THE PATH TO BEING A PILOT FROM. . . 
HOUR ZERO

WELCOME TO AVIATION!

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You've probably stumbled across this page as you are interested in how to become a professional or recreational pilot.

It's no secret that flying is expensive, but with the passion and determination to pursue the pilot's license anyone can obtain a pilot's license.

The current pilot shortage in the United States of America becoming more and more severe by the day. Airlines across the nation are desperate for pilots to service their routes. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby stated that United had to ground 100 of their planes due to the lack of pilots to fly them. In response, United started their Aviate Program with their first-class consisting of at least half of the class being women and people of color.

If you are interested in what it takes to become a pilot you're in the right place there are many different pathways to your goal in aviation. Reid Hillview among many other general aviation airports provides the public a place to train for their pilot licenses and ratings. 

Scroll through the rest of this page to see what pathway is best for you.

We hope this will be of use to your aviation journey.

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THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU START TRAINING

SCHEDULE A INTRODUCTORY FLIGHT:

There are many ways to get your foot in the door with aviation. Many flight schools offer these intro flights at a set price before you begin full-on training for your pilot's license. These intro flights allow you to experience flight in a general aviation aircraft for the first time to ensure that becoming a pilot is really what you want to do. EAA also is a valid resource as many pilots who are willing to give Eagle Flights can fly those the age of 18 and up, but more importantly, many chapters host Young Eagles rallies for those ages 7 to 17 to experience flight for the first time completely free of charge.

GETTING A MEDICAL

Just like driving pilots need to be medically fit to fly with the correct health conditions. When getting a medical there are three different types the First, Second, and Third class medical. These certificates can be obtained from your local AME (Aviation Medical Examiner). Though you must be at least 16 years of age to obtain one and you will also need one before your first solo flight as a student pilot.

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This is a graphic taken from the Federal Aviation Regulations and Aeronautical Information Manual, 14 CFR, Part 61.23. It specifies what license would require which class of medical

Once you obtain a medical you are medically fit to fly!

GROUND SCHOOL:

To be a pilot you will need to take a written exam. This exam is usually taken at a secure testing facility or a certified flight school within your local area. The written exam will require an endorsement from your ground school instructor or certified flight instructor. Taking ground school can be completed at any time before your written test as you will need to complete the test before you take your practical behind the controls test.

There are different types of ground schools that range from online, 1 on 1, to in-person classes.

 

Links below for online courses:

At the Reid Hillview Airport, the followings FBOs offer ground school: Tradewinds Aviation, AeroDynamic Aviation, and Squadron 2.

Links below for in-person courses at the Reid Hillview Airport:

GET TO KNOW THE AIRPORT:

Many outside of aviation feel out of place at the airport, but to assure you the aviation community is a very welcoming community as you can walk up to any pilot, mechanic, or aircraft owner and strike up an hour-long conversation with them. In the aviation world having connections is as good as having a million dollars in your bank account. You never know one day you may end up with a scholarship to start and complete your flight training.

As a part of getting to know your airport, it is best to join any volunteer opportunities, events, and seminars that may happen at the airport.

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WHAT TO EXPECT IN YOUR
PRIVATE PILOT TRAINING

Just like any training would start out you will first need to get your Private Pilots License. The difference with Part 61, Part 141 schools is the hour requirement to take the checkride

WHAT TO EXPECT STARTING OUT

Before you start flying your CFI will teach you to taxi the plane which means following a yellow line painted on the ground. Your job as the student pilot is to follow that line to ensure that your aircraft is centered on the line.

Next is the Takeoff, and some basic maneuvers such as turns, stalls, slow flight, and much more shortly after comes the landing. For the next few lessons, your CFI will continue to practice these maneuvers with you.

What comes next is the procedures and regulations. One of the most common procedures is the traffic pattern. During this phase of your training, you will also learn to speak on the radio, perfect your landings and takeoffs, and memorize the checklists.

Your CFI will also demonstrate and teach you what to do in case of an emergency. These include situations such as an engine cutting out, inflight fires, and radio failures will be taught to ensure you are well equipped to handle the emergency on your own.

SO YOU'VE LEARNED ABOUT FLYING AN AIRPLANE WHAT'S NEXT?

Once you've learned all the material you need to fly on your own most schools and CFI's will conduct a solo phase check. Basically, a mini checkride before you fly on your own.

OK, I PASSED THE PHASE CHECK!

Now is the big moment, you are about to fly an airplane on your own! In some instances, you will know when you are soloing in which you should tell your friends and family to come out and watch you make a substantial achievement!

I SOLOED!

GREAT! Take the time to relax, celebrate, and share your experience because there is still more to learn on your next flight.

There's actually a fun little tradition among pilots that comes along at this point in your training. Back in the days when most training aircraft being configured so that the flight instructor would sit in the back of the airplane, and the student sits in the front, the flight instructor would tug on the back of the student's shirt to get their attention if they're doing something wrong. However, now that you're solo, your instructor won't be there in the airplane with you anymore. To symbolize your independence as a pilot, your instructor will "cut your tail", or slice off a piece of the back of your shirt! So make sure when you solo, you wear a pretty old shirt.

