Take Off Aviation
Manassas Regional Airport

Flight Training – The Basics

Why should I learn to fly?

Learning to fly is an exhilarating hobby with a sense of accomplishment that few other activities can provide. Most newcomers to aviation begin by obtaining their Private Pilot’s License (PPL).  There are a few other options, including a Recreational License with less training and restricted privileges, and a Sport Pilot License for lighter aircraft, less stringent medical requirements, and certain restrictions to the license.

What does a Private Pilot’s License allow me to do? What are the limitations? What’s Next?

The PPL is an internationally-recognized license regulated and issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You will earn your PPL in our Cessna 172, giving you a license for all similar complexity, single-engine, land-based airplanes and the ability to fly in good weather (or Visual Meteorological Conditions). You will be able to fly yourself and passengers for private use--able to share costs evenly, but not charge for flying, carrying passengers or cargo.

Once you obtain your PPL, you may want to continue your training with an Instrument Rating--allowing you to fly by reference to the instruments when in bad weather (or Instrument Meteorological Conditions); obtaining your Commercial License—allowing you to fly for compensation or hire; or a Certificated Flight Instructor rating--allowing you to perform flight instruction. The “PhD of flying” is the Airline Transport Rating, allowing you to carry larger groups of passengers. You can also expand the types of airplanes you can fly with any of these licenses by adding endorsements for complex, tailwheel and high powered airplanes; obtain additional airplane licenses, such as multi-engine, and seaplanes; or learn to fly different types of aircraft like helicopters, hot-air balloons and larger jets. 

What is the process of learning to fly?

Learning to fly is an exciting adventure, but can seem complicated at first. There are several categories of requirements to obtain your license.

- Flight Time Required – these are the minimum required by the FAA, however most people will exceed these hours. The final amount of time will depend on your training schedule, weather, airplane maintenance, and most importantly, your personal dedication to putting in the work to get your license. The national average is approximately 55 hours.

  • 40 hours minimum, of which some of the basic requirements are:
    • 20 hours “dual” Instruction (with an instructor)
      • 3 hours at night
    • 10 hours “solo” (by yourself)
      • 5 hours “cross country” solo (flights to airports more than 50 nautical miles away)
      • Solo cross country flight to three airports with a total distance of 150 nautical miles

  • Practical Exam with an FAA Designated examiner
    • Oral Portion - discussion with the examiner usually lasting ~2-3 hours
    • Flight Portion – flight with your examiner ~1.5 hours

- Academic

  • Possible methods of Instruction
    • One on one instruction with your flight instructor
    • Group classes available at most larger flight schools
    • Self-study with books, videos, or software
    • MZeroA.com online ground school; use the subscription link below for a discount on flight instruction
      • https://ud165.isrefer.com/go/ogsa/PosadaAJ/
  • FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test – must be taken at an FAA-approved facility (usually on an airport)

- Medical Exam

  • Must be given by an FAA-approved Aviation Medical Examiner (AME)
  • Minimum “3rd Class” Medical

How long will it take?

The length of time that it will take depends on many factors. There are external factors like weather, and maintenance of the airplane which can affect your timeline. However, the most important factor that will shorten the amount of time taken to obtain your license is how much time you are willing to devote to your training. The more academic study you put in at home, the more prepared you will be for each lesson, increasing their efficacy. If you are able to fly, on average, once a week, you should be able to finish your training in 6-12 months.

How much will it cost?

Just as it is difficult to estimate the time it will take, the cost of getting your license can vary largely based on how many hours it takes to finish your training, and how much you are able to learn on your own.

- Estimated Costs for a Member

  • Aircraft Rental (50 hrs) - $5,750
    • Membership fee - $60/mo
  • Flight Instruction (30 hrs) - $1,200
  • Ground Instruction (10 hrs) - $450
  • Exam Fees - $500
  • Supplies/Equipment - $600

***Total Estimated Cost - $8,500 (not including monthly membership fee)
***Estimated cost only. Actual cost will vary based on effort you put forth, flying frequency and other factors. 

How do I start?

This is the easy part. To start with Takeoff Aviation, send us an email or give us a call to schedule an introductory flight. We will set you up for a 45 min – 1-hour flight and another hour of discussion which will include an introduction to the airplane, the airport and the steps required to getting your license. We will be happy to answer any questions you have on the process.  We look forward to flying with you!

- Take Off!