Learning to Fly









Training types and cost


Finding Instruction


Types of certificates

  What study materials should I get?

Money saving ideas


WEATHER / Flight Planning




















Finding Instruction

You've decided to take the plunge, now what?  Some flight schools advertise in the yellow pages, but there are many freelance instructors and airplanes for rent that don't.  This is where the internet can come in real handy.  Below are some sites that can get you started as well as get you a discount on your first flying lesson. 

Be A Pilot - has a list of flight schools and has a discount coupon you can use on your first lesson

AOPA (Airline Owner's and Pilots Association) has a Flight Instructor Search

AOPA Flight School Search

FAA pilot school search - Part 141 only

NAFI (National Association of Flight Instructors) Flight Instructor Locator

Another thing you can do is call your local Fixed Base Operator or FBO. They are the companies on the field that offer gas, and other amenities to people that fly into the airport.  They may also offer flight instruction, and if they don't they should be able to point you to some people on the field who do.  Try FBOweb to find an FBO in your area.

Then you might want to stop by the airport and ask around.  You'll find that aviation is a small community and people are happy to help you out and answer any questions you might have.

Do Your Research

Now that you have a list of names and phone numbers, what questions should you ask?

If you're talking to a flight instructor make sure you ask him/her what ratings they have.  All CFI's (Certified Flight Instructors) can teach new students in a single engine airplane, which is the type of plane most instruction is given in.  If they have more than a CFI, like a CFII (CFI Instrument Instructor), they will be able to teach you if you decide to get your Instrument rating after you earn your Private Pilot certificate. Ask him/her what they charge per hour of instruction.  Ask him/her what airplanes they teach in, and the rental rates.

If you are calling a flight school, ask them if they have a Private Pilot course with a fixed price.  You can also see if they will rent their airplanes in block time for a discount (you can ask the CFI that also).  You'll want to know if they have several flight instructors, and if so, can you change flight instructors whenever you want, or will you be assigned just one?  Ask if they operate under Part 141 or Part 61.  Do they offer financing or any help obtaining financing?

Some things to watch out for: If a flight school or CFI tells you that you can (or will) obtain your license in 35 or 40 hours, begin to listen very carefully.  This is probably the single easiest way to find out if you are talking with a BS artist.  If they tell you the truth, by saying that is the minimum flight time and it will depend on your skills and learning ability as to whether you will finish in that length of time, then you are probably OK.  However, if they tell you that 'sure you can finish in 35-40 hours', or that 'most people' obtain their license with that few hours, or even worse, that you will definitely finish in the 'minimums', then run, don't walk away.