Frequently Asked Questions

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!


What will I need to start my lessons?

Proof of citizenship in the form of a birth certificate or US passport, driver license, 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 get a medical certificate and a flight review every 24 calendar months.


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 is around $12,000.


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. 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).


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. All applicants must demonstrate knowledge and ability to the standards set forth in the Airmen Certification Standards for the certificate they are testing for. These documents are issued by the FAA and available on their website.


What is a medical certificate?

Every pilot must obtain a medical certificate in order to receive and exercise the privileges of a pilot certificate. 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. We can refer an examiner to you, or you can search the FAA online directory for one in your area: Locate an Aviation Medical Examiner.


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. During your first couple of lessons, your instructor will help guide you through the process of applying for one through the IACRA (Integrated Airmen Certification and Rating Application) website. Within a few weeks, you will receive a student pilot certificate in the mail.


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 school and an hour or so of actual flight time. Students can schedule lessons by calling one of our instructors or 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.


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 $40,000 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?

Of course, you can come back! You need a current Medical Certificate and a Flight Review 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?

The GI bill, at most flight schools, can only be used once the individual has attained a private pilot certificate.  After that, the bill will pay for training at schools who are approved to operate under part 141 of the FAA regulations for the particular rating or certificate being sought.  As of now, we are only part 141 approved for private pilot.


How do I pay for my flight training?

Pay-as-you-go is the most common 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 accept cash, checks and credit cards.  Financing and scholarships can also be found on the AOPA website.