Frequently Asked Questions about becoming a Pilot in Scottsdale, AZ

Before you choose a flight school – or if you are considering changing schools – think about three critical issues.
The three CSF (critical success factors) in choosing a flight school are:

1.  BE PICKY.  Picking a flight instructor (a “CFI”) is not like picking a teacher in college.  In college, you get whichever teacher is teaching that class.  Flight instruction is a much more intimate relationship.  The best instructor is one that can adjust to the learning dynamics of his/her students and those dynamics vary between students. The CFI needs to teach the way you learn – this is made all the more tough because he/she is not only teaching facts but also a physical skill involving hand/eye coordination.  It’s something like learning to throw darts and also learning about the aerodynamics of darts.  One is physical, the other mental.  Our instructors are sensitive to these issues.

2.  CHOOSE THE BEST EQUIPMENT TO LEARN THE BEST.  Learn in planes that are fun to fly!!  And, planes that are as close to current technology as possible. Newer planes are: in better condition, have most modern technology, and are most fun to fly.  Current technology is by Garmin (G1000).  These system are also known as glass cockpits.  Not only is current technology safer due to proximity awareness and backup systems, but they are what you will find in commercial planes when you are hired by the airlines.

3.  PAY AS YOU LEARN.  Any school that wants large upfront payments is likely hoping that you take 20-30 hours and then quit.  It’s the “gym membership” version of a flight school.  Those lump sum payments are not reimbursable.  Would you pay for 40 visits at a restaurant upfront and take the risk that you won’t like the food or service?  Not a good plan.  We want you to succeed and finish, and thus we only charge as you go.

We rent our brand new Cessna 172 with Glass Cockpit G1000 for $169 an hour. This price includes fuel cost.

Call us at 1.833.FLY.KSDL with any questions.

It varies depending on how a student learns; each student’s strengths vary in hand-eye coordination and speed of learning.  As in swinging a bat or throwing darts — everyone has different abilities and speeds of learning a new skill.  For the beginning pilot, the basic license is “private pilot” and it can take 40-45 hours of in-flight training up to 80+ hours.  Typically, the younger students take shorter hours to finish and older ones can take the longer periods.  So, training cost for the basic private pilot license cost can vary from $10,000 to $20,000.
All you need is a private pilot license (the first license, called “VFR”) and with it you can fly a plane with passengers anywhere you wish.  You can rent a plane from a rental company or from us and go fly whenever you want.
The hours that it can take are listed above but the weeks/months only depends on a student’s time schedule.  Some students can do 5-10 hours per week — others only have time for 5-10 hours per month.  So, total duration can be as short as a month or as long as a year for a private pilot license (IE “Visual Flight Rules or VFR”).
No guarantees in life, but in years of watching student training (and doing it ourselves), we think we have only heard of one person that quit and never finished.  Some students go all-in and are done in a month to earn their private pilot license.  Some take lessons for a few months, then take a rest for few weeks, then start again.  But very very few never pass.

Most people will finish their private pilot license in 40-65 hours, although come people may take 80-ish hours.  For younger students, it’s not unheard of a private pilot license to happen in 24-30 hours!!  So, budget 60 hours or so.  The later licenses take far fewer hours of training, maybe 20 hours for Instrument Rating and 14-16 hours more for Commercial Pilot License.

It is recommended that you take a minimum of 2-3 lessons per week.  If you are working or going to school, lessons can be given on weekends, evenings (5-10 pm), or early mornings (5-8 AM).  For most students, more than 5 lessons per week can be too much.  This is a mental AND physical skill and for many, it’s best to move at a comfortable pace and let things set in.

In 99% of cases, this will only be because you lost interest or didn’t have the time anymore.  We heard of one guy that did 20-24 hours, then got busy and stopped taking lessons.  But, 12 years later, he returned and finished and is flying today.
There are student loans available or “career change” loans from the government.  There are also lenders that specialize in flying lessons.
Check this page for Financing and Loans
Check this page for Zero % Interest Credit Cards
Many students borrow from relatives or put the costs of their pilot license on a credit card with zero interest for a year and then pay it off slowly.
(Just Google: zero interest credit cards)
We teach when you have time to learn.  It’s not our schedule — it’s your schedule.
If you need to cancel, we only ask that you do so 24 hours in advance.
Yes — one thing.  The owner of Leopard Aviation took his first lesson at age 68 and he has ONE REGRET.  That he didn’t take lessons much earlier!  Also, flying can make a great career for those who do it in their 20s or 30s.  Starting commercial pilots fly charter or small regional jets and earn $80,000+ per year.  After 5-10 years of experience, you can earn $240,000 per year flying a 777.
But, whatever the reason to learn, it will change your life.  You will go places and do things that you never thought possible.  Flying over the Grand Canyon or Meteor Crater at low altitude is an experience of a lifetime.  Flying over to Sedona in 30-40 minutes for lunch or shopping and then flying back in early evening — above the traffic — it is great experience and super easy.
Also, imagine that day when you fly your first solo — just you in the airplane cruising east to Show Low or north to do a circle over Flagstaff.  The feeling cannot be described in words…….

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