After your solo, you will need to acquire more pilot in command time or solo time. During this time you will most likely fly to and around other airports in the vicinity of your home airport by 25 miles to practice your landings, takeoffs, and maneuvers.

Now comes the fun in the training. All the effort you've put into your study will now be of use as you learn to fly cross country flights with your instructor. We highly recommend someplace with great scenery as it will become more enjoyable to watch the world pass by you as you fly.

Now that you have flown many cross-country flights with your instructor it's time for you to do it solo. First, you'll need to get an endorsement from your instructor to fly on your own. Now, it's time to go fly! Normally student pilots will take two different solo

cross-country flights.

Before you start preparing for your checkride you will still need to complete tyour night requirements. This consists of landings to a full stop and a night cross-country flight.

NOW IT'S TIME TO PREPARE FOR THE TEST

The checkride is a daunting task and can be overwhelming to most. During this phase of your training, your CFI (s) will be conducting "mock checkrides".

Before the checkride you will need to have your Written-test completed, your logbook totaled, IACRA application completed, your endorsements finalized, and all the required information organized in your mind.

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THE BIG TEST

IT'S TIME FOR THE BIG MOMENT YOU'VE BEEN PREPARING FOR

With all the effort you've put into studying for this test it's time to schedule that checkride.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING READY

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THE PATHWAYS TO A PILOT CAREER

PART 61 TRAINING

Just like any training would start out you will first need to get your Private Pilots License. The difference with part 61 training is that you have total freedom on how you want to go about your training as it is considered private training. The hours you see below may overlap with each other. An example of this would be combining solo cross country time in your private pilot training and overlapping the hours onto the instrument rating.

REQUIREMENTS TO START:

NONE

Though it is recommended to get a medical before you start

PRIVATE PILOT LICENSE:

TOTAL MINIMUM NEEDED: 40 HOURS

[ AVERAGE: 70 - 80 HOURS ]

20 HOURS - DUAL (TRAINING)

10 HOURS - SOLO (PIC - PILOT IN COMMAND)

BEFORE SOLO:

15 HOURS - BASIC MANEUVERS, DUAL (TRAINING)

AFTER SOLO:

10 HOURS - SOLO (PIC - PILOT IN COMMAND)

3 HOURS - CROSS COUNTRY DUAL (TRAINING)

                1x - 100 NM CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT TOTAL DISTANCE(TRAINING)
5 HOURS - SOLO CROSS COUNTRY (PIC - PILOT IN COMMAND)

                1x - 150 NM SOLO CROSS COUNTRY TOTAL DISTANCE, WITH LANDINGS

                         AT 3 DIFFERENT AIRPORTS, AND ONE LEG AT LEAST 50NM STRAIGHT

                         DISTANCE.

3 HOURS - NIGHT DUAL (TRAINING)

             10x - LANDINGS & TAKEOFFS TO A FULL STOP

                1x - 100 NM CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT TOTAL DISTANCE (TRAINING)

BEFORE CHECKRIDE:

3 HOURS - PREPARATION WITHIN A MONTH FOR THE TEST

REQUIREMENTS TO START THE INSTRUMENT RATING:

PRIVATE PILOTS LICENSE

It is recommended to complete the instrument rating before the commercial pilot license

INSTRUMENT RATING:

TOTAL MINIMUM NEEDED: 110 HOURS OF TRAINING

50 HOURS - PIC CROSS COUNTRY (PIC - PILOT IN COMMAND)

40 HOURS - INSTRUMENT TRAINING (TRAINING)

40 HOUR INSTRUMENT REQUIREMENTS:

25 HOURS - LOGGED INSTRUMENT TIME (SAFETY PILOT TIME OR TRAINING)

15 HOURS - DUAL INSTRUMENT SIMULATED OR ACTUAL IN AN AIRCRAFT(TRAINING)

                   1x - 250 NM CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT ALONG AIRWAYS OR VECTORS FROM                              AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL AND WITH 3 DIFFERENT APPROACHES AT

                            SEPARATE AIRPORTS

3 HOURS - CHECKRIDE PREP 1 MONTH BEFORE THE CHECKRIDE DATE (TRAINING)

REQUIREMENTS TO START THE COMMERCIAL PILOT LICENSE:

PRIVATE PILOTS LICENSE

MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE

It is recommended to complete the Instrument Rating Prior to your Commercial Checkride.

