Frequently Asked Questions
How much will it cost to get my Private Pilot License?
|The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours (30 dual flight instruction, 10 solo) before granting a check ride. The national average for private pilot students is 70 total hours (35 dual instruction, 35 solo). However, Empire students average 50 total hours (25 dual flight instruction, 25 dual solo). Based on this information (and the details below) you should budget a minimum of $5,000 - $6,000.
The two seater C-152 used by most private pilot students rents for $85/hr (wet) plus instructor costs of $40/hr.= $125.00/ hr. If using the Cherokee or C-172 (4 seat aircraft) the cost rises $10/hr for a total of $135.00/hr. When flying the aircraft solo the only cost is that of the plane + 3% NC sevice tax. The cost of ground school outside that of our offered 26 hr ground school program is $25.00/hr for instructional time spent going over the material that one would request help with during the time spent flying. There is much independent study time needed to prepare for this Private, Instrument or Commercial rating/ license. If one computes a 25x hour dual cost of $125.00 dual (plane and instructor) and a 25 hr. cost x $85. or $95/ hr for the plane, once can see the total cost of of the flying. One must also take into account some people finish with less 50 hours total, and some will take more time beyond.
Costs not directly related to actual flight instruction include an FAA Medical Exam with an FAA approved physician (+- $95), completion of the FAA Private Pilot Written Exam administered by an independent agent or the FAA (+- $85). The actual FAA Examiner Check Ride is a separate fee paid directly to the FAA designated pilot examiner (DPE) of +- $350. Lastly, books average around $95.
|How long will it take to get my pilot's license?|
|The time varies from student to student. It all depends on how much time you have to work on your license. If you are only flying a couple of hours each month, it will take longer than someone who's got more time each week. Generally, if you keep a steady pace without months in between (when you'll "get rusty" or forget things), you will move through the program smoothly.
|Do I have to be a certain age before I can start lessons?|
|You can start training at any age. However, you must be at least 16 years old before you can solo, and 17 years old to take the FAA checkride for a Private Pilot's license.
|Is flying safe?|
|You've probably heard that flying is safer than driving. It's true. The real key to safety is doing things the correct way and learning to make good decisions, good planning and practicing your skills. Your instructors are trained in safety procedures and will drill you on each flight until you, too, know the procedures well.
|Is it hard to pass the medical?|
|Basically, the FAA wants to know that you have no physical condition that will impair your ability to safely fly the plane. It's pretty routine for most people: an eye exam, hearing test, check for diabetes, medical history, heart disease, seizures, and migraines, etc.
|How hard is the written exam?|
|The FAA Private Pilot written exam is 50-60 questions, multiple choice which covers Aerodynamics, Meteorology, Aircraft Performance, FAA Regulations, and Physiology. The exam must be taken and passed with a score of 70% before a check ride can be taken. If you fail to get 70% when you take the exam, you may retake it numerous times. Once passed, the written is good for two years. Once you've been granted your private pilot license, there are no more written exams, only a biennual medical exam (depending on age) and a biennual flight review by a Certified Flight Instructor to make sure you're keeping current.
|How long is the Private Pilot license good for?|
|It's good for the rest of your life. You can, however, lose your license for medical reasons and for violating FAA regulations.
|Will I have the same instructor all the way through?|
|Essentially, yes. At Empire we believe it is part of a good program to expose students to different instructors. You'll have a primary instructor, but may work with other instructors from time to time. Different perspectives always strengthen your skills.
|Can I change instructors if I want?|
|What if I move away?|
|Your contract will specify the conditions for any reimbursement of instructor time. Plane rental is "pay as you go". Your logbook will be signed by your instructor and if you choose to continue instruction in your new location, your new instructors will be able to pick up where you left off. You won't have to start all over.
|Can an instructor terminate a student?|
|Yes. If an instructor feels that a student is dangerous, fails to follow FAA guidelines, and/or is reckless in his procedures, then a student can be terminated.
|I am not a US Citizen. Can I still train to become a pilot?|
|Yes, but you must complete the Department of Homeland Security AFSP (Alien Flight Student Program) requirements. Visit them online at www.flightschoolcandidates.gov, or call them at (571) 227-4544|