About Raider Aviation
Raider Aviation, located about 10 miles southeast of Lubbock, Texas at the Slaton Municipal Airport (F49) in Slaton, offers comprehensive flight training programs that not only train students for a Private Pilot Certificate, but also Instrument, Commercial, Multi-Engine and Certified Flight Instructor certificate programs.
Passing the FAA check ride is just one part of your training. At Raider Aviation, we will prepare you with real world experience and provide you with the skills to fly with proficiency and confidence. Our flight training programs are designed to incorporate all of the elements that are critical to making you a safe and competent pilot! Our flight school is dedicated to professionalism, honesty, and providing high-quality equipment and instruction. Raider Aviation offers:
Experienced and qualified instructors as well as well-maintained aircraft so you can be confident that you are safe in the air.
With the exception of the ground school course, all flight and ground instruction will be conducted one-on-one with your instructor.
A relaxed, training atmosphere that is friendly, professional and personable!
Meet The Team
I began dreaming of flying since my first discovery flight in a 1942 gull-wing Stinson Reliant outside the Tillamook cheese factory in Oregon, when I was 5 years old. I started flight training in 2009 and became a certified flight instructor in 2010, eventually receiving my single and multi-engine instrument flight instructor ratings. My background includes flying some charter operations in a Citation, flying for a regional airline, and becoming an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic as well as receiving my Inspector Authorization (I/A). As the Director of Maintenance, I enjoy the challenges and rewards that come along with the job whether it’s a new Dynon Avionics panel design and install, researching an aircraft system, or working through an annual inspection for a customer. I am extremely passionate for aviation and enjoy sharing what I've learned with others and I am committed to safety first and growing knowledgeable aviators.
I have been a fan of aviation since I was a kid. I spent many years of my life dreaming of becoming a pilot and at the young age of 37 I earned my private pilot certificate. I continued on through the ranks eventually earning my single and multi-engine instrument flight instructor ratings as well as my multi-engine Airline Transport Pilot certificate. I began teaching guitar in 1998 and found that I have a love for education and felt that I connected well with my students. I have been blessed in the fact that I have been able to continue on teaching the things that I am most passionate about including music and guitar, martial arts, and aviation. My approach to being a certified flight instructor is to train my students to be professional pilots, even if they have no plans to make a career of it. Professional aviators are safety-conscious and take fewer risks. I believe that my excitement and passion for flying comes through to our students and customers while maintaining a high level of safety.
Jim and Ruth Pylant
Jim: Along with being one of the owners of Raider Aviation, I provide administration and overall guidance for the company. I hold a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering from the University of California at Irvine. I am a technical professional with over 40 years of product development experience in the Semiconductor, Medical, and Mil-Aero industries, as well as extensive experience in Administration and Engineering Management. My credits include over 20 U.S. patents and patents pending as well as over 34 world-wide patents. I also hold Letters of Commendation from notable firms such as IBM and Hewlett Packard.
Ruth: I am a registered dental hygienist in multiple states, including Texas. I attended Westmont College in California and graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio with a degree in Dental Hygiene. I currently work part-time in various dental offices in Lubbock but spend most of my time interacting with our students and making their experience at Raider Aviation the best it can be!
Morgan with Raider Aviation is a phenomenal, passionate and personable instructor; providing me all the resources to succeed. He is willing to go the extra mile in making sure that everything is crystal clear and that you are well prepared while also establishing good habits as you progress throughout your training. In addition, he has made training enjoyable for me. I am thankful and fortunate to train at Raider Aviation.
Sonny and Morgan are two of the nicest guys and best flight instructors you will find. Raider Aviation has offered me a great learning environment and awesome aircraft at a wonderful airport. I would recommend anyone who has a dream to fly to check out Raider Aviation!
I was having trouble with a maneuver to finish up my commercial training. I had flown with several different instructors trying to get my power off 180 landings up to par with no real luck. Then I flew with Morgan, and almost immediately, with his instruction got the maneuver down. Now, Morgan has been working with me on my Multi-engine rating and it has been going very well. He is a great instructor.
My experience at Raider Aviation was top notch. Morgan and Sonny are some of the best instructors I’ve ever encountered and they take pride in their work and their facility. The airplanes are clean and ready to go everyday. I would recommend Raider Aviation to anyone wanting to peruse aviation as a hobby or as a career!
Mike D. CFII
The flight instructors at Raider Aviation are first class and their passion for aviation is second to none! The aircraft are well maintained and the new flight training center is incredible. My instructor is both friendly and knowledgeable and is very accommodating of my busy schedule. Whether you're looking for a career in aviation or simply picking up a new hobby, I would recommend Raider Aviation!
Raider Aviation has far exceeded my expectations in a flight training school. The vast experience and knowledge held by the instructors along with the professional approach to training leaves me no doubt I made the right choice. Their quality equipment and maintenance equates to less downtime and allows more opportunity to fly.A big Thanks to Raider Aviation!