COMMERCIAL PILOT LICENSE:

TOTAL FLIGHT TIME NEEDED: 250 HOURS OF TRAINING

100 TOTAL HOURS - PIC TIME (PILOT IN COMMAND)

20 HOURS - DUAL COMMERCIAL TRAINING (TRAINING)

50 HOURS - PIC CROSS COUNTRY (PILOT IN COMMAND)

5 HOURS - NIGHT FLIGHT TIME (PILOT IN COMMAND)

10 HOURS - INSTRUMENT TRAINING (TRAINING)

10 HOURS - IN TAA OR COMPLEX AIRCRAFT

100 HOUR PIC TIME REQUIREMENTS:

10 HOURS - SOLO TIME (PILOT IN COMMAND)

50 HOURS - IN ACTUAL PLANE (PILOT IN COMMAND)

50 HOURS - CROSS COUNTRY IN AN AIRPLANE (PILOT IN COMMAND)

                   1x - 100 NM STRAIGHT LINE DISTANCE, AND A TOTAL OF 2 HOURS, CROSS

                            COUNTRY FLIGHT (PILOT IN COMMAND)

                    1x - 100 NM STRAIGHT LINE DISTANCE, TOTAL OF 2 HOURS, NIGHT CROSS

                             COUNTRY FLIGHT (PILOT IN COMMAND)

                    1x - 300 NM TOTAL  DISTANCE CROSS COUNTRY FLIGHT WITH A 250 NM

                             STRAIGHT LINE LEG, WITH LANDINGS AT 3 DIFFERENT AIRPORTS

                             (PILOT IN COMMAND)

                 10x - LANDINGS AND TAKEOFFS WITH AN OPERATING CONTROL TOWER.

3 HOURS - CHECKRIDE PREP 1 MONTH BEFORE THE CHECKRIDE DATE (TRAINING)

 
 

Part 141 Flight Schools are in essence a structured form of Part  61 flight schools. They have submitted a structured curriculum to the Federal Aviation Administration which provides an outline of how they will train students to their necessary qualifications.  One can almost think of the lessons being done along the lines of a lesson plan in school, where a minimum amount of outlined maneuvers must be done for the lesson to be complete.

The lessons are designed so that all minimum qualifications are accomplished by the time you reach the end of the course. Often there are stage checks mixed throughout the curriculum in which students take exams with approved instructors who will either approve the student to move on in the course, or conduct remedial training prior to advancing to the next stage.

These programs tend to be generally much more structured compared to Part 61 schools, and there is little room for much customization in each individual lesson. Their curriculum is guided exclusively by an FAA-approved course, and is essentially the law. The advantage offered by such programs is that you can expect regular flights, and progress in your training, which amounts to spending less on your flight training and getting your certificate faster. There are also a number of hour reductions in place, that can help you get your certificates earlier .  

That being said, it can be very rigorous and tight in expectations compared to a Part 61 program so its important for you to make these considerations when trying to decide between what type of flight training you want to do.

PART 141 TRAINING

 

COLLEGIATE AVIATION

There are many options for pursuing flight training during secondary education some include Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), University of North Dakota (UND),  Purdue University, San Jose State University (SJSU), and so much more! With the ever-growing industry in Aviation, colleges with majors such as Aeronautical Science, or Professional Flight have been becoming more and more popular as the pilot shortage grows. Additionally, many airlines require, or at least highly encourage, earning your Bachelor's Degree from a 4 year University. Earn your Bachelor of Science degree with one of these part 141 certified 4-year aeronautical universities and you'll be set for a future career as an airline pilot.

An added bonus of these universities is that some universities are granted the ability to train students so that they can be issued R-ATP certificates. In order to fly big commercial jets, you are required to hold an "Airline Transport Pilot" Certificate. As the pinnacle of all possible pilot certifications, pilots are required to be 23 years old AND have 1,500 hours of flight time! Some folks only fly 100 hours in a year! That's where these "R-ATP" certificates come in. It's short for, "Restricted Airline Transport Pilot." This certificate allows those who are 21 years old and only have 1,000 hours, to fly big airliners. You could be flying for Southwest, Skywest, or any airline a full 2 years, and 500 hours faster than other people! That means two extra years of seniority, meaning you fly better trips, become a Captain faster, and get better pay. On top of that, you have an airline career that would be two years longer!

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MILITARY

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One of the other many options to becoming a pilot is also the military route. Branches of the military from the US Marine Corps to the US Army have pilots that are a part of their day-to-day operations. ROTC or Junior ROTC may be a great way to get into these programs as soon as possible. The local Civil Air Patrol could also be a fantastic way to get yourself into the pilot programs that the Military has to offer.

The Air Force is the branch of the Armed Forces most associated with flying opportunities. The USAF is the largest aerial force in the world! You would have the chance to fly the classic fighters like the A-10 Warthog, F-16 Fighting Falcon, or the F/A-18 Hornet, but there are also so many other important roles! If you don't quite have that iron stomach,  you could fly large transport aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster, or C-130 Hercules to carry loads of troops or equipment on long haul flights, or fly some of the most advanced unmanned aerial aircraft in the world from remote combat control centers. Take a look below to learn some of the requirements to join the United States Air Force!

Requirements for Air Force:

Minimum Education: Bachelor's Degree

Completion of One of the Following:

Officer Training School (OTS)

Air Force Academy (AFA)

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC)

Age: Begin pilot training between ages 18 and 33

Relevant knowledge in areas of aviation and aerial combat

Completion of Air Force Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training

Completion of a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)

Additional requirements specific to specialty