10 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Learning to Fly

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Can you imagine soaring through the blue skies at the controls of an airplane or helicopter? It’s a dream that you can make a reality with the right flight training. If you have questions, we have answers. Here are the 10 most frequently asked questions about learning to fly:

1)     Is it hard to learn to fly?

Not at all! It does take time, dedication and a passion for the skies, though. Does this sound like you?

2)     How long before I’d actually get to take control of a plane?

In most cases, your instructor will let you take the controls—under his or her close supervision—the very first time you’re on the plane!

3)     How long before I could solo?

There isn’t a set number of lessons or hours required before you’re allowed to solo. Your instructor will decide when you’re ready to go it alone, depending on your ability to safely perform certain flight maneuvers in the plane or helicopter.

4)     Are there lots of tests?

There are several written and practical exams to make certain that you develop the skills you need to become a confident and successful pilot.

5)     How old do I have to be?

You can begin taking flying lessons at any age but must be at least 16 years old to get a student pilot license that will allow you to solo. You need to be at least 17 years old to obtain your private pilot license. Individual schools also have their own requirements; some will require you to be 18 and have a high school diploma.

6)     Are there other requirements to become a pilot?

You must be fluent in English. You must submit to a medical exam and get FAA medical certification. You must pass FAA written, oral and practical exams, and have logged minimum flight hour requirements.

7)     Are there different kinds of instruction?

There are two types of flight schools: Part 61 and Part 141. Both prepare you to take the same practical tests, but Part 141 schools are more closely supervised by the FAA. They use detailed, FAA-approved course outlines and student pilot performance ratings. They also are required to submit to periodic FAA audits.

8)     What will I learn?

In addition to the very hands-on task of flying a plane or helicopter, you’ll learn aviation subjects such as:  aerodynamics, aircraft systems and components, aviation safety and law, commercial aviation, navigation, meteorology, and more.

9)     How much will it cost?

Programs and costs can vary greatly. Cost depends on the program you choose, how long your flight training takes and whether or not you qualify for financial aid.

10)  How long will it take?

It depends on you! Some pilots spread their training over many years, but you can complete flight school on a fast track if you attend the right program and follow through.

Are you ready to take to the skies? Charter College’s Associate of Applied Science in Aviation degree is a Part 141 rigorous flight training program that you can complete in as little as 70 weeks. If you’d like to learn more, start here.