35 hours of logged flight before they can take the Private Pilot practical test (also called a checkride). Even though the FAA only needs the student to have 40 hours, the national average is about 60 hours.

Q: How much does it cost to get a Private Certificate?
A: Generally, a student can plan on spending anywhere between $4500 and $6000 for a Private Certificate. The $4500 figure is pretty much a bare minimum for 35 hours. Keep in mind that most people are ready for the checkride after 60 hours. Also, there are extra things that some people buy during the course of their training that others do not.

Q: Are there tests I need to take to get the Private Certificate?
A: Under Part 141 is taught, so the student will have periodic stage checks with a stage check instructor to determine the student’s progress in the airplane. Aside from these stage checks, there are basically three tests every applicant for a Private must take.

The first one is the Private Knowledge Test. It’s a written exam that most students take within the first 20 hours of learning to fly. The results of the test are valid for 24 calendar months. In other words, a person takes the test and has 24 calendar months to complete training and take the checkride. A score of 70 or higher is considered a passing grade.

The only other tests are the oral test and practical test (also called a checkride).

The oral happens usually on the day of and prior to the checkride and is designed to test the applicant’s knowledge of general flight, systems, theories and regulations. The examiner giving the checkride administers the oral exam as well. The checkride is the flight test and provides the examiner the opportunity to assess the applicant on the maneuvers and skills learned during flight training.

Q: Will I fly with just one instructor?
A: At EFA we suggest students stay with one instructor in order to keep continuity throughout the course of training. However, if a student wants to switch to a different instructor at any time for any reason, make sure it happens. Learning to fly is a big commitment and we want to make sure you enjoy your experience.

Q: Who maintains airplanes at flight schools?
A: Some flight schools maintain all their own aircraft in their on-site approved maintenance facility. Each airplane may undergo extensive inspections every 100 hours and routinely receive preventative maintenance.

Q: Are there any special rules for foreign students?
A: Yes, if you are not a US citizen, you must register with the
Transportation Security Administration. They have started a program called the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP). The mission of the AFSP is to ensure that Non-U.S. Citizen flight school candidates seeking training at Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulated flight schools do not pose a threat to aviation or national security. All non-U.S. Citizens and US Resident Aliens must complete a background check and registration process with the TSA. If you are a U.S. Citizen, you do not have to register with the TSA, however, you do need to prove your U.S. citizenship status prior to undertaking flight training. You must present either a valid U.S. passport or an original U.S. birth certificate with a government-issued photo ID. EFA will copy these documents for your student folder. Before you can start your training at EFA, you will need to complete this process. For complete information, please first view our step-by-step informational guidelines on this process. Click here for this information. Once you have confirmed that you would like to be a student, you may begin the process at www.flightschoolcandidates.gov