What is a Discovery Flight?
A discovery flight is a great place to start if you are interested in learning to fly! It is a fun, local introductory flight in which you, under close supervision, take control of the aircraft. You get to experience flight from the pilot’s perspective and take the controls to turn, climb, and descend. You can control the aircraft as little or as much as you like. If you decide to pursue flight training, your instructor can log your discovery flight as your first hour of instruction!
How do I choose the aircraft to fly?All of Lavion's aircraft are suitable to learn to fly in. Which aircraft is best for you is based on a number of factors such as physical size, mobility, budget, and desires. The Cessna 150 is our smallest, least expensive aircraft and is suitable for people up to about 6' and 200 lbs. Our Liberty XL-2 is a technically advanced aircraft and although larger than the Cessna 150, is suitable for people up to about 6' 2" and 220 lbs or so. The Cessna 172, Piper Cherokee 140, and Grumman Cheetah offer more room and are a bit more stable than the smaller aircraft and thus are attractive to some. The Cheetah was converted to a glass-panel and is attractive to those seeking higher-tech aircraft. But, just because you start training in one aircraft doesn't mean you're 'stuck' with it. If desired, you can switch to another aircraft or even fly multiples during your training (although it's best to stick to one primary aircraft).
What will I need to start my lessons?
Proof of citizenship in the form of a birth certificate or US passport and an appointment with us is all you will need to start. It’s that simple!
Are there any age limits for obtaining a private pilot license?
There is no age limitation on beginning flight lessons with a certified flight instructor, and there is no maximum age for acquiring a private pilot certificate. The FAA requires an individual to be at least 16 years of age to operate an aircraft solo and 17 years of age to obtain a private pilot certificate. Once someone has this certificate, they may exercise the privileges of that certificate as long as they continue to renew their medical certificate and a get a flight review every 2 years (or earlier).
How much does it cost to learn to fly?
There are a lot of variables that affect the cost of learning to fly, including the frequency of flight lessons, the type of aircraft in which you choose to do your training and its availability for scheduling, and the learning curve of each individual . A rough estimate to obtain your Private Pilot certificate in an airplane is in the range of $7,500 to $10,000. For a helicopter Private Pilot certificate the total cost can range between $25,000 to $30,000. Less if you can commit more time - more if you need to spread it out. Don't be fooled by those schools who base their cost estimates on the minimum time required by the FAA - only an extremely small fraction of people seeking their pilot's certificate complete it in under 45 hrs. Can you do it in that short of time? Yes, you can; but only if you have no constraints on time or budget.
How long does it take to earn your pilot certificate?
The same variables that affect the cost of learning to fly will affect the time it takes to earn your certificate. The Federal Aviation Regulations state that a person who applies for a private pilot certificate must log at least 40 hours of flight time. The national average is somewhere between 50-60 hours for a typical student, 60-70 hours for those with a full-time job. These flight hours can be spread over a time span of several months to a year or more. You and your instructor will determine the best training schedule for you, including frequency and length of individual lessons.
What written tests and flight tests are required to obtain my private pilot rating?
Student pilots have to pass a pre-solo written exam, a private pilot written exam (FAA), and a practical exam (check ride). You do not need to have any tests completed or even ground school prior to starting flight lessons but some people have preferred to get the knowledge/written test out of the way prior to committing to flight lessons.
What is the check ride like?
A practical test, more commonly known as a checkride, is the FAA exam which one must undergo to receive a Private Pilot certificate. The check ride is a two-part process. During the oral portion, the designated pilot examiner will quiz the student on what was learned in ground school. Following that portion, the student conducts a flight to demonstrate his or her safety and competence. Check ride examiners ensure that only safe and competent students become pilots.
What is a medical certificate?
Every pilot must obtain a medical certificate in order to receive and exercise the privileges of a pilot license. You will need a medical certificate before flying solo in an airplane. If you have any medical conditions that you feel may be of concern, it’s a good idea to get your medical certificate before beginning flight training. This will alert you to any condition that would prevent you from becoming a pilot before you invest in lessons. The exam must be administered by an FAA medical examiner, and cost about $120. Our school has a list of local examiners that you can choose from, or you can search the FAA online directory for one in your area: Locate an Aviation Medical Examiner (select "AME" as "Designee Type"),
Are there any medical restrictions that would prevent me from becoming a pilot?
