Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find a list of our most popular questions that prospective students have asked us about over the years.
I am interested in learning to fly, and some of my friends recommended I do a Discovery Flight. What is a Discovery Flight?
A Discovery Flight is a flight of approximately 40 minutes, intended to familiarize you with the airplane, the airport, and with the flying environment. During a Discovery Flight, the prospective student sits in the left seat, and the instructor allows the student to fly for a majority of the flight. Click here to book your Discovery Flight!
I want to become a pilot. What are the basic requirements?
The requirements to become a pilot are as follows:
- The prospective pilot must be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English Language.
- The prospective pilot must submit to a physical and hold at least a Third class FAA medical certificate. To find an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) near you, click here.
- The prospective pilot must be 16 years old to obtain the student pilot license and to solo.
- The prospective pilot must to be 17 years old to obtain the private pilot license
- The prospective pilot’s total flying time must be at least 40 hours.
– Of 40 hours, at least 10 hours must be solo flight time
– Of the 10 hours solo, at least 5 hours must be cross-country (flying from your home-base airport to another, at least 50 nautical miles away)
- The prospective pilot must pass the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam. To schedule your FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam at Texas Flight, click here.
- The prospective pilot must pass the Private Pilot Oral and Practical (Flying) Exam.
What is the minimum age for obtaining a Private Pilot certificate?
The Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) require 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. There is no age limitation on beginning flight lessons with a certified flight instructor. There is no maximum age for acquiring a private pilot certificate. Once someone gets this certificate, they may exercise the privileges of that certificate as long as they continue to get a medical certificate and a biannual flight review (BFR).
What is a medical certificate?
Every pilot must obtain a medical certificate in order to exercise the privileges of their pilot’s license. There are three classes of medical certificates:
a) 1st class medical, valid for six months, and required for use with an Airline Transport rating;
b) 2nd class medical, valid for one year and required for use with a Commercial rating;
c) 3rd class medical, valid for three years if you are under 40, and for two years if 40 or older. Your medical certificate also acts as a student license while you are in training.
Click here to find an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) near you, and obtain your medical certificate.
When do I need a student pilot certificate?
That is good question. The answer is before you can fly solo. You do not need a student pilot certificate to take flying lessons.
How do I obtain my Student Pilot Certificate?
You must complete an application through the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website or by paper using FAA form 8710-1 and submit it to your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), an FAA-designated pilot examiner, an airman certification representative associated with a part 141 flight school, or a certificated flight instructor. The authorized individual will process your application and submit the required documents to the Airmen Certification Branch. Once, reviewed by Airman Certification Branch, the student pilot certificate will be mailed to the address provided by you on the application. A temporary student pilot certificate may be printed up to 72 hours after submitted via IACRA.
Is there a charge for the student pilot certificate?
There is no charge for application made directly to the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), or through the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website. However, an FAA-designated pilot examiner, an airman certification representative associated with a part 141 flight school, or a certificated flight instructor can charge a reasonable fee for processing an application for student pilot certificates.
How soon until I actually fly the plane?
Immediately! You will be in the left seat from the first moment on. Your first lesson will include assisted takeoff, controlling the airplane, discovering how much fun flying is, as well as assisted landing. We want you to be in control.
How many hours do I have to fly before I fly solo?
There is no requirement for hours before you fly solo, and will be determined by your certified flight instructor. However; the time is dependent upon you. If you fly on a daily basis, you will become proficient quicker. Some students solo between eight and fifteen hours. If you fly two to three times a week you can conceivably solo in that range. Other students may take more time to solo.
How long will it take to earn my pilots certificate?
Training time is dependent upon you. Your time, budget and desire to learn are the key determinants of the length of time and your success. You will need a minimum of 40 hours flying time, so one can earn a pilots license in a month if they fly every day. Some students become licensed pilots in the matter of a few months. If you fly two times a week you can conceivably earn your license in five months or less. Others take more time, even a year or more if they desire.
Can I bring a friend or significant other on some lessons?
Absolutely! On some lessons, and always with your instructor. It is nice to bring someone, especially during cross-countries. However, you can never fly Solo with a passenger until you earn your private pilot certificate.
Can I learn to fly in my own plane?
Absolutely! Our goal is to help you be comfortable, no matter what airplane you’re in.
Do I need to be a pilot to purchase a plane?
No, anyone can purchase an aircraft. If you do plan on purchasing a plane, ask us! We will happily help make sure that the plane is in good condition.
What are the costs involved to become a pilot?
Flight time and professional instruction are more affordable than you think. At Texas Flight, we try to make it affordable for most people. Our variety of aircraft and very competitive prices are tailored to earning pilot certificates. We can help you work out a budget and training schedule to fit your needs. We are currently working on options that will allow you the opportunity to finance your training time.
What financing options are available for students?
We are currently working on options that will allow you the opportunity to finance your training time. More information on this option coming soon.
Do you provide Ground School Lessons?
Texas Flight offers training for Sport, Recreational, Private, and Commercial certifications. In addition, we offer courses for instrument and multi-engine ratings. We always have a ground school in progress and they are typically held on Monday and Thursday evenings. The cost is $199 for the course, and can be taken again and again at no additional cost. That is great for those who have not flown in a while and want to get fresh again. Call us to obtain the ground school schedule.
Do you provide flight training to Aliens or Non-US Citizens? I live outside the US, what is required for me to train in the US?
You can count on that! All Aliens or non-US Citizens must follow a step by step guidance to complying with TSA’s Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP). For more information, or to apply for TSA approval to start taking flying lessons at Texas Flight, click here. Once in the U.S., the training requirements for a citizen of another country are the same as for a U.S. citizen.
Where can I find information on career opportunities for pilots?
There are several aviation-related websites. Aviation related magazines are also a good source.
What is the difference between a Part 141 School and a Part 61?
The “Part 141 and Part 61” refer to different sections of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s), and the different sections dictate different requirements for flight schools. Generally, Part 61 flight schools have different requirements (i.e. a Chief Flight Instructor is not required), and the schools have the flexibility to progress through their training syllabi as needed. Part 61 schools are generally less expensive to attend. Part 141 schools must have a Chief Flight Instructor; they must have their syllabus, or Training Course Outline (TCO) approved by the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).