Learn to Fly
Whether you are new to aviation or a seasoned pilot, Aileron Aviation is your source for flight training. Our specialty is fixed-wing aircraft and we have great instructors and a great training program. If you're looking for training for helicopters, gliders or other types of aircraft then give us a call anyway. We'd be glad to help you find the right school for your flying interest.
The Student Journey
In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) governs aviation, including the certification of pilots. There are many types of certificates and ratings that can be obtained by a pilot.
The traditional sequence for a new pilot is:
All of these might not be necessary. For example, an ATP is only needed to fly for the airlines. Aileron Aviation will help you tailor a plan.
A "Student Pilot" certificate is just what it sounds like; someone who has no aviation experience and is first learning to fly. A person is officially a student pilot after a medical exam and when they receive a Medical Certificate from an approved examiner (see list of examiners).
You can start flying with an instructor before receiving the Medical Certificate, but must have a Medical Certificate before you can fly solo (fly by yourself), which happens somewhere after 10 to 15 hours of dual instruction (flying with an instructor in the airplane).
A student will fly with an instructor typically from 20 to 30 hours and the rest of the time they will fly by themselves. You'll realize quickly that keeping up with flight time is very important (it's call logging your flight time). Flying with an instructor is called dual-instruction and flying by yourself is called solo. There is also 10 - 20 hours of ground training from an instructor.
After logging at least 40 hours of flight time, passing a written test (see list of places to take written test), and passing a practical exam, you will earn a Private Pilots license.
A "Private Pilot" can fly themselves, family or friends just about anywhere (except for very special airspace, like military bases) and into any public airport, big or small. Yes, you could legally fly into Atlanta or LaGuardia.
A Private Pilot can flight a variety of aircraft, depending upon the type of aircraft they trained in when they were a Student Pilot or types of aircraft they received special training in after obtaining a Private Pilots license. For Aileron Aviation students this means light, single engine airplanes, like Aileron Aviation's Cessna 172.
Bigger or more complicated aircraft will require additional training. For example, airplanes with retractable gears or airplanes with multiple engines. The cost and effort to obtain a qualification for these types of aircraft is smaller than the cost and effort to obtain an initial Private Pilot license.
The cost for obtaining a Private Pilots license is mostly based on number of hours, such as number of hours flown or number of hours in the classroom. There is a minimum for some activities, which is based upon the minimum experience required by the FAA.
A "Commercial Pilot" can be paid to fly. This isn't the same as flying for business trips. A private pilot can make personal business trips. A commercial pilot can be paid to be a pilot. This is a necessary certificate for anyone pursuing an aviation career, but it's also a great accomplishment for every pilot. A commercial pilot develops mastery of the aircraft.
An "Instrument Rating" allows a pilot to fly in the clouds, rain or in any other low visibility situation. Pilots use the airplane's instruments to maintain level flight, climb, descend and turn. An instrument pilot develops a high degree of confidence and ability to communicate with Air Traffic Control ("ATC").