Some medical conditions may require a waiver for a pilot to get a medical certificate, and these are best described by the FAA medical examiner.
What is a student pilot certificate and how do I get one?
A student pilot certificate is issued to a pilot in training, and is a pre-requisite for the student to fly solo. It is usually issued in conjunction with the medical certificate. A student pilot certificate is applied for via the IACRA site. A student pilot certificate is valid for 24 calendar months if over age 40, and 60 months if under age 40.
How is the training scheduled?
All flight training is conducted on a one-on-one basis. We offer flexible hours and tailor your lessons to fit your availability and budget. We have a limited number of slots we can fill, so the more lead time you can give us the better your chances of getting the day and time that works best for you. The length of each lesson will differ, but a standard lesson is two hours and will consist of some ground work and an hour or so of actual air time. Students can schedule lessons by using our online scheduling system.
Will I have one instructor or many?
You will be assigned to one flight instructor who will mentor you and manage your flight training from start to finish. There may be times when you have flights with other instructors (eg:flights on your instructor’s day off), however we will ensure that anytime you are scheduled to fly with another flight instructor, that instructor will know exactly where you are in your training and what needs to be reviewed from previous lessons.
What are your business hours?
Lavion Aero offers flight training seven days per week. One-on-one flight instruction allows a flexible training schedule which may include early morning, daytime and evening hours. Students and renters can schedule flights anytime using our online scheduling system. The office is staffed typically only during business days/hours but we are available to schedule after hours/weekend meetings.
Do I need special insurance?
A student does not need special insurance when flying with an instructor. However, Lavion Aero requires that airplane renters and students obtain renters insurance prior to solo flight. We require liability coverage and a minimum of $25,000 in physical damage coverage (not applicable to helicopter pilots). See this page for more on the topic. Some places we recommend for purchasing affordable renters insurance are listed below.
- BWI Fly Insurance Agency, bwifly.com, 877-704-5139
- AOPA Insurance Agency, www.aopaia.com, 1-800-622-AOPA
- Avemco Insurance Agency, www.avemco.com, 1-888-241-7891
What if I own my own aircraft?
Lavion Aero's Flight School is happy to accommodate aircraft owners and their training or recurrency requirements.
What if I had a Pilot’s License and haven’t flown in years?
Of course you can come back! You need a current Medical Certificate and a Flight Review (FR) with one of our instructors. They will take all the time you need to brush up on your knowledge and skills to get you back in the sky!
Can I use my GI Bill at your school?
Unfortunately, only Part 141 schools can accept students using the GI Bill. Lavion Aero is a Part 61 school and thus unable to qualify with the VA for use of your GI Bill funds at this time.
What is the difference between a Part 141 school and Part 61?
Lavion Aero is a Part 61 school. Both Part 141 and Part 61 schools must meet the same strict FAA guidelines to obtain a private pilot’s license, and both types of schools will prepare you to pass the same written and practical tests. Generally, Part 61 flight schools have less stringent requirements, can be more flexible with training schedules and are able to tailor the curriculum to meet individual student needs. Part 141 schools have more rigid schedules, more paperwork, their training course outline must be approved by the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), and students must progress through that syllabus exactly as outlined – no flexibility. Because of the extra FAA oversight, Part 141 schools have lower hour requirements for the various certificates and rating and are able to accept GI Bill funding whereas Part 61 flight schools are not.
How do I pay for my flight training and/or aircraft rental?
Pay-as-you-go is the expected method of payment. Each lesson is billed at the time it is provided so you do not have to make a large initial investment and can pace your training to match your budget. We prefer credit cards but accept checks. If unable to make your payment immediately after your flight then you will be emailed an invoice for the amount due which should be paid at your first opportunity. We are not equipped to handle cash so it is highly discouraged. Payments are made via the scheduler site (flightcircle.com).
What are the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements and how will they affect me?
You’re possibly referring to the TSA’s alien flight training and citizenship validation rule. The effects of this rule depend on whether you are a U.S. citizen or an alien. US citizens must prove their citizenship with either a valid US passport, or an official/embossed duplicate of a US birth certificate AND a form of photo ID. Your instructor will endorse your logbook (when you start one) as well as theirs when you present your proof of citizenship. If you are not a US citizen you must first apply to the TSA for flight training approval. Only after Lavion Aero receives approval from the TSA can a non-US citizen start flight training. See fts.tsa.dhs.gov for more information.