I have loved aviation my entire life, but always had an excuse to not take the first step to learn to fly. I recently joined Raider Aviation as a student pilot, and they have the absolute best flight training program on the High Plains! The instructors have the heart of a teacher, and strive to instill safe, solid fundamentals as a pilot. One of their best attributes is their location. The Slaton airport is small, uncontrolled facility, which means you can spend more time in the air, rather than on a taxi waiting for a priority jet in front of you. I believe Raider Aviation is the best choice in your first step to learning to fly, or to gain additional flight ratings or endorsements.
WHAT IS A DISCOVERY FLIGHT AND WHY DO YOU NEED ONE?
A discovery flight is a one-hour flight in one of our training aircraft. You will be with an instructor as they walk you through what’s involved with flying an airplane! You will sit in the left seat and, for part of the flight, take control of the airplane and feel what it’s like to fly! You can control the aircraft as much as you’re comfortable with. It’s a great place to start if you are interested in flight training and this one-hour flight can be logged so you will officially get your first logbook entry!
WHAT IS NEEDED TO START FLIGHT LESSONS?
When you arrive for your first lesson, we will need to get copies of your driver’s license and proof of citizenship by means of a US passport or US birth certificate. That’s it!
HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE TO GET A PRIVATE PILOT LICENSE?
You can begin flight training at any age, but you cannot fly solo until you are 16 years old and you must be 17 years old to obtain your private pilot certificate.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
There are a lot of factors that go into the cost of getting a pilot certificate, including how often you fly and the learning curve of each person. A rough estimate for a Private Pilot certificate is around $12,000 to $14,000.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO EARN A PILOT CERTIFICATE?
This varies greatly with each individual and how often they are able to train. Raider Aviation is an FAA-approved pilot school so the minimum required hours for a private pilot certificate is 35 although the national average is around 55 hours. With a full-time commitment, it is possible to earn your certificate in 4-5 weeks, but 4-6 months is more common.
WHAT TESTS ARE REQUIRED DURING MY TRAINING FOR PRIVATE PILOT?
You must pass a pre-solo knowledge exam, a private pilot knowledge exam (FAA), and a practical test (checkride) which includes an oral exam as well as an in-flight test.
WHAT IS THE CHECKRIDE LIKE?
The checkride is the final test for a pilot applicant. It is administered by a designated pilot examiner and it consists of two parts. The first part is the oral exam and that will be a one-on-one session with the examiner where they will test you on the knowledge you have learned in ground school. Following that portion, you will be tested on your flying skills to ensure that you can safely pilot the airplane. Check ride examiners ensure that only safe and competent students become pilots. The FAA publishes standards for each pilot certificate that the applicant must perform to in order to be issued that certificate. These are published in the ACS, Airman Certification Standards.
WHAT IS A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE?
A medical certificate is necessary before a student solos. It will then be required anytime you are acting as pilot in command. If you believe that you may have a condition that will disqualify you, it is a good idea to go ahead and get your medical exam completed before you start your training. The exam must be administered by an FAA medical examiner, and cost about $120. We can refer an examiner to you, or you can search the FAA online directory for one in your area:
WHAT IS A STUDENT PILOT CERTIFICATE AND HOW DO I GET ONE?
A student pilot certificate is issued to a student in flight training and is a requirement for the student to fly solo. When you begin your training, your instructor will help you fill out the application through the FAA to apply for a student pilot certificate.
HOW IS THE TRAINING SCHEDULED?
All flight training is conducted on a one-on-one basis with one of our certified flight instructors. Because of the nature of one-on-one scheduling, we can accommodate your schedule in most cases. The length of each lesson will differ, but a standard lesson is two hours and will consist of some ground school and an hour or so of actual flight time. Lessons can be scheduled by giving us a call, reaching out to your individual instructor, or scheduling on our online system.
WILL I HAVE ONE INSTRUCTOR OR MANY?
Most of the time, students tend to stick with one instructor. However, because of our structured programs and syllabus that we follow, it’s easy to switch instructors and still make progress. If you are limited with time to train, be open to flying with multiple instructors can increase your chances of getting flight times.
DO I NEED SPECIAL INSURANCE?
A student does not need special insurance when flying with an instructor. However, Raider Aviation requires that all renters and students must show proof of renter’s insurance prior to solo flight. You must have liability coverage and a minimum of $50,000 in physical damage coverage.
WHAT IF I OWN MY OWN AIRCRAFT?
Due to the nature of our flight training business and the resources we have available, we do not offer training in student-owned aircraft at this time.
WHAT IF I HAD A PILOT’S LICENSE AND HAVEN’T FLOWN IN YEARS?
We will get you flying again! You will need a current Medical Certificate and a Flight Review with one of our instructors. We will pay close attention to where you need the most help and tailor your training to get you flying again soon!
CAN I USE MY GI BILL AT YOUR SCHOOL?
We do not currently accept the GI bill for flight training.
HOW DO I PAY FOR MY FLIGHT TRAINING?
Pay-as-you-go is the most common method and we accept cash, check, and credit card. Financing is available through Stratus Financial and you can visit the ‘Pilot Financing’ section of our website for more information.
ARE THERE HEIGHT AND WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS TO FLIGHT TRAINING?
A student’s height will be evaluated by our staff to ensure that there is the necessary comfort level and ability to fully manipulate the controls. Due to aircraft operational limitations and maintenance management procedures, students weighing more than 280 lbs may be denied flight training.