Frequently Asked Questions about Learning to Fly
Q: Is it hard to learn to fly?
A: No. People of all shapes and sizes, ages, and abilities have learned to fly. It’s fun, and from the beginning of your training, you get to do most of the flying. While flying isn’t a difficult skill to learn, you have to be willing to stick with it until you meet all the requirements.
Q: When can I start?
A: Right away. All you have to do is sign up for an introductory lesson. You don’t have to have a student pilot’s certificate or a medical certificate to take flying lessons. Of course, you won’t be able to fly solo right away.
Q: How many lessons do I have to have before I solo?
A: It depends on you. There is no set number of lessons or hours of flight training. It usually takes between 10 and 30 hours to gain enough skill to solo safely and with confidence.
Your instructor must make sure you have learned to perform certain maneuvers before allowing you to solo. These maneuvers include safe takeoffs and landings. You must use good judgement when flying and be able to keep control of the aircraft.
Also, you’ll have to get a medical certificate and a student pilot’s certificate prior to flying solo.
Q: Is flying safe?
A: Yes: A well-maintained aircraft flown by a competent and prudent pilot is as safe or safer than many other forms of transportation.
Q: If engine failure occurs, what will happen?
A: Modern aircraft engines are reliable and failure rarely occurs. However, your lessons will cover what to do in this situation, including selecting a good landing area and safely landing.
Q: After I’ve soloed, can I fly cross-country alone?
A: Not right away. Your instructor must review your pre-flight planning and preparation for solo cross-country flight, and determine that the flight can be made safely under prevailing weather conditions. The instructor must also endorse your logbook before cross-country flight stating you are considered competent to make the flight. An instructor may authorize repeated flights over a given route.
Q: As a student pilot, can I carry passengers before getting my recreational or private pilot’s certificate?
A: No. A sport recreational, or private pilot’s certificate is required prior to carrying passengers.
Q: What is the difference between a recreational pilot’s certificate and a private pilot certificate?
It usually takes less time to get recreational pilots’ certificate than a private pilot’s certificate.
As Sport pilot air traffic control requires that you stay within 50 nautical miles of the airport where you learn to fly, you have to fly during the day, and you can’t fly in airspace where communications with air traffic control are required. A private pilot certificate does not have these restrictions.
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